NX17K Class Flat Car
Beijing Wanxuda Railway Equipment
The NX17K flat cars are standard Chinese N17 flat cars upgraded to container (X) and fast (k) service. They are very common freight car and can be seen all over the country, some have been reverted back to other service such as timber, maintenance, etc.
The first run of NX17K's were limited to a run of 3000 pieces according to the certificate inside the box. Whether or not this means 3000 per number, or for the whole production run is something of a mystery. Either way, both runs sold out very quickly and as such prices have gone up quite substantially.
Beijing Wanxuda's NX17K's were sold in a two piece cardboard box with a foam insert and foam sheets. There is a cutout in the center piece enough to hold the container and the flat car.
The car itself looks very good. The details are nicely molded on, and they have the container receptors mounted to the floor of the car to accept 20' and 40' containers. As far as I'm aware, the real cars also have receptors for 10' containers, although these are becoming obsolote, so maybe the later NX17k's never had them. The end foot steps, air hoses and drop gates (used for automotive loading) look great, however said gates are not positionable. I found the lettering to be good on some cars. I think the cars are 'pad printed' where the lettering is stamped on in various layers to achieve a generally good crisp appearance. It is a little less quality than laser printing. Of the cars I have, a few of them seem to have missed the full printing process, as the brightness of the lettering is about half that of others!
The main flaw for these cars (now confirmed for both production runs) is the bow in the car frame. This causes the center of the car to rise up, so if you're running containers, prepare for a bit of a wobbly run. You can see in the bottom left photo, how a 40' container balances on the car. For some reason, it seems no attempt was made to correct the flaw for the second run.
The NX17K's have a nice weight. Unfortunately, because the wheels are SO bad, this really has no bearing on the rolling qualities. The wheels come from the factory hopelessly out of gauge and can move up and down the axle with very little provocation. You would probably have better luck running these on the bogie frames! After the wheels are replaced, they run very nicely (make sure replacements have the same axle width!).
The couplers on these cars are direct copies of Kadee's #5 metal coupler. The manufacturer was able to do this as the 50 year patent expired on Kadee's! They work very well.