©2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting Prohibited.Legal Stuff
NOTE: This archive edition covers single car releases only. Reviews of and commentary on Micro-Trains locomotives (including the FTs) and Special Edition sets such as the Evergreen Express are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:
25630, $20.50 - 50 Foot Exterior Post ("Ribside") Box Car, Single Door, Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay ("The Bay Line").Green with yellow and white lettering. Reporting marks (in white) and "The Bay Line" round herald (in yellow) on left. Slogan "The Bay Line" in inset green on yellow stripe on right. Reporting Marks: ASAB 7208. Approximate Time Period: early 1980's (1983 build date given by MTL) to late 1990's at least, possibly the present. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Ah, my favorite type of car to review; one that honors a relatively obscure shortline. You might think of the ASAB as a cousin to the Appalachicola Northern (although it's not as much fun to say), since both lines connect a Class I railroad to a port on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Bay Line was built starting in 1902 and reached from Dothan, Alabama, where it was headquartered until the late 1980s, to Panama City, Florida, where it's based now. Saint Andrews Bay was considered to be a prime port site as far back as initial European surveys of the area. Bay County, of which Panama City is the seat, is actually nine years younger than the railroad, having been split out of three other counties in the Panhandle. And Panama City wasn't officially incorporated until after the railroad arrived either. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Bay Line's connections were made at Dothan with the Norfolk Southern and CSX; or Central of Georgia and Atlantic Coast Line if you'd prefer the predecessors, and also the Hartford and Slocumb, itself no stranger to 50 foot boxcars as you may know. At Cottondale, Florida, the line interchanged with the Louisville and Nashville, and at Panama City, with "Steamship Service, to North Atlantic Ports, to Europe and Africa, to [the] East Coast of South America, to [the] West Coast of South America, the Orient and Pacific Coast Ports via [the] Panama Canal." At least that's what they said in the February 1963 edition of the Official Guide of the Railways. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The "Atlanta" part seems fanciful but at one time the line actually ran through passenger service from there down to Panama City in conjunction with the Central of Georgia. This arrangement lasted into the 1950's! And while low-key, it wasn't backward by any means; the line dieselized with RS-1s, and then switched to Geeps. It even bought three GP38s new from the factory. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ASAB was owned by Stone Container Corporation which had an operation in Panama City. In January 1994 the line was sold to Rail Management Corporation, or RMC-- not to be confused with that popular model railroading magazine! RMC renamed it "Bay Line Railroad LLC" in deference to the ASAB's better known nickname and also combined it with former CSX (ex-ACL) operations from Grimes to Abbeville, Alabama. The reporting marks flipped to "BAYL" from "ASAB" at that point. Does that mean a premature end to the Approximate Time Period? Let's find out. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL says the cars were built in 1983 so let's go to the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1985. At that point the line owned or operated 757 freight cars, including wood chip hoppers, pulpwood cars and a number of boxcars including the series 7200 to 7299, of 97 cars described as "Box, Steel, Nailable Steel Floor, Cushion Underframe" with AAR Classification XM. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 1 inch, outside length 57 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, and door opening 10 feet. Capacity was 154,000 pounds or 5,347 cubic feet. The MTL 25000 series car is a model of the FMC Plate B 5,077 cubic foot capacity car, an example of which was the ASAB series 7000 to 7099. I believe the difference in the two groups stems from the height; the 5347s are taller. I didn't get a fix on the exact builder of the 7200 series so it might or might not have been FMC. Then again, all of this may be giving many of you a headache anyway. Considering that the "Incentive Per Diem" shortline boxcar boom collapsed before the 1983 build date of these cars, you might be wondering why the line wouldn't have just plucked some second hand cars out of the aftermarket, but perhaps the fact that the line actually originated high value paper traffic is a clue. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The series held fast at 97 cars in the July 1989 ORER, and slipped just one piece to 96 in the July 1992 Register. By October 1996 the line had become the BAYL but the ASAB reporting marks remained on a total of 95 cars in the 7200s in several different subseries by capacity. As late as the January 2002 ORER there were still 92 cars in service with ASAB reporting marks, although 17 of them had been demoted to merely "Box, Steel." As with many colorful shortline schemes, however, the paint seems to have faded pretty badly; a photo in Rail Model Journal included the caption that the green and yellow had become "olive and mustard." So keep that in mind even though the ATP may make it all the way "to present." There are examples of this colorful getup in states ranging from brandee-new to fairly deteriorated on George Elwood's Fallen Flags site, but nothing as bad as the RMJ photo. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
45250, $9.80 - 50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Northern Pacific.
45250, $9.80 - 50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Northern Pacific.Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right. Reporting Marks: NP 62718. Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1967 build date given by MTL) to late 1980's at least. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It may be reasonable to say that MTL and I are using at least one of the same research sources: A prototype photo of NP 62718 taken in April 1974 that appears on Page 67 of the "Northern Pacific Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" includes the line "The hallmark of GSI's flats was the massive one piece steel cast underframe." Which is one of the lines in MTL's car copy. One sentence should certainly count as "fair use." At least I hope so because I just used it too. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
No, wait, the April 1970 ORER listing for Burlington Northern, "NP" subsection, gives a description "Flat, Cast Steel Underframe". Note 39(3) states that "This car features the hallmark of General Steel Industries..." No, just kidding; actually it states that two of the series of 247 cars includes canopies for use in hauling aircraft wings. Note 44 discusses the Freight Master Cushioning Device; to me that means that the MTL should including longer draft gear couplers to simulate this, but apparently it doesn't. Body mounters can fix this in a jiffy. To the numbers: "Inside" length 53 feet 6 inches (GSI cars were usually this size, longer than MTL's model), "Outside" length (over the couplers) 57 feet 11 inches, extreme height 5 feet 3 inches, capacity 154,000 pounds. Since they were built in 1967, they obviously lasted into the BN merger; I've got 74 in the October 1987 Register, plus the two aircraft part haulers; 38 in the July 1992 book, and even six remaining in October 1996. While restenciling of the dimensional data and reweighs would affect the "fine print" I think it's a fairly safe bet that the cars lasted a long time in the "original" paint scheme as depicted by MTL. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
If you don't have a copy of the NP Color Guide handy (and at $49.95 or $54.95 each, how many Color Guides can one really have handy?) you can get a sense of the prototype on the Northwest Rail Pics site. While not the exact series here, there are images and data on NP 66114 and NP 66185 available for your perusal. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
62070, $14.80 - 50 Foot Gondola, Composite Sides, Drop Ends, Pennsylvania Railroad.
62070, $14.80 - 50 Foot Gondola, Composite Sides, Drop Ends, Pennsylvania Railroad.Oxide (freight car) red with mostly white lettering including large roadname across side and road number at lower center. Shadow keystone herald on right. Reporting Marks: Pennsylvania 363242 (will be "PRR 363242" in website listing). Approximate Time Period: mid 1950's (1956 repaint date given by MTL) to mid 1960's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Just about whenever there's a Pennsy car to review, there's a sequence of checking through the available resources. First up is understanding exactly what Pennsy class of car is being represented. Fortunately, that information is usually included in the ORER listing, even into the Penn Central years. In this case, I checked the January 1959 Register (Westerfield CD-ROM), which is the first I own following the change to the "shadow keystone" on the PRR although the cars were originally built in 1943. Series 362384 to 363383 is either PRR Class G30 or G30a, with description "Gondola, Steel Frame, Wood Sides, Drop Ends, Wood Floor" and AAR Classification GB for the G30. Of the total 996 cars, 918 were class G30a, which were rebuilds with all steel sides, so just 78 pieces would have fit with the MTL 62000 body style in 1959. Here are some vital statistics: Inside length 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 6 inches, extreme height 7 feet 2 inches, capacity 1680 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. I was surprised to see that there were still 77 G30s in the January 1964 ORER, but just two remained in April 1970. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Richard Hendrickson did a very detailed two part article on the very subject of "War Emergency" gondolas in the May and June 2002 issues of Rail Model Journal, and includes a photo of PRR 362853 in the lettering done by MTL, but as a G30a steel sheathed retrofit. (There's also a shot of PRR 362548 as a wood sided car but in the earlier circle keystone lettering, like Micro-Trains catalog number 62010 released in August 1987). Comparing the RMJ photo to the model, there are differences; for example, the prototype used a lever hand brake as opposed to the "side-saddle" brake wheel mounted on the MTL car. The biggest difference is a general one which has been pointed out before with respect to the 62000 body style: the truss below the floor, with the open spaces, should come all the way out to the ends of the car, not stop before the trucks. The degree to which this is a grating flaw is up to you, of course. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
108100, $15.40 - 100 Ton 3 Bay Hopper, Union Pacific.
