In 1995, Trinity Industries introduced a new center-sill design covered hopper car designed primarily for grain transport. The new design was visually quite different - this one featured curved sides versus previously familiar rib-sided design adopted from Pullman-Standard. The new 5161 cubic-foot capacity design along with the recently introduced allowable 286,000 lbs GRL (Gross Rail Loading) brought a new standard to the industry (Trinity's competition were ACF and Thrall).
Initial deliveries went to Trinity's leasing component and to ADM Transportation, a large private company heavily invested in grain products. Within months, deliveries to the other “grain” companies began rolling down the steel rails. Eventually, the traditional grain railroads jumped in on the game with BNSF leading the pack.
The 5161 grain variants have long trough hatches usually broken into sections for easy opening. The outlets on grain cars are usually gravity-only and vary by manufacturer. Fixed shaker brackets can be found on the hopper sides.
However, not all the 5161s are for grain-products. BNSF has a good-sized fleet of cars used for sugar transport that feature round-hatches in elongated hatches, gravity-pneumatic gates and have special interior lining. Other variations include round-hatch only cars for chemical transport and cars being used for the potash and fertilizer industry.
Currently, the design is still in production with over 27,000 units being delivered and this model stands as being the most popular grain car in today's market.
-Road name specific details
-Metal stirrups and grab irons
-Trucks have rotating bearing caps
-Etched-metal roof walk and safety platforms
-Different hatch styles as appropriate per road name
-Die-cast trucks and couplers
-Authentically detailed paint schemes
-Length: Approx. 14.5"
-Height: Approx. 3.9"
-Minimum diameter curve (3-Rail): O-54
-Minimum radius (2-Rail) : 36"