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First Look Review
HO scale
Evans 53' Double Plug Box Car
Evans 53' Double Plug Box Car Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific 2032
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Evans 53' Double Plug Box Car is an HO offering in Atlas' Master Line series. Item 20 003 436 is a model of Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific 2032.

The model
Evans 53' Double Plug Box Car is packed in a form-fitting cradle that protects it from all but extreme mishandling. A soft plastic sheet also prevents scuffing with the cradle. The cradle is held in a carton with a plastic viewing window. No instructions nor parts list is included.

My first impressions are the bright sharp printing and the crisp detail. The plastic straight sill car body is a one-piece component with both cast-on and separately applied details. An overhanging Stanray X-panel roof tops the car. Improved 4/4 Dreadnaught ends complete the body. The underframe is made of a pair of plastic parts.

The parts are molded to a high standard with no flash, sink marks, visible ejector circles, not noticeable de-spruing burrs. While most of the detail is molded with finesse, some items, like the drop step stirrups, are thicker.

The car body rides on plastic trucks with blackened metal RP-25 wheels. Plastic knuckle couplers draw it along with the rest of the train.

I did not pry the model apart to see how Atlas weights this model. Atlas notes these features:
    70-ton roller-bearing trucks
    Blackened metal wheels
    Two-piece underframe
    Separate brake cylinder
    Air reservoir
    End platforms
    AccuMate® couplers

Evans 53' Double Plug Box Car Trivia
    Evans boxcar (Class RBL) 53-foot insulated double-plug cars often used for temperature-sensitive cargo and lumber products built by Evans Products Company, 1969-1977. ****

According to the erudite NEB&W site:
    Evans 53-Foot Double Plug-Door Box Cars

    According to James Kincaid's article (and roster) in the Sept. '96 Mainline Modeler, these cars were built between 1969 and I think 1977. (Information on this series of kits discussed below is from this article unless otherwise stated.)
    The first cars in '69 had Pullman ends and roofs, but a year later most cars had Improved Dreadnaught Ends and X panel roofs, the standard by '72 (and the version Atlas chose).
    Kincaid refers to them as "Blue Island Reefers" - the "Blue Island" coming from their birthplace, Evans' Blue Island, IL facility and the "Reefer" because these were "RBL" cars. In modern freight cars, the distinction between reefers and box cars is blurred. The "B" in the designation originally came from "beer" or "beverage" refrigerator cars, that had no ice bunkers and were simply insulated. They still looked like reefers with their reefer-type hinged doors. The post-steam plug door is used on both reefers and box cars.

AAR Class: XP: Boxcar similar in design to "XM", but which is specially equipped, designed, and/or structurally suitable for a specific commodity loading; except, boxcars (XF, XM, XMI) dedicated to the transportation of commodities in paragraph A, Rule 97, AAR Interchange Rules, must be designated "XP".

AAR Type: A406

Detail Info:
Equipped Box Car, Inside Length: 49' to 59', cushion draft gear/underframe, Plug door, opening greater than 11 feet.

Surface structure detail is molded on. This includes the weld seams for the 12 side panels, strengthening rackets and gussets, door tracks and stops plus door hangers, rollers, handles and latches. But so are tack boards. Four plug doors are molded integral with the body, not surprising since plug doors would require extremely clever engineering to make functional yet authentic for an HO plastic model. Plug doors were designed to securely seal the car to prevent weather from damaging loads like paper, plywood, and other moisture sensitive commodities. They also create a smoother interior for internal load stability, among other benefits that conventional sliding doors do not provide. Those doors also allowed wider openings for bulky components often shipped for automotive companies.

Separately attached side and end ladders enhance the look of the car. End platforms and a Universal hand brake wheel are also applied. However, that wheel is part of a detail detraction: no power hand brake equipment. No retainer valve, either.

The underframe is made with two parts including the center sill. A mix of cast-on detail and separate pieces model the air brake components and cushioning gear. Instead of the brake rods and levers being mounted flush with the frame, they dangle vertically below straight sill. This detail is not only accurate and authentic, it also adds visual interest to the model that molded on detail would neglect.

Despite that level of brake gear detail, no air hoses nor cut bars are included.

However, maybe that will not be noticed because the roller-bearing trucks look pretty good. Molding is sharp. The blackened metal wheels really look black - too many blackened metal wheels just look like a shiny dark metal.

A few things as mentioned above betray the overall look of this model, yet overall this Evans 53' double plug boxcar has a good mix of molded and attached detail.

