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A Quick Look: Atlas Master N-Scale Rebuilt Well Cars Second Run Review

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Formally announced on September 10, 2019, the highly anticipated second run of N-Scale Atlas Master® Rebuilt All-Purpose Well Cars arrived on dealer shelves in April 2021.

With an MSRP (i.e., unchanged from the first run pricing) of $32.95 for the forty-foot and $34.95 for the fifty-three-foot factory decorated models, the single unit cars are competitively priced.

Well worth the wait, like the immensely popular first release models, which were formally announced in November 2017, shipped in June 2019, and promptly sold out, the exquisitely fabricated die-cast metal bodied intermodal cars are fitted with a detailed air reservoir and piping, a black, injection molded plastic brake line on each end of the car body, an injection molded plastic brake wheel, body mounted Accumate® operating knuckle couplers that are held in place by a cover plate that is fastened down with a Phillips head screw, chemically etched see-through stainless steel walkways that are perforated clear through, without any partially blocked holes, and CNC milled chemically blackened metal wheels that are mounted to metal axles.

Unlike those that are found on the ends of the A and B end cars that are shipped with the N-Scale Kato MAXI I and IV sets, rather than being partially filled, all of the separately attached injection molded plastic hand-grabs on the Atlas well cars have open, see-through centers..

Empty, the forty foot models weigh 0.6 of an ounce, which according to the National Model Railroad Association's NMRA RP-20.1 recommended practice guidelines for rolling-stock weight is 0.62 of an ounce lighter than the suggested weight of 1.22 ounces for the 4.625-inch long car.

As is the case for the shorter length models, weighing 0.8 of an ounce, the 5.5625-inch long fifty-three foot versions are 0.57 of an ounce lighter than NMRA recommended weight of 1.37 ounces.

Adding weighted containers to the cars will resolve the underweight issues.

When they were checked with a Micro-Trains® Line coupler height gauge, the body mounted couplers were found to be at the correct height.

Using an NMRA Standards Gauge, the wheel-sets were found to be properly gauged.

As the wheels have low-profile flanges, when they were run on Atlas Code 55 track, no tracking issues were noticed.

According to Atlas, both body lengths have a minimum operating radius of 12.5-inches.

Along with some additional reporting numbers for the forty foot TTX with speed-line lettering logos, the forty foot TTX 1A with modern red new image logos and "Forward Thinking" text, the forty foot Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad (NOKL), the fifty-three foot St. Mary's Railway West (SMR), and the fifty-three foot TTX with modern red new image logos, the latest run includes several new paint schemes: a TTX with modern red new image logos and "Next Load Any Road" text forty footer and Florida East Coast (FEC yellow) and TTX (pink) with modern red new image logos and "On Track for a Cure" text fifty-three footers.

Atlas 50 005 286 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX Early Logo DTTX 59429 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 286 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX Early Logo DTTX 59429 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 290 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Forward Thinking" 1A DTTX 59049 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 290 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Forward Thinking" 1A DTTX 59049 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 297 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad NOKL 210056 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 297 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad NOKL 210056 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 301 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Next Load Any Road" DTTX 459214 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 005 301 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Next Load Any Road" DTTX 459214 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 005 303 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX DTTX 470327 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 303 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX DTTX 470327 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 313 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car St. Mary's Railway West 210439 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 313 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car St. Mary's Railway West 210439 (Second Run)

Atlas 50 005 314 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Florida East Coast FEC 71004 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 005 314 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Florida East Coast FEC 71004 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 005 337 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "On Track for a Cure" DTTX 475412 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 005 337 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "On Track for a Cure" DTTX 475412 (New Paint Scheme)

Atlas 50 003 736 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Forward Thinking" 1B DTTX 455725 (First Run)

Atlas 50 003 736 40 Foot Rebuilt Well Car TTX "Forward Thinking" 1B DTTX 455725 (First Run)

Atlas 50 003 948 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Florida East Coast FEC 71131 (First Run)

Atlas 50 003 948 53 Foot Rebuilt Well Car Florida East Coast FEC 71131 (First Run)

The forty foot TTX 1B with modern red new image logos and "Forward Thinking" text and the fifty-three foot Florida East Coast (FEC brown) schemes were not reissued.

With item stock numbers, road names, and road numbers, the online "Atlas All-Scales Archive" of "N Master Rolling Stock" has two pages that are dedicated to all of the forty foot and fifty-three foot rebuilt well cars that have been released thus far

Unlike the initial run of forty foot rebuilds that were fitted with mustard yellow hitch plates and the fifty-three foot models that were fitted with black colored ones, as was the case with the prototypes, which had the trailer hitches removed during the rebuild process, the TTX cars are no longer shipped with factory installed fifth-wheel trailer hitch plates.

Under the opaque white car nest, buyers of the second run TTX models will find a plastic bag with a pair of mustard yellow (or pink in the case of the "On Track for a Cure" model) colored plates.

The undersides of the aforementioned plates have a pair of small pins that fit into holes that are located in between a pair of square protrusions with indents that are found on each of end of the car body.

Top View of Atlas 40 Foot Rebuilt TTX Well Car with One Installed Fifth-Wheel Hitch Plate

Top View of Atlas 40 Foot Rebuilt TTX Well Car with an Installed Fifth-Wheel Hitch Plate

Although the models are marketed as rebuilds, devoid of any simulated weld seams, their body sides are perfectly smooth.

The wells on the forty footers have ample room to accommodate twenty and forty foot Athearn, Atlas, Deluxe Innovations, Jacksonville Terminal Company (JTC), and Rolland brand containers.

Fifty-three foot Athearn, Atlas, Deluxe Innovations, Jacksonville Terminal Company (JTC), Micro-Trains® Line, and ScaleTrains containers will fit in the fifty-three foot rebuilds.

Able to accommodate the mounting pins that are found on the bottom corners of the Atlas and Jacksonville Terminal Company (JTC) forty and fifty-three foot containers, both styles of Atlas rebuilt cars have four holes in the bottom of their wells.

According to the "Historical Timeline 2000s" section of the "About TTX Our History" web page, the forty-eight to forty-foot cut down programs were initiated in 2003.

While many of the forty-eight foot stand-alone wells were previously operated in drawbar connected sets, the rebuilt units are now run individually.

As lengthened cars tended to lose some of their structural integrity, the majority of rebuilds were cut down units.

With a huge rise in international shipping (i.e., primarily from Asia) and forty-foot containers becoming an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard, that are able to withstand harsh environments, are structurally sound, are stackable, and are suitable for marine, rail, and truck transport, TTX deemed it to be more cost effective to alter their existing forty-eight foot well cars, rather than continue to use them to transport shorter length containers, as the rolling-stock modifications reduced tare weight and train length.

Must have models for contemporary intermodal train consists spanning the years 2003 to the present day, mixed with other brands and styles of container stack cars, prototype photos that were recently viewed on the RR Pictures Archive website reveal that as of 2020, along with the Florida East Coast (FEC brown) and the St. Mary's Railway West (SMR) fifty-three footers, both lengths of the Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad (NOKL) and TTX rebuilt well cars remain in service.


 
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