©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:
20656, $13.65 - 40 Foot Box Car, Sliding Door (Youngstown Door), Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (Burlington Route).Express service scheme: Pullman green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and herald with slogan on right; one side, "Everywhere West", other side "Way of the Zephyrs." Reporting Marks: CB&Q 30034. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (1940 build date given by MTL, 1944 repaint date given by another source) to mid-1950's (based on the Allied trucks). Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well, the first data point on this item is interesting, although a little off topic, and so what else is new with this column? The build date of 1940 for this express service boxcar means it just misses the January 1940 edition of the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER)(Westerfield CD-ROM), but check this out: it appears that there is not a single steel sided boxcar in the employ of the Burlington Route at that date. Steel underframes, steel frames, steel center sills, but not steel sides! Wow! The "Q" was on the way to changing that in 1940 with the acquisition of, as you'll see, a whole lot o' boxcars. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
By the June 1950 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM), several impressive sized series of all steel boxcars had been added to the Burlington's roster. Perhaps the largest of these was numbered from 29000 to 37749, for a total of 7,877 boxcars. That's more than most railroads' entire rosters! These had an inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside height of 10 feet 6 inches, outside length of 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height of 15 feet 1 inch, a six foot door opening and capacity of 3900 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. But they would not have been PS-1s as in the MTL 20000 body style as they hadn't been developed yet. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We know that the express service cars came along sometime between the publishing dates of the two ORERs, and thanks to information on the RPI site, we know when: 1944. "Forty foot boxcars rebuilt for express service painted green with white lettering (not the gold as many think)" quoth the folks at the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society. The ORER does not call out these express cars separately, probably meaning that they're classified as passenger equipment and that they're in the Official Register of Passenger Equipment-- which are rarer than hen's teeth. But we do know from MTL that there were 150 of these specially equipped and painted cars, and that they had Allied Full Cushion Trucks. And that will restrict the Approximate Time Period, unless the trucks are changed out, to no later than about 1955 which is when Allied trucks were banned per ICC direction. I can't give you a specific date for the "real" end of these cars, although the series from which they were drawn lasted was still at more than 4600 cars at the start of the Burlington Northern era in April 1970. My speculation is that these cars went over to the 1958 "Chinese Red" scheme sometime before that after their days in passenger trains concluded. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The October 1996 issue of Rail Model Journal included the start of the magazine's extensive coverage of the 1937 AAR boxcars, including later modfications, and in this "Part 1" alone there are no less than five prototype photos of Burlington Route cars. One of these is of CB&Q 31087 which had Allied trucks and steam lines for passenger service and was painted Pullman Green and white; the shot is circa 1953. And if that's not enough, there is a three part article on the line's XM-32s in Mainline Modeler, spanning the July 1993, June 1994, and March 1996 issues of that magazine. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And here's another very interesting aside. Many of you may be familiar with the "@ BW" business that refers to the side of the car on which the "Way of the Zephyrs" or "Everywhere West" slogan is painted. (See the UMTRR website for a Micro-Story on this topic.) In the early days of Micro-Trains, this was more of an issue than it is now, and the "@BW" variations are highly sought after by collectors. Well, elsewhere in the RMJ piece is a photo of a prototype CB&Q car with the same "problem"! I quote: "The Burlington Route normally painted their slogans with 'Way of the Zephyrs' nearest the 'B' [brake wheel] end and 'Everywhere West' nearest the 'A' end. However, [the pictured] car has been lettered contrary to the standard method..." The caption continues that the car in the picture isn't the only example of this. So, art imitated life? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
28170, $15.40 - 40 Foot Box Car, Wood Side Single Sheathed, Western Pacific.
