Quick Look: Atlas N scale PS 4000 covered hopper

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Price: $29.95 (undecorated, $24.95)

Atlas Model Railroad Co.
378 Florence Ave.
Hillside, NJ 07205

Era: 1962 to 1986 (as decorated)

Road names: Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern (two road numbers); Baltimore & Ohio; Illinois Central Gulf; Norfolk & Western; and undecorated. New road numbers: Chessie System and Southern Pacific. (Three numbers each unless noted)

Comments: Created to speed unloading grain at breweries, the Pullman-Standard 4,000-cubic-foot capacity PS-2CD covered hopper is being brought to N scale as a highly detailed Master Line model by Atlas. The model uses tooling acquired from BLMA after Atlas purchased that company. For a review of the BLMA release, see the August 2010 Model Railroader.

Atlas’ model is finely detailed, with an injection-molded plastic body; separately applied loading and unloading hatches; detailed brake equipment; and see-through, etched-metal brake platform and roof walks.

The 100-ton BLMA roller-bearing trucks have 36" blackened metal wheels, which were in gauge. The body-mounted plastic knuckle couplers were mounted at the correct height. The model’s major dimensions matched those listed for the car in the 1963 Official Railway Equipment Register.

Our sample was decorated for the Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Ry., a Minnesota short line that was bought by Soo Line in 1982. Hoppers no. 600 and 601 were on the railroad’s register until the Soo merged the MNS in 1986. The paint scheme matches a prototype photo I found online, though it lacks items applied later, such as the Automatic Car Identification (ACI) barcode and Clean, Oil, Test & Stencil (COTS) panel. All lettering is clear and sharp, with even the tiniest lettering legible under magnification.

The car ran flawlessly through the no. 6 turnouts and 10" curves of our Salt Lake Route project layout, and coupled easily to other cars.

Pullman-Standard built about 2,000 of these cars between 1962 and 1964 to carry grain, flour, fertilizer, and chemicals. Dozens of railroads owned them. Any N scale model railroad set in the 1960s or later could use one or more of Atlas’ new offerings.

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