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Quick Look: Atlas bulkhead Flatcar with pipe load

Read this review from the February 2018 Model Railroader
Atlas Bulkhead Flatcar with pipe load
Atlas Bulkhead Flatcar with pipe load

Price: $36.95

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

Era: 1970s to 2000s

Comments: A new removable pipe load and more road names highlight the latest run of this HO scale 68-foot bulkhead flatcar from Atlas. An earlier release was reviewed in the April 2010 issue of Model Railroader.

The included plastic pipe load accurately models scale 62-foot lengths of 24" diameter pipe. The prototype pipe is commonly used in large sewer and drainage projects. The load includes simulated metal banding and cradles and rests securely on the flatcar deck.

The flatcar is part of Atlas’ Trainman line. It’s overall dimensions match those of prototype drawings and diagrams for various 68-foot bulkhead flatcars, including one from the February 1984 issue of Model Railroader. However, I couldn’t find a builder-specific prototype that matched the model’s details.

Our review sample is decorated as Burlington Northern no. 621460. That prototype was part of a 200-car order of bulkhead flatcars built by Thrall in 1976. However that prototype is a smaller 100-ton car that measures61'-6" vs. the model’s 68 feet.

The model is smoothly painted in BN green with lettering that’s accurate for the BN prototype. All the decoration is clearly printed. The information on the Clean, Oil, Test, and Stencil (COTS) panels is also correct and legible under magnification.

The Atlas bulkehead flatcar has well-defined molded detail, including stake pockets and a simplified underframe. The brake wheel and end ladders are separate parts.

A die-cast metal center sill provides much of the car’s 3.7 ounce weight. Adding the 1.3 ounce plastic pipe load brings the loaded weight to 5 ounces, which is .75 ounce too light per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1.

The plastic truck sideframes feature molded spring and (non-functioning) roller bearing details. The chemically blackened scale 36"-diameter wheels are in gauge. The plastic Accumate knuckle couplers are body-mounted at the correct height.

In addition to Burlington Northern, the other road names available in this run are CAI Rail, Canadian National, Illinois Central Gulf, Louisville & Nashville, and TTX. Each road name is available in multiple road numbers.

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