First Look Review
N scale
N ACF 3560 Covered Hopper
N ACF 3560 Covered Hopper
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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Atlas N Trainman® ACF® 3560 Covered Hopper is on its 10th run with new paint schemes & road numbers. It has knuckle couplers and amazing paint.

    The three-compartment ACF® 3560 Center Flow Covered Hopper was designed for the transport of high-density dry bulk ladings of 50 – 60 pounds per cubic foot. Examples of these commodities include salt, fertilizer, starch, bauxite, and clay. The 100-ton car was designed to fit into the smallest modern plate diagram dimensions, Plate B. - Atlas.

Covered hoppers are the most common freight car in the United States today. They carry light and heavy bulky commodities like flour, cement, sugar, carbon black, plastic pellets, and a host of loads sensitive to moisture. American Car and Foundry (ACF) built covered hoppers as early as 1932. Other manufacturers soon followed. Originally they were 50- and 70-ton cars that carried heavy, dense, moisture-sensitive loads like cement, lime, and sand. The cars grew in size and have been perfected into larger cars capable of heavier loads. Several loading and unloading methods are used depending on the cargo.

Today covered hoppers are found almost everywhere and in the Midwest can be found in unit trains of 125 cars. The vital statistics for the model prototype are:

    AAR Class: LO: A permanently enclosed car, other than a box car, regardless of exterior or interior shape, for handling bulk commodities, with or without insulation and provided with openings for loading through top or sides with weather-tight covers or doors. Car may be provided with one or more bottom openings for unloading, with tight fitting covers, doors, valves, or tight fitting slide or gate to prevent leakage of lading. Car may be provided with facilities for discharge of lading through openings in top or sides and may have one or more compartments. Mechanical or other means may be provided within car to expedite loading or unloading.
    AAR Type: C112
    Detail Info: Covered Hopper, Gravity Unloading, Permanent Roof, 3000-4000 cu ft capacity.**

American Car & Foundry builds a variety of rail cars including the center flow covered hopper, a freight car that has no center sill. Thus the contents can discharge uninterrupted. The interior of the hopper binds are frequently coated with a liner to protect the load. ACF and GE Capital Railcar Services negotiated a leasing agreement in 1997 for GE to take three-quarters of ACF's rail fleet, over 35,000. Included was purchase and supplementary agreements to use ACF's repair facilities. Today ACF builds mostly covered hopper cars for hauling items like corn or other grains. Other products are mainly miscellaneous steel products. Manufacturing facilities are located in Huntington, West Virginia, and Milton, Pennsylvania.***

Today ACF is known as ACF Industries LLC and is based in St. Charles, Missouri.***

Atlas N Trainman® ACF® 3560 Covered Hopper
This model is securely packed in a plastic cradle held in a clear hard plastic case; the cradle includes inverted V forms to hold the model between the discharge bays. A thin plastic sheet protects the hopper from scuffing against the cradle and case lid. The model is factory assembled and ready-to-run.

The model is molded without any noticeable flaws. It has good surface detail. A separately attached hand brake wheel is supposed to be on the end. It is missing from this sample. The hopper bins have no door lock detail molded on. The car lacks underbody and air brake detailing. The molded ladders and stirrup steps are, not surprisingly, oversize. They could be made smaller yet that would entail retooling which would, in turn, drive up the price from this economy model.

The hopper rides on brown plastic wheels in Barber S-2 100-ton roller bearing trucks. I’ve got to admit, the plastic wheels look better because they don’t have that shine of metal wheels found on larger scales. The trucks are held to the underside by plastic pins.

Atlas lists key features as:

- V-frame ends
- Side sheet weld seams
- Roping staples
- Five roof hatches
- Body mounted brake gear
- True scale dimensions with accurate details
- Weighted, detailed underframes
- Equipped with AccuMate® knuckle couplers

Paint and Markings
Finish is amazing. You can read the printed data on the model. A picture is worth a thousand words so please see the photos. This 10th run of models feature five road names with two road numbers per railroad, and an undecorated model:
    1. Agrium* (Gray/Green/Black)
    2. Canpotex (CGLX)* (Gray/Green)
    3. DJJX (Oxide/White)
    4. Potash Corp* (Faded Salmon/White)
    5. Corn Products (Yellow/White)
    6. Undecorated

Atlas has given N scalers a nice model of a ubiquitous modern freight car. The AccuMate couplers are a plus and the finish and stenciling is excellent. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RailRoadModeling.
___________________________________________ __ _ _ _
[1] AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.

* American Railcar Industries, Inc. About American Railcar Industries, Inc. 2011.

** Railroad Picture Archives.NET

*** Wikipedia

ACF Industries LLC. Welcome to ACF Industries LLC. [Web.] n.d.

American Railcar Industries, Inc. Centerflow® Covered Hopper Cars. 2013.

AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.
Highs: Knuckle couplers and amazing paint.
Lows: Over-scale ladders. Broken and missing brake wheel.
Verdict: An impressive model of a ubiquitous modern freight car. The AccuMate couplers are a plus and the finish and stenciling is excellent.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 004 016
  Related Link: Atlas N Trainman® ACF® 3560 Covered Hopper
  PUBLISHED: Nov 11, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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