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Quick Look: Fox Valley Models N scale Pullman-Standard coal gondola

Read this review from the September 2019 Model Railroader
MRRPR0919_18
Fox Valley Models N scale Pullman-Standard coal gondola
Price: Single car, $27.95; six-pack, $159.95
Manufacturer
Fox Valley Models
P.O. Box 1970
Des Plaines, IL 60017
www.foxvalleymodels.com
Era: 1975 to present (as decorated)
Road names: Burlington Northern (four six-packs), Cajon Electric Power (three six-packs), and Fayette Power (three six-packs and one single car)

Comments: Modeling unit coal trains of the 1970s through ‘90s in N scale is easier than ever thanks to the latest release from Fox Valley Models (FVM). The company has released a Pullman-Standard (PS) 4,000-cubic-foot-capacity coal gondola. The plastic model features a one-piece body; separate underbody; and press-fit, pin-mounted trucks.

Our sample six-pack contains gondolas decorated for Burlington Northern. The cars are correctly numbered in the 575360 through 575759 series, built by PS under lot 9770 in May and June 1975.

The hand brake, brake wheel, and brake wheel platform are separately applied. The balance of the details are molded. There should be a horizontal flange that runs along the sill between the stirrups. This would be easy to adding using styrene strip.

Modeler-installed interior bracing is included with the cars. The parts sprue is from Fox Valley’s Southern Ry. coal gondola. The floor is notched for six braces per side, but the PS cars only used five per side.

Most of the PS 4000’s dimensions are within scale inches of prototype drawings and data. Two notable discrepancies were the truck centers (a scale 38'-3" instead of 40'-6") and the distance from the railhead to the top of the top chord (11'-6" instead of 12'-3"). It appears the plastic underbody is also recycled from the Southern car. On prototype PS gondolas, the outboard wheels on each truck stick out past the end of the car.

The gondola weighs 1 ounce, which is correct per National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The rigid-jaw couplers are body-mounted at the correct height. The 36" metal wheelsets are correctly gauged.

I tested the gondolas on our Canadian Canyons project layout. The gondolas negotiated the 13" radius curves and Peco code 55 medium turnouts without incident.

The PS 4000 gondola was a signature car on unit coal trains from the 1970s through the 1990s. A solid train of FVM gondolas would look great hauling black diamonds on an N scale model railroad.

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