©2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Legal Stuff
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:
73030, $15.05 - 40 Foot Single Door Boxcar (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Full Ladders, Without Roofwalk, Erie Lackawanna.Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including large roadname on left and large "diamond" herald on right. Reporting Marks: EL 88033. Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1973 or 1974 rebuild date given by MTL) to mid-1980's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
When it comes to giant grain elevators along the shore of a waterway, with multiple tracks serving them enabling long strings of freight cars to carry lading to and fro... okay, maybe Buffalo isn't the first location that comes to mind. But the elevators are there, and at one time they were served by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. And also by the Buffalo Creek, which had as the principal device of its herald a bag of flour, and we'll come back to that in a bit. From Buffalo flour could have been delivered to any number of points, but probably headed southeast into lower New York or someplace in "Joisey" for use in large bakeries or delivery to warehouses. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
By the time that these boxcars were rebuilt for grain service in the early 1970's, the covered hopper was the principal method of carrying bulk grain products. But these cars were for bagged flour, which still worked in house cars. Good thing, as the EL was already in bankruptcy and rebuilds of existing equipment were enough of a stretch. Note the boxcar red paint in place of the more typical EL gray, probably a little cheaper and a little longer lasting. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that these cars were bought, rebuilt and then leased back to the EL by a third party, similar to the story of the Lehigh Valley gondola from last year (MTL Catalog 46380, released December 2001). © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The MTL car copy mixes up the chronology a little bit. Well, at least it mixed me up. The cars were initially built by ACF for the EL predecessor Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (which is also the half of the EL that principally served the Buffalo flour trade prior to the merger). MTL gives as road numbers 54000 to 54999 the DL&W series from which these cars were probably plucked for rebuild. The January 1959 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) (Westerfield CD-ROM) expands that out to 54000 to 55899, and these cars do have the same general dimensions as the rebuilt car. In the additional trivia department, the January 1964 ORER suggests the the DL&W series was simply to be restenciled "EL," although they hadn't made much progress in that area four years after the merger: 1802 cars in the Lackawanna series and 12 in the Erie Lackawanna series. Ouch. (Hey, that's almost as bad as the Burlington Northern or Norfolk and Western! Never mind.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Turning now to the precise car at hand, EL series 88000 to 88299, AAR Class XF, description "Box, Steel" consisted of 265 cars in April 1976. (It's the Conrail listing, I know, I'm cheating.) The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches and the outside length 44 feet 3 inches. Inside height was 10 feet 5 inches and extreme height, 15 feet 1 inch. Here comes a "Door Thing": the door opening is eight feet wide, not six as on the model. Capacity is 110,000 pounds. This series lasted into Conrail, to be sure, but dropped off pretty quickly: 98 in April 1981 and just 13 in January 1985. It's possible that they were put into a CR roster but I couldn't guess at the series they might have gone to. So we'll have to leave it at that. Meanwhile, renumbering to get more cars of this series should be a snap. Use CDS dry transfer set number 48 which is for a basic 40 foot steel boxcar and should work just fine. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The softcover "Classic Freight Cars Volume 1" by John Henderson has a three-quarter view photo of EL 88033 taken in May 1974. Stenciling on the door says that the car should be returned to the Buffalo Creek in Buffalo-- see, I said we'd get back to that. The car looks quite clean in the photo, but that would change before too long. This particular car has a Superior door, but scans of other cars in the series provided to me by a reader show that the door could also have been a Youngstown variety. Either way, though, it was still eight feet wide. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
75102, $56.40 - "9/11 Commemorative" Three-Pack of 50 Foot Standard Double Plug Door Boxcars Without Roofwalk, Wisconsin and Southern.