108100, $15.40 - 100 Ton 3 Bay Hopper, Union Pacific.Brown with yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname across center. Reporting Marks: UP 18122. Approximate Time Period: (1962 build date given by MTL) to mid-1980s. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Although it probably wasn't intended to be, this month's new release is a bit of a nod to a company that is barely hanging on. And I don't mean the Union Pacific. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
A release dated November 19, 2002, from the Office of the Chairman of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, stated that the company, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since October 2001, was "working toward a 'stand-alone plan of reorganization'" while also pursuing a "business combination with International Steel Group." ISG, itself a phoenix of sorts that rose out of the ashes of the Ling-Temco-Vought Company or LTV, made a $1.5 billion offer for the company in January 2003, which may or may not be accepted. Either way, Beth Steel will look a lot different than the way it did when it was building railroad rolling stock, like this circa 1962 entry for the UP. This is the company that produced its first iron rails in 1863 and its first Bessemer steel rails in 1873, built 1200 ships during World War II and forged steel that went into the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. It still owns nine shortlines mostly in the Northeast, including the Cambria and Indiana. And whether the firm remains independent, goes into ISG, or simply goes away, it's doubtful that the expansive mills in its namesake town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania will ever see the light of an open hearth again. The sprawling plant has been suggested as a site for an industrial heritage museum, in fact. (It's not all that far from Scranton and Steamtown, the national railroad heritage museum.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Bethlehem built a lot of 12 panel 3 bay hoppers for the Union Pacific, starting with this series which was given UP class H-90-1. There's a listing of these in the July 1996 Rail Model Journal, and photos of cars from later UP series that were also built by Bethlehem in the September 1996 RMJ. The paint scheme looks accurate to me though I can't compare detail to detail from the MTL website scan. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, back in the January 1964 ORER, we have the Union Pacific series 17950 to 18199, of 250 cars that had an inside length of 45 feet, outside length of 48 feet 1 inch, extreme height of 11 feet 1 inch and capacity of 180,000 pounds. Yes, that's 90 tons, not the 100 that's in the MTL 108 body style description-- a "tonnage thing" perhaps? Well, not really, since by April 1976 the capacity is at 100 tons, although the collection is down to 236 pieces. By October 1986 that's dropped to 97 cars total and in the October 1991 Register it looks like there's just one left. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
25270, $16.25 - 50 Foot Exterior Post ("Ribside") Box Car, Single Door, Frisco (St. Louis-San Francisco).Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white "raccoon skin" Frisco herald on right. Reporting Marks: SL-SF 42466. Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1972 build date given by MTL) to late 1980's. Previous Release: Road Number 42473, February 1985. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The final version of the Frisco herald adorns this car, which, built in 1972, pre-dates the absorbtion of the SL-SF into the Burlington Northern by just eight years. (I'm not counting the cars that simply had the word "FRISCO" stenciled on them, for example a group of hoppers.) Information on the RPI website indicates that by 1967 the hyphen between the "SL" and "SF" had been dropped, but it's back in for this car, and it's correct. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
If you think you see an ACF logo at the bottom right of the side of the car, actually stamped inside the ladder, you're right. The prototype for this car is the Frisco series 42100 to 42499, built by American Car and Foundry in October 1972. There's a genuine ACF builder's photo on page 15 of the September 2002 issue of Rail Model Journal, provided by Ed Kaminski as part of his article. There is a very detailed description of the attributes of this specific car, dubbed the "Henry C," all the way down to the standard price, which was $14,688 per car, minimum order 250. Is that a Special Run, or what? Actually, no, ACF allowed no modifications to its design for that price point. If you don't have access to the September '02 RMJ, try the reliable Fallen Flags site for a color view of SL-SF 42470 also from the series. Note that in that shot which is circa 1986, the U-1 yellow dot seems to have replaced the ACF logo, yikes! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The lettering reproduction on the MTL model is just about dead on against the photo in RMJ, hyphenated reporting marks and all. But the actual 25000 series car isn't exactly the same as the ACF version of the "X-Post" car (in fact, as noted above, the 25er is a model of an FMC car). The most obvious difference I noted were the ends. I don't remember the technical names for the various types of car ends, so I'll pass on that, but suffice to say they're not identical. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for April 1976 groups this series with 100 previously purchased ACF cars for the numbers 42000 to 42499 with a total of 497 cars. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet 7 inches, inside height 10 feet 7 inches, extreme height 15 feet even. There was a ten foot door opening (matched by MTL- no "door thing") and capacity of 154,000 pounds. This series lasted comfortably into the BN years, with 484 pieces in April 1981 and 397 in July 1987. However there's just 15 left in the July 1989 Register and three in the October 1991 ORER. Perhaps a repainting program occurred? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
32260, $13.65 - 50 Foot Standard Box Car, Plug Door, Pacific Great Eastern.
