©2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Legal Stuff
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:
20576, $12.80 - 40 Foot Single Door Boxcar (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Monon (Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville).Gray with red and white lettering including "Monon" roadname on left and "Circle M" herald on right. Reporting Marks: CIL 1223. Approximate Time Period: late 1940's (1948 service date given by MTL) to early 1960's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Here's a car that could perhaps be unique. It's certainly eye-catching.
The March 1994 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman contains an article by Montford Switzer titled "Monon's XML Boxcars." No, we're not referring to a computer language in popular use across the Internet! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Actually, "XML" is the Association of American Railroads code for boxcars with specialized load securing devices. The series of Monon cars with reporting marks CIL 1200 to 1225 were one of the line's early forays into this type of equipment. The cars were converted from selections out of a group of cars built in 1942 by Pullman-Standard, with the addition of Evans "Damage Free" or "DF" loaders. That much was known; what wasn't apparent for quite a while was whether the gray paint was legit. Finally, a photo of CIL 1223 emerged, proving that at least one car in the series was painted up in this special scheme. A check at the Monon Historical and Technical Society's website referenced only this article, so I don't know if any other photos have ever surfaced or if any other car was ever painted this way. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The July 1950 edition of the Official Railway Equipment Register (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows all 25 cars in the series 1200 to 1225, with inside length 40 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, inside height 10 feet, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, and a 6 foot door opening. Capacity is 3659 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
"Note A" in this Register listing, well, notes that the cars have "Utility Loaders" and are marked "DF Loader." Sorry, that's not what the prototype photo in the RMC article shows! The photo also shows that there's a seven panel Superior door on this car, and the MTL model matches. In fact, although the Micro-Trains car is actually a later vintage PS-1, it seems relatively close to the prototype. The biggest quibble would probably be on the height, as PS-1s are a little taller than 10 feet inside. Hardcore N Scale accumulators and/or Chicagoland N Scalers will recall the Des Plaines Hobbies special run of this car on an Intermountain 1937 AAR Boxcar body; it brings to mind a "rivet counting" difference, namely, that the prototype has riveted sides and the MTL PS-1 model has welded sides. (But the DPM/IM run has a Youngstown door; I have one and I checked.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
For the record, this series was used primarily for appliance loading, and lasted into the 1970's. But I doubt that the gray paint did. The Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railroad officially changed to its familiar nickname-- the Monon-- in January 1956, and from that point onward the cars lettered "CIL" were slowly flipped to "MON" reporting marks. So the end of the ATP for this car could be as early as 1956. Switzer, in the RMC article, said that he recalls the 1200 to 1225 series only in the more standard boxcar red and white color scheme from the early 1960's on. MTL released a similar scheme to this later livery in March 2000 as their Catalog 20536, but it still has CIL reporting marks and a road number of 778. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
31330, $12.80 - 50 Foot Single Door Boxcar, Maine Central.
31330, $12.80 - 50 Foot Single Door Boxcar, Maine Central.Green with aluminum door and yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and small rounded corner rectangular "pine tree" herald on right. Reporting Marks: MEC 9507. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1961 built date given by MTL) to mid-1970's (end of roofwalks). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
You know that there's a perspective difference when you go to websites and the familiar orange and green exterior post boxcars (MTL catalog number 25020), that pre-dated the "Big G" Guilford paint scheme, are consistently referred to as the "old Maine Central boxcars." Where does that put this series, which pre-date those familiar orange boxcars? Yikes! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Some sniffing around the MEC_RR@yahoogroups archives suggests that the paint scheme selected by MTL for this car is the as-delivered version fresh from Pullman-Standard, complete with silver door. There's a reference to page 45 of Morning Sun's "Northern New England Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment." That's not in the UMTRR Reference Material Accumulation, but two readers obliged with the citation from the book which accompanied a photo of-- guess what-- car number 9507. "Number 9507 was photographed at Rigby Yard, South Portland in 1969 painted green with a small yellow Maine Central logo. This group of 55 ton capacity PS-1 box cars was assembled by Pullman-Standard in 1961 with roller bearing trucks at the Michigan City Plant." The lettering looks quite on the mark, report my UMTRR readers Kevin Roesselet and Richard Roberg, right down to the use of a serif font on the reporting marks (as opposed to the block lettering you might have expected in 1969). And yes, the MEC herald really is that small on the prototype car. Since the car is a PS-1 type, it should generally match the MTL 31000 series body style, although specific builds did differ on the details. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, the ORER for January 1964 shows the series 9350 to 9549 of 200 cars, AAR Class XM, description your basic "Box, Steel." Inside length is 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 53 feet 1 inch, a little longer than the 51 feet 10 inch cars so perhaps the medium extended couplers play here. The door opening is listed as 9 feet so we have a little "door thing" going here; MTL's door is 8 feet wide on their 50 foot standard boxcars. In April 1970 there are just two fewer cars in the series but the outside length has grown to 56 feet... extended draft gear here, I'd wager. In the April 1976 Register the description is altered to "Box, Steel, Lading Band Anchors" and 192 cars remain in service. This was down to 189 cars in April 1981. However, by this point you have to be thinking roofwalk removal, as running boards were outlawed from interchange service in 1974 and possibly repainting as well. In addition, the exterior post "old Maine Central boxcars" were probably beginning to supplant the previous generation of cars for paper and other high class cargo hauling. However, there were still 160 cars in this series on the books in July 1992 and even one car left in the July 1998 Register.
