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ExactRail HO scale GSI 53'-6" bulkhead flatcar

Read this review from the August 2019 Model Railroader
Price: $54.99
525 E. 1860 S.
Provo, UT 84606
Era: 1966 to present (depending on paint scheme)

Road names: Rock Island (six road numbers); Burlington Northern (18 numbers); and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (nine numbers).

Comments: A General Steel Industries (GSI) 53'-6" bulkhead flatcar is the latest addition to ExactRail’s HO scale Platinum line. The plastic model features American Steel Foundries 70-ton Ride-Control trucks, factory-installed and painted wire grab irons and uncoupling levers, and a laser-cut modeler-installed deck and bulkhead ends.

Our sample is decorated as Rock Island no. 91832, part of the railroad’s 91825 through 91874 series built by GSI in 1966.

The ExactRail car is offered with prototype-specific truck centers (42'-0" or 43'-6") and detail placement. The Rock Island model accurately features end-of-car cushioning detail.

ExactRail has a tutorial video on its website that shows how to add the laser-cut deck and bulkhead ends. I attached the deck with the recommended cyanoacrylate adhesive. I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue on the bulkhead ends, which also worked well.

The details and lettering on the model follow a prototype photo in the Rock Island Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Steve Hile, David H. Hickcox, and Todd Miller (Morning Sun Books Inc., 1996). The dimensions match prototype drawings in the 1966 Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp.)

The model weighs 2.8 ounces, which is 1.9 ounces too light per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. There’s room under the car to add extra weight. The 33" metal wheelsets are properly gauged. The Kadee scale coupler was at the correct height on the B end. The A end coupler was .030" too high. However, this didn’t have a negative impact when I operated the car on our Wisconsin & Southern layout.

Prototype-specific details plus accurate painting and lettering equals another winner for ExactRail. The Platinum line HO scale GSI 53'-6" bulkhead flatcar will certainly be a standout whether in a train or spotted at an industry.

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Freight yard design and operation.

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