Intermountain ACF 4650 Covered Hopper

Published: 2021-03-08 - By: gdm
Last updated on: 2021-03-08
visibility: Public - Headline
InterMountain 67085-03 - French's

InterMountain has produced hundreds and hundreds of paint scheme/road number combinations for this model over the years. Originally, they were only available in kit form, but the newer releases are all ready-to-run (RTR).

I picked up a used one on eBay for $26 (including shipping). It was in new condition, with the original railcar-condom wrapping still present along with the cradle and box.

The Prototype

Solvay Minerals SMNX 378

ACF began production of this 4650-cubic foot 3-bay railcar in 1964. ACF built 2504 examples at Huntington, WV, between 1964 and 1972. The ACF 4650 c.f. 3-bay hopper was the same height and width as the 5250 c.f. 4-bay car but several feet shorter in length (and only had 3 bays!). Some railroads that were not concerned about having the larger plate C clearance 4650cf cars (which could not be used on all branchlines or at all loading facilities) opted for large fleets of 4650cf cars instead of smaller 4600 cubic foot cars. UP and SP were two such railroads (all of the current UP 4600cf cars came from either MP or C&NW heritage).

Specifications: Hatches: 6 30", 6 20", 3 pressed steel elongated (SP, SSW, 3 piece pressed steel continuous or 4 piece FRP continuous. Outlets: Several types of bolted or welded on outlets are used. Uses: Grain, soda ash, plastic pellets. Trucks: 77 ton friction or roller bearing. 86 had 100 ton roller bearing.

The Model

This is an excellent 3rd generation model. It is also priced quite affordably considering what you get. It is not perfect (no car ever is), but you do get a lot. It was one of the earlier models to feature metal etched roofwalks, and they look great. Lots of other detail parts really make this model shine.

Metal Etched Roofwalk

The body well made and durable with lots of molded in detail. The paint on this model appears a bit thick which obscures some of the detail on the roof hatches which is a shame, but it is not awful.

Car End Detail

The car-end detail is nicely done. Several detailed parts on the brake-wheel end really stand out. The couplers on the sample model are body-mounted. I suspect the early versions of this hopper featured truck-mounted couplers, but I am not positive. Included with the model are Intermountain's top quality chemically-blackened low-profile wheels.

Truck Detail

The paint is picture-perfect, but there is not a lot of 'fine print' to really test how good the pad printing at InterMountain's Chinese facility is. I really like how the French's logo turned out - even under close scrutiny.

Paint Closeup

The underframe not only has sharply molded elements, but the bay hatches appear to be separately applied detail parts. There is also a brake hose which extends the length of the car and adds a nice touch of realism without compromising durability.



This is an early 3rd generation model which Intermountain should be proud of. At the time it was introduced, it raised the bar for all manufacturers and today remains not only an excellent value for its price, but can go toe-to-toe with the best offerings produced by other manufacturers. The wheelsets, couplers and especially the detail really stand out.

To see a list of all cars in this series, Click Here.

About the Author

George has been collecting trains for more than two decades. He started writing about the models and the process of collecting more recently. As well as the TroveStar Blog, George's written work has appeared in the N Scale Enthusiast Magazine. He loves talking about collecting, models, manufacturing and modular railroading. His background in management of massive amounts of financial data made him interested in using some of that knowledge to benefit various collectors. He lives on Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts with his wife and three cats.