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Carbon Black Covered Hoppers - They're Everywhere!

E-mail your original 1970s 5750cf, 1980s 5750cf, and/or 4727cf Carbon Black Covered Hopper photos to by Friday, July 7th for your chance to win a Carbon Black Hopper model of your choice.  Please include your name, location, date, and railroad where the image was captured.  If you'd like your photo added to this article, please let us know.

-by Mike Hopkin

Since the announcement of our HO and N Scale Carbon Black Covered Hoppers, there have been questions about these unique cars in regard to era and usage. To help gain a better understanding, we've created an article about the era and usage of these cars.

Carbon Black is a material that is made by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products. It is a powdery material similar in look to soot. The major use of the material is in the manufacturing of tires. However the material is also used in printer toner, and other inks and paints. The material is also used in belts, hoses and other non–tire rubber goods. Carbon Black is also used in the electronics industry. Carbon black is a good conductor of electricity and as such is a filler mixed into plastics, films, paints and other materials. See this link for more detailed information on Carbon Black.


The Models

In HO Scale, we offer three versions of Carbon black Cars. First is a late 1970’s era built Thrall 5750 Cuft car. The second is a 1980’s era built Thrall 5750 Cuft car and the third is a Early 1990’s built Thrall 4727 Cubic Foot car.

In N-Scale we are producing the 1970’s era built Thrall 5750 Cuft car and the 1990’s built Thrall 4727 Cuft car. You can take a look at the photos on our web page to see the great lengths we went to in the level of detail on both the HO and N-Scale cars.


The Prototypes


As noted in the descriptions that we use for these cars we describe them based on the era built. Since the cubic capacity on the two different 5750’s is obviously the same using that alone does not completely describe the cars. This being said all three of these car variations are still in use today and typically are run in groups when then are seen. The 1970’s and 1980’s era 5750’s as delivered typically had large billboard lettering. Subsequent to that when repainted the billboard lettering was not reapplied during the repaint. When the FRA mandated the conspicuity striping on railcars, that was added as well. You will see that on our models of the 5750’s we offer versions in all three variants. On the 4727’s due to their later build date most did not receive any kind of lettering past the necessary data and reporting marks and again with the FRA mandate the conspicuity striping was added. We offer models of the 4727’s in both variants as well.


1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-15.

1970’s built 5750.  Shane Wilson.  Etowah, TN on the CSX.  2015.

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-18.

1970’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  9-8-15.

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-18

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Stanta, KS  11-22-14

So as evidenced by these photos the 1970s era built cars are still running today. Also, to show how long some of these cars kept their original lettering, the photo above was captured in 2014.


There have been comments made that these cars are very regional. No doubt that with the predominate usage of Carbon Black being tires and other automotive rubber related parts you would probably see these car near or on routes for tire plants. Keeping in mind that primary usage, the carbon black is not necessarily manufactured near these locations. Hence the reason for the rail car. In a basic search for the reporting marks of these cars on the webpage Railcar photos here are the locations that photos have been shot of these cars.


CABX (Cabot Corp)

Here is the search link


Cars found in 

Chamblee, GA
Shenandoah Junction, WV
Doraville, GA
Atlanta, GA
Cartersville, GA
Duluth, GA
Bellevue, OH
Muncie, IN
Folkston, GA
Watervliet, NY

Here are a couple of photos from our company archives showing some other locations for CABX. 

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-18

1970’s built 5750.  Chris Butts.  Colton, CA on the Southern Pacific.  12-89

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-18

1970’s built 5750.  Shane Wilson.  Etowah, TN on the CSX.  2015

1970’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Newton KS.  5-13-18

1980’s built 5750.  Shane Wilson.  Etowah, TN on CSX.  2015.

1970’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  09-0815.

CCX (Columbia Chemicals)

 Here is the search link


Cars found in 

Etter, TX
Tulsa, OK
Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC (Canada)
Hamilton, ON (Canada)
Atlanta, GA
Whitby, ON (Canada)
Granite City, IL
Alorton, IL
Harriman, WY
Shenandoah Junction, WV
Alorton, IL
Wichita, KS
Dodge City, KS
Aldershot, ON (Canada)
Chamblee, GA
Doraville, GA
Pittsburg, PA


Here are a couple of photos from our company archives showing some other locations for CCX.

1970’s built 5750.  Chris Butts.  Colton, CA on Southern Pacific.  2015.

1980’s built 5750.  Matt Martin.  Stanta, KS.  11-22-14.


CTNX (CCC Transportation Co.)

Here is the link

Cars found in

Wichita KS
Deshler, OH
Wichita Falls TX
Tulsa OK
Little Rock AR

 From our archives

1990’s built 4727.  Mike Hopkin.  Aurora, IL.  2010.

1980’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Gurley, AL.  11-27-15.


