This Review is of North American Railcar Corporation’s N scale potash cars. The Canpotex cars have 4 reporting marks and 5 paint schemes and the Potash Corp cars are 1 reporting mark and 2 paint schemes. All the detail described on the N scale cars are on the HO cars as well. These Ho cars will be on display for the first time ever at the All aboard Model Train Show at the Saskatoon Western Development Museum February 20 – 21, 2016. PRW
I recently had the opportunity to examine and test North American Rail Car’s newest N scale freight car, the National Steel Car 4275 and 4300 cu ft potash hopper. These cars can be found all over North America, particularly Western Canada and the Northwest United States often in unit trains of up to 170 cars.
I was given 10 cars to put through their paces and give feed back on. Seven Canpotex cars (4275 cu/ft.) and 3 Potash Corporation cars (4300 cu/ft.). The first thing noticed upon removing the cars from their packaging was slight colour variations. The Canpotex. cars are painted in three different shades of Grey while the Potash Corp. cars are two separate shades of Salmon. The colours are dependant on reporting marks, build and re-paint date. Closer inspection of the Canpotex cars revealed two different side panel variations, six or eight panels (a third 9 panel side is in the works). The cars also have two different roof walk styles and supports depending on build date. An almost imperceptible variation can also be found on the Canpotex cars with CEFX reporting marks; straight gaps between the hopper bays versus bell shaped gaps on all other versions. The Potash Corp. cars have two body variations. Cars in the 1000 series have full length side sills and are painted a paler shade of Salmon while cars in the 2000 series are darker in colour and have a shorter side sill. The 2000 series car has a different air piping arrangement than all the other cars as well as per prototype.
There are many separately applied parts on theses cars including the etched metal roof walks and grab irons. Canpotex cars with PTEX reporting marks have an add on detail that sits under the side-frame of the truck representing the cross brace stiffeners these cars were delivered with. Micro-Trains 1015 couplers are body mounted and the cars ride on 36” metal wheels in 100 ton Barber roller bearing trucks. The finish is excellent and the printing is some of the finest I have seen in N scale.
In service: As mentioned previously these cars run in some pretty large unit trains and luckily do so through the area I model, Southern Alberta and BC. I am fortunate to have the space on my layout to run trains approximately 35-40% of prototype size and so wanted to test these cars with that number in mind. With just ten cars to test I had to use stand-ins to get my test train up to length. I tacked the ten potash cars onto the point of a 48 car grain train and began testing. The train was over 24 feet long! I will likely run 65 cars with an overall length of 22 feet. Prototype Canpotex and Potash Corp. trains regularly run with four big AC locomotives. Two on the point along with two separate DPU’s, one mid-train and one on the tail. I set my test train up the same way and had no problems after several hundred scale miles of testing.
I tend to modify all my rolling stock to improve performance and or looks. These cars are among a select few that I won’t have to do a thing to. These are great models and a welcome addition to the N scale world