© 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
35170, $12.00 - 40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Great Northern.
35170, $12.00 - 40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Great Northern.Sky blue with white lettering including late 1960's block lettering roadname on left. Reporting Marks: GN 56385. Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1969 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1980's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Scott Thompson's book "Great Northern Equipment Color Pictorial - Book One Box Cars and Stock Cars" provides a reference to this series of cars, whether painted vermillion red or sky blue. Scott models the GN in HO Scale as it appeared in Northern Minnesota in the late 1960's, which fits right in with the ATP of this car, so his comments on Lindsay Korst's website are limited to 1:87. He says that the Athearn kit is a starting point for the series, except "scratchbuild new sides." Ouch. Those of you who have Thompson's volume will want to check pages 110 to 112 for further information. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Since we are referring to the 1969 rebuild and repaint of the series 56250 to 56469, I can skip right to the April 1970 ORER and the "brand new" Burlington Northern's listing. This is divided into two groups, 56250 to 56324, and 56325 to 56469. The only dimensional difference between the two is the outside length, which is 40 feet 9 inches on the first group and one foot longer on the second group. Otherwise, they are 40 feet 6 inches long and 10 feet 1 inch high on the inside, have a door opening of six feet and carry 80,000 pounds of livestock. While most railroad's rosters of stock cars had been decimated by this point, especially east of the Mississippi, the GN still operated more than 1300 stock cars at the time that the line went into the BN. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
By April 1976 the two subgroups totaled a still respectable 202 pieces with GN lettering. In April 1981 this was down to only 52 pieces and the subgroups noted above were merged into a single series. I quickly perused the BN reporting marks section of each of these listings, by the way, and found no stock cars in either case having been repainted for the Burlington Northern. I can't say I'm terribly surprised by that. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
65550, $18.30 - 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Western Pacific.
65550, $18.30 - 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Western Pacific.Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Reporting Marks: WPMW 0291. Approximate Time Period: 1979 to mid-1980's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Our friends at the Feather River Rail Society have in their possession the exact car modeled by MTL, and it's on display at their Portola Railroad Museum in Portola, California. (The same place where one can "Rent A Locomotive.") This 10,000 gallon car started life on the roster of the Union Tank Car Line, reporting marks UTLX 9284, built in 1952. It was purchased by the FRRS, well, sometime after it was retired from Western Pacific company service; I assume that was sometime after the WP's merger into the Union Pacific. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
A photo of the car as it appears at Portola is on the FRRS website and interestingly, it shows white handrails, brake wheel and ladder, and a dome that looks almost like galvanized steel. The MTL model doesn't have these touches but I suspect that while in the employ of the WP, the prototype didn't either. The consolidated data stencil is in the same place on the model as on the prototype, but don't assume that I can read that small print! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
77090, $21.90 - 50 Foot Single Door Boxcar without Roofwalk, Union Pacific.