DCBX (Degussa Engineered Carbons)

Here is the search link


Cars found in

McWillie, OK
Little Rock, AR
Schriever, LA
Chamblee, GA
Enid, OK
Erwin, TX


From our archives 

1980’s built 5750.  Chris Butts.  Raleigh, NC.  05-01.

1990’s built 4727.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  9-27-16.


ECQX (Degussa Engineered Carbons)

Here is the search link


Cars found in

Folkston GA
Chamblee GA
Tulsa OK
Brooklyn IL
Enid OK
Little Rock AR
Lincoln NE
Alorton IL
Kansas City KS


From our Archives

1980’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  9-5-16.

1980’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  9-5-16.

1990’s built 4727.  Shane Wilson.  Etowah, TN.  2015.


FURX (First Union Rail)

Here is the search link



Cars found in

Shreveport, LA
Carrier, OK
Little Rock, AR
Tulsa, OK


From our archives

1980’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  7-22-16.


Here is the search link


Cars found in 

Shenandoah Junction, WV
Chamblee, GA


From our archives

1980’s built 5750.  Patrick Harris.  Cartersville, GA.  7-7-16.


1980’s built 5750.  Shane Wilson.  Etowah, TN.  2015.


HTCX (GE Rail Services)

Here is the link


Cars found in

Los Angeles, CA


JMHX (JM Huber)

Here is the link
Railcar photos currently has no photos on their site.


From our archives

Joliet, IL
Topeka, KS


SRCX (Sid Richardson Carbon Co.)

Here is the link


Cars found in

Alorton, IL
Tulsa, OK
Kansas City, MO
Wichita, KS
Roseville, CA
Ludlow, CA
Blue Island, IL
Galesburg, IL
Buford, GA
Carrier, OK
Catoosa, OK
Little Rock, AR
Shreveport, LA
Chamblee, GA
Altoona, PA
Lincoln, NE
Enid, OK


And from our archives

1990’s built 4727.  Matt Martin.  Kansas City, KS.  7-25-15.

1990’s built 4727.  Mike Hopkin.  Champaign, IL on CN.  2012.

1990’s built 4727.  Matt Matin.  Wichita, KA.  05-30-14.

TCMX (The CIT Group / Equipment Financing)

Here is the link


Cars found in

Folkston, GA
Placedo, TX
Doraville, GA
Chamblee, GA
Shenandoah Junction, WV

And from our archives

1990’s built 4727.  Mike Hopkin.  Champaign, IL.  2012.

1990’s built 4727.  Mike Hopkin.  Texas.  2014.

1990’s built 4727.  Patrick Harris.  Etowah, TN on CSX.  2015.


THRX (Transportation Corporation of America)

Here is the link


Cars found in

Tulsa, OK
Shenandoah Junction, WV
Marshall, VA
Fleetwood, PA
Manassas, VA
Gary, IN


From our archives

1970’s built 5750.  Brendan Kelly.  Tulsa, OK.


WITX (CCC Transport Co.)Here is the link


Cars found in

Tulsa, OK
Wichita, KS
Ponca City, OK
Winfield, KS
Galesburg, IL
Lincoln, NE
Columbus, OH


From our Archives

1980’s built 5750.  Chris Butts.  Etter, TX.  6-98.

1980’s built 5750.  Mike Hopkin.  Tulsa, OK.  2014.


In conclusion, Carbon Black cars travel across North America and into Canada.  So even if your railroad does not have an industry that would require these unique cars there would probably be some bridge traffic across your railroad as these cars move between the manufacturing plants to their customers. We hope that you find this information helpful and informative.

To preorder our HO or N Scale Carbon Black Hoppers, please follow these links:

HO Scale

N Scale

  • Mike Hopkin

Quick & Easy Weathering of the Trinity Tank Car

Pelle Soeeborg is one of today’s most skilled model railroaders.  He has written several how-to books and his work has been featured on the cover of Model Railroader magazine 13 times! Pelle recently purchased three Trinity 31K Gallon Tank Cars to be serviced at the Safety Kleen Oil Recycling Business on his all new Midwestern-themed layout.   After Pelle finished weathering his first tank car, he sent us a photo of the model parked next to the recycling facility – WOW! We were astounded by how realistic the scene appeared and asked Pelle if he would consider writing a weathering how-to article.  Pelle is always willing to share his talent and kindly provided simple step-by-step instructions.


We truly appreciate Pelle taking the time to write this blog.  If you decide to try Pelle’s weathering techniques, please share photos with us on our Facebook page. If you’re still hesitant to try weathering because you’re concerned about ruining an expensive model, we understand because we’ve been there too.  Our Christmas sale has the perfect solution.  Start with our $9.99 boxcar kit.  After practicing on a few boxcars, step-up to our super-detailed Rivet Counter Tank Car for just $24.99 each when you buy 12 or more.  That’s a $14 savings per car.  Problem solved.



