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Quick Look: ExactRail HO scale Magor 4,948-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine
ExactRail HO scale Magor 4,948-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper
ExactRail HO scale Magor 4,948-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper

Price: $49.95

ExactRail LLC
251 West River Park Dr., Ste. 300
Provo, UT 84604

Era: 1961 through mid-2000s

Road names: Southern Ry. (nine variations) and Atlantic Coast Line

Comments: A Magor 4,948-cubic-foot-capacity covered hopper, better known as “Big John,” is now available in ExactRail’s Platinum Series. The ready-to-run HO scale model features a one-piece injection-molded plastic body; a separate roof; and wire uncoupling levers, grab irons, brake rods, and lever hangers.

The Big John covered hoppers are well known not just for their name and large (for the early 1960s) capacity, but because they were at the center of a Supreme Court case involving shipping rates.

Southern Ry. applied the Big John name to three batches of its aluminum covered hoppers: nos. 8000 through 8074 (4,713-cubic-foot capacity) built in 1960, nos. 8075 through 8574 (4,948-cubic-foot capacity) constructed in 1961 and 1962, and nos. 7924 through 7999 and 8575 through 8999 (5,325-cubic-foot capacity) assembled in 1965.

The ExactRail model closely follows Southern Ry. car diagrams. The 12 round hatches are correctly spaced, and all of the printing is crisp and legible under magnification (the road number and reporting mark are even printed on the center sill!) Our sample accurately features the New Orleans & Northeastern RR reporting mark in the upper right corner, which was applied to car nos. 8260 through 8274.

The Kadee no. 58 couplers are mounted at the correct height. The 36" machined metal wheels are properly gauged. At 4.9 ounces, the car is .1 ounce too light based on National Model Railroad Association recommended practice 20.1. Kudos to ExactRail for releasing the Big John in plastic. The firm did a superb job capturing the lines of this distinctive prototype.

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