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ExactRail HO scale Berwick 7440 boxcar

Read this product review from Model Railroader magazine
ExactRail HO scale Berwick 7440 boxcar
ExactRail HO scale Berwick 7440 boxcar
ExactRail HO scale Berwick 7440 boxcar
The model also features a detailed underbody.
The Berwick Forge & Fabricating 7,440-cubic-foot-capacity boxcar is the latest addition to Exact Rail’s HO scale Platinum line. The plastic model features a one-piece body with separate roof,
factory-applied details, and wire uncoupling levers.

The model. Our sample is decorated as Penn Central (PC) no. 278143, a class X77 boxcar that was part of the railroad’s 278045 through 278174 series built in February and March 1973. With 130 cars, PC had the largest fleet of the appliance-hauling boxcar. Other original owners were Illinois Central Gulf (20) and Rock Island (15).

The roof is lightly tacked on with cyanoacrylate adhesive in each corner and above the doors. I was able to break the glue joints by sliding my thumbnail between the roof and carbody. Inside is a steel weight attached with glue.

The car sides feature crisp rivet and weld seam detail. The four-rung ladders on the sides and ends, as well as the stirrup steps, are separate, factory-applied plastic parts. Though the doors aren’t positionable, they feature separate tack boards, door handles, and lift tabs. The lower door tracks are mounted on stand-off brackets.

Underneath, the car has a one-piece casting that depicts a sliding center sill and crossbearers. The crossties, floorboards, and brake pipe are molded.

The draft-gear boxes are attached to the body with two Phillips-head screws each. The PC car accurately has Keep Off stencils on the sides of the box. An air hose and brake pipe stub is attached to the draft-gear box cover.

The boxcar is equipped with formed-wire uncoupling levers. The handle end is supported with an eye bolt; the opposite end is attached to the edge of the draft-gear box cover with glue. The handles stick out past the side ladders; they should line up with the car’s sill.

The Deepwater Green paint is smooth and evenly applied, and all of the printing is opaque and legible. The lettering placement matches a prototype photo of another car from the series in James Kinkaid’s Penn Central Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment (Morning Sun Books Inc., 1998).

The vitals. The car weighs 5.1 ounces, which is .2 ounce too light per National Model Railroad Association Recom-mended Practice 20.1. The 33" metal wheelsets are correctly gauged. The Kadee no. 58 couplers are mounted at the correct height. The model’s dimensions closely follow prototype drawings published in the 1974 Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp.)

I tested the car in the Williams Bay portion of our Milwaukee, Racine & Troy staff layout. The car negotiated the no. 6 turnouts and 30" radius curves, but the brake rod on the A end kept snagging on grade crossings. A representative from ExactRail recommended pressing down on the plastic rod at the support to reshape the tail end. I did, and the car passed over crossings without incident.

Overall, I’m impressed with the ExactRail Berwick 7440 boxcar. Yes, it has a few minor issues, but they’re all easy to fix. Though this wasn’t a common prototype, the cars traveled the country delivering appliances to distribution centers and dealers.

Facts & features

Price: $44.99
525 E. 1860 S.
Provo, UT 84606
Era: 1973 to early 2000s
Road names: Penn Central (as delivered, 12 road numbers), Conrail (1980 repaint in six numbers and 1985 repaint in one number), Illinois Central Gulf (as delivered, six numbers), and Rock Island (as delivered, six numbers). Also available as undecorated kit.

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