HO Atlas Covered Hopper Question

I'm kind of new to this and possibly this question has been discussed a million times before. I just purchased my first Atlas #1402 ACF
4650 3 Bay Covered Hopper. The car is great looking and good detail but when I measured it the thing appears to be about 4 scale feet too short. Looking at the data on the Great Northern site this car is suppose to be 54'6". It really stands out like a sore thumb when mixed with other manufacturers 4650s. Is this a common gripe against these cars? For the price, one might expect it to be a little closer to scale. Is the Intermountain version a better choice? Thanks.
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 14:51:58 -0400, Byron Lane posted in article

Scott Thompson's GN Equipment Color Pictorial v. 2 lists length of 3- bay cars in the 71580-71618 series as 51' 3", and cars in the 170995- 171049 series as 51' 2". Lindsay Korst's site lists the model as "accurate as is." <http://www.gngoat.org/50 '_acf_cylindrical_covered_hopper.htm>
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Hi, Thanks for the reply. The cars you mentioned are the 51' aluminum cylinder hoppers. I am talking about the ACF 4650 cu ft 3 bay hoppers in the GN170000-170299 series. The Atlas model is blue and numbered GN170226. The Great Northern WEB site lists these cars as 54'6" and the model is about 50'. They have a photo of the car I am referring to. Thanks.
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 18:15:31 -0400, Byron Lane posted in article

What's the URL for the GN site you're referring to??
Here's a pic of your model, right? <
http://www.atlasrr.com/Images/HOFreightCars/ho4650/102805/1402-4.jpg
Korst's site again lists the model for that series as "basically accurate as is": http://www.gngoat.org/52 '_Covered_Hopper.htm
The Thompson book reports the length as 51' 11" over strikers in a caption for a pic of car no. 170100. A table in the back lists 54' 6" for the same series; the table has a few errors in it, and this may be one more.
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http://www.greatnorthernempire.net Rolling Stock, then Freight Cars, then Types & Series, then Covered Hoppers. Scroll down to 170000-170299.
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www.canadasouthern.com

The problem with the measures may be 'what' measurement they are talking about.
The ACF 4650 measures 50' 5" to the corner posts - 51' 11.25" over strikers and 54' 6.25" over pulling faces.
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Terry Link
Bramalea, Ontario, Canada
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 20:10:00 -0400, Terry Link posted in article

Yes, you're right, and apparently Thompson mixed the numbers, reporting length over strikers in the text and max length in his table, probably for some consistency in comparison with other equipment in the latter.
The OP suggests that the Atlas cars are visually shorter than Intermountain 4650s. Both Atlas and Intermountain have had their share of gaffs, perhaps this is another minor one. Would be nice to know who's closer, though. On the other hand, I model GN up to 1964, so I won't lose sleep over it. ;-)
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Terry, If the Atlas model stands out like a "sore thumb" when mixed with other model manufacturers 4650s, I can't see how the problem is in 'what' measurement they are talking about. Shouldn't all 4650 models be the same length?
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Mark Mathu wrote: [...] Shouldn't all 4650 models be the same

Not necessarily. Different batches of the "same" cars from the same mfr and from different mfrs will vary somewhat, sometimes a lot. Railmodel Journal is a good resource if you want to understand the variations in car design.
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 19:45:53 -0400, Byron Lane posted in article

OK, Ben Ringnalda's frame-rich site.
At the bottom of that page he lists one of his sources of information as Scott Thompson's v.2, which has both 52-ft and 54-ft lengths stated for that series, so it's a wash.
He also lists Dave Hickcox's "GN Color Guide..." as a source. Hickox's book has a pic of 170259 on page 76, with the caption reporting a total length of 54'6".
But to add to the confusion, note that Ben lists four series of GN ACF 4650 LOs on his table, with three of the series listed as having lengths less than 52'. For series 171700-171999, Ben lists the length as 51'11", as reported in Scott's book. Hickox reports a length of 54'8" for that same series. So Ben chose to report the shorter length. Whatever that might mean...
You could try asking about the length at the GN Yahoo group to get something more definitive. <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gngoat/
Going back to your original question: "...Looking at the data on the Great Northern site this car is suppose to be 54'6". It really stands out like a sore thumb when mixed with other manufacturers 4650s. Is this a common gripe against these cars?"
I don't know if it's a common gripe against the Atlas cars -- first time I've run into it, although I know the length of one of their RS locos was about a foot off. However, I can offer a solution: appreciate the fact that there's a car at least close to GN prototypical in decent GN colors, and run a string of several Atlas cars so they won't look anomalous.
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OvC

