A1G 2320 Series: Center Flow® Covered Hoppers, 55 Foot 4 Bay



Yes, the term "Center Flow" is a registered trademark, originally belonging to American Car and Foundry for their particular type of covered hopper. The center flow refers to how the inside of the car is free from obstructions-- unlike the previously "standard" covered hopper such as that modeled in A1G Series 2310-- allowing for the free flow of lading down through the center of the car. AC&F introduced the Center Flow in the early 1960's, and these models weren't that far behind. They were made by Roco in Austria. After Atlas moved production under its own roof in the USA, it re-introduced updated versions of the car. Atlas has made other improvements since then, and has debuted new versions of the car as well including the Pressureaid type in 2001 and a somewhat smaller version in its "Trainman" line in 2006. And there have also been plenty of other Center Flows of this type produced for marketing by other companies, including Micro-Trains, Intermountain, Bachmann and Model Power, the latter two using tooling much like if not identical to the A1G version.

Note in the above page from the Atlas 1967-68 catalog that first, the cars are listed as "Center Flow Tank Cars" (oops!) and second, they are shown as "coming soon".

One may pooh-pooh some of the "variations" reported in the A1G series, but the 2323 Gulf has one that is pretty indisputable. There are distinct lettering types in these two versions. What I'm calling the "A" variation has the Gulf logo in the form that was probably closer to the real thing, with somewhat compressed "fat" lettering. The "B" variant has taller, thinner more widely spaced lettering and appears to be somewhat more scarce than the "A" version. In any case, you don't need a lot of funds to accumulate this quartet, just a little bit of patience.

Key spotting features for this car are:
- underside of center sill of car stamped "Atlas Austria"
- four unloading bays
- eight round hatches on roof, in groups of four, two and four from end to end
- black rectangular roofwalk and black brakewheel
- standard Atlas four wheel trucks with the usual "foldover" coupler fasteners
- stirrups at the four corners

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 2320 series covered hopper in "as manufactured" or "AM" condition has:
- brake wheel intact and attached at the end of the car
- all stirrups intact
- 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 2320 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 is no estimated value for "runner" cars in this series.

Table of Releases: Where available, click on "Image" to popup an image of the actual car.
Catalog # Popup
Image
Reporting
Marks
Description AV
AM
AV
MIB
2321Image SHPX 5250 White / Black, Red, Shipper's Car Line4-65-7
2322Image SHPX 52000Gray / Blue, Red, Hercules4-65-7
2323aImage SHPX 52463Greenish Gray / Orange, Black, Heavy "Gulf"4-65-7
2323bImage SHPX 52463Greenish Gray / Orange, Black, Thin "Gulf"6-87-10

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