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Quick Look: Atlas N Dry-Flo covered hopper

Read this review from the June 2017 Model Railroader
Atlas N Dry-Flo covered hopper
Atlas N Dry-Flo covered hopper
The Atlas N scale car is available in several paint schemes, including this Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe version.

Price: $32.95 (undecorated, $24.95)

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

Era: 1959 to 1990 (as decorated)

Road names: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Chicago Great Western; Dow; Louisville & Nashville; and Northern Pacific. Three road numbers per scheme; also available undecorated.

Comments: Atlas continues to bring BLMA Models freight cars into its N scale lineup after purchasing the California-based company in 2016. The latest addition is the General American Transportation Co. 3,500-cubic-foot-capacity Dry-Flo covered hopper. The plastic model features a one-piece body with etched-metal running boards, wire corner grab irons, and a separate brake wheel. The center sills, end sheets, and hopper bays are separate parts that make up the underbody.

General American Transportation Co. produced the Dry-Flo covered hopper from 1959 to 1962. The car was designed to transport free-flowing and dry bulk materials such as carbon black, feeds, rice, malt, brewers grits, and salt.

Our sample is decorated for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The model is based on CB&Q’s HC-4 class covered hoppers numbered 85200 through 85299. Cars from this class were still in service on the Burlington Northern, CB&Q’s successor, as late as 1993.

The model’s dimensions closely match drawings published in the 1961 Car Builders’ Cyclopedia of American Practice (Simmons-Boardman).

The gray and black paint is smooth and evenly applied on the model. All of the lettering was legible and the placement matched prototype photos. The Burlington Route heralds are separately applied; the one on the right is slightly crooked.

The hopper weighs 1 ounce, which is correct per National Model Railroad Association recommended practice 20.1. The body-mounted scale couplers are installed at the correct height. The 33" metal wheelsets are in gauge.

I tested the car on our N scale Salt Lake Route project layout from 2010. The covered hopper negotiated the layout’s Kato Unitrack no. 6 turnouts, 11" radius curves, and 123⁄4" double crossover without incident.

If your N scale model railroad is set between 1959 and the early 1990s, the Atlas General American Dry-Flo covered hopper will be a welcomed addition to your layout.

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