75102, $56.40 - "9/11 Commemorative" Three-Pack of 50 Foot Standard Double Plug Door Boxcars Without Roofwalk, Wisconsin and Southern.Each car is maroon with white lettering including roadname, small herald and reporting marks on left. Car 503081 has American Flag with caption "A Day America Will Never Forget - September 11, 2001" on right. Car 503144 has American Flag with caption "God Bless America - September 11, 2001" on right. Car 503143 has Air Force emblem with caption "No One Comes Close" and Air Force phone number on right. Reporting Marks: WSOR 503081, WSOR 503143 and WSOR 503144. Approximate Time Period: late 2001 to present. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Friends, it is very difficult for me to offer any commentary on this three pack that seems to be anything other than trite or superfluous. I'm very happy that MTL has chosen to produce this three pack as a memorial to the events of September 11, 2001, and that the real Wisconsin and Southern had decided to paint up the prototype cars. There is more on the prototypes on the W&S website, including a photo of the three with their locomotive numbered "911". © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
But even now, it's very difficult for me to talk about September 11, 2001, as I'm sure it is for many others. As you may have gathered from my "Remembrance" on the Irwin's Journal Online site, I knew people who were lost at the World Trade Center that day. I still cringe a little bit when I see a photo of the Twin Towers, or see them in the background of a television show. A real shock came when I went through my Christmas Card supply earlier this year and discovered a box of children's cards that I had purchased at the Duane Reade drug store in the WTC. Yikes. No exclamation point that time. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well, we've got to go somewhere with this, so let's proceed to a newly acquired copy of the January 2002 ORER, just in to the UMTRR Documentation Accumulation. The three cars done up for 9/11 are in the series 503005 to 503191, which are AAR Class RBL, description "Refrigerator" although they are more properly insulated boxcars. These cars are a little longer than the MTL body style at 52 feet 5 inches inside and 60 feet 3 inches outside. The double plug doors yield an opening of 16 feet, and capacity is 220,000 pounds. You might recall the WSOR boxcar that MTL did as its 75070 back in-- oh, my-- September 2001. It's from the same prototype series. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
One brighter item I can mention here is that since we discussed the WSOR then, their Horicon paint shop has picked up some impressive high profile projects, including the phenomenal Union Pacific "Olympic Torch Relay" locomotives in my favorite shades of bright blue. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I've not seen any of this trio of cars yet, and I don't know if they make it out to these parts or anywhere else I travel. If you're waiting with me at a railroad crossing and they go by, don't be surprised to see me salute. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
106220, $19.35 - 50 Foot 15 Panel Fixed End Gondola with Low Cover, Western Pacific.
106220, $19.35 - 50 Foot 15 Panel Fixed End Gondola with Low Cover, Western Pacific.Black with yellow and white lettering. Roadname split by orange feather across center of car. Black cover. Reporting Marks: WP 6053. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1962 rebuild date given by MTL) to late 1970's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Call this "part two" of the story of a WP gondola. We saw "part one" in August 2000 with the reprint of the 46050 gondola. Back then I reported that from 1959 to 1964 the prototype series 6601 to 6800 had dropped from its original 200 cars to 99, but that there were two new series of gons that appeared in the Feather River Route's roster. One of those groups was numbered 6300 to 6400 and were GBS class cars equipped with steel cradles for loading coiled steel strips. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The other group included this car, part of a short series 6051 to 6060. The January 1964 ORER lists these ten as AAR Classfication GBS, description "Gondola, Steel, Wood Floor, Covered" and Note MM refers to a three section roof and removable bulkheads that MTL notes as well. The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches and the outside length 55 feet 1 inch, so the model is a little short in the body and a little long overall, but not noticably so. The extreme height was 8 feet 7 inches, which should count the cover. Capacity was 1,745 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And "part two" came with a much more elaborate paint scheme. No plain white roadname here! The large orange feather was sure to garner looks at railroad crossings. This is quite the unusual circumstance for a gondola. It also explains the high price, which is probably the all time MTL record for a gon. (I've not validated this but I'm pretty sure. After the $33 WP caboose, even.) © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What could these ten cars have carried for the WP? Normally, we don't know, and this time we probably still don't, but there is an interesting possibility described in the March 2002 issue of Trains magazine. In the piece "Perlman the Magnificent" by Harry Bruce, a circa-1972 negotiation is described with respect to WP business with the giant U.S. Steel. The Western Pacific and its much larger rival Southern Pacific were invited to bid on coil steel traffic between Salt Lake and the Bay Area. WP thought it submitted a better overall deal but lost to the Espee. That prompted Alfred E. Perlman, legendary railroad figure and then-President of the WP, to fly out to and confront the U.S. Steel management with Bruce, who was working for Perlman at the time. The net effect of the meeting, leaving out all the intrigue, was that WP did pick up some of that steel business, and there you have a possible use for the covered gons. They were still around in 1972, in fact two of the ten lasted into 1981. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
109050, $18.30 - Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with Commonwealth Trucks, Erie / Erie Lackawanna.
