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First Look Review
N scale
Atlas N Trainman 50' 6 Boxcar
ACF 50' 6 Box Car Vermont Northern #64
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Atlas N Trainman® ACF® 50' 6" Box Car
Roadname: Vermont Northern
Item: 50 000 695
MSRP: $13.95 (Undecorated: $10.95)

Atlas N Trainman® offers this ready-to-run 50' 6" ACF® box car with new paint schemes. It features knuckle couplers and great printing.

50-ft Box Car
Fifty-foot box cars became prominent on railroads after the Second World War. They were mainly for automobiles, lumber and furniture. After WW2 even more 50-ft box cars were built for greater capacity. There really isn’t any such thing as a “standard” 50-foot box car; several “standard” specifications were issued by rail companies but variations flourished with new requirements and concepts. In the 1970s Railbox sponsored a 50-foot design of which almost 1,000 per year were built over several years. Many rail car manufacturers built similar cars to the Railbox design.

    In 1974, ACF® built the first box car for Railbox, a subsidiary of the Trailer Train Company. They went on to produce 5,400 50’ cars over the next six years, receiving large orders from Class I railroads, shortlines and box car leasing companies. These box cars have a 50' 6" interior length designed to fit slightly larger Plate C dimensions. This yielded a capacity of nearly 5,300 cubic feet. Most of the cars were built with non-cushioned underframes.[1]

Atlas N Trainman® ACF® 50' 6" Box Car
This box car most closely matches the ACF version. However, it has the FMC logo on the sill. FMC Corporation built railcars in Portland, Oregon and Charleston, West Virginia from 1958 through 1984. FMC built numerous types and varieties of railcars and other transports such as barges. The company was bought by Greenbrier and rebranded as Gunderson.

Packed in a jewel box for great display and storage opportunities, the box car is nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. No parts diagram is provided.


    • Prototypical non-terminating corrugated ends
    • Diagonal paneled roof
    • Single 10-foot YSD design sliding door (non-operating)
    • Detailed cross-member attachment rivets on the side sills
    • Weighted, detailed underframes
    • True scale dimensions with accurate details
    • Equipped with AccuMate®* knuckle couplers

This ACF 50-footer rides on 70-ton Barber S-2 trucks. Single 10-foot Youngstown 5/5/5 sliding doors are hung on each side. A 14-panel design it is of exterior post construction and features Stanray non-terminating corrugated ends and a diagonal panel roof. The beveled sills show cross-member attachment rivets.

Except for the AAR standard handbrake wheel, all detail is molded on. This includes ladders, grab irons, stirrups, power brake housing, door latches and tack boards.

End to end it’s 51½ scale feet long, and 56½-ft from coupler to coupler. It weighs 1.1 ounces which is almost the RP-20.1 Car Weight ideal of 1.08 oz.
The injection molding is top-notch with crisp detail. No flash, no sink marks or visible ejector circles. All detail is molded on except for the brake wheel. While the air brake system is molded onto the underframe the parts are sharp and deep enough to mimic separate components.

Although details are cast on they look good, even if over scale. I can only imagine the technical challenge and resulting cost to mold everything to 1/160!

While the model does have knuckle couplers, Atlas equipped it with plastic wheels. These are molded in a grimy rust color; I’ll let you decide if this is a better choice than shiny machined metal wheels.

Paint and Markings
Most impressive! Northern Vermont Railways yellow and black livery is applied smooth and does not cover up any detail. The roof is silver to represent galvanized metal while everything below the sill is black.

Printing of the AAR mechanical code, built date, capacity data, consolidated stenciling, dimensional data, load limits, Plate C clearance stencil, reporting marks, road number, roadname and herald, and weights are sharp and legible. Amazing in N scale!

Atlas N offers this model in dozens of roadnames with several car numbers per roadname. This fifth issuance offers 10 options:

    1. Burlington Northern (Green/White)
    2. CSX* (Blue/Yellow)
    3. Green Bay Western (Yellow/Red/Black)
    4. Hillsdale County (Green/Yellow)
    5. M&B Railroad (Brown/White)
    6. Railbox (Large Logo) (Yellow/Black)
    7. Railbox (Small Logo) (Yellow/Black)
    8. Undecorated
    9. Union Pacific (MP) (Yellow/Black)
    10. Vermont Northern (Yellow/Black)

Loaded and Rollin’
Atlas Trainman® series is a compromise between detail and economy. Injection molded ladders and grabs in N scale can be achieved, though the model would be very susceptible to damage, and the cost would skyrocket. Atlas N Trainman® offers a good model of a very common modern box car design. Their tooling and molding is sharp, as is the paint and printing. Knuckle couplers are the standard today and no well-dressed model would dare to dust the rails without them. The drawbacks is molded detail and plastic wheels.

Overall this is a very nice model for your modern N scale layout. Recommended.

Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad for this sample; please tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here – on RailRoadModeling!


[1]. Atlas.

*AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.
Highs: Their tooling and molding is sharp, as is the paint and printing. Knuckle couplers.
Lows: The drawback is molded detail and plastic wheels.
Verdict: Atlas N Trainman® offers a good model of a very common modern box car design.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 000 695
  Suggested Retail: $18.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 10, 2012
  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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