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 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, along with American Car and Foundry's (ACF's) launch of its Centerflowr covered hopper around the same time, helped change grain shipping forever. Whereas Pullman's 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 held 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 competitive ACF Centerflow dispensed with the center sill altogether and strengthened the side sills instead, whereas the PS2-CD's center sill ran right through the hoppers, as is readily visible on our model.)
The initial PS-2CD sold reasonably well, but sales really took off after a slightly larger 4,427 cubic foot, 100-ton version was unveiled 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 improved, with the bottom of the sides being moved upward, exposing more of the hopper bottoms, and the hoppers made more steeply sloped. The redesigned car - the prototype for our Premier model - was lighter in weight, less expensive to manufacture, unloaded faster and more reliably, and gave the unloading crew better access to the hopper door mechanism. Modelers generally refer to the pre-1966 cars as low sides and the later cars as high sides. (A replica of the low side version is offered in our O Gauge RailKing line).
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. In addition to grain, PS-2CDs found work hauling a variety 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.
MTH Premier O Scale freight cars are the perfect complement to any manufacturer's scale proportioned O Gauge locomotives. Whether you prefer to purchase cars separately or assemble a unit train, MTH Premier Rolling Stock has the cars for you in a variety of car types and paint schemes.
Virtually every sturdy car is offered in two car numbers which makes it even easier than ever to combine them into a mult-car consist. Many of MTH's Premier Rolling Stock offerings can also operate on the tightest O Gauge curves giving them even more added versatitlity to your layout.