28170, $15.40 - 40 Foot Box Car, Wood Side Single Sheathed, Western Pacific.Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white square "Feather" herald on door. Reporting Marks: WP 26072. Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (1937 renumbering from sources) to early 1960's. Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The price of this car, about which some eyebrows have been raised, is probably attributable to a "door thing" of a different sort... not the width of the door, but what's printed on it. The ornate WP square "feather" herald, correctly printed directly on the door, will jack up the MSRP a bit, or a bit more than that. I'm not an expert, but it should have been at least two hits (black, white, not necessarily in that order) times two doors, plus whatever was required to do the sides and ends of the car itself. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The original series for these cars was 15001 to 16000, according to Garth Groff's "Guide to WP Cars" page which is part of his "Sacramento Northern On-Line" (the SN was owned by the WP). Garth reviewed the HO Accurail car painted to represent this series, and found it, well, fairly inaccurate. He notes that the car should have had a fishbelly underframe, which the MTL car doesn't, but I can't say with certainty whether that was true after 1937 when the car was renumbered, and possibly reworked. Garth also says the cars first had Arch Bar trucks, then Andrews; although since MTL offers both as spares you can switch easily from the Bettendorf trucks supplied with the model. But you'll have to repaint as well as renumber if you want to head back before 1930 since that's about when the square herald came into use. And lose that nicely done "feather" on the door? Well, maybe not. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Since we're interested in the numbering that MTL did use, we need to go to 1937, or at least the January 1940 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM). There we find the series 26001 to 26100, of all 100 cars, with description "Box, Steel Underframe." The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 9 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 1 inch. The door opening was 6 feet and there were also end doors on these cars, dimensions 2 feet by 8 inches. These could have been lumber doors. As MTL reports, later in life some of these cars got to haul bulk plaster. Hmm, lumber and plaster, all we need is track and we can start a model railroad. These plaster haulers had either two or four hatches added to the roof, and show up in the July 1950 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) with the series expanded to 26001 to 26125 and "Note D" calling out the hatched cars, 26072 not being one of the 35 in that list. By January 1959 the group had plumetted to just 23 total cars of which only three had hatches. In January 1964 that was down to just 12 total with again 3 with hatches. That's where I stopped looking. However, the Morning Sun Color Guide by Jim Eager has a circa 1970 photo of the car 26072 that MTL modeled. By the way, the herald's feather in that photo is not red, that's an "oops" assumption I made initially.© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
105100, $12.95 - 50 Foot 14 Panel Gondola, Fixed Ends, Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.
105100, $12.95 - 50 Foot 14 Panel Gondola, Fixed Ends, Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left, roadname across center and small herald on right. Reporting Marks: THB 2346. Approximate Time Period: early 1950's (1953 build date given by MTL) to late 1980's. Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I dare say that I would not have expected two TH&B releases from MTL in the course of a ten month period. The 39220 wood boxcar preceded this new gon in just June of last year, after a dry spell going back to 1990 for the orange and black boxcar. Perhaps the site of the 2003 NMRA Convention-- Toronto-- has something to do with this, perhaps not. And no, the TH&B didn't have FT's, so it's not that. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What the TH&B did have was steel, and plenty of it in its hometown of Hamilton. In fact, perhaps some of the materials to build the car came to the factory on the road's own trackage. The cars certainly didn't have far to go to get to their owners. The TH&B Historical Society site shows two similar series of gons built by National Steel Car, Hamilton, Ontario, for the line. The first was 2300 to 2399 built in June 1953, and the second was 2400 to 2499 built in May 1957. The ORER for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows both these series and more in one line, for cars 2300 to 2549, description "Gondola, Steel, Fixed Ends, Wood Floor" and AAR Classification "GB." They sported an inside length of 52 feet 6 inches, outside length of 57 feet 6 inches, and extreme height of 7 feet 3 inches. Capacity was 1746 cubic feet or 156,000 pounds, though a note states that the load limit was just 500 pounds more, a bit unusual. In January 1964 this group was down a little to 239 cars, in April 1970 to 233, and in April 1976 to 230. I skipped a few books to the July 1989 edition of the ORER, showing the CP ownership of the TH&B, and 79 gondolas still in the series. The October 1996 Register listing for CP Rail includes some THB gons, but not this group. