Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more! HO scale Thrall/Trinity 42-foot coil steel car

Read this review from the November 2020 issue of Model Railroader
The Thrall/Trinity 42-foot coil steel car features a simulated wood trough floor. The details really stand out thanks to the hand-applied wash. has added a Thrall/Trinity 42-foot coil steel car to its HO scale Rivet Counter line. The injection-molded plastic model features wire and etched-metal details, a simulated wood trough floor with a hand-applied wash, and new American Steel Foundries 100-ton trucks with rotating bearing caps and raised foundry data.

The prototype. The Trinity 42-foot coil steel car was originally designed by Thrall Car Manufacturing Co. in the mid-1990s. TrinityRail purchased Thrall in 2001, and continued to produce the 42-foot coil car until 2012.

Our sample is decorated as CSXT no. 493005, part of the railroad’s 493000 through 493524 series. The full-size cars were built by TrinityRail under Files F11025 and F11029 between March and July 2012.

Sales literature on the TrinityRail website listed features of the prototype car, including running boards on all four sides, wood trough flooring to protect the edges of the coil steel, and a single stackable coil hood. The car can handle coils of various lengths between 30" and 84" in diameter.

The model. The Thrall/Trinity 42-foot coil steel car is part of the company’s premium Rivet Counter line. The coil hauler is offered in three body styles, reflecting the car’s history: early Thrall, intermediate Trinity, and late Trinity. Our sample is based on the latter, with the end handrails fastened to the car body and a vertical stiffener on top of the draft-gear box. The other two versions have the end rails attached to
the hood ends.

In addition, there are six hood versions. Depending on the style, there are up to 47 separate parts on each hood, including a plastic lifting bail, photo-etched metal handrail stanchions, and wire handrails.

The car includes four modeler-installed hood guides, four load dividers, and five coils (two each 5'-9" and 6'-6" diameter, one 7'-0" diameter). Two sticker sheets are included to wrap the coils, as seen in the photo on the opposite page.

An exploded-view diagram shows the model’s construction. At the core is a one-piece body framed by a see-through etched-metal walkway. Below that is the underframe, consisting of the draft-gear boxes, center sills, and crossbearers; the bolsters are separate parts.

The well-rendered brake system includes the air reservoir, brake cylinder, control valve, and related rods and levers. Because of the car’s construction, many of these parts are visible from most layout viewing angles.
Sticker sheets are included to wrap the five coil steel loads.

Measuring up. Our review model is decorated in CSX’s dark blue scheme with the railroad’s “boxcar” herald and “How Tomorrow Moves” slogan. The small data on the hood and car sides is legible under magnification. The lettering placement matches prototype photos I found online.

The model weighs 1.6 ounces empty, which is 2.6 ounces too light based on National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Recommended Practice 20.1. When I added the five coil loads and load dividers, the model weight jumped to 4.3 ounces, .1 ounce too heavy based on NMRA RP-20.1.

There’s a method to installing the coils. The large and medium weighted coils should be placed at each end of the trough. The unweighted medium coil goes in the middle. The small, weighted coils occupy the remaining positions.

I compared the model to a prototype drawing published on the TrinityRail website. The listed dimensions are approximate, but the model closely follows all of them.

The 42-foot coil car ran without incident loaded and empty on our Wisconsin & Southern staff layout.Though the scale couplers are a touch low, the car stayed coupled to other equipment while being pushed and pulled through the layout’s no. 5 turnouts and 30" radius curves. is the first firm to offer the Thrall/Trinity 42-foot coil steel car in HO scale, and they’ve set the bar high for any competitors. Fans of contemporary railroading will want to give this well-detailed Rivet Counter line model a look.
Facts & Features
Price: $46.99
Manufacturer Inc.
7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN 37307
Era: 2012 to present (as decorated)
Road names (four road numbers
CSX, Canadian Pacific Ry.,
Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer RR,
Conrail, Indiana Harbor Belt RR, and
Norfolk Southern.
• 36" metal wheelsets, correctly gauged
• Metal Type E lower shelf couplers; A end .030" low, B end .020" low
• Minimum radius 18", recommended radius 22"
• Weight: 1.6 ounces (without load), 4.3 ounces (with coils, load dividers, and hood guides added)

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Freight yard design and operation.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy