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   Early covered hoppers were essentially open hoppers with a roof, and like open hoppers, each bay had one outlet on either side of the center sill.  These twin outlets would dump their load directly over each rail.  While this was no big deal for coal or gravel, it introduced the possibility of contamination for commodities such as grain.  By the early sixties, car builders had developed covered hoppers with a single outlet that dumped between the rails.  Not only did these new designs reduce the potential for contamination, but they were also cheaper to construct and maintain.


   The two most important manufacturers of covered hoppers were American Car and Foundry (ACF) and Pullman Standard (PS).  ACF developed their cylindrical Center Flow hoppers, which are covered on the cylindrical hoppers page.  Pullman Standard modified their PS-2 design in 1962, producing a center-discharge hopper with a capacity of 4,000 cubic feet.  Capacity steadily increased over the course of the next decade culminating in a 4,750 cubic foot car that was built in huge numbers in the seventies.


   Other car builders of note were the Magor Car Corporation, which produced a number of covered hoppers with aluminum bodies in the sixties, and Food Machine Corporation (FMC) which produced hoppers with a distinctive horizontal seam in the seventies.

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   In 1962, Pullman Standard revised their PS-2 covered hopper design, producing a larger 4,000 cubic foot capacity car with single center outlets that dumped between the rails.  The new design retained the two wide side panels which was the hallmark of earlier PS-2’s.  While most were built with the usual ten round roof hatches, a few cars were delivered with a center trough roof hatch.  The PS-2 4000CD was not built in large numbers as Pullman had introduced an even higher capacity covered hopper by 1964.


   N-scale models of the PS-2 4000CD have been offered by Exactrail, BLMA and Atlas (who purchased BLMA).  All three of the models feature the more common round roof hatches. While no N-scale models with trough hatches are available, Walthers 8654 Pullman Standard 4427 cubic-foot hopper is actually a stand-in for Burlington’s PS-3 4000CD’s.  The chart below lists each roof type separately.  Exceptions for individual railroads are indicated below:


ATLANTIC COAST LINE- Quantities marked with an asterisk include the total of ACL cars as well as those renumbered into SCL series 689100-689189.


ROCK ISLAND- Although all 25 of Rock Island’s cars were listed in the January, 1979 Equipment Register, none had been renumbered into the Rock numbering scheme.  The Rock Island was dissolved in 1980.


SOUTHERN- Exactrail 50611 is numbered for a large series of hoppers built by Magor Car Corporation beginning in 1960.  Though similar to the Pullman Standard car, they had aluminum bodies and dual hopper outlets.

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   In 1964, Pullman Standard again revised their PS-2 covered hopper design, essentially stretching their PS-2 4,000CD three feet increasing the capacity to 4427 cubic feet.  Intended for hailing grain, most cars featured a full-length trough hatch along the center of the roof.  The car was a big seller with granger roads; Santa Fe and Rock Island purchased nearly half of the 19,000 cars produced.  The design was changed again in mid-1966, drastically altering the cars appearance but not its dimensions.  The side sill was raised and two extra ribs were added, eliminating the wide panels between each bay.  In addition, these new cars had low handbrakes in order to comply with the new freight car standards adopted in 1966.  Because the change was so significant, late models cars are covered separately as a different body style.


    N-scale models of early PS-2 4427CD’s have been offered by Atlas, Con-Cor Exactrail, and Walthers.  Con-Cor produced a kinda-sorta model of an early 4427 by adding a trough hatch roof to the old Roco made PS-2 originally sold by Atlas. The resulting model was five feet too short and had dual hopper outlets.  Only five of the twelve paint schemes offered were appropriate for an early 4427, and two of those had incorrect road numbers. The Walthers model was next; it was an “old-school” model with plastic roofwalks, truck-mounted Rapido couplers and came in a huge cardboard box. Only six paint schemes were offered, five of which were correct for the model. The Atlas model is part of their Master Line and has truck mounted McHenry couplers, while the Exactrail model has body mounted couplers.  Exceptions for individual railroads are indicated below:


CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY- Walthers 8654 is actually a stand-in for Burlington’s PS-3 4000CD’s.


DELAWARE & HUDSON- The D&H cars were former Erie Lackawanna cars conveyed to them with the formation of Conrail in 1976.  They were nearly identical cars built by Bethlehem and had a capacity of 4,462 cubic feet.


ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF- ICG inherited their cars from the Illinois Central; they were equipped with ten round roof hatches.


LEHIGH VALLEY/CONRAIL- LV’s cars were nearly identical cars built by Bethlehem and had a capacity of 4,462 cubic feet.


THE ROCK- The Rock Island was dissolved in 1980, the quantity shown for July, 1981 is from the January, 1979 Equipment Register. 



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   In 1966, Pullman Standard revised their 4427 cubic foot covered hopper design; the new cars had higher side sills and the two wide side panels were eliminated, creating a car with twelve evenly spaced panels. In addition, the new cars had low handbrakes to comply with new freight car standards.  Despite these drastic changes, the dimensions remained unchanged, making the two versions indistinguishable in Equipment Registers.


    N-scale models of late 4427CD’s are available from Athearn, Micro-Trains and Exactrail.  All three are nicely detailed state-of-the-art models with etched brass roofwalks. The Micro-Trains model has truck mounted couplers while the Athearn and Exactrail models feature body mounted couplers.  Exceptions for individual railroads are indicated below:


FARMRAIL (GNBC)- Apparently, car 1087 is the only late 4427 that carried the Farmrail scheme; though at least four early 4427’s carried it.  Each car was a different color with a different employee name.  I couldn’t find a date for this scheme; the earliest photo I could find was dated 2006.


