Home Open Account Help 220 users online

Model Railroading > Athearn ACF Covered Hopper Info Needed

Date: 10/23/02 04:28
Athearn ACF Covered Hopper Info Needed
Author: airbrake

Can anyone tell me what version the Athearn ACF covered hopper is supposed to represent? I also need direction to a site with pictures. I notice that most ACF covered hoppers have 3 ribs that run the length of the car boby at the top but the Athearn car only has one. Thanks in advance.

Date: 10/23/02 06:29
Re: Athearn ACF Covered Hopper Info Needed
Author: UPHSman

As near as I know, the Athearn ACF "center flo" car is based on a 4600 cu.ft. car used for plastics, built in the mid-1960\'s. This car showed up in the line about 1967-68 and hasn\'t changed since. The one rib 2/3 up the side is an early body feature. The "three ribs" up near the top is a later production feature. The Accurail car is pretty good for the later pattern car.

The Athearn car body can be easily modified to a 4600 cu.ft. grain car by cutting the two middle bays out and gluing one into the center, and adding a trough loading hatch (as appropriate to prototype).

Hope this helps

Date: 10/23/02 07:40
Re: Athearn ACF Covered Hopper Info Needed
Author: BCM

Sorry UPHSman but you have been misinformed...

The Athearn ACF car is an early version of the ACF 5250cf car (pre-1971) with pnuematic outlets. The ACF 5250cf car was a 4-bay ACF car that was ordered by many chemical companies but very few railroads. The Athearn car has a few detail inaccuracies but is a pretty good model of the ACF 5250. Unfortunately Athearn did some (and Bev-Bel many) paint schemes on the car that should be on 4600cf or 4650cf 3-bay cars.

The ACF 4600cf car is shorter (in height), slightly narrower (to fit within the plate B clearance standards), and a 3-bay car. The Accurail ACF 3-bay covered hopper is a good model of the ACF 4600cf car. The ACF 4600cf car was the choice of many railroads for hauling grain, malt, and other agricultural commodities and thus most midwestern railroads had very large fleets of ACF 4600cf cars. Prior to the availability of the Accurail model a common method used to simulate the very common ACF 3-bay 4600cf covered hopper was to remove one lower bay from the Athearn car which resulted in a 3-bay car that was close but not 100% correct in width or car height. Unfortunately many of the Accurail paint schemes on their 4600cf car should be on 4650cf, 4000cf, 5250cf 4-bay, or 5700cf 4-bay cars.

ACF also made a 4650cf 3-bay version of their covered hopper car that was the same height and width as the 5250cf 4-bay car but several feet shorter in length. The Atlas ACF model is a very nice model of the shorter (in length) 4650cf car (and the old Front Range and McKean ACF covered hoppers were models of the ACF 4650cf car as well). Some railroads that were not concerned about having the larger plate C clearance 4650cf cars (which could not be used on all branchlines or at all loading facilities) opted for large fleets of 4650cf cars instead of 4600cf. UP and SP were two such railroads (all of the current UP 4600cf cars came from either MP or C&NW heritage).

Most "granger" railroads - including C&NW, Mopac, SOO, and Rock Island - had 4600cf cars but no 4650cf cars. Therefore I doubt if you\'ll ever see Atlas do those roadnames on their 4650cf car.

Some railroads had both 4600cf and 4650cf cars. BN, Conrail and Chessie are three such railroads (note: WM Chessie had 4650cf cars whereas B&O and C&O Chessie only had 4600cf and 4707cf cars).

And at least one railroad, Southern, never had either 4600cf or 4650cf (or even 5250cf) cars - opting instead for thousands of the shorter 4000cf ACF 3-bay cars.


Date: 10/23/02 08:14
Re: UP ACF Covered Hoppers...
Author: BCM

Correction on UP ACF 4600cf cars:

UP did have ACF 4600cf cars from their own orders as well as those acquired later in the fleets of Rock Island, C&NW, Mopac, and even WP. All of the current UP 4650cf cars came from either SP, WP or MKT heritage... UP also had 5250cf 4-bay covered hoppers.

I got the UP and SP ACF hopper fleets confused when doing the earlier posting...


Date: 10/23/02 12:22
ACF Covered Hoppers - Question for BCM
Author: cn5655

Hi BCM - thanks for this summary . . . is there a book or web page where all of this info exists, illustrated with photos? I\'d love to find out more. Where did you get all this info?



Date: 10/23/02 12:54
Re: SOO ACF Covered Hoppers...
Author: BCM

One additional correction.

SOO Line did have ACF 4650cf covered hoppers in addition to their large fleet of ACF 4600cf cars. SOO also obtained both 4600cf and 4650cf cars from Milwaukee...


Date: 10/23/02 13:12
Re: MILW ACF Covered Hoppers...
Author: kevink

According to the Morning Sun Color Guide to Milwaukee Freight Cars, the MILW had but 5 ACF hopers and they were all 4650\'s rated at 100 tons. They were numbered 99995-99999. They had 4-20" diamter loading hatches. I\'m not sure if they were around long enough to get transferred to the SOO in 1985.

Date: 10/23/02 13:13
Re: ACF Covered Hoppers - Question for BCM
Author: BCM

There is an excellent book out on ACF cars by Ed Kaminski that details the first 100 years of ACF production. However I do not have that book and most of my info came from research using photos, various magazine articles, and several Official Railway Equipment Registers...


Date: 10/23/02 13:25
Re: MILW ACF Covered Hoppers...
Author: BCM

According to the April 1987 Official Railway Equipment Register the SOO line had 182 ACF 4600cf covered hoppers (numbered between 800000-800199) which had MILW reporting marks.

The reason that those cars are likely not in the Milwaukee Road color guide (although they were probably the most colorful cars ever to get MILW reporting marks) is that they were not originally Milwaukee cars. They were Rock Island cars that went to Milwaukee when the ROCK went bankrupt (and then later went to SOO while still wearing the MILW restenciled reporting marks)...


Date: 10/23/02 14:32
Re: MILW ACF Covered Hoppers...
Author: kevink

You are right, I totally forgot about those ex-RI cars even though one of them is on my list to model.
Thanks for the reminder.

Date: 10/23/02 18:58
ACF Reference
Author: clarence

If you can find it, "A History of the ACF Center Flow" by Eric A. Neubauer will tell you more than you want to know about the ACF Center Flow, up to 1987. This was Freight Cars Journal (a NMRA SIG I think) Monograph #2 and is ISSN # 0884-027X

It features B&W photgraphs, 1/48 plan drawings, descriptions of the various sub catagories (mainly based on cuft, ladder step differences, etc) and class rosters.

Pleased to be able to bring something to the table,

[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0625 seconds