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The CDS Railway Lettering Diagrams book shows a later scheme, from 1976 on per its review, that eliminates the lines above and below the reporting marks and changes the roadname across the car to the version with the larger size capital for the first letter letter of each word while dropping the ampersand, i.e. just "Toronto Hamilton Buffalo." Meanwhile, there's a photo of the exact road 2346 in the book "In The Shadow of Giants" by Norman Helm, a book I don't own, but which was referenced on the TH&B HS site. More accessibly, there is a 1999 shot of THB 2623 in the newer scheme, and a picture of 2683 way out of town in Field, British Columbia on that site; look for "TH&B in Photographs" for the first image and "TH&B Gallery" then "Gondolas Out West" for the second. They're not from the same exact series but you get the idea. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We mentioned a bit of the fascinating history of the TH&B with the release of the wood boxcar last year, and while checking up on this new gondola I came upon another interesting bit of information, and perhaps a stark lesson in compounding. In 1890, when the charter for the line was revised yet again, the City of Hamilton provided a grant of $250,000 (I assume Canadian dollars) for the line's construction, with several provisos including that there had to be passenger service from Hamilton to Welland. When CP Rail picked up the 73% interest in the line it didn't own from the Penn Central, and subsequently killed off the last passenger train in 1981, the City of Hamilton sued to get its grant back with interest! The total: an astounding $37.5 million! Although reduced to $14 million initially and then cut to $1.83 million via a settlement, that was still a pretty expensive exit from the passenger business. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
34070, $15.40 - 50 Foot Box Car, Double Door, Baltimore and Ohio.Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks and large "B&O" initials on left, and "Sentinel Service" slogan on right. Reporting Marks: B&O 471415. Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1959 build date given by MTL) through the 1970's. Previous Releases: Road Number 471310, June 1974, in both standard and clip-on truck versions, also with original catalog number 34151; Road Number 471317, March 1982, listed in guides as being with both standard and clip-on truck versions. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The practice of just stenciling a "Time Saver Service" or in this case "Sentinel Service" device on the car began around 1956. Prior to that, you had your attractive, and expensive to paint, special paint schemes for some forty foot cars in the B&O's roster. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The January 1964 ORER shows the series 471300 to 471579, of cars, as AAR Class XML with steel construction. The group looks pretty basic, with a 50 foot 6 inside length, 10 foot 6 inch inside height, 51 foot 10 inch outside length, 15 feet 1 inch extreme height, and capacity of 4,880 feet or 100,000 pounds. These cars had 19 belt DF loaders according to an end note. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And, oh yes, a 15 foot door opening. Not two eight foot doors as on the model, but an eight plus a seven. You have to hand it to MTL, though, calling this out in their car copy, in essence admitting a "door thing." Hey, wait, did someone just steal my thunder? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Anyway, the series was 230 cars in April of 1970, 205 total cars in April 1976, and 198 cars in multiple subseries with different equipment in April 1981. By that time, you've got to be thinking roofwalk removal and possibly repainting into Chessie colors, like the 34010 Micro-Trains release, perhaps? Or perhaps a downgrade to a plain B&O with small herald but keeping the boxcar red paint. The CDS Railway Equipment Diagrams reference gives an ATP of 1957 to the mid-1970s for a similar series of cars, with the "Sentinel Service" logo, and I might add that their set number 344 should help with renumbering chores if you want to run more than one of these on your pike. But a Morning Sun Color Guide photo noted to us by a reader suggests that the repaints were earlier; that shot shows the plain "B&O" appearing on a car in the series in 1958, and also with Superior instead of Youngstown doors. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
55010, $15.10 - 33 Foot 2 Bay Hopper, Offset Sides, Flat Ends, Santa Fe (AT&SF).