77090, $21.90 - 50 Foot Single Door Boxcar without Roofwalk, Union Pacific.Yellow sides, aluminum roof and ends. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. Red, white and blue UP shield herald on left. Multicolor "Automated Railway" herald on right. Reporting Marks: UP 508494. Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1970 built date given by MTL) to late 1990's at least (with some detail lettering changes). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The April 1970 ORER shows the "soon to be expanded" series 508200 to 508499, AAR Class XL, which has just 36 cars in it but would grow with the addition of cars like the 508494 introduced by MTL this month. The inside length is 50 feet 6 inches and the outside length 58 feet 5 inches. The door opening is 10 feet, wider than the 8 feet on the model-- yes, it's a "door thing". The 11 foot interior height and 15 foot 6 inch extreme height apparently requires the notation "Denotes large cars within Plate C dimensions". These cars are equipped with Cushion Underframes and also 9 belt DF-2 loaders according to "Note OO." Capacity is 143,000 pounds, aligning with the UP designation B-70-7; that "70" stands for "70 ton". © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the April 1976 Register, there is a disaggregation of the 508200 to 508499 series into several parts, including the group 508400 to 508499. Same dimensions, though-- phew. One car, the 508400, is specifically called out for auto parts loading. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I skipped all the way to the January 2000 ORER from there-- I'll explain why in a moment-- and found 16 cars remaining with the full description "Box, Steel, Cushion Underframe, 9 Belt DF 2 Loaders, 50K" and AAR Class XL, plus another 13 cars in the group called simply "Box, Steel" with AAR Class XP, and varying capacities. (What is a few thousand pounds among friends, really now?) I checked the UP Public Equipment Trace (which was still available to verify the existence of cars) and found that the road number MTL selected is no longer in the Equipment Register, but others in the group are. So that ATP could stretch out to "the present" for the series if not precisely this car. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Speaking of others in the group, George Elwood's extensive photo site includes a quintet of circa 1990's shots of these cars. UP 508496, with badly faded shield herald and rust obscuring the bottom of the "Automated Railway" map, was captured in 1996. UP 508438 was found in 1993 in similar condition, as was UP 508413; and there are two other examples as well, all found in Idaho and lensed by Dave Krumenacker. Given the photo locations, except for that one auto parts car, perhaps the principal lading would be wood products? © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Based on the photos, there is one key structural spotting feature that doesn't appear on the MTL model; that's a diagonal line of rivets that extends on either side of the door across the first panel. If you are going to model a car in this shape from that time period, besides heavy-handed weathering you'll also need consolidated stencils and the U-1 "yellow dot"... and, believe it or not, an old ACI label as well; they were still tacked onto four of the five examples presented on Elwood's site. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
43070, $12.85 - 40 Foot Double Sheathed Wood Boxcar, 1 1/2 Doors, Chesapeake and Ohio.Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right. Reporting Marks: C&O 12133. Approximate Time Period: late 1920's to 1950's if renumbered, see text. Previous Releases: Road Number 12142, May 1979; Road Number 12132, October 1979 (considered rare); Road Number 12134, March 1990. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
When I had written the "tease" that appears on various Yahoogroups lists, announcing the MTL releases for the month, I already knew that there was one quibble with this car. You've heard of "door thing" in these bytes, now meet "truck thing." The service date of 1946 given by MTL doesn't jive with the fact that the archbar trucks included with the model were outlawed from interchange service in 1938. Fortunately, for those who are interested, this is an easy fix... simply trade in the trucks for something in a Bettendorf or maybe even an Andrews, and we're there. But as I began the actual research on this reprint, something else came up. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Let's begin as close to the original 1925 build date of the car as we can, with the April 1928 ORER. There are no cars at all in the 12000 series, which means the ATP doesn't begin back here for the reprinted road number-- or any of the previously run road numbers either. But there are any number of "Automobile" cars with four digit road numbers that could fit the description of the MTL model. For example, the group 82000 to 82999, AAR Class XAP, has a 41 foot inside length and a 10 foot door opening, not perfect, but not bad. You're good on the paint scheme since, according to the RPI site, the straight Roman lettering for the roadname was adopted sometime before 1924 and the straight lines above and below the reporting marks were added in 1929. This group still exists in the January 1940 Register (Westerfield CD-ROM) with 1,981 cars in an expanded series 82000 to 83999. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL states that these cars were serviced in 1946, and I expected to see that they were renumbered at that time as well. The July 1950 Register shows the series 12000 to 12168 of 167 cars, but with the description "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors" and an AAR Class XM for standard boxcars. These cars were not only renumbered, perhaps even rebuilt into all steel cars, although they keep the 80,000 pound capacity and the smallish 8 foot 8 inch inside height. It would be very useful to get a photo confirmation of this, since the ORER is also not perfect, and don't forget that there is a four year gap between the 1946 service date and the 1950 ORER date into which a wood sheathed boxcar can slip. But if this all pans out, it's so much for the wood sides for these cars, and therefore so much for the number series accuracy as well. Closing out this thread, in January 1959 there were 152 cars in the 12000 to 12168 group; in January 1964, 128 cars, and by April 1970, the series is gone. Meanwhile, the reduced series 82000 to 83999 remains in July 1950 with the description "Box, Steel Frame, Staggered Doors" and 478 cars. Those cars were gone by January 1959 and probably before that. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
56090, $14.25 - 33 Foot Ribside Hopper, Flat Ends, Western Maryland.
