New Reefers from Atlas

Atlas has announces a new 40’ wood reefer. It’s part of their Master Line and features separately applied details (grab irons, cut bars, etc), full underbody detailing and two different styles of roof hatches. The initial run includes two road numbers each for Fruit Dispatch Company (NRCC*), Narragansett Ale (NBRX), Edelweiss Beer (URT*), Grand Union (QREX*), Tivoli Beer (TUX) and Fruit Growers Express (FGEX). MSRP is $29.95 with an undecorated version for $24.95. Delivery is expected sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2012.

While this is a new car for Atlas, it looks like it’s a ready to run version of the old
Branchline Blueprint ACF/URTX wood reefer kit. However, kudos to Atlas for the new paint schemes.

More Information on the companies:

*NRCC stands for Northern Refrigerator Car Co., URT stands for Union Refrigerator Transit Line and QREX stands for Quaker City Refrigerator Line.

ExactRail Circles the Wagons, Plus more TTX Hi-Cubes

ExactRail has announced the B&O M-53 Wagontop box car. It’s part of their Platinum Line and features separately applied grab irons, a highly detailed narrow-style draft box and Kadee #58 couplers. It’s available in six different paint schemes: ‘Early 13 Great States’ (12 numbers), ‘Wartime Kuhler’ (6 numbers), ’1937 Paint Scheme’ (12 numbers), ‘Early Kuhler’ (6 numbers), ‘Olive Coach Green’ (6 numbers) and ‘Bando Blue’ (5 numbers). It’s also available in an undecorated kit. It will list for $32.95 and should be out in early December.

ExactRail also announced a third run of their Trinity 50′ Hy-Cube box car in TTX. It’s part of their Evolution Line and features separately applied grab irons, a highly detailed narrow-style draft box and Kadee #5 couplers. It’s available in 18, yes 18 different numbers. That’s on top of the first runs 6 numbers and the second runs 12. List price is $29.95 and it’s also due in early December.

The price has gone up $5.00, but ExactRail now includes Kadee couplers, so at least you get something for the price increase (previously, they came with McHenry couplers).

Atlas Announces more 4650 Covered Hoppers and a New 40’ Box Car

Atlas has more of their Master Line ACF 4650 centerflow hopper cars on the way. The new run has upgraded tooling, featuring a new etched metal roof walk. They’re available undecorated and in Chicago Freight Car Leasing Co./Baymag (CRDX), Excel Railcar (ERCX), General Electric Rail Services Corp./Freeport (ACFX), Kerr McGee (KMCX), Reading Blue Mountain & Northern (RBMT) and Western Pacific (WP). Excel, Freeport and Reading Blue Mountain & Northern each get two numbers, Baymag and Kerr McGcGee each get three numbers and Western Pacific gets four numbers. List price is $34.95 ($28.95 undecorated) and they’re due in the second quarter of 2012.

Atlas also announced a new Master Line 40’ AAR postwar box car. Based on the Branchline kit Atlas recently acquired, these ready to run box cars have six foot doors and separately applied grab irons, ladders and underbody detailing. They’re available undecorated and with three numbers each in Burlington (CB&Q), Canadian National (CN), Erie Lackawanna (EL), Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (N de M), Spokane Portland & Seattle (SP&S) and Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo (THB). List price is $27.95 ($22.95 undecorated) and they’re also due in the second quarter of 2012.

Walthers Announces More Rolling Stock

A tank car, box car and hopper make up this months Walthers announcements. First up is their WalthersProto 54’ Union Tank Car Company 23,000 gallon funnel flow tank car. It’s available in ADM Transportation (ADMX), Cenex Harvest States (CHSX), Crystal Car Line (CCLX), Procor (Prox), Union Tank Car Company “Terra paint scheme” (UTLX) and Union Tank Car Company (ULTX). The cars feature etched metal walkways and platforms, separately applied grab irons and road specific details. List price is $37.98 and they’re expected at the end of December.

Previously, Walthers had these cars in their Gold Line and listed for $29.98. From the description of the new cars, it sounds like they’ve added more detail as they moved it into the WalthersProto line. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, they’ve changed.

The second WalthersProto car announced this month is their 50’ Gunderson Hi-Cube paper service boxcar. It’s Available in Arkansas-Oklahoma (AOK), Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF), Canadian National (CN) and CSX Inc. (CSX), with each road getting two numbers. The cars feature separately applied details, including grab irons, door details and brake platforms. List price is $29.98, a small increase from $27.98 when these cars were last released in Walthers Gold Line. They’re due in June.

Last this month is the WalthersMainline 36′ wood chip hopper. It’s also available in two numbers each for Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), Louisville and Nashville (L&N), Northern Pacific (NP) and Western Maryland (WM). List price is $21.98 and it’s also due in June.

Athearn’s Ready To Roll October Announcements

First up is Athearn’s EMD SD45. While it’s part of their Ready To Roll line, it has some Genesis line features, including an upgraded tooling with road specific details. It also carries a more Genesis line price at $159.98. It’s DCC ready and available in Burlington Northern (BN), Conrail (CR), Cotton Belt (SSW) and Springfield Terminal (ST). Each road gets three numbers with the Springfield Terminal units having high noses while the others get low noses. They’re due in June.

Next up is Athearn’s 50′ Combo Door box car. It’s available in three number each for Canadian National (CBOL), Delaware & Hudson (D&H), Rock Island (ROCK) and Western Pacific (WP). The list price is $24.98 and they’re due in May.

Finally, Athearn has more of it’s 33,900-Gallon Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tank cars, in both early and late versions, announced for June. They feature photo-etching and separately applied grab irons. The early version is available in Mobil Oil (MBLX), Procor (PROX) and Union Tank Car Company (UTLX). With the later version available in CGTX Inc* (CGTX), Procor (PROX), and Union Tank Car Company (UTLX). All have three numbers available. The early cars are appropriate for 1992 and later, while the later version debuted in 1997. List price is $49.98.

