Review: USA Trains 40 ft PS-1 Steel Boxcar ‘Rio Grande’

Published: 25 February 2015
Latest update: 30 April 2016


Product Information:

  • Manufacturer: USA Trains
  • Article Number: R19209A
  • Product Description: 40 ft PS-1 Steel Boxcar, 6ft Panel Superior Doors, Rio Grande, Yellow/Silver
  • MSRP (2015): $ 164,95 / ~ € 145,00

Review:

The box car is packaged well.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The unit I bought comes in a Rio Grand livery, with road number 69680. The great thing about these box cars is that USA Trains offers them in a large variety of paint schemes and road numbers.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The box car comes standard with hook and loop couplers. Inside the box you will find instructions on how to mount Kadee couplers to the underside of the car body.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Also included is a pair of USA Trains knuckle couplers, which can be mounted on the trucks.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The package includes a set of coupler lift bars that you will need when installing Kadee couplers.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The box car is surrounded by two pieces of foam, and further protected by a plastic bag.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

And here it is:

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Sharp lettering.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

USA Trains offer these box cars with three different types of doors. This is a 6 ft. ‘Panel Superior’ door.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The doors open and close with working levers, which feel very solid.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Inside the box car is a black floor.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The two-tone paintjob looks fantastic.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

All the hand rails, ladders and steps are seperately moulded. Very, very nice.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The roofwalks and grates are see-through, and look fantastic.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The brake assembly features a real chain.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The printing is very sharp.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The ‘Bettendorf’ trucks are nicely done. No sprung trucks on these box cars.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The metal wheels are blackened, and weigh 81 grams / 2,86 ounces each.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The bottom of the box car is nicely detailed, including a complete brake system.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review
USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Video:

USA Trains Knuckle Coupler Conversion:

USA Trains supplies a pair of their own knuckle couplers, which can be mounted on the trucks. Take off the truck, and remove the hook and loop coupler.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

A small modification is required to fit the knuckle coupler. Use a saw or a pair of pliers to remove the small piece indicated by the red line. Attach the knuckle coupler, reattach the truck to the body and you’re done.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Kadee Knuckle Coupler Conversion:

A body mounted Kadee coupler (#830 or #906) can be fitted to the bottom of the box car.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

The coupler lift bar needs to be removed. One side is attached to the bottom of the box car, pull it out in the direction of the blue arrow. The other side is attached to the body, pull it out carefully. Make sure you do not lose the tiny part indicated by the blue circle.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Installing a Kadee coupler requires a modification to the trucks. Remove the entire coupler arm from the truck by making a cut at the place indicated by the red line.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review

Attach the Kadee coupler to the car body with three screws, and attach the coupler lift bars that came in the plastic bag. These are specifically designed for use with the Kadee couplers. Finally, reattach the trucks to the car body and you’re done.

Disassembly:

In case you want to look inside the box car, you need to remove eight screws that are easily visible on the bottom of the box car. Also, you need to remove the coupler lift bars on each side. There’s a small piece at the side of the brake wheel assembly that needs to removed as well (pictured below). You can now separate the body from the frame.

USA Trains 40 ft. PS-1 Steel Box Car Review


Conclusion:

The 40 foot PS-1 steel box cars are in the “Ulimate Series – As Real As It Gets” series from USA Trains, and rightfully so. The amount of detail is fantastic, the box car feels solid, and the paintjob and lettering is very well done. It’s great to see a manufacturer that makes it easy to install Kadee couplers. At $ 164,95 (MSRP 2015), you really get a lot for your money. Perhaps the only thing missing are sprung trucks.

This box car is my first USA Trains item, and it will probably not be my last…


Dimensions & Measurements:

  • Scale: 1:29
  • Weight: 1,37 Kg / 3,02 lbs

Links & Downloads: