N Scale: Rivet Counter - Thrall 5750 Carbon Black Covered Hopper - Columbian Chemicals - Late 1970's


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N Scale: Rivet Counter - Thrall 5750 Carbon Black Covered Hopper - Columbian Chemicals - Late 1970's - CCX

Found throughout North America, these unique freight cars are commonly found in large groups near major carbon black producers or users.  They can also be seen singularly or in small blocks of cars in mixed freight trains.  All three models were painstakingly researched from field documentation, photographs, reference books, and builder drawings.

During the 1970s, Thrall Manufacturing Co. introduced a new railcar designed for handling carbon black.  These 3-bay, 70-ton capacity covered hopper cars boasted a volume of 5750 cubic feet, and measured 51’ over their ends.  Unlike traditional covered hopper designs, where the end slope sheets are plainly visible, these cars featured an enclosed, boxy design, which was a necessity due to a special design feature to aid in the unloading of carbon black. 

At the inside ends of the car are special inflatable bags, called “granuflators”.  When the car is loaded, they lay flat inside the car.  When inflated with pressurized air, the granuflators expand, and push the carbon black towards the outlets.  And as typical with cars designed to haul carbon black, they featured tight-sealing 16” round roof hatches (22 hatches on most, but some customers specified 28), sampling spigots on the car sides, and “butterfly” type outlet gates. 

The first version, the “1970s” 5750, represents Thrall 5750 production from approximately 1977 until 1979, which featured ten column-style posts per side, and a unique roofline.  While the ends are peaked, and the end roof panels feature a single slope, the remaining roof panels feature a dual slope and a steep shoulder where it meets the side plate. 

The second version, the “1980s” 5750, represents Thrall 5750 production from 1979 to 1989, which featured twelve column-style posts per side, and a revised roofline that saw the dual-slope and shoulder roofline continue from end to end. 


A byproduct of the petrochemical refining industry, carbon black is a fine, powdery substance with a consistency sometimes described as being akin to soot.  Deep black in color, one of its major consumers is the automotive industry, where it’s used as filler in tires, belts, and other rubber products.  It also sees usage as a pigment in inks, paints, and plastic products, all of which make it a popular commodity with a variety of industries.  Hauling it, however, can be a challenge thanks to its physical properties.  Covered hoppers are typically used to handle carbon black, with designs dating back to the 1920s specifically for hauling it.

Road Number Specific Details
  • From series CCX 820-858, built September-October 1977
  • As-delivered scheme with billboard “Cities Service Company” lettering, ACI labels, and U-1 wheel inspection dots
  • 22 roof hatches
    Additional Thrall 5750cf Features
    • All-new model
    • Four (4) different road numbers
    • 1970s carbody featuring 10 column-style posts per side and unique double hip roofline
    • Separate granuflator plumbing
    • Per prototype: 22 or 28 roof hatches
    • Photo-etched stainless steel running boards and end platforms
    • Separately-applied ladders
    • Finely-detailed underbody brake detail
    • Body mounted semi-scale plastic Type E knuckle couplers
    • All-new ASF Gould-cast 70-ton Ride Control Trucks with finely rendered raised foundry data
    • 33” machined metal wheels
    • Minimum radius: 9 ¾”
    • Recommended radius: 11”
     All Rivet Counter N Scale Freight Cars Feature
    • Fully assembled
    • Color matched to Tru-Color Paint colors whenever possible
    • Printing and lettering legible even under magnification
    • Coupler cut levers
    • Trainline hoses
    • Intricate brake plumbing
    • Weighted to Industry standards
    • Operates on Code 55 and 70 rail
    • Clear jewel box packaging safely stores model


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