*Originally Canadian Tank Car Company, then Canadian General Transit Company, then CGTX Inc. during the period these cars were made and now GATX Rail Canada Corporation.

Athearn Announces more GP15s

If your a fan of Apalachicola Northern (AN), Chessie System (C&O), CSX Transportation (CSX) or Union Pacific (UP) you’re in for a treat. Athearn is bringing you their Genesis line EMD GP15. Introduced last fall, it includes typical Genesis features, including separately applied grab irons and road specific details. They’re due in June with each road getting three numbers. List price for DC is $189.98 and DCC with Tsunami sound is $289.98. The UP unit is the GP15-1 version, while the other three are the GP15T (turbocharged) version. This is the second time these are available for UP and CSX. The first run for UP were ex-Chicago & North Western (C&NW) locomotives, while this time around they’re ex-Missouri Pacific (MP). CSX gets the YN3 paint scheme to go with the YN2 scheme of their first run.

On a personal note, I have two MoPac units (in DC) from Athearn’s first run and whole heartedly recommend them.

Rapido Starts Work on New Locomotive

Rapido Trains has announced a new locomotive project and we’re all invited to be part of the fun. On November 7th they are going to do a 3D scan of a real MLW FPA4. The event is at Exporail and should be a real treat. For those of you unfamiliar with the MLW FPA4, it is based on the ALCO FPA unit. The model is not due until sometime in 2013, but it’s nice to have Rapido share their future plans.

The MLW FPA4 is not the only new locomotive Rapido’s working on. They also have a mystery freight locomotive in the works. Clues are in the October Issue of Rapido News.

Limited Run Santa Fe Stock Cars from Accurail

Accural has six new kits for November release. First up is a limited run of a Santa Fe (AT&SF) 40’ wood stock car. The three number set for lists $42.98. Their regular multi-pack releases are a Great Northern (GN) Canton Car Company 55-ton twin hopper car three number set for $39.98 (available as singles for $13.98 each) and another Santa Fe (AT&SF) offering in an 89’ TOFC three number set for $42.98 (also available as singles for $14.98 each). They’re also releasing three single cars. A Detroit Toledo & Ironton (DT&I) 50’ exterior post steel boxcar for $14.98. A Great Northern/Western Fruit Express (WFEX) 40’ plug door steel reefer for $15.98. And lastly, a New York Central/Merchants Despatch (MDT) 40’ steel reefer.

Athearn Admits Errors in their Genesis GP7/9 Models

Athearn has posted on their Facebook page that there are errors in the shell of their new Genesis GP7/9 models. Specifically, they says the side doors and grills are .04″ low and the cab side front and rear windows are .02″ high. To their credit, Athearn has not only acknowledged the errors, but committed to fixing the tooling. Several runs of the GP7/9s have already shipped, including the Pennsylvania (PRR), Southern Pacific (SP), Seaboard Air Line (SAL), and Union Pacific (UP). However, those that are announced, but haven’t shipped, will have the corrected dimensions. These include the Boston & Maine (B&M), New York Central (NYC) and Nickel Plate (NKP). Future models will also use the new tooling.

This is a bit of a complicated issue. On the one hand, I’d like to commend Athearn for fixing the issue. On the other hand, you have to ask yourself how something like this can slip though the cracks, especially after the errors were identified on pre-production models. Did they really not notice it? If they did and initially decided not to fix it, but are now, what made them change their minds? Like most things, it probably came down to dollars and cents. Of the four roads already produced, the errors are most noticeable on the SAL and UP models because of their paint schemes. It would be nice if Athearn offers to swap the shells if they re-run affected models in the future.

Here’s Athearn’s full statement (it’s getting harder to find as it’s pushed down the wall on Facebook):

Concerning Athearn Genesis GP7 and GP9 products: some dimensional discrepancies on these products have been pointed out and we regret any inconvenience to our customers. Some small measurement errors occurred in the development process and were not realized until after the first models were shipped. In order to address these issues we have measured actual full scale units in detail and are in the process of making the necessary tooling changes to ensure that, while our measurements show the current model is already the most accurate reproduction available, the revisions will make it even more so. These changes are limited to moving the side doors and grilles up .040″, and the cab side front and rear windows down .020″, but since these changes are important to our customers they are most important to Athearn. Already announced road names to be produced with the changes include the Santa Fe Zebra Stripe, New York Central, Boston & Maine and NKP, as well as any future announcements. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our customers and continually endeavor to produce the most realistic, accurate, and affordable model railroad products in the industry.

Tangent’s Fifth Model is… (drum roll please)

Tangent Scale Models is a relative newcomer in the model train world. It’s known for is highly detailed and accurate models. Now in their fifth year, they’ve introduced their fifth model, the Bethlehem 70-ton drop-end gondola. It’s available now in Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), Lehigh Valley (LV), Western Maryland (WM) and undecorated (assembled). It will also be available as an undecorated kit in December. B&O gets 12 numbers, with LV and WM getting 6 each. It’s pretty much as detailed a model as it gets, including a number of road specific variations. List price is $32.95, but they do offer quantity discounts. A word of warning about the price. Unlike most model train manufacturers, you don’t often see Tangent’s products offered at much of a discount. In fact, I don’t see them offered much online at all, except for Model Train Stuff and they usually just discount them a couple of dollars. So don’t expect to pick these up for 30% off like you can for most models. That said, I have one of their PS-2CD 4770 covered hoppers, in MoPac of course, and it’s the finest plastic model I’ve seen.