The New York Central Train Layout has recently received four new aluminum coal gondolas from the Atlas Railroad Company. The new units are painted silver and jade green and lettered for the Penn Central. Yes the Penn Central! These units were pre ordered through my local hobby shop. When making the order my LHS go to guy made sure I knew these were "fantasy units". I replied to him that my whole layout is a fantasy and so are most others including his! He agreed and we both shared a good laugh.
History: Railroads have been hauling coal almost since their inception using gondolas and hoppers made of wood, then steel then aluminum. The light weight of aluminum allows for greater lading and cubic foot capacities ideal for bulk minerals. The four new cars are American Association of Rail Roads car type code J311, a gondola with a load limit greater than 185,000 pounds. Typical of these cars is a rotary coupler on one or both ends usually signified with a contrasting color on the end. The new units have a tub bottom and Gross Rail Loading is 286,000 pounds.
Some prototype information and specs can be found here;
Some prototype photos can be seen here;
Models: Atlas Trainman. Factory painted PC units with metal wheels and accumate magnetic knuckle couplers. Out of the box the cars look good. They are very free rolling although a bit light for a car this size. Removing the coal load reveals an empty hopper with no interior details present. When checked against the Kadee Height Gauge the accumate couplers were found to be sagging and the trip pin too low. All in all though these are nice models and I give kudos to Atlas for producing them.