109050, $18.30 - Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with Commonwealth Trucks, Erie / Erie Lackawanna.Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Reporting Marks: Erie 7208. Approximate Time Period: early 1930's (1929 built 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.
Is it Erie? Is it Erie Lackawanna? The answer to that question could be, "Yes."
To be sure, when first arriving on the scene in 1929, this car belonged to the Erie Railroad. The January 1940 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows this car as part of a five car series 7208 to 7212. This group had an inside length of 52 feet 2 inches, outside length of 52 feet 10 inches, and platform length of 21 feet at a height of 2 feet 8 inches from the top of the rail. The capacity was 270,000 pounds. The same cars are listed in the July 1950 Register and in the January 1959 Register with the additional information that the truck centers are 39 feet apart and that there is a steel loading deck. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In 1960 the Erie Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western merged to form the Erie Lackawanna. However, as the January 1964 ORER shows, the new EL didn't bother to reletter the cars in question. Erie series 7208 to 7212 remained as is on the roster, although some other DC flats did get EL reporting marks by then. I suspect it's possible that since the cars were built in 1929, management figured that their useful life was ending and therefore why bother to repaint or reletter? Maybe, but guess what? It looks like the April 1970 Register shows that four of the five flats were relettered to the series EL 7208 to 7212! And the fifth in the group, 7209, still had Erie stenciling. That car might not have made it out of that lettering, but believe it or not, the by then 47 year old cars crossed into the Conrail era, listed as EL 7208 to 7212 in the April 1976 ORER. Well, that should make for an easy follow-on release. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
57010, $14.25 - 33 Foot Two Bay Hopper, Composite (Wood and Steel) Sides, Flat Ends, Santa Fe (AT&SF).Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Reporting Marks: ATSF 180736. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (1943 and 1944 built dates given by MTL) to late 1950's (1958 given by research data). Previous Releases: Road Number 180700, June 1977; Road Number 180793, November 1977; Road Number 180847, February 1990; Road Number 180552, July 1997. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What a difference five years can make in the knowledge around a freight car. Back in 1997, I wrote that the 1960's were a perfectly acceptable time to run this car, based on ORER data. In two words, Not True. Well, you live and learn. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The December 2000 issue of Rail Model Journal profiles these "War Emergency" hoppers including the two series built for the Santa Fe. Series 180400 to 180599 was built by General American and given the railroad's class Ga-62 (hoppers went into the "Gondola" series on the Santa Fe). Another series, Ga-60, was built by Pullman-Standard and carried road numbers 180600 to 180799. On each car, 1,590 board feet of lumber substituted for two and a half tons of steel, so the steel could go elsewhere in support of the War Effort. The Car Construction Committee of the War Production Board said that the cars "should be satisfactory for several years of service." They did go a little longer than that, on the Santa Fe and other railroads. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the ORER for July 1950 (Westerfield CD-ROM), the two groups cited above are listed as one series of AAR Class "HM" cars, described only as "Hopper". The cars were 33 feet interior length, 34 feet outside length, 10 feet 7 1/2 inches extreme height, 1,970 cubic feet and 100,000 pounds capacity. There were 399 cars in the group. We can pick up from there with a table in the RMJ article. Until April 1955, the cars were shown as composite, but were listed as steel in the 1956 Register. The group numbered almost 400 all the way through the early 1960's, dropped to 315 in 1964 and to 102 in October 1972. But keep in mind that as modeled by MTL the ATP is only until the 1950's. The caption below a photo of one of the ATSF cars in the RMJ piece says that the rebuilds to steel sides were done by 1958. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
78070, $16.65 - 50 Foot Automobile Boxcar, Double Doors and End Doors, Chesapeake and Ohio.