32260, $13.65 - 50 Foot Standard Box Car, Plug Door, Pacific Great Eastern.Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks and consolidated dimensional data on left and 1960's PGE herald on right. Reporting Marks: PGE 4521. Approximate Time Period: mid 1960's (1966 build date given by MTL) to no later than the mid-1980s. Previous Release: Road Number 4582, July 1989. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In between the caribou and the dogwood, there was the map. This 1960's era PGE herald included an outline map of the Province of British Columbia, just in case anyone wondered where the road operated. That's assuming that someone could understand that the map was of British Columbia, of course. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There are enough subtle differences between this release and the 1989 original to qualify this car as at least a minimal "not a reprint" in my book. This time, the font for the reporting marks is different, it's smaller, it has periods after the initials and there's no line above it. The words "Paper Service Only" appear below the herald on this run, and there's a Plate C designation left of the door; these weren't on the original. Finally, the markings just above the sill along the side are circles or dots on the rerun; they were diamonds on the first iteration. Is that enough? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Speaking of Plate C, the April 1970 ORER entry for this series of cars numbered 4501 to 4600 is specifically tagged with a pound sign (#) denoting "large cars within Plate C dimensions." The exact description of the group was "Box, Steel, Plug Doors, Roller Bearing" with AAR Classification XM. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches and the inside height 11 feet. Overall length was 55 feet 6 inches, extreme height was 15 feet 5 inches, and the door opening was 9 feet, a minor "door thing" since the MTL model has an 8 foot plug door, but it's harder to notice than with sliding doors. All 100 cars were present and accounted for. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
You might recall from previous MTL Pacific Great Eastern releases that after the PGE became the British Columbia Railway in 1972, the ORER listings didn't seperate series by reporting marks, i.e. they could be PGE or BCOL. So the exact end of the ATP caused by restenciling will be vague. I can tell you that there were 98 cars in April 1976 and 88 in April 1981. In the October 1986 ORER, the listing reads BC Rail Limited, and the PGE marks are finally called out separately. However there's just one car marked that way and 25 marked BCOL so thus endeth the ATP. They'd probably have removed the roofwalk by then so even mid-1980's is a stretch. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
50110, $17.70 - 36 Foot Wood Side Caboose, Slant Cupola, Denver and Rio Grande Western.
50110, $17.70 - 36 Foot Wood Side Caboose, Slant Cupola, Denver and Rio Grande Western.Brown with white lettering including roadname across top and "speed lettering" herald/roadname in center. Road Number: 01156 (will be "D&RGW 01156" in website listing). Approximate Time Period: late 1930's to no later than the early 1960's. Previous Releases: Road Number 0549, February 1981; Road Number 01149, October 1984; Road Number 01189, August 1987; Road Number 01158, December 1993. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The caboose roster on the Rio Grande Technical and Historical Society site states that the series 01140 to 01189 dates back to 1913 and was built, as MTL notes in its car copy, by "H&B" or Haskell and Barker. H&B got going building freight cars during the American Civil War (!) and was merged into Pullman in 1922. It took me a while to surmise that "SUF" stood for "Steel Underframe"... I hope that's right. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The inside length of the carbody is listed at 29 feet 10 inches, and depending on where you measure, that's pretty close to the MTL 51000 body style. While the car was built in 1913, the speed lettering herald didn't debut until 1939, so the ATP begins later. As usual, though, there will be detail differences between the prototype and the model, such is life when each railroad does its own thing on cabeese. I couldn't locate any specific photos of this series in service for the D&RGW, but I recall, during my research of the Western Pacific caboose last year, that the D&RGW and WP shared designs for cabeese. One of the common elements was an unusual step configuration, more like passenger car steps than "standard" steps (always put "standard" in quotes when dealing with cabeese). But the WP used truss rods while the Rio Grande used heavy steel underframes. (I guess I deciphered "SUF" correctly.) In a compilation on Rio Grande cabeese by Don Strack, it's noted that the ladder handrails had a broad curve over the roof as opposed to the tighter radius on most cabooses. This listing also noted that among the only five wood cabeese still in service on the D&RGW in 1962 was 01189, a previous road number done by MTL. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
65040, $19.15 - 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, General American Transportation Company (GATX).
