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First Look Review
HO scale
50’ ACF Box Car
ACF 50’ Exterior Post Sliding Door Box Car Lettered for the Atlantic and Western Railway
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by: North4003 [ NORTH4003 ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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ACF 50’ Exterior Post Sliding Door Box Car
Roadname & Nr.: Atlantic and Western Railway
Series: Master Line
Mfg. ID: 20 001 979

History - American Car and Foundry (ACF) built these 50’ box cars for many railroads during the late 1960’s through 1970’s. It was a popular design featuring a clear inside loading space and is still in use on many railroads throughout North America. ACF Industries, Inc. began as a company In 1899 and remains in business today as ACF Industries, LLC.

The sample I received is model of a car from the Atlantic & Western Railway (ATW). The Atlantic and Western Railway is an 11 mile long short line running from Sanford to Brickhaven, North Carolina. The railroad has been owned by the Genesee and Wyoming since 2005.

The Model
Atlas released this model in the fall of 2013 as part of their Atlas HO 50' Precision Design Box Cars. This release included the following road names - Undecorated, Atlantic and Western, Canadian National, Canadian National (GTW), Conrail, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Chicago and North Western (Stock Numbers 20001978 – 2000199). The ATW model is decorated in an attractive dark blue with yellow lettering car number 8093 built 8/72. Painting and lettering is clear and crisp, and reporting marks may be read. The car weighs 4 3/8 oz and tracked well around a 15” radius curve and #4 turnouts. The under frame is die-cast metal with a detailed plastic sill and brake gear. Detailing is excellent. The diagonal roof pattern, ends, and side are neatly done. The car comes with operating sliding doors. Handrails, ladders, stirrup steps, the brake wheel, end platform and under frame detail are very well done. AccuMateฎ couplers are screw mounted in cushioned coupler boxes attached to the plastic sill. The 70-ton roller-bearing trucks are well done except for some small mold parting lines in an otherwise excellent truck. Wheels are metal on hard plastic axles.

Model Dimensions
Weight: 4 3/8 oz
Length: 8 1/8 “ (Over Couplers)
Minimum Radius Curve: 15”
Minimum Turnout: #4

If you model railroads from the late 1960’s through the present then you need several of these 50’ ACF box cars on your roster. Atlas has produced a scale replica of this car that tracks well and should prove trouble free over time. It will be interesting to see what other road names Atlas will produce with this model. I would recommend this car.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RailRoadModeling.
Highs: The under frame is die-cast metal with a detailed plastic sill and brake gear. Detailing is excellent.
Lows: Some small mold parting lines in an otherwise excellent truck.
Verdict: Atlas has produced a scale replica of this car that tracks well and should prove trouble free over time.
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 001 979
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  Related Link: Atlas HO 50' Precision Design Box Cars
  PUBLISHED: Mar 04, 2014
  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 North4003

Copyright ฉ2021 text by North4003 [ NORTH4003 ]. 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.


Almost everything is ready-to-run these days. My kids have no trouble at 7 completing the classic Athearn "Blue Box" kits though. If you pick up one of those, you can build it together in a few minutes and they'll gather some self-confidence and comfort with tools (a small screwdriver) in the process. -Sean H.
MAR 05, 2014 - 03:36 AM
Thanks, I was hoping for something where we just bolted the trucks on and were good to go. What I got was a shell, a floor, 4 sprues of intricately molded details that were a challenge for me just to get off the sprue, let alone attach. Mind you for less than $10 it was more challenging than some of the 1/72 Asian wonderkits at 10X the price.
MAR 05, 2014 - 04:46 AM
The inexpensive Tyco and Life-Like boxcars are basically snap-together kits. A good exercise could be to disassemble then reassemble. Or you can disassemble first then they can reassemble
MAR 05, 2014 - 01:30 PM
Mark, Sounds like you might have bought a Branchline kit. I concur with Sean - try an Athearn blue box model or even an old MDC/Roundhouse kit. Not much to them except a few twists of a screw driver and maybe 2-4 snap-on pieces.
MAR 05, 2014 - 04:07 PM
I second Fred's suggestion, you can still find the older Athearn Blue Box Kits and MDC Roundhouse kits for around $6 at some hobby shops and train shows. They are now out of production but there is a significant amount that are out there. I just bought a dozen kits off a Yahoo Group HO Swap. A great group to deal with.
MAR 06, 2014 - 01:23 PM
Also, much thanks to Brent for the subject at hand! Atlas makes good stuff. It's nice to see they're still keeping it up. -Sean H
MAR 06, 2014 - 03:05 PM
Thanks guys, It think it was a Branchline kit (I'm about 200 miles away from the box at the moment). I'll keep an eye out for the other kits in my travels.
MAR 07, 2014 - 03:23 AM
I took a few more photos of the ATW 50' Box Car they are here. LINK
MAR 08, 2014 - 05:14 AM
Thanks, Brent
MAR 10, 2014 - 03:18 PM

What's Your Opinion?

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