A1G or Not? 2450 Series: Ore Cars

The first ore cars described and pictured here were released as ready to run items and kits (!) during the same period that other A1G releases were available. However, the copies that I have of these cars were made in the United States, we presume by Atlas itself, and not by its European suppliers. So does this mean that these are A1G or not?

Educated opinions vary, and either side of the question can be argued. On one hand, the time period for these cars corresponds to other A1G equipment, which is an argument for including them here. On the other hand, if they were made by Atlas itself in the USA, and not by one of their suppliers, would they not count according to my operational definition of the Atlas First Generation?

Frankly, though, there are more important questions to consider, not just in model railroading but in the World At Large. So we'll officially declare this a "maybe" and move on. I certainly invite further civil discussion on the A1G YahooGroup; a link for which is available in the top frame.

Meanwhile, I'll also note that roughly contemporaneous with the release of these cars, Trix offered ore cars of its own. These are close to but not exactly the same tooling as the Atlas model. You might remember these offered under the Minitrix or the Aurora "Postage Stamp" brands, or both. The only paint scheme I recall seeing on this car is Bessemer and Lake Erie-- gray car, red lettering, somewhat suspect!-- but Wingard also lists Chicago and North Western, Great Northern and Canadian National roadnames. Here's an example of both sides of the Trix car.

One item well worth mentioning (and shown above) regardless of the answer to the "A1G or Not?" question is the offbeat 2499 "Three Pack" of ore cars. Packaged in a long box with the blue insert that is usually a spotting feature of the A1G series, this item included the Great Northern, Soo Line and LS&I ore cars according to Wingard's "The Collector's Guide to N Scale." The insert label itself has no indication of what road names of the four were actually included. When I picked up my copy via eBay from a seller located in the United Kingdom, it was one of several sets that all had the same three cars. However, it's difficult to prove the absence of something, so I don't think we can ever be sure that the Missabe ore car wasn't substituted for one of the other road names in some of the 2499 boxes. The 2453 Great Northern is in a visibly darker shade of brown in the 2499 set I have than my single release version. Images of the two variations are available in the table below. I've put a bit of a premium on this three pack versus the individual cars in my estimated value table, for "As Manufactured" condition. This pack is certainly not something I see every day.

Meanwhile, Atlas has continued to release ore cars to the present time, first under its mainstream brand, and then starting in 2007 as part of its "Trainman" line. The key difference between these first four cars and all the rest of the Atlas releases is the inclusion of a simulated load. It's important to note the road number of the specific ore car as well as there have been numerous reprints of these roadnames over time with different catalog numbers from this initial run. For example, the LS&I ore car was reprinted with road number 7889 as catalog number 3219... and with a coal load. I've seen the Missabe car as catalog number 3221 with road number 32816, but with white lettering.

As for roadnames, they're all legitimate. The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range, or Missabe Route, and the Lake Superior and Ishpeming were both ore haulers. The DM&IR operated in Minnesota and Wisconsin and is now part of Canadian National. The LS&I is still independent at this writing and hauls ore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Key spotting features for this car are:
- underside stamped "Atlas USA" (split, with "Atlas" on one side of the unloading hopper and "USA" on the other)
- no load, simulated coal or otherwise
- original trucks with wheels pressed on seperate axles and Rapido couplers, attached with "foldover" metal strips. Note that the cars built from "A1.5G" kits usually have plastic single piece axles and wheels.

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 2450 series car in "as manufactured" or "AM" condition has:
- all four stirrups intact
- brake wheel in place with no breakage or bending
- no coal load permanently attached (!)
- 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 2450 series car or 2499 three pack 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 given here for A1G "runner" 2450 series cars. However, at this writing (April 2010), all Atlas ore cars from all production runs appear to be selling for better than typical prices for other body styles.

Table of Releases: Where available, click on "Image" to popup an image of the actual car.
Catalog # Popup
Description AV
2451Image DMIR 32816 Tuscan/Yellow, Herald + Road # Center, Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range4-65-7
2452Image SOO 81698 Black/White, Roadname + Road # Center, Soo Line4-65-7
2453aImage GN 95039 Light Brown/White, Roadname Top Center, Road # Bottom Center4-65-7
2453bImage GN 95039 Dark Brown/White, Roadname Top Center, Road # Bottom Center4-65-7
2454Image LS&I 7893 Black/White, Reporting Marks Left, Lake Superior & Ishpeming4-65-7
Three Pack Includes 2452, 2453 and 2454 (per documentation)12-1820-25

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