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Walthers HO scale Trinity two-bay covered hopper

Read this review from the April 2019 Model Railroader
Walthers HO scale Trinity two-bay covered hopper
The Walthers car features separate end cages and brake appliances.
The Walthers car features separate end cages and brake appliances.

A TrinityRail 39-foot, 3,281-cubic-foot-capacity two-bay covered hopper has been added to the WalthersMainline. The HO scale model is based on a contemporary freight car used to haul frac sand, roofing granules, cement, and other dense materials.

Our sample is decorated as General American Marks Co. no. 9837, part of the leasing company’s 9722 through 9952 series built under TrinityRail lot no. F11026 in November and December 2011. The full-size car has high side sills, which make it easier to reach the vibrator brackets and outlet gates. The WalthersMainline model has three round hatch covers. Sales literature from TrinityRail indicates the car can be built with other hatch configurations.

The HO scale covered hopper has a one-piece plastic body. The roof is a separate casting with tabs that lock into corresponding notches on the car’s interior. The hatch covers are separate castings.

A one-piece plastic running board, attached to supports molded on the roof, frames the top of the car. The casting has recessed (not see-through) round hole detail, giving it a 3-D quality. The seams between running board sections are crisply rendered. The corner grab irons are molded.

The end cages are separate castings with molded ladder rungs. The crossover platforms are smooth, but should have recessed detail like the running boards.

I compared the model to prototype drawings and data found on the Trinity Rail website. The covered hopper accurately follows published dimensions. The paint on our sample was smooth and evenly applied. The printing was crisp, legible, and matched prototype placement. The TrinityRail logo and lot number stencil, located to the left of the Clean, Oil, Test & Stencil (COTS) panel on full-size cars, were omitted. However, I appreciated that the built date in the COTS panel was 12-11, correct for this car.

Most of the car’s weight comes from a 1⁄16"-thick steel weight. The weight is held in place with three Phillips-head screws. At 3.1 ounces, the car is .5 ounce too light per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The covered hopper performed without incident on our Wisconsin & Southern layout.

If you stand by any busy main line in North America today, you’re more than likely going to see a Trinity 3,281-cubic-foot-capacity two-bay covered hopper. A unit train of the WalthersMainline HO cars would look impressive on a large model railroad, but the short-wheelbase car will also serve small layouts well.

Price: $27.98
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Era: 2011 to present (as decorated)
Road names: General American Marks Co., CSX, Norfolk Southern, Trinity Industries Leasing, Wells Fargo (WSOX reporting marks), and Union Pacific (Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha reporting marks). Four road numbers per scheme.
36" metal wheels mounted on plastic axles, correctly gauged
Proto-Max metal couplers, installed at correct height
Weight: 3.1 ounces (.5 ounce too light per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1)

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