56090, $14.25 - 33 Foot Ribside Hopper, Flat Ends, Western Maryland.Oxide red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and circle "Fast Freight Service" herald on right. Reporting Marks: WM 10803. Approximate Time Period: late 1940's (1947 built date given by MTL) through the decade of the 1950's at least. Previous Releases: A 5-pack (black cars, not oxide red) with road numbers 10140, 10259, 10372, 10725, and 10800, December 1978; then Road Number 10801 (in oxide red), December 1998. Note that that last release had the label mismarked "Baltimore and Ohio" and that all labels are like that, it's not a "rare collectible". NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I've learned a little bit more about the Western Maryland's hopper fleet since the previous run of this car in 1998. But things can still be pretty convoluted, as I will no doubt demonstrate here. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Let's start with the bad news: The road number 10803, and all previous road numbers, apparently belong to a series of fishbelly side hoppers, characterized by the angled, not flat, sides at the base of the car. Which means that perhaps MTL probably shouldn't have issued a reprint with road number 10803 given that a more correct body style for the road number now exists in N Scale (from, eh, another manufacturer). © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
But there is some good news: The series WM 16500 to 21179 represents rebuilds of a series of cars from back in 1916 and 1917 (!) that were worked over at the WM's own shops from 1927 to 1935. And some of the original series was still around as well, as WM numbers 15000 to 16499. These cars had channel sides instead of rib sides, as noted in my previous commentary and discussed in both a Rail Model Journal article from May 1997 (which is the source of most of the information I'm noting here) and a Railroad Model Craftsman article from January 1999. Otherwise they were more or less resemblant to the MTL 56000 body style at a typical viewing distance. In N Scale especially, the difference is not that noticable in my opinion. (The RMC article describes a rework in O Scale... that, I'd notice.) Some rework is possible to better capture the "look and feel" of the prototype but you'll probably use a fair number of knife blades to slice off the factory-molded ribs. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The better news is that the "Fast Freight Service" lettering was the norm for most of the life of these other series of cars. The circular herald depicted on the MTL release was in use from around the late 1930's to 1952, when the "speed lettering" was adopted. The 16500 to 21179 group were working starting in the 1930's and all but gone from the roster by the early 1960's. The 15000 to 16499 made it into the late 1960's. I think this will all work together, if you're willing to do some renumbering. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to shift the build date backwards as well; it could, in theory, be 1916 or 1917 since that was the original build date for some of these cars despite the Western Maryland's several rebuild programs. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
All that aside, if you're OK with keeping the road number as is, then you'll want to know about the WM series 10001 to 14400. These arrived on the property starting in 1939 (and the MTL 1947 build date is OK on this), peaked out at around 1955 or so at over 4,300 cars, and had dropped back to around 3,000 cars by the mid 1960's. By the mid-1970's they were just about gone. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
94100, $22.00 - 3 Bay Center Flow® Covered Hopper with Long (Trough) Hatches, Santa Fe.
