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N Scale - Atlas - 39171 - Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, ACF Centerflow - Montana Rail Link - 9085

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N Scale - Atlas - 39171 - Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, ACF Centerflow - Montana Rail Link - 9085 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Stock Number 39171
Original Retail Price $9.95
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Covered Hopper 2-Bay Centerflow
Prototype Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, ACF Centerflow (Details)
Road or Company Name Montana Rail Link (Details)
Reporting Marks MRL
Road or Reporting Number 9085
Paint Color(s) Gray
Print Color(s) White and Blue
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Announcement Date 2004-02-01
Release Date 2004-06-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Covered Hopper
Model Subtype 2-Bay
Model Variety Center Flow
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160


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Model Information: This body style first appears in Atlas' 1992 catalog with a pre-production photo and labeled "Coming in late '91". Seven road names were announced as well as a 3900 Undecorated model. The original release was made in Atlas' New Jersey facility and marked "Atlas USA" on the frame. Later production was moved to China and marketed under Atlas' Trainman® line.

Prototype History: The 2-bay covered hopper first entered service in the 1950s. The cars handle loads such as cement, sand and similar denser bulk commodities. In the 1960s, American Car and Foundry introduced the Centerflow design. The Centerflow relies on the car's rounded body to provide structural strength without the added weight of bracing, as well as making gravity unloading easier. This 2-bay car came in a 2,970-cubic foot capacity.

The first ACF covered hoppers were rib-side cars, like many others of the time. In the 1960's ACF eliminated the supporting ribs and started building what they called the Center Flow(R) hopper with a smooth, rounded side. The cars were built at several ACF plants, but the Huntington, West Virginia plant built only Center Flow cars since their inception and was the primary builder.

Road Name History: Montana Rail Link (reporting mark MRL) is a privately held Class II railroad in the United States. MRL, which operates on trackage originally built by the Northern Pacific Railway, is a unit of the Washington Companies, and is headquartered in Missoula, Montana.

The railroad runs between Huntley, Montana and Spokane, Washington, largely within Montana, and the main line passes through the towns of Missoula, Livingston, Bozeman, Billings, and Helena. Montana Rail Link connects with the BNSF on both ends and also in Garrison, Montana. The railroad has over 900 miles (1,400 km) of track, serves 100 stations, and employs approximately 1,000 personnel. The main yard is in Laurel, Montana, with smaller yards located in Missoula, Billings, and Helena.

Montana Rail Link's present status and main line date back to 1987, when MRL under Missoula businessman Dennis Washington agreed to lease Burlington Northern's southern Montana main line between Sandpoint, Idaho and Huntley, Montana, near Billings. This spin-off was controversial as it happened during contract negotiations between Burlington Northern and the United Transportation Union. MRL workers are represented by various unions. Montana Rail Link trains operate between Billings, MT and Spokane, WA using trackage rights over BN successor BNSF Railway's tracks connecting those points.

Montana Rail Link still uses cabooses, which are used to carry remote control switching equipment on Laurel switch engines. A significant number of MRL movements are actually BNSF trains, complete with locomotives, that MRL receives at one end of its track and forwards back to BNSF at the other end. MRL also operates trains of its own to gather and distribute local freight along its lines. Forest products and grain are primary commodities, and MRL also operates a special train, called the Gas Local, between Missoula and Thompson Falls, Montana, to bridge a gap in a long-distance gasoline pipeline.

Read more on Wikipedia.

Brand/Importer Information: In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.

Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.

In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.

In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.


Item created by: Chance on 2016-09-13 10:44:26. Last edited by gdm on 2018-01-22 17:12:30

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