ACF 3 bay covered hoppers by zephyr1934

Image of ACF 3 bay covered hoppers by zephyr1934

Builder: zephyr1934

About ACF 3 bay covered hoppers by zephyr1934

Earlier this year I had been train watching and after about a half dozen trains, each led by a couple of black locomotives pulling a mile long monochromatic string of cars, it got me thinking about an underappreciated heyday. Between 1960 and 1990 American freight cars were a burst of color, while a few hints of the old school railroad pride shone through, e.g., Milwaukee Road spending the extra dollar to weld a plate on the side of their covered hoppers declaring themselves "America's Resourceful Railroad." The freight cars were 100% utilitarian in design, but they went a little further and said, "look at me," with each car taking a different hue. Since then, freight cars have drifted back to browns and grays only flashing a random tag after a night of hanging around with the wrong crowds. I wanted to capture that era in the days just after KarTrak Automatic Car Identification's failure showed how dirty railroading in America can be.

These ACF 3 bay covered hoppers are 6 wide, featuring custom decals. With their weight they need roller bearing trucks, to ensure the trucks match the width of the car they use custom truck sides from These cars were designed as a complement to the Pullman Standard 3 bay covered hoppers (see other post) to fill out the fleet and bring in a few more colors/liveries. As with most of my designs, these cars are designed to negotiate R40 curves, and in turn, replicating the form of the prototype gave me a true appreciation of the design of the actual cars.

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