Athearn HO Scale Ready To Run PS-2 2893 Covered Hopper, Santa Fe #300333
Fully assembled and ready for your layout
Photo-etched roof walks
Factory installed metal grab irons
Pullman-Standard dominated the covered hopper car market beginning in the 1950s, thanks to the design success of their PS-2 series of covered hoppers. Designed to carry bulk commodities, such as grain, cement and plastic pellets, these cars roamed the rails of North America for decades, attesting to their utilitarian functionality.
Weighted for optimum performance
Covered Hopper is a railroad freight car. They are designed for carrying dry bulk loads, varying from grain to products such as sand and clay. The cover protects the loads from the weather - dried cement would be very hard to unload if mixed with water in transit, while grain would be liable to rot if exposed to rain. However, they are unsuitable for perishables such as fruit or meat - these are transported in Refrigerator car, where they can be kept at low temperatures as well. Similar to an open hopper car, Covered Hoppers tend to contain 2, 3 or 4 separated bays. Each of these can be loaded and emptied individually, with access at the top to load the materials and visible chutes at the bottom for unloading.
Covered hoppers in North American service have been built by most of the freight car manufacturers of the 20th century. Originally, boxcars were used for the transport of bulk materials, but these had many disadvantages. Not having been specifically designed for this, it was very hard to use any form of machine to load or unload them. Also, a large amount of product was liable to be lost, either during loading or unloading, or in transit - since the cars had to be boarded up, rather than using the doors, to enclose the products.
2, 3 and 4 bay hoppers are used for different purposes - 2 bay hoppers are used for the most dense loads (such as sand), while 4 bay hoppers are more suited to lighter loads. This is due to axle load limits - for example, dry cement is very heavy in bulk quantities, and a 4-bay hopper of sand would be very likely to exceed these limits, while also having problems with increased strain upon the central span. Therefore, by trading off cubic capacity, 2 bay hoppers are able to transport these heavy loads. As technology has advanced, some of the heavier loads formerly assigned to 2-bay hoppers have been assigned to larger, more efficient 3-bay hoppers.
Large unit trains of various grain crops are a common sight in North America, reaching up to 125 cars long. These predominantly haul grain from the large farming areas of the great plains to various markets - however, there are also a number of unit trains which originate from other major farming areas, such as Illinois and Indiana. These trains may originate from a single grain elevator, or may be marshalled in a yard from various locals (short trains which serve nearby industries). The destinations tend to be large flour mills, ports (for export) or split up and delivered to multiple locations. The empty cars may return as a whole train, or may be sent back in smaller quantities on manifest trains (trains which carry just about any type of freight). These trains are used primarily for hauling products such as corn, wheat and barley.