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Rapido Trains HO Gunderson Husky-Stack

Read this review from the February 2020 Model Railroader
Rapido Trains HO scale Husky Stack
Rapido Trains HO Gunderson Husky-Stack
Rapido Trains HO scale Husky Stack
The well has sockets for pins for one long or two short containers.
Rapido Trains has released an HO scale Gunderson 53-foot Husky-Stack well car, with etched-metal running boards, new trucks, and factory-installed grab irons. The die-cast metal cars are accurately finished and include two individually numbered 53-foot containers.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, three- or five-unit drawbar-connected well cars were common ways to ship intermodal containers. But shippers who didn’t have that many containers going to a single destination asked car-leasing company TTX to come up with a single-unit alternative. The result was the Well Runner, later renamed the Husky-Stack, which was designed to carry 48-foot containers in its lower well. When 53-foot containers came along, TTX and car builder Gunderson in 2004 began producing the extended version modeled by Rapido.

Paint, specs. Our review sample was painted for the Canadian Pacific, in a slightly sun-faded red not quite orange enough to be Oxide Red nor bright enough to be Action Red. The paint was evenly applied, inside and out. The printing on the sides was crisp and straight; most of the type was legible under magnification, though a few of the smallest labels weren’t.

The body is a single solid piece of die-cast metal, which maximizes the car’s weight. Unloaded, the car weighs 4.5 ounces, which is 1.5 ounces under the guidelines of National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. This is to be expected for a car like this, which has no place to hide extra weights. But adding the two plastic cargo containers bring the car up to 7.5 ounces, well over RP-20.1.

The car’s length and appearance matched a specifications sheet I downloaded from the Greenbrier website (Greenbrier is Gunderson’s parent company). The model’s width, at a scale ­10'-8 1⁄2", was nearly a scale foot wider than the official extreme width of ­9'-10 3⁄4". This was to be expected, as the car’s walls have to be made proportionally thicker than the prototype’s to increase the car’s weight and durability.

Despite its length, the car had no difficulty navigating the 18" radius curves and no. 4 turnouts on our Beer Line project layout, even when coupled between cars of similar length. It would look better on broader curves, though.

The details. When the Husky Stack was announced, the model was to have molded plastic running boards. Since the original announcement, Rapido decided to include etched-metal footboards on molded plastic bases instead.

The car also comes with a packet of what appear to be user-applied platform railings, though I could find no drawings or photos of the prototype showing them in place, and Rapido’s exploded view diagram doesn’t show where to install them.

Our sample model came with two containers: a Canadian National smooth-side hi-cube and a Canadian Pacific insulated container. The CP container was fitted with a Carrier refrigeration unit and fuel tank. (The road names of containers included with each car are randomly chosen.) Both containers were smoothly painted, crisply printed, and featured impressively fine rivet detail. The alignment pins on the bottom of the containers engaged with sockets in the car well and on the top of the containers to keep them in place during car movement. The sockets in the well floor will also secure two 20-foot containers or one 40- or 48-footer.

The model of modern intermodal. In North America, modern railroading means double-stack traffic. Rapido’s upgraded Husky-Stack well cars would look great in a unit train heading for an intermodal yard on any HO scale layout set in the last 15 years.
Facts & features
Price: $49.95
Rapido Trains
500 Alden Rd., Unit 21
Markham, ON L3R5H5, Canada
Road names: Canadian Pacific (six road numbers), Trailer Train (DTTX reporting marks; as-delivered paint scheme in six numbers, “Forward Thinking” herald in six numbers, pink “On Track for a Cure” scheme in one number), and undecorated.
Era: 2004 to present
  • Blackened metal wheels, in gauge
  • Die-cast metal body
  • Etched-metal and plastic walkways
  • Macdonald-Cartier metal knuckle couplers, mounted at correct height
  • Two 53-foot hi-cube containers
  • Weight: 4.5 ounces empty (1.5 ounces below NMRA RP-20.1)

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Five compact track plans.

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