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InterMountain Value Line HO scale coal gondola

Read this review from the April 2019 Model Railroader
InterMountain Value Line HO scale coal gondola
Price: Single car, $26.95; six-pack, $159.95
InterMountain Railway Co.
P.O. Box 839
Longmont, CO 80502-0839
Era: 1995 to present (as decorated)

Road names: Burlington Northern, BNSF Ry., Canadian National, and Procor. Two six-packs and one single car per scheme; also available with data only and blue, red, or yellow rotary end.

Comments: InterMountain has added an HO scale Johnstown America AeroFlow coal gondola in its Value Line. The model, made from former Hubert’s Model Railroad Manufacturing Corp. tooling, has an injection-molded plastic body; two interior braces; and weights, painted the same colors as the interior, that double as the slope sheets.

Our sample is decorated as Bur-lington Northern (BN) no. 535623, part of the railroad’s 535460 through 535699 series. The full-size cars were built by Johnstown America in 1995. The AeroFlo has side posts on the interior, making the car more aerodynamic.

The paint on our model was smooth and evenly applied, with crisp separation lines between colors. The lettering placement matches prototype photos of car no. 535623 I found online.

I compared the model to prototype drawings and data published in Robert C. Del Grosso’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe 1994 Annual (Four Ways West, 1995). The truck centers and distance over the strikers are a scale 9" short.

When comparing the model to prototype photos, the interior posts are too low (they should touch the top chord of the car) and are more round than post-like. The interior braces are spaced incorrectly. Some rivet detail was also omitted.

The draft-gear box and end bracing is cast as a single unit. The draft-gear-box cover and bolster is a separate casting held in place with screws. The air reservoir, control valve, and brake cylinder are freestanding.

The body-mounted metal couplers are at the correct height. The metal wheelsets are correctly gauged. At 4 ounces, the car is .3 ounce too light per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The model operated flawlessly on our Wisconsin & Southern project layout.

As a BN and BNSF Ry. fan, I’m glad to see the Johnstown America AeroFlo coal gondola back on the market. Does the model leave some things to be desired? Yes. But when running in a train, it will capture the flavor of a distinct prototype.

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