Weathering a Evans Boxcar by Jonathon Hill

By Jonathon Hill, Morris, IL

Looking to upgrade the appearance of your freight cars? It can be done within a few hours with some inexpensive supplies and a little work. Your cars will go from factory fresh, to used and abused if you follow these steps.



Supplies for Weathering and detailing the ScaleTrains Evans 5100cf Boxcar:
  • Work pad / cutting board
  • Small Phillips head screw driver
  • Xuron Cutter
  • Glue or Loctite
  • Hairdryer
  • Gloves
  • Rotating Painting platform
  • Paint brushes: Micro, small, medium, and fan brush
  • Craft Acrylics: Georgia Clay, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Black
  • Palette or plastic plate
  • Plastic cup with water
  • AIM Products Weathering Powder: Earth or Dirt color
  • Testors Dullcote spray
  • Trainline air hose details (if desired)
  • Replacement Couplers (if desired)



After basic assembly of the boxcar, you may choose to add a few basic details to further improve the look of the car. I chose to add trainline air hoses on each end of the car, as well as Kadee-brand couplers.
  • Swap out factory couplers for metal versions, if desired (I used Kadee #158 semi-scale “whisker” couplers)
  • Apply trainline air hoses to the side of the coupler pockets



Next I took the assembled boxcar, rotating paint platform, and my trusty spray can of Dullcote to the paint booth. I'm going to recommend a light to medium coating of spray. You don't want it to “glob up” on the car upon drying.



Once the Dullcote has dried, bring the car back to the workstation, and pour out a dab of the Georgia Clay color acrylic to the palette. You will be wetting your paintbrush with water, and tapping the paint until it is diluted to a translucent state.



Now begins the fairly long task of putting on light layers of the translucent acrylic paint to fade down the car. After applying each layer, you will want to use a hair dryer to dry and seal the paint.



This car required 3 layers of acrylic on each side to properly fade it down.



With the acrylic layers on the car completely dry, it's time to start adding layers of dirt and grime to the car. For this, I use both translucent acrylics and powders to complete this task.



Using a water-diluted mix of black and burnt umber acrylics, I start to work on the lower end of the car, and where any build-ups of grime normally occur.



Normally, grime will build up over time, with wheel spray on the ends, and along the tracks of the sliding doors. That will be where the paint will go, as it's the darkest and most visible layer of grime needed.



For the next layer of dirt and grime, I used AIM Products Delta Dirt. This is the most used powder in my weathering arsenal, as it is one of the better representations of dirt for US modelers.


STEP 10:

Next step is to weather the seams of the car. First, I use the micro brush to get on the seams with a small direct stroke. Next, I will fan the first layer on the seams, and add larger layers for more effect.


STEP 11:

After adding the heavier layers of powders around the seams and details of the car, it's time to bust out the fan brush. This brush will start to take some of the excess powder off and meld it all together.


STEP 12:

With rooftop weathering, it can be fairly difficult to decide how much and what type of weathering to apply. On this piece of rolling stock, I rusted out a few roof panels with a mix of burnt umber and sienna acrylics, along with black acrylic. I then went over the center divider with the dirt powder and plate designs to add depth and color. This created a used, but not overly abused, look to the roof.


STEP 13:

With the roof finished and the car body overall done. I took it back to the paint booth for a layer of Dullcote, which acts as a sealant. This way the paint and powders won't rub off the car when you handle it.


STEP 14:

Next step is painting the wheels, trucks, coupler pocket, and some of the under-frame to give a detailed look. I used a similar acrylic mix as the roof panels to create the same color for this step.


STEP 15:

When painting the trucks, you will want to apply an even coating of paint. Try to get each small detail and part; otherwise, you'll end up with a truck that has beat up spots and brand new spots. Uniformity is key.



The finished product on the workbench.

The finished project on the outdoor photo module.


With about 4 hours of work, you can transform a your Evans 5100cf boxcar from a new looking car, to a car that looks even closer to the real thing.

Editor's Notes: Jonathon is an accomplished model railroader.  Growing-up within five minutes of the Illinois Railway Museum fueled his passion for trains.  He enjoys modeling the Chicago & NorthWestern and Santa Fe during the 1990s.  We truly appreciate Jonathon taking  time to share his talent on our blog.  Shane

Ready to get started?  Purchase a Boxcar in your favorite roadname for just $13.99. 

Order Now

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  • Shane Wilson

Spotter's Guide to the GTEL 8500 Horsepower "Big Blow" Turbine


Rivet Counter™ and Museum Quality™ “Big Blow” Turbine models both feature road number specific details. Throughout their careers, Turbine features evolved plus tenders were often swapped with other 3-unit sets. The following is a spotter’s guide to the many unique details that made the prototype legendary.