> On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 22:48:16 GMT, OvC < snipped-for-privacy@uberwald.gov>
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Byron Lane wrote:

I looked up that GN hopper car you referred in the 'GN Color Guide To Freight & Passenger Equipment' by David H. Hickcox. On page 76 the description for that particular 3 bay hopper lists the total length as 54' 6".
I looked up the same car in the 'GN Equipment Color Pictorial Book Two - Freight Cars' by Scott R. Thompson. On page 19, it listed the car's length as 51' 11" "long over strikers" what ever that means.
I don't know which length is correct but I would go with the 54' 6".
Fred Ellis
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 20:16:45 -0500, Fred Ellis posted in article
[...]

From <http://www.rica.org/ind_info/glossary.html
"STRIKER: A member placed on the ends of the center sills of freight cars against which the horn of the coupler strikes, preventing damage to the draft gear and center sills. Also referred to as Striking Plate. Car length over strikers is always greater than length over end sills ( car body ) but always less than length over pulling faces of couplers."

54'6" would include the couplers.
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Fred Ellis wrote: [...]

They're both correct. Car lengths are measured over the corner posts, strikers (that block on the end above the draft gear), and pulling faces. Pulling faces is the longest: it's at least 2ft more than over strikers, and considerably more than that for shock-absorbing draft gear such as Hydra-Cushion.
Also, cubic capacity can vary quite a bit with rather small differences in dimensions; and conversely cars of noticeably different lengths may have the same cubic capacity. Eg,m offset side hoppers have an internal width about 6" more than those with outside braces. That can add 50 cubic ft or more to the hopper's capacity.
Bottom line: do you want exact models, or are you willing to accept "close enough" stand-ins? If the former, you will very rarely find what you want, and will usually have to kitbash and modify, or even (ouch!) scratchbuild. If the latter, you will find lots of rolling stock that with a nice paint job will look just fine.
HTH
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First off, are you sure that it is a GN car? Just because Atlas put GN paint on the car doesn't necessarily make it such. In addition, I really don't consider that Atlas is that scale of a maker of equipment, the narrow hood GPs and SDs aside when compared to some of the Athearn stuff. You can find fault with about any piece of equipment on sale out there when you really look. Best thing is to use one maker's shell for all of your cars of that type and leave another maker's shell to something else. Maybe letter it for another road and then it won't stand out as much as the other road's cars may be of a different length.
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Forgot to mention that for a nice scale appearance of the whole railroad, you don't necessarily need to have a high level of detail just so long as all of the detail is to that same level. John Allen taught us that one.
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But if the length of particular car matters Byron (or others), or the length of a car stands out when compared to other similar cars, he has a very valid question.
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Thanks for all the replies and help. This was fun and I learned a lot. I'm going down stairs now and measure all my covered hoppers and really go crazy. Thanks again.
On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 14:51:58 -0400, Byron Lane

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Don't forget to measure some prototype cars, including the variations even in what appear to be similar cars. Canadian cylindrical hoppers are notorious for this. They all look the same. Until ... devil is in the details. Must be 6 or 8 variations in what would be outwardly identical cars. Jb
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I just measured the Atlas car and compared it to Terry's data provided above. The Atlas car appears to be dead on to all three of Terry's lengths. That means all the others are the ones with the sore thumbs! Thanks again.
On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 14:51:58 -0400, Byron Lane

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What brands are the other models?
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