94100, $22.00 - 3 Bay Center Flow® Covered Hopper with Long (Trough) Hatches, Santa Fe.Mineral red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname across center. Reporting Marks: ATSF 313838. Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1973 built date given by MTL) to present. Previous Release: Road Number 313831, December 1997 (as part of 94102 two-pack with the 92080 BN 2 Bay Center Flow). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
An article in the May 1994 issue of Rail Model Journal notes that this MTL body style works for the CF4600 series of Center Flow cars, which were used by more than 35 different railroads. These were delivered during the years 1965 to 1981, and over 15,000 were made. American Car and Foundry built these and they were among the most popular of the Center Flow variations. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The October 1976 ORER shows that this particular Center Flow is part of the Santa Fe series 313800 to 314799. The group was 984 cars strong out of the original one thousand three years after being built by ACF in Huntington, West Virginia. (That's where a lot of Center Flows were "born.") 21 years later in 1989, there were still 749 cars extant out of the original thousand, of which 569 remained at the initial capacity of 200,000 pounds and the rest varied up or down from there. And in January 2000 as part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, there remained 476 cars in ATSF reporting marks in the original series. From that Register, I attempted to extrapolate whether the cars would keep the same road numbers as they were shifted from "ATSF" to "BNSF," but that doesn't appear to be the case. It also doesn't seem that former BN covered hoppers kept their road numbers either; the trio of ATSF, BN and BNSF road numbers look more like the BNSFs were inserted where they could fit among unused road numbers of their predecessors. Not an easy feat when you're talking about just short of ninety thousand cars! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Now, how about the paint? Could that have lasted into the present? I think it's at least reasonably possible. Darrell Sawyer has a photo of sister cars ATSF 314008 and 314190 from 1994 and 1997 on his Northwest Rail Pics site. But he also shows a "Quality" scheme on ATSF 314066, quite austere there with the small circle cross and small "cross in Q". But it would still make a good follow-on release, right, Micro-Trains? © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, Roger Beckett checked his copy of the BNSF 2002 Loco Review and Freight Car Directory. He writes, "The FC part of course doesn't deal with specific cars but it does tell us that the ATSF 313800-315199 cars are being renumbered into the BNSF 420097-421157 cars and that 253 cars have been remarked as of the January 2001 compilation of the list. There were 1088 cars still in this group at the BNSF merger and 572 still in ATSF marks." So it looks like time is running out on the ATP of these cars. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
51210, $26.95 - 36 Foot Wood Side Caboose, End Straight Cupola, Smokey Bear MOW/Fire Prevention.Bright green with aluminum roof and ends. White lettering and multicolor Smokey Bear icon below cupola. Road Number: 51898. Fourth and last release in the Smokey Bear "Fire Prevention" series, eighth release overall in the Smokey SE Series (not counting the locomotives). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Wood. No, steel. No, wood! Aaaaaagh!
Forgive the oblique reference to a scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." (Specifically, "What is your favorite color?") And also forgive the flip-flop of my report that the caboose in the Smokey Bear set was a steel variety. I started off thinking it was wood, then switched to steel after looking at a few scans of the set (and the collateral from Micro-Trains itself!), and obviously now I have switched back to wood. Grumble. Anyway, I believe that we will have closure to the Smokey Bear series, at least for the interim, with this release. It wraps up the promised group of four "Fire Prevention" runs. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I haven't been to the Official Smokey Bear site in quite a while, and since this may be my last chance to visit for an MTL reference, I thought I'd take another look. This site is aimed quite directly at the young'uns, with sections called "Forest Fun," "Campfire Games," "Color It," and "Bear Facts." You can also sign up for monthly e-mail updates from the "Smokey Club." But it's not all fun and games when it comes to preventing forest fires, and interspersed with all the diversions is important information, for example, "Smokey's Campfire Rules": © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
1. Dig a pit away from overhanging branches.
OK, maybe not that last one.
One final thing before we move on. I had a heartstring tugged when I read MTL's car copy on this. They make reference to the car as a "boose"-- which was one of my son Kieran's first words. I suppose I'll have to get one on that fact alone... © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
985 10 012, $64.95 - GP20 Diesel Locomotive, Hershey's.
