Jacksonville Terminal Co. (JTC), best known for its magnetically interlocking intermodal freight containers, is expanding its line of cars that carry those containers. The newest offering from the manufacturer is a 53-foot, 17-post National Steel Car double-stack well car in N scale. The cars have die-cast metal bodies, etched stainless steel details, and Micro-Trains Line trucks and couplers.
National Steel Car, a car builder based in Hamilton, Ont., built 5,000 of these 73-foot-long, single-well cars in nine batches, starting in November 2002 and finishing in May 2005.
We found prototype photos online. The models appear faithful to the prototype, from the placement of details to the lettering, heralds, and placards. The prototypes bore varying amounts of grime, but the paint colors matched, too.
The paint and printing was well done. The yellow paint was even and the black printing looked good. All but the smallest lettering was legible when magnified.
The end platforms, stirrup steps, and handrails are etched and formed stainless steel. Though the steps and handrails appear quite fine, they seem rather durable, bending under stress rather than breaking like thin plastic might.
All the dimensions of the model that I checked with my N scale rule matched published dimensions of the prototype, with one exception. That exception was the width, which was wider than the prototype by less than a scale foot. This is to be expected. The car fell shy of the National Model Railroad Association’s recommended weight for an N scale car of its length, but once you add a container or two, it should come up to the proper RP-20.1 weight.
The floor of the well has sockets for the alignment pins most model containers have on their bottom corners. I tested them with an assortment of N scale containers we had at the office. All fit, though not all of their pins matched up exactly with the sockets.
The manufacturer recommends an 18″ minimum radius for these cars. I tested the cars on our State Line Route project layout, and they transited its 14″ curves without issues.
Jacksonville Terminal Co.’s latest offerings look as good as they roll. Add some to your intermodal fleet.
Facts & features
Price: $44.95 (single), $88.95 (two-pack)
Jacksonville Terminal Co.
9526 Argyle Forest Blvd. Suite B2, No. 406
Jacksonville, FL 32222 jtcmodeltrains.com
Era: late 2002 to present
Road names: TTX (five road numbers), CP Rail (one road number)