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In-Box Review
N scale
N Trinity 17,600-gal Tank Car
N Trinity 17,600-gallon Corn Syrup Tank Car
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Atlas serves the desires of modelers of the three primary scales: O (1/48); HO (1/87); N (1/160). Many of their subjects are released in two or all three scales, as is this popular Trinity 17,600-gallon Corn Syrup Tank Car, released in N scale in their Master Line range. This review looks at a model of the eighth release since 2004. This sample is decorated as Cargill Foods #6732, Item# 50 004 094. I could not find any prototype images of a car with this road number and reporting marks, but if you would like to see photos of sister CRGX 6730, please click Click here for additional images for this review, at the bottom of this review.

Master Line is Atlas' premier range of model and this tank car certainly lives up to expectations. To most authentically represent a railroad's Trinity 17,600-gal. tank car, three body styles were tooled: ADM/MCP style; Cargill style; Corn Products style.

Today tank cars are the second most numerous type on our rails, second only to covered hoppers. Tank cars have been around since the 1860s. The designs of today dates back to World War I, and have evolved dramatically. Open wooden casks on flat cars were enclosed; casks became metal tanks; capacities of 100s of gallons now approach 50,000 gallons. Constructing the tank with rivets has given way to welded tanks, with the structural integrity to do away with underframes. Tank car history includes a diversity of design, lading, size, rosters and fleets, and livery. Tank car history fills books and websites, too extensive for this review. Atlas' history of this car is:
    The 17,600 Gallon Corn Syrup Tank Car was built in large numbers by Trinity Industries between 1984 and 1998. They are commonly used in the transport of corn syrup, liquid sugar and molasses from processing facilities to bulk distribution centers. Over 7,000 cars were built and most remain in active service today.

TrinityRail Group
Trinity Industries has acquired several car builders since 1983, including Thrall, Pullman Standard, and American General. Several designs of tank cars fill their catalogue along with dozens of other freight car types.

Trinity 17,600 Gallon Tank Car Model
This tank car arrives Ready-To-Run (RTR), packed effectively in a two-piece form-fitted cradle. A soft sheet further protects the model from scuffing. That rig is packed in a top-bottom clear plastic jewel case.

If you like trivia about your models, I found this at RR Picture Archives:

    Type: Tank Car
    AAR Class: T: Tank Car. Tank car means any car which is used only for the transportation of liquids, liquefied gases, compressed gases, or solids that are liquefied prior to unloading. Car may be without underframe if container serving as superstructure is designed to serve as underframe. If car has underframe, it must be designed only for the carriage of one or more enclosed containers (with or without compartments) that form the superstructure and are integral parts of the car.
    AAR Type: T104
    Detail Info: Tank Cars, General Service Cars, Carbon Steel Tank (Welded or Riveted), Includes Rubber Lined.
    AAR 203,203W,211A60W1,211A100W1,211J100W1.
    ICC or DOT 103,103W,104W,111A60W1,111A100W1,111A100W3,111A100W4, Capacity: 12,000-18,000 gal
    Plate: B
    Max Gross Weight: 263000
    Load Limit: 201600
    Liquid Capacity: 17579
    Ext L/W/H: 43' 1" / 10' 8" / 15' 1"*

This model is assembled with plastic parts. As noted earlier, Atlas has three types of this tank car to offer, based on ADM/MCP, Cargill, or Corn Products styles. I am no expert and have read that the main spotting feature is the manway, which is either hinged and secured with bolts, or a clam-shell cover.

This model presents remarkable detail, items like separately applied brake components. Instead of metal parts, flexible (read "less fragile") acetal plastic is used.

I found no flash, sink marks, visible ejector circles, or other flaws common to injection molding. The model is assembled nicely and I found no glue spots. My only nitpick spotted - only under magnification - is a slight gap between the parts that make the halves of the tank. If your eyes are sharper than mine or you are inspecting it up close, you may notice the gaps; like its HO big brother, I did not detect them until I studied my magnified photos; if I were to score this model, I would only knock off 2%.

This tank car boasts remarkable N scale detail. First, the three separate styles of manway / platform / ladder arrangements (used as appropriate per road name). Other features are:
    • Separately-applied brake detail
    • Finely molded handrails
    • Tank fittings, safety placards and metal safety bars
    • 100-ton roller-bearing trucks with AccuMate® couplers
Those couplers are "talgo"-type, i.e., the coupler box is part of the truck. Truck-mounted couplers help with negotiating tight radius curves (going forward, pulling). I don't know if there are any N scale double-shelf couplers a modeler could replace these with.

From top down, a single tank access manway is flanked by platforms and hand rails. Plastic ladders curve down to the bottom of the tank. A safety valve is separately attached.

The tank rests upon bolsters over the trucks. Placard holders are set on the ends and sides.

A well rendered air brake system with a triple valve, reservoir, cylinder, actuator arm and levers, brake rods and hand brake chain attached. Completing the air brake system is a hand brake wheel. The brake gear looks good as it hangs down enough to see the parts from track level. Cut levers and air hoses are not provided.

Atlas attached flexible rails around the car.

All of that superstructure rides upon molded plastic 100-ton roller-bearing trucks. Those sideframes look pretty good for N scale. The plastic wheels are a dark grimy brown color.

This model looks super well within the "Three-Foot Rule."

Performance and Dimensions
This model is RTR with wheels in gauge. The couplers do not sag but do cant upward at a worrisome angle. Fortunately, they mate well to other N cars from Atlas. The model weighs .95 ounces - exactly as recommended per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight. It is 40 scale-feet from sill to sill.

The wheels rolled acceptably through Atlas code 80 switches.

Paint and Lettering
Today's standard of finish is remarkable and Atlas keeps that bar raised high. Once again I find incredible just how legible the fine, crisp printing is! Dimensional data, road names and numbers, service markings - you can read it all: NEW 9/95; cleaning instructions, etc.

This tank car is decorated as Cargill Foods with their Corn Sweeteners logo. Six companies and undercoated versions are available in this release.
    ADM (Molecule)
    Cargill Foods
    NJ Transit
    Union Tank Car (Corn Products)
Each road name features four road numbers except for NJ Transit, which is offered with two.

Atlas Master Line cars are hard to beat and this N Trinity 17,600-gallon Corn Syrup Tank Car builds upon that reputation. The molding and casting is top-notch, and assembly is very good. The paint is smooth and opaque. Printing is outstanding. The fidelity of detail is very high. Running performance is satisfying. That Atlas makes different parts to better represent these cars of different designs enhances the overall accuracy.

My only complaint are the gaps between the parts that make the tank, and the upward angled couplers.

N modelers of modern railroading, and those who enjoy a good tank car, should be very enthusiastic with this model. I look forward to the next release of road names.

Please remember to tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeling.

* RR Picture Archives.net. Pictures of CRGX 6730. [Web.] 4/24/2014.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: High level of detail including fine scale railings, good air brake detail, exceptional painting and printing.
Lows: My only complaints are the small gaps between the parts that make the tank, and the upward angled couplers.
Verdict: N modelers of modern railroading, and those who enjoy a good tank car, should be very enthusiastic with this model.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 004 094
  Related Link: N 17,600-Gal Tank Car archive
  PUBLISHED: Mar 22, 2020
  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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