KM70 Class Hopper Car
I am missing some data for the above table due to very limited information on the internet. If you can help fill in the missing gaps of owner/ region section (a photo of the box label will do), please send me a message.
The K series wagons in China are a family of open top hoppers with a rapid discharge system. The K wagons are most often found in the mining sector, usually coal, however they can also be found on works trains hauling ballast. Most variants have four longitudinal chutes which unload the contents to the side of the wagon. They are generally only found in heavy industry such as coal mines, power stations and ports and seldom see the national China Rail network, asides from perhaps wagon transfers and deliveries from the factory.
The KM70 is the latest version and is built at Taiyuan Locomotive & Rolling stock works. They can be unloaded automatically or manually.
I was very happy to see a new industrial wagon, as they seem to be a very important, yet often forgotten genre in Chinese model trains. MTC released the first true K type hopper with twelve twin packs for a total of 24 cars. They are constructed mostly from plastic, although the spine of the car is die-cast. A metal weight is hidden inside the spine of the car. They are not overly heavy, but roll very nicely and of course extra weight could be hidden under a load. Personally I don't mind the weight as they are industrial wagons and I don't intend to run huge trains of them.
Like all MTC's freight cars, these ones come in a foam lined two piece cardboard box. The center foam piece has cut outs to accommodate the cars with each wagon wrapped in a soft plastic sheet to not only protect the finer details, but to also assist with lifting them out of the box. I would prefer to see a slightly thicker cardboard box, particularly on the higher quality freight models, however all my wagons survived shipping from Hong Kong OK (despite some creases). The box includes a pair of static couplers (for display purposes?) and also four uncoupling rods for both ends of each wagon.
These are very beautiful freight cars with an interesting design and stack of details. The main shell is a single piece and is very straight with very sharp mold lines. Being plastic, they have made the walls more realistically thin than other manufacturers have been able to achieve with plastic. There is a good amount of details parts; either plastic or metal. Metal parts include grab irons, ladders and handrails. Plastic detail parts include footsteps, air hoses, brake & unloading systems and lower hatch doors. The hatch doors are also plastic and all of my eight examples have a slight bow in them and have flash marks (leftovers from the injection process) on the inner facing panels, but as this detail is mostly hidden, it is not a major detraction.
End of car details is complete with the pneumatic brake systems, unloading equipment, air reservoirs, equipment boxes and handbrake wheel. Most of these are plastic and present very nicely.
The car interior is quite good with some neat details such as inner bracing and grab irons. Chute detail looks good - oddly better on the inside than the outside! Coal loads are not provided with these wagons, so those who want them will have to either fabricate their own load or try to purchase a stock coal/stone load that fits. This may not bother some people as factory produced coal typically lack realism, however I like to use them as a base on which I add real coal.
The undercarriage details look great with loads of rods for the unloading mechanisms and auto-steering bogie equipment. I also like the brake pipe which extends from the air hoses into the brake equipment. The bogies have an unusually high amount of detail with auto-steering equipment. Sadly much of this is hidden when on the layout of course. The bogies are fixed to the wagon with clips. They are made up of multiple components and are held together with small screws.
The KM70's roll very nicely and are able to go through all the track work on my layout with no problems. Wheels are metal and are chemically darkened.
MTC freight wagons are equipped with an in-house designed and manufacturer knuckle coupler. They are somewhat compatible with Kadee and other knuckle couplers and they click together very nicely. They pivot side to side and also slight vertically as well and are designed to lock into each other eliminating the prospect of separation due to high/low couplers which is nice in theory, however uncoupling can be a messy affair. MTC's design has also seriously impeded the ability to replace them with Kadee couplers, which is most unfortunate (at least for myself) as I prefer to keep my locomotive and freight fleets uniform. I am not sure why MTC felt the need to re-invent the wheel and they are certainly not the only company guilty of this (Aurora comes to mind). I also find the coupler shaft length too long for my liking. If you want to give it a go, better access can be gained by removing the bogies which are simply held to the body with a clip, to remove the bogie just get a good grip from the top and gently pull down on them to unclip the from the frame. Access can be made without the step, but you will need some fine tweezers and small Phillips head screwdriver.