985 10 012, $64.95 - GP20 Diesel Locomotive, Hershey's.Maroon with silver cab and lettering including "Hershey's" trademark on long hood. Road Number: 2002. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
How fortuitous that I should happen to pick up a copy of "Quick Guide Philadelphia" on the way out of a Philly hotel recently. It just so happens that there is a piece within titled "Guilty Pleasures" by Eunice Fried, that happens to deal with our "food of the gods." I've shared much of the facts and data on chocolate that are contained in this article (I wonder if Ms. Fried also visited the Hershey's website?) but here's a couple of other things I didn't know: © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
- The Aztecs gave a human sacrifice victim a last drink of "xocoatl," translation, "better water," which was made from the beans of the cacao tree. Good thing we don't have to go to such extremes today just to have a little chocolate (although sometimes it is a chore crossing the street to the Circle K for a fix when I'm on the road).
Anyway, this second run and solitary release of the Hershey's geep complements the road number 2001 that was offered last year. It probably wasn't too difficult to paint up enough for both runs at once, and just appropriately number the cabs at the right time. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):
May 2000 saw the previous release of an Nn3 car, the Austin & Northwestern box car (Catalog 15114). So it's been just shy of two years since I had something to say other than "no releases this month". © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As we reported back in September '99, this scheme followed the "Scenic Line" version of the D&RGW paint (MTL catalog number 15101), and appeared about 1941. Just before this, in January 1940, the ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the series 3000 to 3749 of a total of 713 AAR Class XM Box cars. The inside length is 29 feet 5 inches, outside length 30 feet even. "Extreme width" is something I would have been interested in, but it's not given; instead we have "Width at Eaves or Top of Sides or Platform" of 8 feet 4 and three-quarter inches. (The typical standard gauge boxcar of the time was around 10 feet wide, more or less.) The door opening was 5 feet and the capacity was just 50,000 pounds. That may have been more a concession to the fragility of narrow gauge track than the mostly wood construction of these cars. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The July 1950 ORER shows 688 cars left in the series. But this was down to 318 by January 1959, and had dropped to 294 in the January 1964 Register. Even at that shrunken state, the box cars were the most numerous group of the over 1100 car roster of the Rio Grande's slim gauge lines at the time. Stock cars, believe it or not, were the next largest series at 252 cars... I don't blame the Nn3 contingent for lobbying MTL for an example of a livestock carrier. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There are examples of this series of cars still extant, in varying conditions. Several of them are pictured on "Dave's Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Site," and there's also a table of what cars from the 3400 to 3999 group have survived in one form or another. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It was back in August 2000 that MTL reprinted this very gondola in N Scale, with the road number 6610. But for the first iteration of this car in Z, the folks behind the red and yellow sign reach back to the road number 6610 which was also on the first N Scale iteration back in January 1977. A nice touch. There is still a photo of prototype car 6650, which resides at the Feather River Railroad Society's Portola Railroad Museum in Portola, California on their website. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Summarizing the ORER data, in July 1950 there were 200 cars in the series 6601 to 6800, AAR Class GB, as "Gondola, All Steel, Drop Ends, Steel Floor." In the January 1964 Register it appears that some of the group had been sublet to a covered gondola series or a special cargo series. By April 1970 the series was down to 99 cars and in January 1985 just 25. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Richard Percy's "Espee Modeler's Home Page" contains, among a variety of other things, a rundown of the F units purchased by the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries Texas and New Orleans and Cotton Belt (St. Louis Southwestern). While Percy says his page isn't complete, it's certainly comprehensive already. According to Percy, unit 8023 is numbered that way as the result of the system wide renumbering of SP F-units in 1949. Originally, the units were delivered in four-unit sets numbered 6100 to 6119 A to D, so, for example, there was 6100 A, B, C, and D, with the A and D being A (cab) units and the B and C being B (booster) units. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
However, there is one little problem... maybe. Unit 8023 initially corresponds to a renumbered F-3 diesel, not an F-7. A key difference between the F3's and later F's is the protruding roof fans, versus relatively flush fans on the F-7A's and F-9's. This is true of both A and B units. But wait! After a stint on the Texas and New Orleans, where it was numbered 527, the 8023 was rebuilt in 1954 into an F9m, which looks more like an F-9, and thus also more like an F-7. So I think we're cool. If you think we're not, hit the "4 Axle Diesels" section of Percy's Espee website and pick another number! © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
One other quick note: For the first time at the East Coast Hobby Show, I actually held an MTL Z Scale F-unit in my hand. I thought I had the sense of how small these 1:220 units really are, but that sense was reset upon physically handling one. It is pretty amazing. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.