Dusting the rails
The model rolls nicely on Atlas code 83 track and across a code 80 Peco slip switch. Atlas' 53-foot Evans measures 53 1/2 scale feet from end sill to end sill, and almost 60 feet from cushioned coupler to coupler.

Paint and Livery
Model finishing today is amazing to those of us who remember "back in the day". Atlas' paint is opaque, smooth and does not obscure any of the fine detail. Fantastic sharp printing decorates the car with road name and number, dimensional data, ownership information, consolidated data, plate category and maintenance dot, to name a few items. It shows Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific 2032 was built in May 1971. I will not clog up the text describing each stencil as the photos show the crisp printing to be fully legible.

Eight road names are offered plus an undecorated model:
    Bend Millwork Company (Gray/Blue)
    Burlington Northern (Green/White)
    Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern (Blue/Red)
    Alaska (Blue/Yellow [Alternate history paint scheme])
    Brooks Scanlon (Yellow/Black)
    Fox River Valley (Brown/White)
    Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific (Brown/White)
    States Veneer (Blue/White)

Each road name has two road numbers.

Atlas identifies the color of this RSP 2032 as brown. I can find no information on the color for 2032 but this color has a distinct red hue to it. Color photos show other RS&P Rwy rolling stock in a jaunty orange and yellow livery. This was reproduced by Atlas on an HO USRA Steel Rebuilt Box Car back in 2009, items 6404-1 and 6404-2.

Atlas also offers this 53' model in N scale, items 50 002 296 and 50 002 297.

Out of the Yard
Atlas has created a fine HO Evans 53' double plug box car. Paint and lettering is exceptional. Overall this model has a good mix of molded and attached detail. The attached ladders, end platforms, and brake rigging bump it up above average. Molding is first rate. The blackened wheels are actually black.

Lows include drop steps that are thick. Despite the brake gear detail, no air hoses or cut bars are included, nor power hand brake equipment. No retainer valve, either.

Modelers of the American railroad scene post-1969 or the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway should grap up this model. Atlas has created a fine HO Evans 53' double plug box car. Recommended.

Please remember to tell Atlas and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeling.

Roscoe, Snyder And Pacific Railway: "R-S Pacific Route"
    The Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway was chartered in the early 20th century with hopeful intentions of not only connecting its namesake cities in Texas but also reaching the Northern Panhandle, stretching into New Mexico, and perhaps even further west (thus the reason for "Pacific" in its name). Unfortunately, the much larger Santa Fe beat out the R-S Pacific Route reaching first the cities it had intended to connect. However, the RS&P became a successful shortline anyway thanks to connections with two major, Class I lines. Its status as a bridge carrier allowed it to prosper for years, particularly following World War II. Ironically, it was deregulation which led to the road's downfall as following the 1980 law its interchange partners simply kept the freight for themselves. Within just a few years the RS&P was in such financial distress that it had completely shutdown by the mid-1980s. Today, a short section remains in use around Roscoe to serve a single shipper.

    The history of the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway officially begins on October 1, 1906 when it was chartered by Texas businessman General F. W. James with the hope of building a line west from Roscoe where it would establish a connection with the Texas & Pacific Railway main line (a Missouri Pacific subsidiary). James' intent with the railroad was to connect Roscoe with Snyder, Post, and eventually Lubbock as well as continue the line westward into New Mexico and perhaps even further. After rounding up $200,000 in initial capital construction began and was opened to Snyder on May 22, 1908 (30.4 miles in length according to the company timetable). A little over a year later in September of 1909 the RS&P had opened a 40.5 route to Fluvanna.

    Unfortunately, any further growth northwesterly was stopped cold by the Santa Fe. With much deeper pockets the large transcontinental system decided that it wanted its own line from Lubbock to Coleman (south of Abilene) so that it could connect with its subsidiary the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe. In the process, the AT&SF opened an interchange with the RS&P at Snyder although with a railroad now directly serving Lubbock there was little need to build its own route to the city. Because of this the dreams of a grand system stretching more than 200 miles from northern Texas to points west died although the company always retained its "Pacific" title. Despite this setback the railroad's management realized a new freight potential lay as a bridge route since it connected to both the T&P and Santa Fe.

    During its early years the R-S Pacific Route struggled to remain profitable although it was able to stave off receivership and bankruptcy. Ultimately, its success as a bridge route was thanks to a concentrated effort in convincing shippers from afar to route their products along the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway. For instance, the company had agents stationed in major cities from coast to coast such as Fort Worth, New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Overall, their efforts proved quite successful as the railroad boasted a diverse traffic base from California perishables to general merchandise and by the time of World War I was earning more than $150,000 annually in profits.

