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First Look Review
N scale
31,000 Gallon Crude Oil Tanker
N 31,000 Gallon Crude Oil Tank Car
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Atlas' N scale TrinityRail® 31,000 Gallon Crude Oil Tank Car is a new model in their Master Line that hit the shelves in late 2016. Master® is Atlas’ premium ready-to-run model, equipped with knuckle couplers, fine detail and excellent paint and printing. Currently, only two road names are available, PPRX and STAX. This sample is STAX 10428, item 50 003 005.

If you want to see photos of the real STAX 10428 then click on "STAX 10428" in the Summary box, and see Click here for additional images for this review, below, for TrinityRail's page about this tank car. - Atlas

Master® N TrinityRail® 31,000 Gallon Crude Oil Tank Car
Today tank cars are the second most numerous type of freight car on our rails, second only to covered hoppers. Tank cars have been around since the 1860s. The designs of today dates back to World War I, and have evolved dramatically. Open wooden casks on flat cars were enclosed; casks became metal tanks; capacities of 100’s of gallons now approach 50,000 gallons. Constructing the tank with rivets has given way to welded tanks, with the structural integrity to do away with underframes.

TrinityRail builds these big insulated 31,808 gallon tank cars without underframes.
    Built by the thousands from 2012, the TrinityRail® 31K Crude Oil Tank Cars are a prominent part of crude oil shipments across North America. With recent developments in oil extraction, mile-long unit trains of these duty-specific cars – complete with visually unique 'end shields' - are running to nearly all corners of the country. With oil demand and output at all-time high levels, thousands of these cars have been built in over eight reporting marks, with much more to come. - Atlas

Type: Tank Car
AAR Class: T: Tank Car. Tank car means any car which is used only for the transportation of liquids, liquefied gases, compressed gases, or solids that are liquefied prior to unloading. Car may be without underframe if container serving as superstructure is designed to serve as underframe. If car has underframe, it must be designed only for the carriage of one or more enclosed containers (with or without compartments) that form the superstructure and are integral parts of the car.
AAR Type: T109
Detail Info: Tank Cars, General Service Cars, Carbon Steel Tank (Welded or Riveted), Includes Rubber Lined.
AAR 203,203W,211A60W1,211A100W1,211J100W1.
ICC or DOT 103,103W,104W,111A60W1,111A100W1,111A100W3,111A100W4
Capacity: over 32,000 gal
Plate: C
Max Gross Weight: 286000
Load Limit: 211600
Liquid Capacity: 31720
Ext L/W/H: 59' 5" / 10' 8" / 15' 6" *

Knock Around
Atlas packs the model securely in a clear hard plastic jewel case. The tank car is surrounded by a soft sheet and held in a form-fitted cradle. Atlas included no parts diagram or documentation.

This ready-to-run model is of a 31,808 gallon capacity TrinityRail design. Atlas lists two road names in this release.


• Ready-To-Run
• Fine-Scale Detail
• Separate Brake Detail
• Accurately Painted/Printed
• Prototypical Ride Height
• Minimum Radius 12 ½”
• BLMA 100-Ton ASF Ride Control Trucks
• BLMA 36” Metal Wheels
• Body-Mounted Brown Knuckle Couplers

Molding is to a high standard with no flash, visible ejector marks, sink spots, or burrs from removing pieces from their sprue. Raised and recessed detail is crisp. Those unique end shields appear to be individually installed.

It appears Atlas molded the tank in three pieces as a weighted cylinder and two ends. It looks like a combination bolster support and coupler pocket part is screwed into the tank body cylinder.

Surface detail defines 6 segments along the tank length. Beneath the tank are wire and plastic brake system detail and the train line, and a valve with rods and piping. Atop the tank are the filler port and relief valve, surrounded by railed platforms.

For N scale the detail is superior - the railing and piping looks pretty close to being too-scale, small in diameter. The visible air brake system is respectable with separately applied components, including the hand brake wheel and housing, and piping. It even includes air hoses and angle cocks but no uncoupling levers (cutbars). (Cutbars are uncommon in N scale.) Basic AB brake components represented are:
    • AAR Standard brake wheel and chain pulley block
    • Levers & rods
    • Cylinder
    • Control valve
    • Basic piping

Separately applied safety parts include ladders, end hand rails, safety bars and rails along the bottom of the tank, placard stands for hazmat and other information on each end. A rail which runs from bolster to bolster on each side, just level with the second rung of each ladder. These rails are supported on each side by four posts anchored to the tank. On the other side of the bolsters are separately attached end sill crossover walk platforms.

The manway hatch and valve atop the tank are nicely molded and separately attached. Surrounding those are attached walkways protected with hand railing. Many of these parts are molded or machined with finesse and thus are delicate. I don’t consider this model fragile although you should use care when handling this tank car – I hold it by the ladders as that gives grip and should minimize fingerprints. Removing the model from its packaging cradle was simple.

Each ends has a hazmat placard and stirrups molded to it, and both support safety rails. The model rides on a pair of BLMA plastic 100-ton roller-bearing trucks holding blackened BLMA 36” metal wheels. BLMA's trucks are very detailed.

Atlas equips the model with body-mounted AccuMate® knuckle couplers.

Paint, Livery and Printing
Finish of this model is excellent. The paint solidly covers the model without obscuring detail. Black finishes are not very eye-catching and yet the yellow and white data and stenciling enhances the visual appeal.

Stenciling is incredible to me - look at how legible the text is! Reporting marks and the road number for this tank car are STAX 10428.

This new tank car includes two paint schemes along with an undecorated model:
    STAX (OCI Chemical Corporation)

Both are available with 24 (!) different road numbers.

"Tie-On" and "Release Anchors"
To me Atlas' N scale TrinityRail® 31,000 Gallon Crude Oil Tank Car is a step above their previous Master Line cars. The BLMA trucks and metal wheels, as well as the hanging wire brake apparatus - and air hoses - takes the fidelity of detail above other models with plastic wheel sets and molded piping.

This is a super ready-to-run tank car. Atlas has put effort into refining this model with small and separately attached detail parts, like ladders and hand rails, and air brake equipment. If I have to find anything to gripe about, it would be the lack of cutbars after Atlas put the other accoutrements into this model.

Like other Atlas Master Line tank cars I have looked at, I suspect this TrinityRail 31K gallon tank car will be very popular for Atlas: sharp molding, AccuMate couplers, with a superb finish and stenciling. The blackened metal wheels should be welcomed for their performance. Again, Atlas has made an impressive N scale model of a increasingly numerous modern freight car. Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - RailRoad Modeling.

Wilson, Jeff. The Model Railroader’s Guide To Freight cars. Waukesha: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 2005. ISBN: 0-89024-585-1

* www.rrpicturearchives.net

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: BLMA trucks and metal wheels, hanging wire brake apparatus - and air hoses - takes the fidelity of detail above other models with plastic wheel sets and molded piping.
Lows: Lack of cutbars.
Verdict: I think this is a step above their previous Master Line cars and I suspect this TrinityRail 31K gallon tank car will be very popular for Atlas: sharp molding, AccuMate couplers, with a superb finish and stenciling.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 50 003 005
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  Related Link: STAX 10428
  PUBLISHED: Oct 05, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
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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