Athearn Genesis G1002 HO Scale Maxi II 5 Unit Well Car Southern Pacific SP 513388
The Gunderson MAXI-STACK II Well Cars are often overlooked but are an important part of intermodal history and examples are still in use today. One must have a keen eye to spot these cars versus the evolution of this design, the MAXI-STACK III well car.
In the beginning, well cars were designed with a superstructure to hold a stacked container. As Inter Box Connectors (IBC) became the industry favored method of connecting containers, the additional structural bulkheads were eliminated to increase carrying capacity. Gunderson’s MAXI-Stack I well cars are essentially the earlier TWIN-STACK container cars with the bulkheads removed. By the late 1980s to ‘90s, international container traffic was still limited with more emphasis being the expanding domestic container traffic which were not restricted to 20’ or 40’ lengths.
The MAXI II became an experimental design which wasn’t just a stretching of the MAXI I design, but a new lighter frame and 125 ton intermediate trucks that would allow an even heavier container load. There was a drawback, the well cars were strongest near the ends and were too light in the middle to carry 20’ containers. The compromise was to keep 40’ end wells which were reinforced to also carry 20’ containers, while making the three intermediate wells long enough to accommodate the popular 48’ container. This was seen as a way to MAXImize the flexibility of intermodal container transportation.
Southern Pacific is credited with the first adapter of double-stack intermodal traffic. Containers allowed moving more tonnage quickly and efficient on their single-track Sunset Route from Los Angeles to New Orleans. They were the only Class One railroad to purchase the MAXI II, buying 20 of the five-car sets in 1989. These early-style wells feature visible brake and trainline hoses run along the top of the well car side frames. The large flat sides of these cars were decorated with large “DOUBLE STACK 125 Service” lettering referencing the 125-ton carrying capacity of the well cars.
Trailer Train purchased twice as many Maxi II well car sets as SP. These cars differed from the original SP cars in that additional stiffeners were added along the well car sides. These both added to the overall strength, but also protected the well car sides while containers were being loaded as the brake and train lines still ran along the top cord of the well cars.
Greenbrier Leasing owned a single demonstrator car, which entered service in 1989, and was later sold to TTX and repainted.
The Athearn Genesis MAXI II well cars faithfully reproduce these unique prototype cars with the attention to detail that is expected of an Athearn Genesis model.
- Featuring heavy cast metal frames for reliable performance whether loaded or empty
- Etched Stainless Steel walkway platforms
- Separately applied brake and trainline details
- Separately applied bent wire grab irons
- Animated roller bearings on both 70- and 125-ton trucks
- Rubber inter-car trainline hoses