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!

Quick Look: Walthers HO scale 50-foot refrigerator car

Read this review from the August 2018 Model Railroader
Walthers HO scale 50-foot refrigerator car
Price: $27.98
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Era: 1963 to 1974 (as decorated)
Road names: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Canadian Pacific; Erie Lackawanna; Milwaukee Road;
Pacific Fruit Express (Southern Pacific and Union Pacific heralds); and Santa Fe Refrigerated Despatch. Two road numbers per scheme; also available undecorated.

Comments: A 50-foot HO scale mechanical refrigerator car is the latest addition to the WalthersMainline series. The model is based on a prototype built by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy at its shops in Havelock, Neb., in 1963. The 100-car series was split into two equal groups. Cars 5100 through 5149 had BRMX reporting marks and were equipped with meat rails. Cars 5150 through 5199 had BRCX marks and had Equipco load dividers. Except for reporting marks and road numbers, the cars were identical on the exterior.

The Walthers model has a one-piece injection-molded plastic body with a separately applied diagonal-panel roof, see-through plastic running boards with molded corner grab irons, and a separate exhaust stack.

I compared the model to prototype drawings published in the 1966 Simmons-Boardman Car and Loco-motive Cyclopedia of American Practice. The major dimensions were spot on. The distance over the running boards was a scale 1'-8" short.

The lettering placement matches a prototype photo of another car from the 5150 through 5199 series in Michael J. Spoor’s CB&Q Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books Inc, 1995).

A steel weight is secured to the interior floor with two screws. The car weighs 4.6 ounces, which is correct per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The Proto-Max metal couplers are at the correct height. The 33" metal wheels, attached to plastic axles, are correctly gauged. The refrigerator car operated without incident on our Wisconsin & Southern project layout.

Though the WalthersMainline mechanical refrigerator car is based on a CB&Q prototype, other roads used similar cars. As a fan of the early 1970s Burlington Northern, I welcome this HO scale car with open arms.

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.


Servicing steam locomotives step-by-step

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