Vintage N Scale B&M Rolling Stock #13
Bachmann 70 Ton 40’ Quad Hopper –
To begin with, this is my first post in well over a year, so I suspect I’ll need to knock off some cobwebs. I’m running out of vintage B&M N scale stuff to cover, the pickings are getting slim, but I have one or two locomotives to cover and maybe four to five more freight cars before the vintage B&M stuff runs its course. In the meantime, let’s press ahead.
By all appearances, this Bachmann car is an oddball. I think it’s supposed to represent a 70 ton ARA quad hopper, B&M did actually own quite a few cars matching that general description, numbered 8000-8999. Interestingly, the black paint and rectangular herald with B&M reporting marks appear to be appropriate for a late-1930s paint job on one of these cars. It’s starting to seem like Bachmann might have nailed it… that is, until you check out the road number. If you dropped the 56 from the front, you would indeed have a correct road number for one of these 1920-1930s built cars, and the authenticity would almost be complete, especially for an N scale car dating back as far as the 1960s or 1970s. Bachmann just couldn’t handle coming so close to historical accuracy, and thus, missed the boat.
The build date printed on the car side is 6-24, which means June of 1924… that would have been early for the B&M cars which apparently began showing up around 1929. Those printed build dates are typically nonsense on these early N scale cars, so I’m actually a little surprised Bachmann was so close.
I’m not sure that these cars count as rare, there are normally one or two available on the auction sites and those normally sell for around $10 USD, not too pricey.
My overall opinion is that the car is a typical, early N scale, generic freight car. Early N scale operators probably weren’t overly picky, this car breaks up the monotony of blue dip offerings from other manufacturers. Like most of these classic N scale items, I recommend picking one up for display and/or operation.
As stated above, B&M owned around one thousand of these ARA 70 ton hoppers, numbered 8000-8999. Boston and Maine’s fleet of these useful cars was acquired between the late 1920s and the early 1930s. It appears some quantity was sold to DL&W in the 1950s and a few soldiered on with B&M into the 1960s.