WalthersMainline HO scale insulated boxcar

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Walthers continues to expand its Mainline series of HO scale freight cars with the addition of a 50-foot insulated boxcar based on a Pacific Car & Foundry prototype. The injection-molded plastic model features a one-piece body and underframe casting and a separate roof with six tabs that hold it to the carbody.

Our sample is decorated as Southern Pacific no. 671184, part of the railroad’s B-70-5-R class of insulated boxcars numbered 671170 through 671279. The 250-car lot (originally numbered 672950 through 673199) was built by Pacific Car & Foun-dry in March and April 1960. The cars were reconditioned and renumbered at SP’s Sacramento shops in 1978. The cars were no longer listed in the April 1984 Official Railway Equipment Register.

The stencil to the right of the reporting marks reads “DF Loader Insulated.” On the prototype, that indicated the insulated car was equipped with Evans Damage Free load-restraining equipment, including belt rails, crossbars, deck boards, and gates.

In Association of American Railroads code, an insulated boxcar is designated RBL (bunklerless refrigerator car with load-restraining devices). The cars are used to haul canned goods, perishables, and temperature-sensitive materials.

The WalthersMainline car has a plastic see-through running board with molded corner grab irons. Underneath, the center sills, crossties, crossbearers, bolsters, draft-gear boxes, and Hydra-Cushion are molded as a single piece. The underframe is secured by screws from the inside (the ones that hold the steel weight in place) and outside (the ones that hold the trucks in place). The air reservoir, control valve, and brake cylinder are separate parts tethered by molded piping.

The insulated boxcar’s dimensions closely follow prototype drawings in Anthony W. Thompson’s Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Volume 4: Boxcars (Signature Press, 2006). The lettering placement matches prototype photos of a B-70-5-R insulated boxcar in James Kinkaid’s Southern Pacific Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Volume 2 (Morning Sun Books Inc., 2005). There’s one minor error in the Clean, Oil, Test & Stencil panel. The built date is listed as 3-75. It should be 3- or 4-60, depending on the road number.

Since the model is lettered to match a reconditioned RBL, it shouldn’t have a running board. Instead, there should be an L-shaped grab iron on the corner of the roof closest to the brake wheel.

To the test track. The model weighs 4.5 ounces, which is the correct weight per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The 33" metal wheels are mounted on plastic axles and correctly gauged. The Proto-Max couplers are body mounted at the correct height.

The car ran without incident while being pulled and pushed around 18" radius curves and comfortably navigated no. 5 turnouts.

The WalthersMainline Pacific Car & Foundry 50-foot insulated boxcar has a good mix of molded and separately applied details, the latter strong enough to withstand normal handling. With the variety of commodities RBLs handled, this boxcar would look appropriate spotted in front of a brewery, cannery, or any other business that shipped temperature-sensitive materials.

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