55010, $15.10 - 33 Foot 2 Bay Hopper, Offset Sides, Flat Ends, Santa Fe (AT&SF).Mineral red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white circle cross herald in square on left. Reporting Marks: ATSF 180806. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's to late 1940's (based on reporting marks) but possibly as late as the early 1970's, see text. Previous Releases: Road Number 180793, June 1977; Road Number 180798, August 1979. Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Sincere thanks to two readers for doing the bulk of the "grunt work" for this reprint. First, one of our gang checked with his data library and found that Richard Hendrickson said the Ga-54 can be modeled with an Athearn hopper in HO. That helps via comparison to the MTL 55000 body style. "I looked at the Athearn hopper," George reported, "and it has extended ends, but otherwise looks like the 55000 MT body. I'm counting it among the 'very close' at least." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, another reader offers some "unsolicited material" from a source that he correctly assumed that I did not own, start quote:
End quote. I can help on the reporting marks with a lookup from the RPI site: The move away from the ampersand took place in 1938, prior to the delivery of these cars. In 1944, the periods went away. This could have an impact on the "strictly speaking" ATP depending on how fast you think the cars were restenciled. The RPI listing for the Santa Fe also notes that in 1941 the line put heralds on its hoppers for the first time; I wonder if this was that initial series? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I suppose I should do something as my own contribution for this car (!) so here are the vital statistics from the July 1950 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM): Series 180800 to 180999 had inside length of 33 feet, inside height of 7 feet 5 inches, outside length of 34 feet and extreme height of 10 feet 7 1/2 inches. Cubic footage was 2191 and capacity was 100,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Two further observations: First, and this is more interesting than I originally thought, the group was subdivided into the main collection of 154 cars and a subseries of 45 cars with AAR Designation "HMR" and a notation that read, "outside height from rail to top of running board, 12 feet 1 inch, extreme height 12 feet 1 inch." Wait a minute-- running board? Yep, as a note in the AAR listings says, "If any of these hopper cars are equipped with a roof or are covered for protection of contents the letter 'R' should be affixed to the regular symbol to designate its special class of service. Does that mean a "Covered Hopper"? Well, kind of, although that really would have been an "LO" class car. And guess what? The reprinted number 180806 is listed among this "HMR" subgroup-- at least in 1950. Well, also in January 1959. But not in January 1964, no covered cars shown in that Register. Holy detail part, Batman! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Second, perhaps this qualifies as a "not a reprint" due to the road number change; the previous two releases were from a different series of prototype cars with smaller capacity, therefore probably not ATSF Class Ga-54's. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
64024, $33.10 - 57 Foot Trailer on Flat Car Combo, Chicago and North Western.
64024, $33.10 - 57 Foot Trailer on Flat Car Combo, Chicago and North Western.Consists of two pieces: (1) 64000 series 57 foot TOFC flat car, yellow with mostly black lettering including reporting marks in center. Reporting Marks CNW 780501. (2) 67000 series 45 foot trailer, aluminum with mostly black lettering and white, black and red "Employee Owned" herald near top center. Reporting Marks: CNWZ 930078. Approximate Time Period: mid-1980's to present (for the flat car). Previous Release: Road Number 780516 (flat car) and 930076 (trailer), August 1992. That there was also a three pack of CNW TOFC flats in this scheme released in July 1989, with catalog number 64020 (each car), road numbers 780511 (with Union Pacific trailer UPZ 202491), 780515 (with C&NW trailer 930074) and 780519 (with Erie Lackawanna trailer ELZ 203051). Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Our focus for this reprint duo will be the flat car, namely because research on the trailer has turned up just about zippo. And the data gathering for the flat didn't start so well either; I had to look at the photo of the previous run of the car just to pick up a roughly right start date. Well, I got one; the ORER for July 1987 shows the series 780501 to 780699, of 171 cars with description "Flat" and AAR Classification "FC" and AAR Type Code "P436". That seems unusual enough for a look in the back of the ORER where such data is translated, and here's what it means. A type "FC" flat is a "Light Weight, Low Profile, Single Platform" car if the AAR Type Code starts with "Q" or a "Conventional Intermodal Flat Car" if the AAR Type Code starts with "P". (If you have a multi-platform articulated version that's an "FCA," by the way.) The "P436" explodes to "P" for a Conventional Intermodal, then the "4" is for a "Single Length, Standard Level, 8 1/2 foot Undercarriage," the "3" is for "Lift-On/Lift-Off only (no bridge plates and non-retractable hitches), and finally the "6" is for "Trailer up to 50 feet with nose mounted reefer." That's refrigerator unit, of course. So what all this means is that the car could carry most trailers that were around at the time, but had to be loaded and unloaded only where there was mechanical loading equipment, such as Mi-Jack cranes, for that purpose. There was no "circus style" loading available where the truck would be pushed into position, perhaps across a line of other flat cars first. Back to the actual flat car listing, we have dimensions as follows: "Inside length" 50 feet 6 inches, "inside width" 9 feet, "outside length" (over the couplers, we assume) 52 feet 11 inches, extreme height 7 feet 6 inches, which should includes the trailer hitch since the height to the top of the platform is just 3 feet 7 inches. Capacity in cubic feet wouldn't apply to a flat car, but the weight of 154,000 pounds does. There is also a subseries of 28 other cars which have just 70,000 pounds capacity, no reason given for that. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the July 1992 ORER, there are 196 cars in the series, but the capacity has been chopped to just 65,000 pounds. That's thirty-two and a half tons, easily the gross total weight of a filled fifty foot trailer. It would be interesting to have an explanation for that. In October 1996 under the CNW's purchaser Union Pacific, the capacity is trimmed again, to just 60,000 pounds. At that point you're talking a trailer filled with not much, maybe those annoying packing peanuts and little else! The car count is still pretty stable at 189 total units. The count actually climbed two to 191 total in the April 1999 book, perhaps with a shift of cars from another series of this type. And in January 2002, our proxy for "the present" around here, there are 144 cars with a Gross Rail Weight of 110,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ever-faithful Fallen Flags site serves up yet another photo for us, and it's CNW 780537, looking even flimsier than the MTL 64000 series body style. It's been generally known that many of these converts started out as boxcars. It's not as obvious from the MTL model, but it is more than apparent with the real thing; it looks like an underframe got away from its accompanying body! I guess I'm not so surprised at the de-rating of the capacity now. As such, there isn't going to be a precise match between real and N Scale depiction; one key difference is the end mounted brake wheel on the real thing versus the side mount on the 1:160 rendition. The other is, well, that flimsy look. The paint scheme worn by the 780537 is different, and complete with a CNW herald. The photo is undated, but shows the car passing through Cleveland carrying a UPS trailer. Which may explain the remaining usefulness as a low carry weight car; UPS shipment may not exactly tip the scales compared to other commodities. (And don't look for a UPS trailer in a hobby store near you; the company does not allow models of its equipment.) You'll also find a photo of CNW 780500 circa 1999 at the "Chicago and North Western Photo Archive"; its lettering is a little different from the MTL model as well. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The trailer should be roughly good for the same time period, give or take a few years. It's just one of several schemes that existed during the ATP of the flat car, not the least of which was the attractive "Falcon Service" style. The Fallen Flags site has a shot of a CNW trailer in white, not the scheme we're looking for, though. The ORER is of no help here since it stopped listing trailers in the 1970's; what would be needed is a "OIER" or Official Intermodel Equipment Register. Incremental information is, of course, always welcomed. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
65280, $19.15 - 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, Milwaukee Road.
65280, $19.15 - 39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, Milwaukee Road.Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left and "For Water Service Only" advisement on right. Reporting Marks: MILW 908318. Approximate Time Period: at least late 1970's (1977 service date given by MTL) to early 1990's. Previous Release: Road Number 908310, January 1991.
The prototype for this reprint was photographed in a yard that I've seen many times... from the air!
If you use the most southerly located runway into or out of O'Hare Airport in Chicago, you'll get a good look at Bensenville Yard, now owned by Canadian Pacific through the Soo Line, but once a key point for the Milwaukee Road. I've often taken off to the southwest, and then made a hard left to head back to the East, and if I'm sitting in the left hand window seat during this banked turn I can just about count the tracks in the yard, and see what motive power is sitting in it. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There are more conventional ways of viewing the yard as well, Franklin Avenue, as perhaps an example. At any rate, Scott Nelson did get in, and from inside his car snapped a photo of tank cars 908309 and 908307 in the employ of the Milwaukee "For Water Service Only" in November 1991. Rick Beaber has compiled this and a bunch of other Milwaukee images on his "Milwaukee Road Photo Archives" website. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What I find interesting about the photo is that the two cars are not alike, which isn't terribly unusual for company service equipment, but again simply underscores the peril of declaring matches or non matches to models of any scale from any manufacturer. In this example, if I had only located the image of 908309, I would have had (and perhaps given) heartburn over the kind of funky platform and handrails that have been placed around the dome. Your wire bending skills would be given a test trying to duplicate this. I think the closest thing I've seen would be Athearn's HO scale chemical tank cars for the handrails, but even that isn't that close. The platform, if it can be called that, isn't flat; instead it drapes along the curvature of the tank. On the other hand, the companion car, 908307, doesn't have any of that additional metalwork, and looks at least fairly close to the MTL 65000 body style. The weathering on both is interesting, in the form of whitish gray streaks, mostly around the dome. I'll wager that they are the remains of the minerals in the water. I won't hazard a guess on the paint color since the picture was shot through a car window in what looks to me like a mid to late afternoon sun. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER, as is typical with company service equipment, is completely useless for lookups, although I did note that the Milwaukee rostered two other tank cars in the 78000 series that are listed in the Registers of the 1960's. So we have to do an "at least" ATP here, starting from the MTL given service date and ending with the photograph date. My guess is that Soo/CP didn't bother to repaint these cars for a while after that. What I would be more interested in is how far back I could go before 1977, but alas, that must be speculation only for now. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
21350, $19.85 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, North Carolina 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 (dogwood) and state bird (cardinal) on right. Reporting Marks: NC 1789. Fourth 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.