65040, $19.15 - 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, General American Transportation Company (GATX).Black with yellow lettering including reporting marks and company name on left and triangular GATX logo on right. Reporting Marks: GATX 19638. Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1957 build date given by MTL) to late 1960's at least. Previous Releases: Road Number 19283 (as a single car), January 1984; then a six pack of Road Numbers 19283 (again), 19333, 19626, 19819, 19821 and 19922, January 1988. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
GATX-- it is now officially known by that name, which, yes, did come from its reporting marks-- calls itself "a specialized finance and leasing company." It leases "assets that include railroad cars and locomotives, jet commerical aircraft, and technology and marine assets." That's quite a long way from where it started, or even where it was when I was growing up in New Jersey and there was a GATX tank farm not far from where I lived. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This car goes back to to the days when the General American Transportation Company was at least equally focused on building cars as leasing them. GATX began as the German-American Tank Car Company at the start of the 1900's and renamed itself General American in 1916. First building in Warren, Ohio, production later shifted to two plants in Sharon, Pennsylvania. As you might imagine, an early emphasis was on cars that hauled oil and petroleum products. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL gives 1957 as the build date for this car, so I checked the January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM). Therein is a citation for the series 18700 to 19999, of 665 cars with 100,000 pounds capacity, plus a couple of exceptions. In the January 1964 ORER that group is down to 372 cars. And in April 1970, down again to 77. And that's it, which is a key problem with the ORER tanker listings... no length, no gallonage size, no et cetera. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And especially, no "how it was painted". The lettering scheme chosen by MTL for this car lies in a bit of a contrast to the very typical utiltarian scheme of reporting marks only. The General American logo, for example, was fairly common on the company's Airslide® covered hoppers of the same time period, but I don't remember ever seeing it on a tanker. I couldn't find any photo citations on this car, or anything in the series for that matter, although I did note from some Rail Model Journal articles that in the 1950's and 1960's, most GATX cars were in fact basic black with basic lettering. Does that mean this scheme never existed? I doubt that. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Although not a true example of either the Kadee 65000 series or this paint scheme, there's an interesting GATX tank car found as part of the Illinois Rail Museum site. It is, of all things, a green tank car lettered for the Industrial Molasses Company. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
A quick note on the apparent duplicate road number in the "Previous Releases": It's not a typo. One road number was issued first as a single release, then as part of the six pack. Whether this was the result of remaining unsold single cars being bundled into the multi-pack, or something else, isn't something I'd expect anyone to have records on. I believe that the only way to distinguish the first release from the second is the price: 11.65 for the first and 12.25 for the second, or one-sixth of the 73.50 total for the six-pack. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
21330, $19.85 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, California State Car.Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware. Red and black lettering including reporting marks, state name and outline map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state flower (poppy) and state bird (California quail) on right. Reporting Marks: CA 1850. Second release in the States of the Union series. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What can I say about the Golden State? I agree that it's one of the few locations where one can hit the beach in the morning and the ski slopes in the afternoon... if there isn't that much traffic in between. It would be among the Top Ten economies worldwide, were it an independent country-- which it nominally was for about a month in 1846. It's almost unfair that one state could have the Feather River Canyon, San Francisco, the Coast Range, the Redwoods, Yosemite, and Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay all to itself. But it does, and that's why more than 33 million people lived there. Hmm, if every one of them wanted one of these cars, we'd be in trouble. