A1G 2230 Series: 40 Foot Gondolas, Composite ("Outside Braced")

If this series of cars isn't an indication of how far we've come in N Scale, I don't know what is. While this particular car lasted well beyond the Atlas relationship with Roco, including Roco's own brief marketing of the car and Walthers' re-release (to a chorus of yawns, based on how they sat in most hobby shops I've visited over the years), think about the year 2000 release of the Intermountain car and how much more detailed it is.

One attribute of the so-so quality of this quartet of releases is the significant variation in the amount of paint applied to form the lettering. While I call out specific variations on other A1G rolling stock when lettering differences, I really hesitate to do so here, simply because there may be any number of gradiations of how much paint was applied to the pad between "light" and "heavy".

It's my belief that these differences in paint coverage are what prompted the late Barry Wingard to call out different road numbers for three of the four releases of this body style. He noted two numbers on the 2232 Reading (1800 and 1806), two on the 2234 SSW/Cotton Belt (75452 and 75453) and three on the 2233 Monon (3028, 3020 and 3020). I'm not entirely sure that's accurate-- with enough paint slopped on, a "2" can look like a "3" and a "0" can look like an "8". Especially when those digits are printed on the uneven surface of simulated wood sides! Variant road numbers can't be discerned on any of the examples of this car in my accumulation, so I'm taking my best shot at what I think the road numbers are, asterisking them, and leaving it at that. Incremental images are always welcome, and of course I'll keep looking as well. Speaking of incremental images, I have them for the 2231 Norfolk Southern and the 2234 SSW/Cotton Belt.

As cars go, this one never really excited anyone I knew. The first copy of the Norfolk Southern release was one of the three cars in that original Atlas set I got for Christmas 1969. That copy was weathered-- well, at least I tried to weather it-- and as you can see, I've replaced that copy with a fresh one and a second copy with "lighter" lettering (read: less paint on the pad) as well. (If you can call a 30 year old piece of N Scale rolling stock "fresh.") The Norfolk Southern referred to here, by the way, is the old one that ran from Norfolk to Charlotte, NC, not the product of the merger of the Norfolk and Western and the Southern Railway. The NS arguably has the highest quality paint job of the lot, and that's nothing to brag about.

You wouldn't expect a car that doesn't ignite passion in N Scalers to be difficult to find, or pricey, and these aren't. These should be downright simple to come across; just remember to look for that Atlas stamping on the bottom of the car to ensure that you are holding a real "A1G".

Key spotting features for this car are:
- stamped "Atlas Austria" on the underside of the car
- simulated wood outside braced sides
- inside of car sides is smooth, inside bottom of car has simulated wood planking with four rows of rivets running from end to end
- modeled steel ends
- original trucks with wheels pressed on seperate axles and Rapido couplers, attached with "foldover" metal strips

Note: The following information on conditions and "Approximate Value" prices are intended to be a guideline only and is presented with no warranties, express or implied. Caution: Definitions and prices can and do vary with collectors, buyers and sellers, and, of course, whether a person is buying or selling an item. That's the way a "free market" works...

A 2230 series car in "as manufactured" or "AM" condition has:
- all four stirrups intact (note these are smaller than on most cars, but they are there)
- brake wheel in place with no breakage or bending
- no coal load permanently attached (!) (A1G's didn't come with coal loads, many other releases of this car type did)
- no weathering
- no abrasions, scratches or other damage to the paint
- the original trucks with the original metal wheels which were fitted to the axles
- "Rapido" type couplers, truck mounted (this is a case where changing to Micro-Trains® trucks and/or couplers is not a plus!).
Note that minor paint flaws on these cars were common and should not be considered especially "collectible"; in fact, I'd rather have a "perfect" paint job.

A 2230 series car in "mint in box" or "MIB," meets all "As Manufactured" criteria plus:
- no dust, dirt or wear on the car itself
- no wear on wheels (although discolored wheels are common)
- kept in the original Atlas box
- box itself is intact with no cracks, breakage or crazing, with original Atlas label (usually white with black printing), plastic liner (usually blue), and cover. Both inserts and labels vary as the A1G series was sold for years. Store price stickers may or may not detract depending on the placement, size and wear.

There are no approximate values for "runner" 2230 series cars.

Table of Releases: Where available, click on "Image" to popup an image of the actual car.
Catalog # Popup
Description AV
2231Image-"Thin Lettering"
Image-"Thick Lettering"
NS 7700 Red/White, Roadname Across, "original" Norfolk Southern3-54-6
2232ImageRDG 1800* Black/White, "Speed Lettering" Roadname Across3-54-6
2233ImageMON 2020* Brown/White, Roadname Across, Herald Right3-54-6
2234Image-"Thin Lettering"
Image-"Thick Lettering"
SSW 75453* Black/White, "Cotton Belt" Roadname Across, Herald Right3-54-6

(*) Multiple numbers may exist, see text.
AV = Approximate Value (US$ range)
AM = As Manufactured (see above)
MIB = Mint In Box (see above)
Abbreviations: Hld=Herald, R/N=Roadname, L/R=Left/Right Side of Car

Life After A1G: Walthers Releases

Walthers released Roco-made copies of this car circa the mid-1990s (still looking for the first advertisement of these). Walthers marketed at least two road numbers of each roadname. Here's a list, still in progress, of each of these runs. I have several of these cars and will add images when time permits. Note that unlike the Atlas releases, these cars have all plastic wheels.

Walthers Releases: Where available, click on "Image" to popup an image of the actual car. (Coming "soon.")
Note that all cars per roadname have the same catalog number (officially prefaced by "932-") so I have unofficially added "a" and "b" in ascending road number order.
Catalog # Popup
8401aATSF 83140Brown/White, "A.T.& S.F." Reporting Marks Left, Road Number Right
8401bATSF 83149Brown/White, "A.T.& S.F." Reporting Marks Left, Road Number Right
8402aCB&Q 188111Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, Small "Burlington Route" Herald Center
8402bCB&Q 188118Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, Small "Burlington Route" Herald Center
8403aWAB 7226Black/White, Reporting Marks Left, Large "Wabash" Center
8403bWAB 7262Black/White, Reporting Marks Left, Large "Wabash" Center
8404aSAL 86800Brown/White, Roadname and Road Number Left, Seaboard
8404bSAL 86804Brown/White, Roadname and Road Number Left, Seaboard
8405aRI 16752Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, "Rock Island" Center
8405bRI 16758Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, "Rock Island" Center
8406aMILW 84778Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, "The Milwaukee Road" Roadname Right
8406bMILW 84781Brown/White, Reporting Marks Left, "The Milwaukee Road" Roadname Right