    Due to the RS&P's size passenger traffic was never a boon for the railroad, typically earning no more than $10,000 or $15,000 annually with trains not needing more than just a few coaches to satisfy demand. The first cutbacks on the system occurred in 1941 when the 10-mile Fluvanna extension was abandoned due to lack of traffic. Then, in 1953 all passenger services were discontinued. From this point forward the RS&P focused only on its freight services where it again saw a high level of success from the 1950s onward. One reason for this was its August, 1949 purchase of an EMD SW1 diesel switcher, #100, to begin replacing its steam locomotives. During its first four decades of service the railroad relied on a varying array of steamers; early on this included 4-4-0 American #1 but in later years the railroad rostered 4-6-0 Ten-Wheelers and a single 2-6-2 Prairie.

    After it purchased the SW1 the RS&P followed this up with other units that included SW8 #200, NW2 #300, and its only road-switcher a rare Baldwin AS616 #400. All of these locomotives were purchased new (except for the Baldwin and the NW2) and in 1969-1970 it returned to EMD for two more locomotives, SW1500s #500 and #600. In 1962 the company branched out into the rail car-repair business, converting its old steam shops in Roscoe for the task. Eventually, the RS&P incorporated the operation as the National Railcar Company and interestingly it has outlived its parent, still in business today as Eagle Railcar Services both building and repairing cars.

    Ironically, the railroad's most lucrative years occurred directly before its downfall; during the 1970s it was earning more than $1 million annually and featured a staff of more than 70 employees. Sadly, though, the 1980 Staggers Act which deregulated the railroad industry literally caused the RS&P's traffic to dry up almost instantly as the MP and AT&SF kept the traffic for themselves which had been routed over the shortline. With no other major sources of traffic available the company was destitute, abandoning its entire line in 1984 except for a short four-mile stub around Roscoe. Today, the remaining section of the R-S Pacific Route is still in use by Eagle Railcar.

    Started as E.S. Evans & Co. in Dec. '23. In '27, they changed their name to Evans Auto Loading Co. In '31, they changed again, to Evans Products Co. They got their start with fold-down auto racks for inside box cars. By c. '60, they were making the complete auto rack. About the same time, they expanded into cars like RBL reefers. They also made home products and were a custom home builder.
    They went bankrupt in '86.

Evans Transportation Co. was acquired after a bankruptcy by Chicago-based leasing company Itel Corp.. At the time Evans controlled about 25,000 rail cars, having built rail cars until the mid-1980s. In 1987 Itel Corp. completed the deal of 20,000 rail cars and four maintenance facilities. Then at the end of 1991, Itel sold its rail assets to General Electric Capital Corp.**

* NEB&W Railroad Heritage Website. Evans. NEB&W Guide to the Car Builders. [http://nebwrailroad.com/index.php?title=NEB&W_Guide_to_the_Car_Builders#Evans]. 27 May 2013, at 16:02.

** Robert Kearns. Itel Agrees To Buy Evans` Rail-car Fleet. Chicago Tribune. August 13, 1987.

** Charles Storch. Itel To Lease All Its Rail Fleet To Ge Capital. Chicago Tribune. January 01, 1992.

*** American-Rails.com. Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific . [Web.] n.d.

**** Eurêka. Category:Freight Stock. [http://eurekaencyclopedia.com/index.php/Category:Freight_Stock]. n.d.

[1] NEB&W Railroad Heritage Website. Evans 53-Foot Double Plug-Door Box Cars. [http://nebwrailroad.com/index.php?title=NEB&W_Guide_to_Atlas_HO_Scale_Rolling_Stock_Models#Evans_53-Foot_Double_Plug-Door_Box_Cars.] 23 September 2011, at 07:40.

AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Paint and lettering is exceptional. Overall this model has a good mix of molded and attached detail, attached ladders, end platforms, and brake rigging, and blackened metal wheels.
Lows: Drop steps are thick. Despite the brake gear detail, no air hoses or cut bars are included, nor power hand brake equipment. No retainer valve, either.
Verdict: Modelers of the American railroad scene post-1969 or the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway should grap up this model. Atlas has created a fine HO Evans 53' double plug box car.
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 20 003 436
  Suggested Retail: $27.95
  Related Link: RS&P USRA Steel Rebuilt Box Car
  PUBLISHED: Feb 11, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

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This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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