American Mainline high-cube boxcar

1:29-scale model of a Gunderson 50' high-cube boxcar
Marc Horovitz
1:29 scale, gauge 1, high-cube boxcar
American Mainline (AML)
33268 Central Ave.
Union City CA 94587
Price: $179

Mostly plastic, gauge 1, 1:29-scale model of a Gunderson 50' high-cube boxcar; non-opening plug doors; underbody detail; truck-mounted knuckle couplers; body-mount couplers also included; sprung roller-bearing trucks; metal wheelsets. Dimensions: length, 21 5/16"; width, 4 1/8"; height, 7". In 1:29 scale, this works out to 51'6" x 9'11" x 16'11", respectively

Pros: High fidelity to prototype; excellent paint and graphics; sprung trucks; axle ends rotate; high level of detail; both truck- and body-mounted couplers provided
Cons: Truck-mounted couplers do not self-center; over-deep wheel flanges;
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
The “high cube” (high cubic capacity) boxcar evolved in the 1960s and was originally developed to handle parts for the automotive industry. It has since gone on to other uses, such as paper, lumber, plywood, and general merchandise. At lengths of up to 86' and a height from the rail of over 16', the high-cube car is both longer and taller than normal freight cars. As such, they are restricted to routes that can handle them. Because of their extreme height, they often have white bands painted on their ends, just below the roof line, calling attention to that fact as an additional safety measure.

American Mainline (AML) has brought out a model of a Gunderson 50' high-cube car in 1:29 scale. It is available in 14 different road names as of this writing. The sample sent for review is decorated in Union Pacific livery.

The model is an excellent representation of the prototype. Our review sample is painted boxcar red, with a silver roof, black underbody and trucks, and prototypical excess-height white stripe on the ends, under the roofline. The lettering, even the smallest, is crisp and clear. Most of the graphics are pad printed but the Union Pacific herald and the orange “excess height” sign appear to be decals. The door is the plug type and, on the model, does not open.

The car features most underbody detail. Piping is represented by sturdy metal rods. The car rides on correct roller-bearing trucks. These are fully sprung and the axle ends rotate as per the prototype. Grab irons and end rails are also metal and appear to be the correct diameter.

Out of the box, the car has AML’s truck-mounted knuckle couplers. These have a molded-in springy tang. However, there’s too much slop and the couplers do not self-center properly. If you don’t like truck-mounted couplers, a set of similar body-mount couplers are also supplied. The truck-mounts are easily removed (you’ll want to turn the trucks around so that the coupler tang points toward the inside) and the body-mounts screw directly into the molded-in mounting pads. The body-mounted couplers self-center just fine.

This is a fine model of a distinctive piece of current equipment. A string of them would look great on any modern-day diesel railroad.


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