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First Look Review
N scale
Bombardier BiLevel Coaches
N Bombardier Passenger Car 3 pack Utah ‘Front Runner’ Coach Cars 201, 204, & 207
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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Bombardier Passenger Car 3-pack Utah ‘Front Runner’ Coach Cars 201, 204, & 207
Item: ATH10179
Scale: N (1/160)

Light rail and commuter rail are gaining popularity in America’s bigger metropolitan areas. Municipal transportation departments struggle to meet the demand efficiently while creating attractive conveyances to lure and please passengers. Bombardier BiLevel coaches are bilevel passenger cars designed to carry up to 360 passengers. These coaches are easily identifiable; they are double-decked and are shaped like elongated octagons. Built by Bombardier Transportation in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, these cars operate in the U.S. and Canada. Similar designs built by rivals can be found all over the world.*

Athearn have released this fine set of three N scale Bombardier coach cars in Utah Transit Authority FRONT RUNNER livery. FrontRunner (reporting mark UTAX) is a commuter rail system operated by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), serving the northern portion of the Wasatch Front from Salt Lake Central Station to Ogden Union Station. The system opened 26 April 2008.**

Bombardier Passenger Car 3 pack
Each model is sandwiched in a form-fitted clear plastic cradle held inside a clear hard plastic box. This both protects and displays the model. These in turn are sandwiched within a blue and yellow Athearn box that opens at the top and bottom, with a cellophane window. Athearn N currently lists 68 models of the Bombardier Passenger Car. They can be bought as individual cars or in 3-packs with 12 roadnames; each coach has a different road number.

Key Features

    • Fully assembled and ready for your layout
    • Packed in a jewel case
    • Full window glazing and interiors
    • Razor sharp painting and printing
    • Screw mounted trucks for accurate tracking
    • McHenry knuckle spring coupler installed

The models are nicely molded without flash, sink marks, or seam lines. Although the surface detail is mainly molded and raised, including the stirrups, all of the grab handles on each corner are wire, and the non-working baffles are separately applied. Otherwise the detail is molded including the grilles and underside. The windows are mounted flush. Window clarity is very good.

These models measure 85 feet from end to end (accurate) and 88 feet from coupler to coupler.

First, there is an interior of buff seat rows visible through all of the windows. The truck sideframes are reasonably done. All of the molded detail is good although the rivets are over scale for 1/160. And don’t forget those wire grabs—very nice!

Athearn includes factory applied McHenry knuckle couplers. These are truck-mounted. Those trucks mount blackened metal wheels flanged for code 55.

Incredible describes how fine and sharp the lettering on these N scale models are! These cars are finished with a coat of thin, smooth opaque paint in the red, white and blue flowing scheme of Utah Transit Authority. The paint is sharp and does not obscure the detail. Escape and rescue stenciling around the windows, numbers, data stencils, and the handicap symbol are all legible. Railroads modeled by Athearn are:

    1. CalTrain
    2. Coaster
    3. Dallas TRE
    4. GO Transit
    5. Metrolink
    6. New Mexico Rail Runner
    7. Northstar Commuter Rail
    8. Sounder
    9. Tri-Rail (TRI-RAIL)
    10. Trinity Railway Express
    11. Utah Transit Authority
    12. West Coast Express

Athearn N have produced sharp coach cars with some finesse. Interiors are good. They roll great and look great with superior painting and markings. The tooling and molding is high quality, and the knuckle couplers are much appreciated. And wire grabs! The oversized rivet detail and truck-mounted couplers are disappointing, although the molding may be at the practical end of N scale engineering.

Overall these are fine models of modern Utah mass transit and I think you will enjoy having them on your layout. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RailRoadModeling.net.
*Bombardier BiLevel Coach. Wikipedia. 24 December 2011.
** FrontRunner. Wikipedia. 29 November 2011
Highs: Interiors, superior painting and markings, knuckle couplers and wire grabs!
Lows: Oversized rivet detail and truck-mounted couplers.
Verdict: A nice set of modern mass transit coaches.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: ATH10179
  Suggested Retail: $84.98
  Related Link: Athearn N Bombardier Passenger Cars
  PUBLISHED: Dec 26, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Athearn!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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