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N Scale - Roundhouse - 8857 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC Single Door - North Louisiana & Gulf - 5505

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N Scale - Roundhouse - 8857 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC Single Door - North Louisiana & Gulf - 5505 Image Courtesy of Steve German


N Scale - Roundhouse - 8857 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC Single Door - North Louisiana & Gulf - 5505 An image of the prototype.


Brand Roundhouse
Stock Number 8857
Manufacturer MDC Roundhouse
Body Style MDC Boxcar 50 Foot FMC Single Door
Road or Company Name North Louisiana & Gulf (Details)
Reporting Marks NLG
Road or Reporting Number 5505
Paint Color(s) Green
Print Color(s) White
Body Construction Injection Molded Plastic
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Kit Complexity Easy-Build
Kit Material(s) Pewter Metal and Injection Molded Plastic
Release Date 1979-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety FMC Single Door
Prototype Boxcar, 50 Foot, FMC Single Door
Prototype Manufacturer Name FMC
Region North America
Era/Epoch Era IV: 1958 - 1978


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Body Style Information: Single Sliding Door Rib Side Without Roofwalk FMC. Originally designed by MDC Roundhouse. This tooling was acquired by Athearn in June of 2004 and re-released under the Athearn name. The MDC releases referred to this tooling as "FMC 50 Foot Boxcar - Single Door". Athearn refers to them as "FMC 5347 Box Car(sic)", but they are the same model.

The MDC Roundhouse releases typically came as kits (though some later releases were RTR) with an unpainted pewter underframe and truck-mounted couplers and blackened low-profile metal wheels. The Athearn releases have a nicer set of wheels (also low-profile). The Athearn models are always Ready-to-Run (RTR). The Athearn models have painted (black) underframes that are also metal (likely pewter or whatever MDC used). Athearn moved the couplers to become body-mounted and changed the coupling system from Rapido to McHenry. After inspecting them closely, I am not sure they can be swapped for MTL couplers without filing off part of the underframe, but I could be wrong. This presents a problem as McHenry couplers don't always play well with other couplers on long consists where that is a lot of force on each coupling point. The body has remained unchanged with the only detail part being the brake wheel.

The newer releases of this body style (as of 2017) market this boxcar as specifically modelling the FMC 5347 prototype.

Prototype Information: (Special thanks to Hardcoaler, a fellow TrainBoard member, for sharing this prototype picture, which he shot as a teen in 1975. The pix is in black and white (the only film he could afford as a teen back then). Thanks Hardcoaler for taking the time to scan and share this!

The Food Machinery Corporation (also known as FMC Chemicals) has been around since 1883. They were originally known as the Bean Spray Pump Company and originated in Los Gatos, California.

In the 1970's with the growth of the Per Diem business model, FMC produced a series of 50 foot box cars in different configurations. The single-sliding-door configuration is one of the best known and used widely by many different railroads. These cars were produced using the Gunderson metal works which FMC had acquired in 1965.

In late 1975, FMC began producing a 5,077-cubic-foot Plate B box car for IPD and Railbox service. FMC's 5077s have seven panels to either side of the 10-foot door, an X-panel roof, and non-terminating ends that are slightly different from those used on FMC's earlier cars. Note how the sidesill is notched all the way back to the bolsters, a key feature of FMC's mature design.

Brand/Importer Information:
MDC Roundhouse was founded in California and relocated to Reno Nevada due to statewide restrictions on painting. MDC Roundhouse was a producer of both RTR (Ready-to-Run) and kit versions of N Scale rolling stock as well as RTR locomotives. MDC Roundhouse was purchased by Horizon Hobbies in June of 2004 and merged into their Athearn line.

Unlike many of their contemporaries which contracted with European firms to produce their products, MDC made their own toolings. They made several popular body styles and produced them for road names that many other vendors (even Micro-Trains) wouldn't touch. This made them popular with modelers. Also, their un-assembled "kits" permitted a lower price point so they were popular with "runners" as well as "modelers".

Of particular interest was the attention given to modern 50 foot steel boxcars. They made some attempt to accurately mold the differences into distinct models to represent each of the major prototype manufacturers products. They have distinct toolings not only for the different products from FMC, BFF and PS, but also multiple models for each of these manufacturers including "standard" vs "Youngstown" doors and "waffle" vs. "rib" sides. In total they produced 13 different versions of the 50 foot steel boxcar.


Item created by: Steve German on 2016-04-02 19:29:42. Last edited by gdm on 2016-10-21 20:04:11

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