Billboard Refrigerator cars like this were popular in North America from the late teens to the mid 1930’s. They were top ice cooled; ice being loaded at the point of origin and in route through top hatches. Distributors of Dairy, Beer, Grocery Chains, Feed Mills and Meet Packers bought huge fleets of these cars to carry their wares throughout North America. The early cars were shorter in the 32’ to 36’ length and by the 1920’s cars were 40’. North American refrigerator car use reached its’ zenith in 1930. In 1937 protests by the railroads over “unfair” advertising led to the Interstate Commerce Commission banning "billboard" advertising on freight cars. Cars so decorated were not allowed for interchange between roads. The ICC ruling was relaxed somewhat in the post war period.
Atlas released this model in the in late 2013 as part of their Atlas Master Line HO 40' wood refrigerator cars. This release included the following road names - Undecorated, A&P, Borden’s, Brookside Creamery, Eatmor Cranberries, Kraft, Ralston Purina, and Silver Edge (Stock Numbers 20001465, 20002003 – 20002016). The car I received for this review is painted in the red and white Ralston Purina “checkerboard square” paint scheme. The paint and lettering is very sharp and easy to read under magnification; the build date for the car is 5-12. Ice hatches for the specific road names are included. Brake rigging is very well done and complete. I noticed that the corner and center stirrup steps are angled out as they were on the prototype. The car comes with free standing wire grab irons, coupler lift bar, scale brake wheel and AccuMate® couplers mounted in boxes attached to the under frame. The Bettendorf trucks are very well done. Wheels are metal on hard plastic axles. The car weighs 4 oz and tracked through an Atlas 15” radius curve and #4 turnouts. In conclusion, Atlas has provided another highly detailed ready to run piece of rolling stock suitable for the teens through the mid 1930’s.
Separate door bars, grab irons, ladders and cut bars
Two different styles of roof hatch (where appropriate)
Fully detailed underbody
Accurate paint & lettering
Model Dimensions: Weight: 4 oz
Length: 6“ (Over Couplers)
Minimum Radius Curve: 15”
Minimum Turnout: #4
For North American modelers of the 1920’s through 1930’s this car would fit right in and give a distinctive time signature to any freight train. It is a colorful car and Ralston Purina shipped to locations both large and small across the continent.
The high points of the reefer are the attention to small details such as the slanted stirrup steps and coupler lift bar. There were no real low points other than the details are somewhat fragile.
I would recommend this car.
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Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad Co.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site.
Highs: Attention to small details such as the slanted stirrup steps and coupler lift bar. Lows: There were no real low points other than the details are somewhat fragile.Verdict: For North American modelers of the 1920’s through 1930’s this car would fit right in and give a distinctive time signature to any freight train. It is a colorful car and Ralston Purina shipped to locations both large and small across the continent.
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.