I model the Southern Pacific in the '70s. Generally, most of my ACF
4650s are Accurail. They measure 53'9" corner posts, 54'3" over
strikers, and 58'0" pulling faces, about three and one-half scale feet
too long in all three measurements. Of course, the pulling face
measurement is dependent on the type of couplers used. I went back to
all Kadee #5s. I started to use McHenry's but they tended to droop
too much. I swap out the scale couplers on the new cars also, too
hard to couple and too sensitive to track problems. In addition, the
Accurail SSW ACF 4650s are numbered incorrectly for the 9 roof walk
support version and both the SP and SSW versions have incorrect
stirrups. That's the main reason I started looking for a better 4650.
The Front Range 4650s measure 50'3" corner posts, 51'4" over strikers,
and 55'3" pulling faces. The first two body lengths are close and a
hair smaller than Atlas, but due to the way the couplers mount, the
pulling face measurement is almost one foot longer, and it gives the
appearance of being longer than the Atlas car when strung together.
When things get crowded they will be the first to go.
I don't have the Intermountain 13 roof walk support version. Although
correct for some roads, they are incorrect for the SP and SSW. I hear
they are close but visibly longer than the Atlas cars.
The Athearn 4 Bay ACF car is 55'0" for both the corner posts and over
strikers, and 58'0" over pulling faces. I'm not sure what this car
represents or how big it is suppose to be for the SSW, but I use it
for my Class H-100-19 even though the color is way off. I coordinate
the road numbers and discharge gates and give them an all over thin
coat of gray paint and weathering. They look huge.
Since the Atlas cars have the right measurements and are correct for
the SP and SSW, I guess I will use them for my standard 4650.
Hi, Guess what? Some of the Accurail cars have written 4600 cu ft and
some have ACF Center Flow 4650 cu ft. The Front Range have 4650 cu
ft. Man, I have a long way to go with this hobby! I found the spec
sheet on the SSW 4 bay (H-100-19) and the Athearn model appears to be
the exact coupled length 58'2".
Not necessarily. Different batches of nominally identical hoppers from
the same mfr can vary quite a bit. So can the "same" hoppers ordered
from different mfrs.
If you go trackside and study (photograph) a few dozen hoppers, or any
other type of car, you'll find an amazing variation in dimensions and
miscellaneous details. I've even seen cars with two different style
trucks! No doubt the result of a "minor" repair.
In other words even inaccuracies, errors and screw ups may have a prototype.
That makes me feel better about my models for sure. I pretty bad about using
whatever is on hand to build something so exact fidelity to the prototype is
often lacking especially if one gets out the scale ruler. Bruce
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