Although covered hoppers had achieved widespread use by the 1950s, it wasn't until the following decade that they began to carry North America's grain harvest. Prior to the mid-1960s, U.S. and Canadian farmers had sent their wheat and other grains to market in 40' box cars. The crop was packed in sacks or in cars with disposable grain doors that covered most of the door opening and turned the car into a rolling grain bin. Either way, loading and unloading was labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Pullman-Standard's introduction of the PS-2CD covered hopper in 1962 helped change grain shipping forever. Whereas the original PS-2 introduced 10 years earlier had been designed for denser cargos and held about 2,000 cubic feet, the PS-2CD was built for lighter-weight commodities like grain and had twice the volume. The "CD" stood for "center discharge," another innovation. Each of the car's three hoppers had a single, large discharge door centered under the car. Compared with earlier cars that had two doors per hopper, one on either side of the car's center support beam (center sill), the PS-2CD was faster and easier to unload.
The initial PS-2CD sold reasonably well, but sales really took off after a slightly larger 4,427 cubic foot, 100-ton version - the prototype for this RailKing model - was introduced in 1964. Trough hatches in the car's roof, replacing the round hatches common on earlier covered hoppers, made the PS-2CD 4427 faster to load as well. In 1966, the car's design was altered slightly, with the bottom of the sides being moved upward, exposing more of the hopper bottoms (a replica of the later version is offered in our Premier line). Modelers generally refer to the pre-1966 cars as low sides and the later cars as high sides.
In all, more than 19,000 PS-2CD 4427 covered hoppers were sold to a large number of railroads and many private owners. By the 1980s, the PS-2CD, along with covered grain hoppers from other builders, had spelled the end of the 40' box car in grain service. And in addition to grain, PS-2CDs found work hauling a number of other light to medium-density dry commodities, including salt, clay, chemicals, phosphates and other minerals, and carborundum, an abrasive grit also known as silicon carbide.
High quality, traditionally sized RailKing Freight Cars provide detailed bodies and colorful paint schemes for the O Gauge railroader. MTH makes an enormous variety of RailKing Freight Cars, including many different car types and roadnames. No matter what era or part of the country you are modeling, RailKing is sure to have something for you.