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N Scale - Atlas - 3950 - Covered Hopper, 4-Bay, ACF Centerflow - Undecorated

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N Scale - Atlas - 3950 - Covered Hopper, 4-Bay, ACF Centerflow - Undecorated Newer version with Accumate Couplers Shown


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 3950
Original Retail Price $8.25
Manufacturer Atlas
Body Style Atlas Covered Hopper 4-Bay ACF 5250 (Chinese Version)
Prototype Covered Hopper, 4-Bay, ACF Centerflow (Details)
Road or Company Name Undecorated (Details)
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Release Date 1996-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Covered Hopper
Model Subtype 4-Bay
Model Variety ACF 5250
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This model was originally introduced in 1993. It is somewhat similar to the earlier Roco/Atlas produced 3700-series model which was still available in the 1990s when this new model became available. The earlier models can be distinguished from this one because they are stamped either "Austria" or "Atlas USA" on the underframe. The later models can also be identified by the angled stirrups at each end (as opposed to squared off ones on the Austrian tooling). Lastly, the Chinese versions have several ridges along the side towards the roof-line in a 'washboard' pattern.

This new Chinese production model was specifically identified as modeling the ACF 5250 c.f. Centerflow hopper When this model appeared in the 1994 Atlas catalog it was on the next page after the earlier tooling (apparently many of the old models were still in the warehouse). The new ones were marketed as 'ACF 4-Bay Centerflow® Hopper - All New Mold Work!" as opposed to the older models which were labeled as "ACF 4-Bay Centerflow® Covered Hopper". Atlas' model represents the post-1971 version of the ACF 5250 4-Bay Covered Hopper Car that was used by railroads and private shippers across North America.

Prototype History:
Contemporary 2-bay covered hoppers, like ACF's Centerflows, were 100-ton cars designed to haul dense loads, like cement. Their larger 3 and 4-bay brethren, while usually still having 100 ton capacities, were designed for lighter-density loads, like grain or flour. Their sizes had to do with the fact that a low-density product like grain will "cube out" the cubic capacity of a smaller 2-bay car way before you hit the cars' tonnage rating. Conversely, load a 3 or 4-bay covered hopper to its cubic maximum with a dense product like cement, and you'll wind up with a seriously overloaded car tonnage wise. In short, keep the smaller 2-bay cars for heavy commodities, and keep the larger cars for lighter loads like grains, sugar, flour, etc.

Road Name History:
Although they may be molded in color, unpainted and unlettered, undecorated products are marketed to modelers who seek to custom decorate their models for private roads and/or road and/or company names that were not commercially produced by any of the major manufacturers.

Undecorated models are frequently also unassembled or only partially assembled and required modelers to be comfortable with glue, paint and sometimes solder in order to prepare their models for display. Materials for these models can vary but often include plastic, pewter and resin. Models may or may not come with decals or other decorations such as plastic signage, railings and ladders to enhance the appearance of the final product.


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: gdm on 2018-02-01 09:53:41. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-01 09:54:29

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