THE ROCK- The Rock Island was dissolved in 1980, the quantity shown for July, 1981 is from the January, 1979 Equipment Register.


FAR-MAR-CO (EUGX)- Most of the company’s 4427’s were the early 4427’s, however, car numbers 15 (a wreck replacement) and 41 were late 4427’s.


CONTINENTAL GRAIN- Athearn 25444 is numbered for TLDX series 13000-13300, which were a slightly larger (4475 cubic feet) version of late 4427’s.

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   Along with modifying the PS-2 4427, Pullman Standard introduced a larger covered hopper with a capacity of 4740 cubic feet in 1966.  They were longer versions of late 4427’s with 15 panel sides and a length of fifty nine feet.


    Precision Masters was first to offer an N-scale model kit of the PS 4740 way back in the nineties.  Red Caboose bought the tooling and sold them as ready-to-run models.  Both were “old school” models with truck mounted couplers and plastic roof walks; in addition, the lettering on these early models was somewhat thin.  Fox Valley bought the tooling in 2017 and re-tooled it into a state-of-the-art model with improved lettering, etched brass roof walks and body mounted couplers.  Many of the Precision Masters releases are stand-ins for other body styles which are now available in N-scale.  Similar cars with fifteen panel sides are included in the top of the chart and indicated by a hashtag, others are included in the “stand-ins” section at the bottom. An asterisk next to a catalog number indicates a model with an incorrect number series, other exceptions are indicated below:


ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE- Precision Masters 1502 included the “square logo” and “large name” schemes.  Santa Fe’s only PS 4740’s were inherited from Toledo, Peoria & Western in 1983, by which time the aforementioned schemes had been discontinued.  As I haven’t been able to determine the road numbers of the models, so nothing is listed in the stand-ins section.


CANADIAN NATIONAL- Precision Masters 1533 is numbered for a large number of seventeen-panel PS 4750 covered hoppers CN acquired secondhand in the eighties. Numbered 384000-384668, this large series included four PS 4740’s.  The vast majority of these cars were simply patched, few received a full paint scheme.


CHICAGO & NORTH WESTERN- The Precision Masters 1509 models are numbered for C&NW’s Pullman Standard 4750 covered hoppers, for which accurate models are available from Intermountain.  The chart below lists a series of Thrall hoppers that C&NW inherited from the Rock Island in1980 that were similar to the PS-4740.   Though photos show that most were simply patched, a few were painted into the yellow and green scheme.  N-scale models of the Thrall covered hopper are available from Atlas in all three C&NW schemes.


COE RAIL (CRLE)- Red Caboose 15418 is numbered for a series of second-hand Pullman Standard 4785 covered hoppers acquired from Southern Pacific; like the 4740’s they had fifteen panel sides, but a low bottom sill.  Coe Rail did list a single 4740 in the July 1999 Equipment Register; numbered 547000, it is included in the chart below.


COLORADO & SOUTHERN- Though the Burlington owned a large fleet of PS 4740’s, I could find no evidence for Colorado & Southern cars.


DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN- Precision Masters 1503 features the “Action Road” scheme in both grey and orange.  While orange is correct for Rio Grande’s PS 4740’s, the grey scheme was used only on Rio Grande’s late PS 4427’s.


GREAT NORTHERN- The grey GN cars (171250-171449) were early 4740’s with a high handbrake.  The first 150 sky blue cars (172100-172249) had six round roof hatches along the center line of the car.


MISSOURI PACIFIC- MP series 716600-716899 were originally from the Chicago & Eastern Illinois.  MP series 714000-714399 were originally from the Missouri-Illinois; these cars had round roof hatches and are not included in the chart below.  The Fox Valley model is numbered for the series 740000-740059, which were cars that were reconditioned in 1992-1993.


ROCK ISLAND- Precision Masters 1529 comes in three different schemes, all of which are numbered for series 801000-801499, a group of similar fifteen-panel covered hoppers built by Thrall in December 1978.  The “Route Rock” scheme is correct for this series; Atlas offers a more accurate version.  The grey scheme and blue “The Rock” schemes are appropriate for several series of PS 4750’s which are available from Intermountain.  The Rock Island was dissolved in 1980, and the cars sold off to other railroads.


SOO LINE- Soo owned a series of similar fifteen panel hoppers built by Thrall in 1972 numbered 73051-73349.  Though none of the schemes offered by Precision Masters are numbered for this series, some were likely repainted into the “no wheat logo” scheme in the eighties. The scheme with the green band represents a series of Thrall hoppers with wide panels in a 5/3/5 configuration, while the model with the wheat sheath represents Soo’s large fleet of PS 4750’s.


UNION PACIFIC- UP owned four series of 4740’s totaling 2,550 cars. Red Caboose 15401 is numbered for a series of cars that were reconditioned and renumbered in 1992.


WISCONSIN CENTRAL- The models are numbered for a series of Thrall hoppers with wide panels in a 5/3/5 configuration, presumably former Soo Line cars.


PULLMAN LEASING- Precision Masters 1527 is numbered for a series of Pullman Standard 4785 hopper.  These cars the same length and fifteen panel sides of the 4740, but had a low straight side sill.

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In 1973, Pullman Standard introduced a 4,750 cubic foot covered hopper.  Over 60,000 cars were built, making it far and away the most common covered hopper of all time.  ln creating the chart for this body style, I've identified over 160 distinct paint schemes.

So this one's gonna take a while!

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