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A Quick Look: Jacksonville Terminal JTC NSC 53' Well Cars Review

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Following up on the July 2020 release of their first railcar, a National Steel Car (NSC, a Canadian rolling stock manufacturer based in Hamilton, Ontario) stand-alone 9-post fifty-three foot Class NWF13A 100-ton double stack container well car, Jacksonville Terminal Company (JTC) shipped their highly anticipated Class NWF13 17-post version to dealers in July 2021.

JTC 772001 NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 680820

JTC 772001 NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 680820

With a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $44.95 each, there were five individually plastic jewel boxed 9-post Class NWF13A models with prototype build dates of 2006 in the July 2020 release:

Item Number 772001 TTX DTTX 680820

Item Number 772002 TTX DTTX 680510

Item Number 772003 TTX DTTX 680725

Item Number 772004 TTX DTTX 680383

Item Number 772005 TTX DTTX 680538

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX Artwork

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX Artwork

Priced at $44.95 for the singles and $88.95 for the two pack, in a departure from the previously run cars, there were four individually plastic jewel-boxed and one two pack of 17-post Class NWF13 models with prototype build dates ranging from 2002 to 2004 in the July 2021 release:

JTC 772013 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 655117

JTC 772013 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 655117

Item Number 772013 TTX DTTX 655117 with three silver conspicuity stripes

Item Number 772017 TTX DTTX 659626 with eight yellow conspicuity stripes and DTTX 656443 with three yellow conspicuity stripes

Item Number 772020 TTX DTTX 680850 with three yellow conspicuity stripes

Item Number 772022 Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) CP 527578

Item Number 772026 TTX DTTX 659408 with eight yellow conspicuity stripes

JTC 772013 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 655117 Artwork

JTC 772013 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car TTX DTTX 655117 ArtworkJTC 772022 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car Canadian Pacific Railway CP 527578 Artwork

JTC 772022 NSC Class NWF13 17-Post Double Stack Well Car Canadian Pacific Railway CP 527578 Artwork

Each car has a die-cast metal body with cast in sill walkways, factory painted chemically etched stainless steel platforms with integrated hand grabs, steps, and see-through walkways that are perforated clear through, without any partially blocked holes, an injection molded plastic brake wheel (black on the NWF13A and body colored on the NWF13), a separately applied body colored plastic air reservoir and piping, Micro-Trains® Line 1016 universal body mount medium shank Magne-Matic® knuckle couplers, and Micro-Trains® Line 1036 100-Ton Barber Roller Bearing trucks with one-piece injection molded plastic wheel sets.

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car Body End Close Up

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car Body End Close Up

Empty, the 5.50-inch long cars weigh 0.8 of an ounce, which according to the National Model Railroad Association's NMRA RP-20.1 recommended practice guidelines for rolling-stock weight is 0.56 of an ounce lighter than NMRA suggested weight of 1.36 ounces.

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

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

To achieve the proper coupler height, a black plastic washer was placed under each truck.

Ingeniously retained without the use of glue, one no longer needs to worry about the etched metal detail parts falling off during routine handling.

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car Etched Stainless Steel Platform Installation Diagram

JTC NSC Class NWF13A 9-Post Double Stack Well Car Etched Stainless Steel Platform Installation Diagram

Difficult to access because their heads are located underneath the captive etched metal end walkways, each coupler is fastened to the car body with a Phillips head screw.

In order to minimize the risk of irreparably damaging the stainless steel parts, great care must be exercised when prying the snug fitting platform components from the car body ends when any routine service work on the couplers or the mounting boxes is needed.

The flat gray paint that has been applied to the platform components provides a very realistic looking, lightly weathered appearance.

Easily remedied with the proper shade of paint and a fine paint brush, the hand grabs and stirrup steps should be the same color as the body.

Hardly noticeable, as the minor casting imperfections become more apparent when the cars are turned upside down, the die-cast metal bodies had a few rough and uneven areas.

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

With low-profile flanges, the plastic wheels ran on Atlas Code 55 track without any tracking issues.

Given their price point and high quality detail, I was somewhat disappointed that the models were shipped with plastic Micro-Trains® wheel-sets and replaced them with .540" axle length, chemically blackened, precision machined Eastern Seaboard Models 920200 36" Fine Scale Metal Wheel-Sets.

With their .537" axle length, Tangent Scale Models 502 (12-Pack) or 503 (100-Pack) 36" All-Metal Precision Wheel-Sets could also be used to upgrade the Micro-Trains® trucks.

Eastern Seaboard Models 920200 N-Scale 36" Fine Scale Metal Wheel-Sets

Eastern Seaboard Models 920200 N-Scale 36" Fine Scale Metal Wheel-Sets

JTC 772013 NSC 17-Post Double Stack Well Car with Eastern Seaboard Models 920200 Wheel-Sets

JTC 772013 NSC 17-Post Double Stack Well Car with Eastern Seaboard Models 920200 Wheel-Sets 

Equipped with 100-ton trucks, the prototype NSC "Super Stack" intermodal cars are designed to accommodate four fully loaded twenty foot containers, or a forty to fifty-three foot long container in the well with an additional forty to fifty footer stacked on top.

The wells provide ample room for a forty-eight foot container with an attached refrigeration unit and the cars can be run singly, or in drawbar attached multi-unit sets.

As do the forty-eight foot intermodal containers produced by Deluxe Innovations, Micro-Trains®, and Walthers, the fifty-three footers manufactured by Atlas, Athearn, Deluxe Innovations, JTC, Kato, Micro-Trains®, and Scale Trains will readily fit into the wells of the JTC cars.

In order to facilitate the proper placement of twenty to forty-eight foot long containers in the lower position, the cars were designed with four oval shaped depressions in the well's forty-foot locations and four round depressions in the well's center support beam.

While the cars have a manufacturer's suggested minimum operating radius of eighteen inches, it was noted on the JTC web site that either loaded or empty, when pushed or pulled through fifteen inch radius curves and "S" switches with other brands of attached intermodal rolling stock, the models operated consistently.

Although some users have reportedly run these models on curves with radiuses as tight as thirteen inches, individual results will vary due to existing track conditions and/or the makeup of one's train consist.

Unforeseen issues with the clear plastic packaging nest design has resulted in some of the 17-Post cars arriving with damaged hand grabs and/or steps.

As was the case with the previously released 9-Post models, contacting JTC directly via email will facilitate their coming up with an expedient solution for this problem.

Crisply decorated, finely detailed, and exquisitely fabricated, the JTC NSC Double Stack Container Well Cars are welcome additions to a modern rolling-stock roster and are must have models for contemporary intermodal operations spanning the years 2002 to the present day.

Hoping to see the release of some JTC NSC Three-Unit Articulated Sets in the near future.

View additional articles like this one in the Trains N Scale™ Models and Prototypes Blog.


 
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