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Model Information: This car was introduced by MDC Roundhouse in the late 1970's and was later acquired by Athearn in June of 2004. They have been marketed by both companies under various designations including "50 Foot Modern Gondola", "52 Foot Thrall Gondola" and "52 Foot Mill Gondola" as well as several other similar sounding names.
The early versions were released with Rapido couplers and later Athearn releases using McHenry couplers. The later MDC releases *might* have been shipped with some other kind of knuckle coupler. In the mid-1980's, as was true with many MDC releases, these cars came in kit form. Some of the newer releases come with loads.
All-steel gondolas date back to the early part of the 20th century. However, most of the early ones were shorter, 40' designs. The ubiquitous 50' steel gondola we see modeled so often today is more along the lines of gondolas produced following the second world war when steel became once again readily available. Generally, they had a capacity of 70 tons and were 52'6" long. The first models of this design were produced by the Erie Railroad and the Greenville Steel Car Co, but nearly identical cars were produced by Pullman, ACF and Bethlehem.
Unlike many of their contemporaries which contracted with European firms to produce their products, MDC made their own toolings. They made several popular body styles and produced them for road names that many other vendors (even Micro-Trains) wouldn't touch. This made them popular with modelers. Also, their un-assembled "kits" permitted a lower price point so they were popular with "runners" as well as "modelers".
Of particular interest was the attention given to modern 50 foot steel boxcars. They made some attempt to accurately mold the differences into distinct models to represent each of the major prototype manufacturers products. They have distinct toolings not only for the different products from FMC, BFF and PS, but also multiple models for each of these manufacturers including "standard" vs "Youngstown" doors and "waffle" vs. "rib" sides. In total they produced 13 different versions of the 50 foot steel boxcar.
Item created by: gdm on 2017-02-07 14:26:11. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-15 17:21:45
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