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Quick Look: Athearn Ready-To-Roll 40-foot boxcar

Read this review from the November 2018 Model Railroader
Athearn Ready-To-Roll 40-foot boxcar
Price: $27.98
1600 Forbes Way, Suite 120
Long Beach, CA 90810
Era: 1970-1980, as decorated

Road names: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Chicago & Illinois Midland; Chicago & North Western; Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Maine Central; Monon; Reading Co.; Southern Pacific; St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt); Toledo, Peoria & Western; and Western Maryland (multiple road numbers)

Comments: Although standard-height 40-foot boxcars were on their way out by the 1970s, many railroads kept them in service, even if it meant adding Automatic Car Identification (ACI) labels and updating data panels.

Athearn has updated its line of legacy Model Die Casting/Roundhouse 40-foot boxcars for the modern era as well, adding plastic knuckle couplers and metal wheelsets, along with finer molded detail on the sides.

These Athearn Ready-To-Roll models come with scale-sized knuckle couplers mounted at the correct height. At 3.8 ounces, the models are right in line with National Model Railroad Associa­tion Recommended Practice 20.1 specs for 40-foot car weight. One wheelset was slightly tight and resisted efforts to adjust it by hand.

The paint on our sample, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy no. 1652 with Colorado & Southern subsidiary reporting marks, exactly matched the photo in CB&Q Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Michael J. Spoor (Morning Sun Books, 1995), right down to the glossy patch of paint under the capacity data stencils. The only differences I noted were the Superior door (the model has six reinforcing ribs and the prototype photo shows four), and the roof appears to be unpainted galvanized steel. A little silver paint would take care of the roof, but changing the door would be more work, as it’s molded onto the body.

The brake wheel and running board are the only separate parts on the body shell, but the grab irons, stirrup steps, and ladders on the car sides are much finer than on earlier models. Trucks and coupler covers are secured with screws.

The boxcar tracked well on the Wis­consin & Southern project layout, having no trouble with the layout’s no. 5 turnouts.

Modelers looking to add to their fleets of 40-foot boxcars have another option with these Athearn Ready-To-Roll cars.

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Plan and design an around the room track plan.

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