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Native Americans such as the Tongva, the Miwok and the Shasta lived in what is now California long before any Europeans saw it. When explorers did come, it was originally to find the "Northwest Passage" or the "Strait of Anián" as it was known in Spanish, and the land was just a barrier to an all water route between Europe and Asia. For a number of years, California was thought of as an island, based on the shape of Baja California. Sometime later, the area was part of the Spanish colonial empire; numerous missions, towns and cities named for saints, and the El Camino Real (King's Highway) are part of the legacy of that era. When Mexico won its hard-fought war for independence, California came with the territory, but that didn't last long. The United States "manifest destiny" saw to that, through the Mexican-American War, and California was annexed in 1848. The Gold Rush followed with its "Forty-Niners"-- hmm, that would make a good name for a football team. Soon after came statehood, but a "roving capital" that started in San Jose and moved around the Bay Area until landing in Sacramento for good in 1854. Then came the railroads, which brought settlers, transportation and prosperity, but also other opinions, including one expressed in the 1910 book "The Octopus," which chronciled farmers versus the Southern Pacific. John Muir came to California and fell in love with the natural beauty; as a result of his evangelical efforts to save it, we all have Yosemite to share. The Great Depression brought hardship, but also a bridge to span the Golden Gate, and thousands upon thousands of displaced Dust Bowl farmers who hoped for the end of the rainbow at the end of the Mother Road, Route 66. (Which ended, or began, at the corner of the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica Boulevard, and yes, I've been there, twice.) And can I leave out Hollywood? More importantly for this gang, Keddie Wye? Cajon Pass? Tehachapi Loop? Cable cars? The Coast Line-- trains hit the beach! Well, almost. And as for the N Scale crowd, it is a crowd. N-Trak got started here, at the Belmont Shores Club. And there are plenty more top shelf clubs and museums where that came from, not the least of which is the California Railroad Museum, home of the only surviving cab forward steam locomotive. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.
New Release: 13720, Marklin Coupler, $19.10, 13720-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $20.80, 50 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Santa Fe (AT&SF).Pullman green with delux gold lettering including reporting marks and circle cross herald on left. One side of each car has the straight line system map plus the "Ship Santa Fe all the way" herald right of the doors. The other side of each car has the slogan "The Grand Canyon Line" right of the doors. Reporting Marks: ATSF 10000. Approximate Time Period: 1941 to 1944 (December 1941 build date). NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It would be very nice indeed for Z Scalers if this release is the first of a run of ATSF express boxcars similar to the five pack done in N Scale in October 2001. It, frankly, would also be less work for me, since most of the information I could relate was related in the UMTRR for that month (see the archives on the website). © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There is one thing that will be different about this release versus the N offering. MTL does not offer Allied Full Cushion Trucks in Z (at least not yet) so it's Roller Bearing trucks for this car (at least for now). Although their use in interchange was outlawed in 1955, according to the website of Steve Sandiford, the elaborate map and slogan motif is good for only 1941 to 1944, after which all the former 10000 to 10199 series cars wore a much simpler scheme with circle cross and reporting marks on the left and only the word "Express" on the right, although still in pullman green and delux gold.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Reprint: 14410, Marklin Coupler, $13.75, 14410-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $15.45, 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, Mobil Oil.
Reprint: 14410, Marklin Coupler, $13.75, 14410-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $15.45, 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, Mobil Oil.White with black lettering including reporting marks on left. Blue and red 1950's era Mobil logo on right. Reporting Marks: MOBX 11125. Approximate Time Period: mid 1950's to mid 1960's (although stenciled with a 1961 service date). Previous Release: Road Number 11129, September 1993. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Z catches up to N on the release count for this item with this reprint; it and the N version (catalog 65120) have both had the same two road numbers. In the May 1999 edition of the UMTRR (still in the website archives), I covered some of the history of the Mobil Oil Company, dating back to one thread of its origin as the Vacuum Oil Company. Mobil is now part of ExxonMobil, reuniting a goodly portion of the former Standard Oil Trust, but the Mobil name and logo live on. However, not the one on this tank car; it actually had a pretty short "ATP" from 1954 to 1966. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER Accumulation was of little help back in '99 when the N Scale reprint hit stores, and this time, despite addition of Westerfield CD-ROM Registers, it ain't any better. In fact, the I can't even find the MOBX reporting mark in the January 1959 ORER, although there is "SMX" registered to Socony Mobil out of Kansas City. We already knew that there was a nebulous listing of over 1900 cars lettered "MOBX" in the January 1964 Register. But that's all we've got. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.