Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

MTH Electric Trains HO scale USRA twin hopper

Read this review from Model Railroader
MTH HO scale USRA twin hopper
This 55-ton twin hopper is a recent addition to the MTH line of HO freight cars. The model has a molded plastic body with a die-cast metal underbody, metal wheelsets, many add-on details, and knuckle couplers. Our sample was smoothly painted and neatly lettered.

The prototype
for this car was one of five standardized freight car designs introduced by the United States Railroad Administration (USRA) during World War I. The all-steel twin hopper design was well received, and the USRA had more than 22,000 hoppers built, which allocated to 23 railroads.

After the war, the American Railway Association adopted this design as its standard, and thousands more copies were built. Most of these cars remained in service through World War II, with some lasting well into the 1950s.

The MTH twin hopper is an accurate HO model of the USRA car. It closely matches the prototype dimensions and details found in a drawing published in the April 1969 Model Railroader.  

Our sample has an ABS plastic body with excellent scale-size bracing and   rivet detail. The grab irons and ladder grabs are formed from .007" wire and   individually applied. The hopper doors, Enterprise door mechanisms, and a brake wheel on a vertical staff are also separate details.    
Our sample car includes rigid-frame Andrews trucks that are molded from acetal plastic. The metal wheelsets have needle-point axles so they’re extremely free-rolling. A separate brake beam casting properly positions the brake shoes in alignment with the wheel treads. All of the wheelsets match the National Model Railroad Association Standards Gauge.   

Both ends of the plastic underframe have scale-sized diagonal corner bracing and stirrup steps. The B end has an AB brake system with formed wire piping. The model has Kadee-compatible scale magnetic knuckle couplers mounted at the proper height.

Our sample weighs 2 ounces, which is about an ounce under the NMRA’s Recommended Practice for this size car.

Overall, this new twin hopper is an impressive and well-done freight car.

Price: $29.95 each; 6-car sets, $169.95

MTH Electric Trains
7020 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046-1532

Road names:
Milwaukee Road; Baltimore & Ohio; Central RR of New Jersey; Chicago & North Western; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis; Clinchfield; Denver & Rio Grande Western; Erie; Lehigh & New England; New York Central; Norfolk & Western; Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh & West Virginia; Union Pacific; and Western Maryland

Era: 1918 to mid-1950s

  • Scale magnetic knuckle couplers at correct height
  • Metal RP-25 wheelsets with needlepoint axles
  • Removable plastic coal load
  • Weight: 2 ounces (1 ounce under the NMRA’s recommendation)

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Great Scenery Tips

Great Scenery Tips

Realistic creeks and streams.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy