©2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Legal Stuff
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:
23270, $24.75 (!) - 40 Double Door Boxcar, Union Pacific Express Service.Two-tone gray sides, black roof, light gray ends, white stripes across car. White lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and "Express Service" legend on right. Reporting Marks: UP 9213. Approximate Time Period: mid-1940's (1946 rebuild/repaint date given by MTL) to sometime in the 1950's (a guess). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well, this is not the optimal way to start off another year of review and commentary. Once again, the UMTRR Accumulation of Official Railway Equipment Registers (ORERs) is going to yield us zip, zilcho, nada on this group of cars since they are categorized as passenger equipment. I get the distinct feeling that finding pertinent information on express service boxcars like this is going to more resemble an archeological expedition than the usual basic research; and that this third and latest use of MTL's Allied trucks is, unfortunately, probably going to be typical. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Fortunately, we do have some snippets of data from that digging. The first find was an article titled "Headend Cars" which appeared in two parts in the April and May 1992 issues of Railroad Model Craftsman. A partial summary table from the April 1954 edition of The Official Register of Passenger Train Equipment shows that the UP had 126 express boxcars in service at the time, numbered from 9100 to 9229. Authors David and Jennie Lambert commented that BX cars like the one modeled by MTL "were the mules of passenger train express service." Our second item also comes from that piece: The UP and others "all had striped liveries consistent with the paint scheme of their roads' passenger fleets." © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Aha! you say, but the Union Pacific was best known for its yellow and gray passenger cars, so what's with the two-tone gray? True, but prior to 1951, the UP did have passenger cars to which this month's release matches. It wasn't until that year that the road decided to paint all of its varnish into the familiar "Streamliners" scheme, and of course it took a while after that to get conformance across the system. In my mind, that's the best clue I've come up with for estimating the end of the Approximate Time Period, however, I still don't rank it any higher than a guess. I'll also point out that the Southern Pacific, which operated joint service trains with the Union Pacific along the "Overland Route" between Chicago and Northern California, also had two-tone gray passenger cars, which did not give way to a version of their red and silver Sunset Limited treatment until 1958. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In terms of prototype fidelity of the body style, we get a clue from MTL's own car copy, which states that these cars were rebuilt from cars built in late 1940. That's around the same time that last of the "Challenger" express service boxcars were going into service; those cars were depicted by MTL as their catalog number 23230, released in two numbers in the 9100 series in 1996 (9149 then 9147, to be exact). Two photos of these particular cars, one in the RMC article and one on the website of the Colorado Railroad Museum, seem to make the MTL model of the Challenger car too large in height and too short in length than the prototype. If, and I do mean IF, these cars had their origin as the Challenger express cars, then there will be the same issues. We'll have to depend on a reader, perhaps one with a Morning Sun color guide, to contribute some Incremental Information. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, I suppose that I can't let the price tag for this item escape without notice. In fact, I used the exclamation point (!) for the first time in quite a while here, as the $24.75 MSRP blows away anything previously reached on a standard boxcar. It's not the highest price ever for an MTL car, but it is the highest this month (in a month with a center flow, even), and I think it will push the envelope with budget-minded buyers despite the intricacies of the decoration. (I've been told that painting the two-tone gray plus the stripes on the four doors was a killer.) It might even make this not quite a no-brainer for the Union Pacific passenger train operators at whom this is clearly aimed. The fact that there were only ten cars of this type extant doesn't eliminate the possibility that these were found on other roads, but it does make the probability of an appearance fairly rare. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
37040, $15.40 - 50 Foot Double Door Boxcar without Roofwalk, Jersey Central Lines (Central Railroad of New Jersey).
37040, $15.40 - 50 Foot Double Door Boxcar without Roofwalk, Jersey Central Lines (Central Railroad of New Jersey).Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right. Reporting Marks: CNJ 25039. Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1969 rebuild/repaint date given by MTL) to early 1970's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Only the fourth release in the 37000 series comes in a rather unusual paint job for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Although the "Miss Liberty" herald had been brought back after a hiatus in the early 1960's, these cars didn't get that logo, just the roadname "Jersey Central Lines." Last time that MTL did a release for the CNJ, it was the 120020 AAR/USRA boxcar and much of my commentary centered around the corporate history of the Jersey Central Lines. This time, my commentary will center on some personal experience with the road. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
These cars were reworked in October 1969, just a month before the Irwin Family's momentous move from the City to the Suburbs, and the Jersey Central replaced the Pennsylvania as the railroad most proximate to the house. However, unlike the Pennsy across the street, the CNJ was two whole blocks away! That seemed like a light year distant after having the PRR visible from outside our apartment window... © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Anyway, by 1969 the CNJ's main terminal and shops at Elizabethport (it is one word and MTL's NJ Transit reference is a bit anachronistic in the context of 1969) had lost most of their luster, as had the railroad. The "Aldene Plan" implemented in 1967 removed all rail passenger service from the E'Port station, with the lonely exception of the "Bayonne Shuttle," also called the "Bayonne Scoot" which was usually operated with RDC's. The service existed for the purpose of transporting "stranded" Bayonne, E'Port, and downtown Elizabeth rail commuters west to Cranford, where they could hook up with rerouted CNJ mainline service. If the final destination was New York, that meant a trip of something like 25 track miles to go a straight line distance of about 5 to 10 miles, but the Shuttle also supported anyone wanting to go west of Cranford as well. Not surprisingly, the Bayonne Shuttle saw more rail enthusiasts and CNJ employees than "real" passengers, and few outside of railfandom lamented the end of the service in August 1978. We did ride at least once, and in the cab of the lead RDC from West 8th Street over the famous Newark Bay Bridge into E'Port thanks to a friendly engineer. Somewhere in the Irwin Archives there are photos taken during that ride. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There are also photos from and around the diesel shop at E'Port that we took on numerous trips to the facility. At that time, which was the early to mid 1970's, there were plenty of buffs around and the shop grounds were generally open to responsible railfans. What was to become NJ Transit was already sending diesels there including some vintage E units. Freight diesels from other lines complemented the CNJ's own roster that was cycling through the place. And one of the more interesting parts of the complex was a real live working transfer table, which we actually witnessed in operation just once. And it was just one other time when an employee gave us a brief look inside the main shop building. I didn't understand too much of what was going on but I wished I had; I didn't get another peek inside an active Class I shop until the year 2000. If you want to get a sense of just how big E'Port was at one time, pick up the Fall 2001 issue of Classic Trains, which has a 1950 vintage aerial photo of the complex. Just don't look for it now as there isn't much left. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
On to the car itself: The April 1970 ORER shows the CNJ series from 25000 to 25199, of all 200 cars, AAR Class XM, and as basic a description as they come: "Box, Steel". The inside length is 50 feet 6 inches and the outside length 54 feet 2 inches. The door opening is 15 feet, which suggests to me that the double doors were not of the same width; probably a seven and an eight foot door instead of the two eight foot doors that MTL used. The capacity is 110,000 pounds or 4,783 cubic feet. In April 1976 under Conrail, the series is, well, not there. This appeared to be a big mystery until a reader forwarded an article titled "Central Railroad of New Jersey 50 Foot 50 Ton Boxcars - Series #25000-25199," by Russell Underwood. The high level summary: The CNJ, in dire need of equipment but with no cash, leased these cars from a subsidiary of the Norfolk and Western, following refurbishment of the cars. Unfortunately, they reverted back to unusable condition very quickly, and the CNJ reneged on the lease. Legal wrangling ensued, and the net effect was a premature return to the lessor and subsequent scrapping by early 1975. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
47200, $14.75 - 40 Foot Wood Side Ice Refrigerator Car, Canadian National.
47200, $14.75 - 40 Foot Wood Side Ice Refrigerator Car, Canadian National.Mineral red (brown) with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and green and white maple leaf herald on right. Reporting Marks: CN 209344. Approximate Time Period: late 1940's (1948 paint date given by MTL) to possibly as late as the early 1970's, see text. This car has only the "Canadian" (English) spelling on both sides, not alternating with the "Canadien" (French) spelling. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
That sound you hear is that of a streak being broken... after doing nothing but various forms of boxcars for the Canadian National since the inception of Micro-Trains, the folks behind the red and yellow sign release a non-boxcar in CN livery. In addition, this is the first new prototype- based 47000 series car since the 47330 Western Fruit Express release almost twelve years ago (!), and the first new release 47'er since the Pepsi Special Edition in November 1999. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The June 2001 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman contains an excellent review of all 2,412 of the Canadian National's steel underframe, wood bunker refrigerator cars written by Stafford Swain. This particular car was built in 1937 as part of Series 14, the last group of wood reefers to be built by the CN, numbered 209295 to 209419. Many of these 14 series of cars were built at the CN's Transcona shops in Winnipeg or at their London shops; an additional 100 were done for the New York Despatch Lines subsidiary of Grand Trunk Western by Pullman with similar construction. (Kadee did a New York Despatch reefer way back in 1976 as their catalog 47080.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I had been a little concerned about the prototype fidelity of the 47000 body style against the CN reefers, given what I knew about them from other articles, i.e. some had eight hatches! And yes, there are differences. On the MTL model, the hatches don't have any sort of platform surrounding them, but on the prototype photos there are wood platforms on the roof edge side of the hatches. They were needed as the real cars had Hutchins steel roofs; not a difficult conversion from the simulated wood roof on the model. And there is also the infamous underslung charcoal heater detail; if I am reading a table in Swain's article correctly these were included from day one on Series 14. One of these days someone's going to come up with this aftermarket part and make a small fortune. (If they start with a large one.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The RMC piece also neatly summarizes ORER data for us and projects the series as far out as the 1970's. But it also mentions that the cars were repainted from this 1948 "tilted" maple leaf version, first to the "straight" maple leaf and then to the "wet noodle" CN starting in the early 1960's. (The "tilt" is to the box containing the slogan, not to the maple leaf itself.) If it was me, I'd cut the ATP off a little earlier than the actual retirement date for those reasons. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
By the way, the catalog number is "out of sequence" at 47200, but this is a number that had not yet been used. I wouldn't lose any sleep over this or ponder why Kadee and MTL skipped over numbers in the past... chances are that there is no consistent explanation, or conspiracy either. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
94190, $22.00 - 3 Bay ACF Center Flow® Covered Hopper with Trough Hatches, Missouri Pacific.
94190, $22.00 - 3 Bay ACF Center Flow® Covered Hopper with Trough Hatches, Missouri Pacific.Gray with black lettering including reporting marks on left and "buzzsaw plus eagle" "Mo-Pac" herald in center. Reporting Marks: MP 724369. Approximate Time Period: early 1980's (1980 built date given by MTL) to perhaps the present, see text.
The "buzzsaw plus eagle" herald on this car was the last to be utilized by the Missouri Pacific before its merger into the Union Pacific. It was adopted in 1979 so the 1980-built cars would have been newly painted this way and they would have been among the first to wear this garb. I'd never heard of the "buzzsaw" being a stylized version of the sun before, as stated in MTL's car copy, but apparently it's true. The device was adopted in 1888, was first used on freight cars in 1926, and got as big as 60 inches-- five feet!-- across starting in 1962. The "screaming eagle" part of the herald is a nod to the "Route of the Eagles" that the Missouri Pacific once was. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It's nice be able to put in a plug for Tom Stolte's extensive MP Photo Website. You might know Tom as the man behind Oddballs Decals, which produces a bunch of stuff in N Scale. He has two examples for your consideration in this very paint scheme. Car number 723772 is fairly well weathered but clean otherwise, while car number 723662 has a fair number of graffiti "tags" on it... nothing colorful or artistic, just the run of the mill stuff. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Yes, these are in the same group despite being in the 723000's, as the April 1981 ORER will attest. Series 723400 to 724399 is just four short of the possible one thousand maximum. These are AAR Class LO, description "Covered Hopper, Steel, Gravity Unloading." Inside length is 53 feet 3 inches and outside length is 58 feet even, with capacity of 4600 cubic feet and 200,000 pounds. The model could be a little short depending on how you measure inside and outside length. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Moving along through the ORERs, we find 968 cars left in 1986, and then 823 cars in October 1991, but with a change in the ORER description to include "Trough Hatch," which aligns nicely with MTL's body style description, no? (Uh, I think it would be the other way around.) The capacity had been dropped to 179,000 pounds in the October 1996 Register with 829 cars remaining. But the cars were back up to 200,000 pounds carriage ability in the January
2000 ORER, though down to 665 cars. At this point, it's certainly possible that the Union Pacific had wiped out the buzzsaw and eagle in favor of the shield, but I'm not convinced that they've all received that treatment so I'll semi-confidently state the ATP as being "to present." © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
108080, $23.90 - 100 Ton 3 Bay Open Hopper, Reading and Northern (Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern).
108080, $23.90 - 100 Ton 3 Bay Open Hopper, Reading and Northern (Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern).Black with blue end panel. White lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname across top of car. Red, white and black herald on left. Red and yellow "Ease-Up" monogram on right. Reporting Marks: RBMN 7286. Approximate Time Period: late 1990's to present. Also released in February 2002: 108090, $24.75, with red panel, Road Number 7410. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Taken with the 108090 from February 2002, here's a "virtual two-pack" of these cars. And what cool looking coal cars they are! (Black, white, red, yellow, and blue are five colors on the blue panel car.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The R&N, previously the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern, is one of those happens less often than we'd like shortline success stories. Beginning with a mere 12 mile castoff from Conrail in 1983, the line grew significantly in the decade of the 1990's, and is now up to over 300 miles of former Reading and Lehigh Valley trackage. The main line snakes through Anthracite Country from Reading to Scranton, in the process interchanging with the Canadian Pacific (former D&H) and Norfolk Southern (former Conrail nee-RDG and LV) as well as four other shortlines. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The motive power roster of the R&N is quite interesting. It owns some SW switchers (8s, 8ms, and 1500s among them); six SD-38s, five of them from the DT&I; two ex-Southern Railway B23-7s; and two ex-Erie Lackawanna SD-45-2s. The R&N also rosters two RDCs, one of which started on the Boston and Maine, and the other of which was once New York Central's M-499-- hey, that's one of the RDCs Kato just produced! And let's not forget the two steamers, a Pacific and the former Reading 2102, a T-1 that's more than a little famous. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
You might think that the R&N's adoption of the former Lackawanna slogan "The Road of Anthracite" is anachronistic, but it's not. The coal business has resurged in eastern Pennsylvania, and there are no less than 15 loading points for black diamonds along the line. (Among these, and believe it or not, still in existence, is the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, which once was a railroad operator in its own right via the Lehigh and New England.) Much of the 25,000 carloads that the R&N hauls are of coal, and much of that is going up to Canada. And then there's the toilet paper... I'm not kidding, as the R&N now switches the Procter and Gamble plant in Mehoopany which is the largest single P&G production facility in the world and a key manufacturing point for that rather "necessary" product. (Sorry.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
According to the R&N's own website, the line owns 65 gondolas and 360 "open top hoppers." Glad they mentioned that, for there isn't a listing for the company in the 1998 or 2000 ORERs for the line. Well, the cars certainly do exist! There's a 1998 photo of sister car RBMN 7268 and a photo of red-paneled RBMN 7423 on George Elwood's extensive site. Note that the roadname is in the old Reading Railroad font, which is pretty cool. Based on the photos on the Elwood site and the timetable for the R&N's expansion, I'm pegging the ATP as being fairly recent. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, Bruce Bird, who submitted photos of these cars to MTL, has some incremental information on their travels, start quote:
"I first started seeing these cars locally here in Illinois a little over a 2 years ago. Specifically, they would congregate on the interchange tracks between the IC and the NS in Tolono. The eye-catching scheme worked as not only did I start shooting roster shots of them I also began wondering what the heck a northeast shortline's cars were doing in the flatlands of central Illinois! A quick check of the NS public trace revealed that these cars are EVERYWHERE. Chicago, Nebraska, Oregon, Ontario, and of course, Pennsylvania. In fact, a large number of them were in Ontario, and with some info provided by my friend Walt Baselt we deduced that they were calling on the Johnny Walker distillery there. Apparently the anthracite is being used for filtering water at various locales around the country. They never show up on the NS's ex-Wabash main in groups larger than 5 or 6, so they are for small, spot purchases. This would fit in for the use of a filtering material as opposed to being burned for fuel. Modern modelers of the NS, CSX, IC, CN, CP, UP and BNSF should be interested in this model as it could be prototypically hauled on any of those lines."
N SCALE REPRINTS:
38200, $13.65 - 50 Foot Plug Door Boxcar Without Roofwalk, Burlington Northern.Green with white lettering including roadname on left and large herald on right. Reporting Marks: BN 730513. Approximate Time Period: mid-1980's (1983 service/paint date given by MTL) possibly into the present. Previous Release: Road Number 730845, August 1993. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We're going to do a real two-for-one special on this item, as you'll see in a moment.
Seems to me that when these cars were rebuilt and repainted by the Burlington Northern, they were also renumbered. There's a gaping hole in the BN roster as listed in the April 1981 ORER, that goes all the way from the 716's to the 745's. Thousands, that is. In the January 1985 Register the 730's are filled with a lot of little series, including the one in which this reprint falls, and a different one in which the previous run's road number falls. Let's start with this month's 730513. It's AAR Class RBL, series 730415 to 730514, description "Box, Steel, Insulated, 20 inch Cushion Underframe, Side Fillers, DF-B Bulkheads, 50K." The inside length is 50 feet 1 inch and the outside length 57 feet 10 inches... so those extended trucks with green colored draft gear are appropriate. (I almost wrote "green molded"... nope, not what I meant.) There are 28 cars in the main series plus six more in two subseries. Meanwhile, the previously run 730845 belongs to the series 730842 to 730912 which is about the same with a 58 foot 1 inch outside length, of a total of 33 cars including subseries. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I thought that perhaps the BN had left room for growth in the series so I skipped ahead only 18 months to my October 1986 ORER, but nothing doing there, just 33 cars in each series. Same in July 1987. In July 1989, lose one car out of the first series and lose some side fillers out of some of the remaining cars (not the 730513, though). By October 1996, the first series is down to 21 cars and the second series is down to 20 pieces. From there I jumped to my trusty January 2000 ORER, and found that there are still seven cars in the group 730415 to 730514, three of which, despite being plug door boxcars, are described simply as "Refrigerator." Meanwhile, the series 730842 to 730912 also survived to that point with 10 cars. All of this under the merged Burlington Northern Santa Fe of course. This would normally have led me to a BNSF public trace, but that's no longer available as I've already related. I am saved somewhat by the notion that after almost 20 years on the rails chances are that the cars may have been repainted into a less complicated scheme... like probably "reporting marks only." But I will tentatively set the ATP to present pending being proven wrong, as I still see large BN heralds on the rails here in Western New York. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
76030, $17.95 - 50' Plug and Sliding Door Box Car Without Roofwalk, Santa Fe.
76030, $17.95 - 50' Plug and Sliding Door Box Car Without Roofwalk, Santa Fe.Dark box car red with mostly white lettering including "Shock Control" slogan on left and large circle cross herald on right. Reporting Marks: ATSF 49635. Approximate Time Period: 1978 (rebuild/repaint date given by MTL) through the late 1980's. Previous Release: Road Number 49633, May 1998. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Punch in "Santa Fe + Fe-31" into an Internet search engine and you're going to get a lot of Latin American sports statistics. But you're also going to get a reference to ATSF equipment diagrams for sale, and among them is the Fe-31, titled "Automobile Series 49500-49999 built 1960." The FE class refers to Furniture... why did the road kept putting boxcars in this class long after such type of cars stopped hauling furniture? Our ATSF Special Correspondent George Hollwedel knows: All ATSF double door boxcars are Fe, reports George. "As time passed the designations had nothing to do with the commodity carried." There's actually a more bizarre example: Center flows and covered hoppers are class Ga -- from "gondola". Yikes! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Though the car itself was built in 1960, the paint scheme is what drives the significantly shorter approximate time period. The series of cars was a bit smaller as well by 1978, when this car had its roofwalk removed and it received the decoration modeled this month. By April 1981's ORER the original group of 500 was down to 349 including two subseries, numbered 49501 to 49899. The vital statistics from there: AAR Class XM, Description "Box, Shock Control, 7 foot 6 inch Flush Auxiliary Side Doors, May Be Used as Either Single or Double Door Cars, Nailable Steel Floors," inside length 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 56 feet 2 inches, 8 foot sliding door opening, 15 foot 6 inch total door opening, capacity 140,000 pounds. The January 1985 Register shows a drop to 275 cars and various subseries by capacity. Just 34 cars were left by the October 1987 Register. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Inflation department: When first released in May 1998, this car carried a sticker price of $14.55. The new price is $3.40 or 23.3% higher.
109010, $16.60 - 109010, $13.95 - Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with 6 Wheel Trucks, Pennsylvania Railroad.
109010, $16.60 - 109010, $13.95 - Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with 6 Wheel Trucks, Pennsylvania Railroad.Freight car red with white lettering including roadname and number in center. Road Number: 470016. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (1940 built date) to early 1970's for this road number, class F35, but late 1950's to early 1970's for the F43 class that MTL says this model actually represents. Previous Release: Road Number 470011, February 2001. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
OK, so back in February 2001 this body style debuted, and the nits were picked by your faithful byte-slinger and others with respect to the actual Pennsy freight car designation that aligns with the road number printed on that car. PRR series 470010 to 470019 is Class F35, which is different in several respects including total length from the F43 that MTL said this represents. And with the reprint, we were told, that mistake would be rectified. Well, the reprint has arrived, and, what else can I say but... this error wasn't corrected. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well... let's get out the N Scale Ruler and look at a couple of key dimensions. First, the length of the depressed platform, which is, according to the on-line equipment diagrams available at the PRR.railfan.net site, 22 feet on the F35 and 18 feet on the F43. On the MTL model this is 22 feet, as on the F35. Next, the length of the total platform, which is 53 feet 2 inches on the F35 and 58 feet 4 inches over the strikers on the F43. On the MTL model this is something like 58 feet, closer to the F43. Finally, the truck centers, which is 40 feet 6 inches on the F35 and 40 feet even on the F43-- well, that's not going anywhere, is it? On the MTL model, as close as I can measure, it's somewhere in that neighborhood as well. So, I think I've convinced myself that this may work, or not work, either way. Maybe I should just go back to coin collecting... © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We're close enough to the previous run of this car that ya'll can check the archive version of the February 2001 UMTRR for the rest of the information I'd previously found on it. But I will repeat a couple of points: First, the F43 series is PRR 470271 to 470275, for you re-numberers who want to go that way. Third, the website references for more on these cars are still valid on the PRR.Railfan.Net site. Fourth, the F43s went to Penn Central and I still think there's hope for a run in that paint scheme. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
