Well, it’s an exciting day in the workshop. We’ve got a brand new HO scale kit from Accurail. It’s the American Car & Foundry 2,970-cubic-foot capacity two-bay Center Flow covered hopper. Let’s take a closer look at the model.
This is an easy-to-build injection-molded plastic kit. It features a mix of molded and modeler-installed parts. The car has a one-piece body with separately applied end crossover platforms, brake wheel, brake chain, slope sheets, and brake appliances. The model includes Accumate knuckle couplers with modeler-installed trip pins and separate draft-gear boxes.
If you’re familiar with Accurail kits, the two-bay covered hopper pretty much follows the same pattern. You get the injection-molded plastic body and then a couple sprues of parts. One sprue has the slope sheets, the draft-gear boxes, brake appliances, crossover platforms, and hatch covers. The other sprue includes the two-piece outlet gates, stirrup steps, and the underbody.
The kit also includes a metal weight. The trucks, wheelsets, couplers, and screws are in a plastic bag. A single sided 8-1/2 x 11 sheet has written and illustrated instructions taking you through the 14 steps to build the car.
The first road name offered on the Accurail two-bay covered hopper is Chicago & North Western’s in the railroad’s dark green scheme. To learn more about the prototype cars, I went down to the Model Railroader library and found a couple of issues of the North Western Lines, the official publication of the Chicago & North Western Historical Society. The first issue I picked up was from April 1977. Inside there’s an article on the Northwestern’s fleet of ACF two-bay Center Flow covered hoppers. There are a lot of prototype pictures, modeling notes for what was available at that time, number series, and prototype diagrams.
The C&NW placed four different orders for ACF two-bay Center Flows between 1966 and 1976. The Accurail cars are from two of those series. Car number 96714 is from the 150-car lot numbered 96620-96769 built in 1966. Cars numbered 175070 and 175283 were part of a 300 car order (175000-175299) placed in 1967.
All three cars have a “B” under the road number. That stands for bentonite. To learn more about that, I went to the North Western Lines Vol. 3 from 2007. Inside is an article on the 175000-series bentonite cars. A chart accompanying the article lists the cars that had the B stencil. Car no. 175283 is on the list, but covered hopper no. 175070 isn’t. However, I found a photo online of the full-size no. 175070, and it indeed had a “B” stencil.
Accurail offers the ACF 2970 kit for $20.98 each or in a three-pack for $61.98. If you head over to the manufacturer’s website, accurail.com, you can see the full list of road names it has planned so far. Right now the company has 14 paint schemes in the works.
If you’re looking for an excuse to spend some time at the workbench, pick up an Accurail two-bay Center Flow covered hopper kit.