Note: The models featured in these images are hand-built decoration samples.  We use them as proof of concept models to test molding, painting, and assembly.  If you look closely, you will find imperfections.  These samples are used to make the production models as flawless as humanly possible.


“A” Control Unit

"Big Blow" Turbine "A" Unit - Early and Late Versions(

The first seven “Big Blow” Turbines were delivered without nose grab irons which were eventually added.  Road numbers 8 through 30 were delivered with nose grab irons.

All 30 were delivered with the Leslie S-5T-R air horn mounted on the cab roof.  Later in their careers, the horn was moved to the radiator section and a square base whip antenna was added.

Foreground: As delivered
Background: Modified


"Big Blow" Turbine "A" Unit As-Delivered Fuel Tank

As delivered, the fuel tank had two box shaped auxiliary reservoirs attached to the bottom. Fuel was supplied to the Cooper-Bessemer diesel engine which shuttled the 3-unit set at slow speeds. Note the rivet detail on the ends of the reservoirs.


"Big Blow" Turbine Modified Fuel Tank

Union Pacific eventually retrofitted the fuel tanks to increase capacity. This required additional plumbing for the fuel tanks as well as the air tanks.


"Big Blow" Turbine Trucks

Both "A" and "B" unit trucks include separate air reservoirs and anti wheel slip detectors.


"Big Blow" Turbine "A" Unit Radiators

As delivered, the radiators featured a large open grate. Note the detail underneath the etched metal grate on the model. The radiators were later modified with a shutter system that was likely used as a winterization hatch.

Foreground: As delivered

Background: Modified


Museum Quality "Big Blow" Turbine "A" Unit Opening Door

On the Museum Quality “A” unit, the cab doors open to reveal interior details such as the water cooler with straps and spigot. All Museum Quality "A" and "B" door handles (except the two between the "A" and "B") are separately applied too.


“B” Turbine Unit

"Big Blow" Turbine "B" Unit Air Intakes

We created three different “B” unit air intakes to match the prototype.

From front to back:
As delivered square
#30 intake tubes
Note: the tubes on #30 will be painted silver for production


"Big Blow" Turbine Dynamic Brake Versions

Both the “A” and “B” units include dynamic brakes. They are shaped like an H or I and are configured as H-H, H-I, or I-I depending on the road number.


"Big Blow" Turbine "B" Unit Doors

As delivered, “B” units featured see through ventilation louvers.


"Big Blow" Turbine Blanked "B" Unit Doors

 Later, UP blanked door and body panels. Note the rivet detail on the panels.


Museum Quality "Big Blow" Turbine "B" Unit Opening Doors

The Museum Quality “B” Unit doors slide open to reveal the turbine and generators inside.


Museum Quality "Big Blow" Turbine "B" Unit Blades Spin

The turbine fan blades are painted. The blade spins in the Museum Quality version.



"Big Blow" Turbine 23C and 24C Tenders

Tenders were often swapped between “Big Blow” Turbines. The shorter tender is a 23C and featured a 23,000 gallon capacity while the longer 24C tender carried 24,000 gallons of Bunker C fuel oil.


"Big Blow" Turbine Tender 6-Wheel Buckeye Truck

Buckeye 6-wheel truck.

Truck chains are included with the Museum Quality model. When attached to the truck, the model requires a minimum 22” radius curve.


"Big Blow" Turbine Tender 6-Wheel Commonwealth Truck

Commonwealth 6-wheel truck with separate brake cylinder and brake chain.


"Big Blow" Turbine Fuel Tender Detail

Under high magnification… note the step tread detail and rivets on the ladders.


Preorder a GTEL 8500 Horsepower "Big Blow" Turbine online now at...

Or from a Select Retailer


This is our first blog utilizing new software.  We can now reply to comments so post away.

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The Crew


Hear the Bessemer Cooper diesel engine in the "A" unit and the Turbine inside the "B" unit roar to life.  Also, see the powered "A" and "B" units with all-wheel drive and all-wheel electrical pick-up in action.

  • Shane Wilson

Introducing - Watch our Introductory Video

We invite you to meet our founding four and learn more about our company as well as new models. You'll also go behind-the-scenes and see our products in development at our Design Office and factory in China. You may even catch a glimpse of future projects.

  • Shane Wilson

Preorders Begin Tonight (11/20) at 8:00pm EST

Tonight is an exciting night for the Crew.  We're almost ready to start accepting preorders.

IMPORTANT: Select PREORDER as the payment method during checkout so your credit card is not charged immediately.

Once your model(s) arrives, we'll send an e-mail with a link to your shopping cart with preordered models.  Just add your credit card or PayPayl information and complete the checkout process.

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