69160, $18.95 - 51 Foot Mechanical Refrigerator, Rivet Sides, Klondike® Bar.Aluminum with blue lettering including reporting marks on left. Blue and white Klondike logo on right. Reporting Marks: GH 695. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
While not officially designated part of a Special Edition series on the MTL website, it is named as one of two in the Short Line and Micro-News. No surprise there, as there are plenty of extensions of this brand. And I'm also not surprised that this car has been released, being that it is in the same Good Humor/Breyers stable of products that includes the Popsicle® family. Pause for self-pat on back; I called this one correctly when the Popsicle caboose was released in October 2001 when I noted that the Good Humor-Breyers unit of Unilever controlled other brands and licensed them for use. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Klondike Bars in the Winter... interesting concept. Well, Kieran used to call ice cream "cold cold" so why not. The origins of the Klondike Bar can be traced, not to the cold and dangerous area of Canada's Yukon Territory where the 1898 gold rush occurred, but instead to the Isaly Dairy in Ohio. Information I found on the 'net varies in the details, but basically what is now a nationwide best-selling brand of "ice cream novelty" (whatever that is) began with the Isaly family in the early 1920's. The Good Humor-Breyers website says that the first Klondikes were just slices of ice cream dipped into Swiss milk chocolate, distributed in 1922. However, the Isaly Dairy did a lot more than that, and also owned a large chain of dairy and deli shops in Ohio and western Pennsylvania until the early 1970's, where they sold Klondikes, "skyscraper cones" (patented!) and chipped ham. When the stores declined, they were sold off by the Isaly family, and it wasn't until then that the Klondike bar was pegged to go cross-country. In 1984 the slogan "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" debuted in a nationwide advertising campaign. Meanwhile, ice cream and deli products remain available under the Isaly's name in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and there are still several independently owned and operated Isaly's stores. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Normally, it would not be worth it to nitpick a Special Edition. I mean, there's no prototype, so what is there to compare against, right? Well, this time there is a fairly glaring boo-boo that can't escape notice even on a fantasy car: the "XF Food Loading only" note in pretty big print on the left side of the car. "XF" is an AAR class that relates strictly to boxcars, not refrigerator cars! I hope I can find a bottle of white- er, "aluminum-out" for this one. While it's also true that "Electric Heating" would probably not be appropriate for ice cream novelties, except maybe in the real Klondike where temperatures regularly hit 50 degrees below zero, it is something that exists in prototype reefers to keep stuff from getting too cold. In fact, these appliances replaced the infamous underslung charcoal heaters! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):
No releases this month.
Here's a new body style for Z Scale which like the fishbelly side gon introduced in 1:220 in 2001, follows an MTL N Scale body style that's been around a while. This WM scheme has been done in N as well, but on a fishbelly side gon as catalog number 46110/46456. I don't follow Z that carefully but I believe this is also the first time that red oxide colored trucks have been supplied with a Z Scale freight car. Well, it's at least the first time on a Z Scale gondola. OK, on a straight sided Z Scale gondola? © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Western Maryland first flirted with their Speed Lettering roadname circa 1952, and officially adopted it circa 1953 for boxcars and gondolas. That puts this new release, repainted in 1963, well within the speed lettering era. The roadname was to be placed 7 feet 5 inches from the railhead, no matter how tall the car actually was. I guess this would create a smooth flow of "speed" in a group of WM cars traveling together, were that to happen in a train. But it must have been a bit trying painters of WM rolling stock, in both prototype and model forms. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1964 shows the series 51301 to 51375, of all 75 cars, AAR Class GB, description "Gondola, Steel Sides, Ends and Underframe, Drop Ends, Flat Bottom, Wood Floor." The inside length is 52 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet even, and inside height 3 feet 4 inches. The height from the rail is shown as 7 feet 3 inches... well, there goes that 7-foot-5 convention! In April 1970's Register we find that the original group has been combined with others, to yield a collection of 192 cars numbered 51301 to 51496, and that the outside length has been increased to 57 feet 6 inches. By April 1976, some WM equipment was already getting the Chessie System paint scheme, but the speed lettering was still around. However, this car wasn't: the series had sunk all the way to just four cars, and the 51302 wasn't one of them. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.