78070, $16.65 - 50 Foot Automobile Boxcar, Double Doors and End Doors, Chesapeake and Ohio.Dark blue with white lettering including reporting marks on left and "C&O For Progress" herald on right. Reporting Marks: C&O 272175. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1960 repaint date given by MTL) through early 1970's. Previous Release: Road Number 272189, April 1998. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Here's another revision to the history of the car as noted in an "early" UMTRR. Since the first run of the 78070 in April '98, we've learned more. For starters, I noted that "this car certainly had the boxcar red of the C&O prior to this." No, actually it probably had the boxcar red of the Pere Marquette, since, as we noted in March when the 78100 PM auto box was released, the PM series of cars 72125 to 72199 became C&O 272125 to 272199. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The January 1964 ORER shows this series as simply "Box, Steel" but with AAR Classification XML, meaning a general service car with a loader of some sort. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 52 feet 11 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches and extreme height 14 feet 9 inches. The door opening was 14 feet 6 inches which is 18 inches shorter than the MTL model-- yep, a "Door Thing." Capacity was 4,656 cubic feet and 100,000 pounds. There were 73 cars remaining in the series by this point, and, by the way, none left still in Pere Marquette paint. By April of 1970 this group was down to 57 cars, but they were off the roster by April 1976. No mention of the end doors in these listing, so we assume that they were welded shut as was common practice by then. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 8" shows a picture of the previous road number 272189 taken sometime after its repaint of December 1960. The end doors are shut alright but the side doors are partially open! The blue paint is holding up fairly well but evidence of door opening and closing is there in the form of rusty looking scratches on the car side. There's an interesting effect to model for those of us who weather. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
59080, $25.95 - 40 Foot Steel Ice Refrigerator Car, Popsicle®.White sides, aluminum roof and ends. Black lettering. Multicolor clown device on right. Reporting Marks: GH 7002. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
On a recent health segment of one of the local morning radio shows, it was noted that Popsicles, Creamsicles and Fudgsicles are not a bad way to go if you want a low fat frozen confection that still satisfies your craving for something cold and sweet. High-fat products, including, most probably, other products of the Good Humor-Breyers unit of Unilever, were thoroughly dissed as "cheeseburgers on a stick" but the 'Sicles got good marks. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Now let's turn to a special correspondent who has more to say about the subject of this month's SE release.
Thanks, son. If you think about it, though, the innocent enjoyment of a Popsicle is kinda what this Special Edition is about. The History Channel's 2001 Series "American Classics" (hosted by the ageless Dick Clark) didn't mention Popsicle by name as one of them, but it did describe how an American Classic comes to have almost a mythological meaning to Americans that easily transcends its original purpose. Think of Popsicles and a warm summer afternoon strolling down Main Street may come to mind, or perhaps a quiet time on the front porch swing-- turning your tongue blue. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.
Well, I was all set to say, "please see the description of the N Scale release in the April 2002 UMTRR." But noooooooo... this is a different paint scheme. And a different road number as well. So much for the easy way out. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
A tank car this old isn't going to have much on the 'net, but the Union Pacific did donate WP tanker number 1132 from the same prototype series to the Feather River Rail Society's museum in Portola, California. There's a photo of it on the FRRS website. The tank is quite rusted and only a little bit of lettering is discernable. There's a relief valve on the dome that isn't on the MTL model. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This car was built in 1912 according to both the website and the MTL car copy, and the series 1081 to 1180 does show up in the April 1912 ORER. The car length is 29 feet 10 inches "inside" and 33 feet "outside" and the capacity is shown as 10,040 gallons or 80,000 pounds. There were 99 cars in the series at the time and the WP had 67 other tankers on the roster as well. I wonder what they were used for? In 1928 it certainly wasn't company service for diesel fuel. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The January 1940 Register shows 98 cars remaining in the group, but the group is not present in the July 1950 ORER. My suspicion is that the cars had been pulled out of revenue service, and thus the Register requirement, or they were sold off or otherwise dispositioned. The ATP is therefore also somewhat suspect, for two reasons: First, the paint scheme depicted by MTL may not have lasted that long. I feel that it's more of an early 1900's style than a mid-century version, given the large amount of spelled out dimensional data. Second, the car may have been around longer than given credit for in the ORER Accumulation. So, the Approximate Time Period I'm giving needs to be taken with a larger than usual grain of salt. © 2002 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.