My son Kieran would love to know that in the ancient history of the Tar Heel State, the eastern half was underwater and giant megalodon sharks ruled that part of what is now North Carolina. Somewhat later, the first European colony was established-- twice-- at Roanoke. The first time, the settlers returned home; the second time, they became "The Lost Colony," but not before Virginia Dare was born and became the first English child christened in North America. North Carolina became the 12th State of the Union in 1789, "undid" that in 1861 (versus seceding-- I guess they found the "delete" key?) and was readmitted to the Union in 1868. There's a lot of history in between, not the least of which was the rise of North Carolina native Andrew Jackson to the Presidency, and, not so fortunately, the "Trail of Tears" along which the native Cherokee were pushed out of their homes. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Textile and furniture became important industries after the Civil War, and to this day there are "field trips" from all over the East to the area around High Point for furniture shopping. The Wright Brothers made history at Kitty Hawk in 1903, and the state reworked its industrial base again starting in 1959 with the establishment of Research Triangle Park near Raleigh. The Raleigh/Durham area was named "best place to live" in 1994 and remains an attractive area for working age folks and retirees alike. I found several good references for more historical information, including the NC Encyclopedia and the history on the "Kid's Page." And besides the Cardinal and Dogwood being the state bird and flower, there are plenty of other Official State Symbols. For the record, the official drink is milk. Just thought you'd like to know. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
One thing I did want to know is the origin of "The Tar Heel State," and one explanation, on the "Official State Symbols" page, is that the tar was going to be applied to the heels of those who were supposed to be supporting North Carolina troops in the War Between the States, so that they would stick around-- literally. It's said that Robert E. Lee heard this and remarked, "God bless the Tar Heel boys." Before the Civil War, "The Old North State" was popular, given its geographical location north of South Carolina and its having been settled before then. But in one of my favorite movies, "1776," North Carolina always respectfully yielded to South Carolina, what was with that? Probably that Edward Rutledge was considered to be a better speaker, and in the Contintental Congress, "the South spoke with one voice..." well, until Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia came along... never mind. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Anyway, most of my experience with the state is centered around Charlotte, its largest city. It was the destination of my first plane trip (on Eastern Airlines, no less!) and then it was almost twenty years before I set foot there again. And in the interim the place experienced explosive growth, becoming a center of banking (now with over $1 trillion in resources) and expanding to cover almost all of Mecklenburg County. I've been back a couple times to the Queen City since then, on business, though, not for the fun stuff, so my time's been limited. The Outer Banks are on my list of places to set foot in, though, and I've also been briefly in the pretty Great Smoky Mountains. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.
New Release: 13107, Marklin Coupler, $13.20, 13107-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $14.90, 50 Foot Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Lehigh Valley.Jade green with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname across car, split by black and white "diamond" herald. Reporting Marks: LV 37048. Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1970's. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This car was done up in N Scale back in December 2001 and comes to Z Scalers in the same road number this month. The jade green was a calling card of the United States Railway Equipment Corporation, which did several deals to buy, refurbish and lease back cars to distressed railroads such as the LV and the Rock Island. (In fact, I almost used the same one-liner about there being a sale on green paint.) Craig Bossler's Morning Sun Color Guide to CNJ/LV Equipment includes a photo of this very road number. MTL could, as a follow on, backdate this Z Scale offering to the frieght car red of the 1950's and 1960's, since this car originally came from a Bethlehem Steel-built group circa 1952. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORERs, as I noted with the N Scale release, peg just about exactly a one decade ATP for these cars. The rebuild took place in 1970 and the cars were off the sucessor Conrail's roster by 1981, with one lonely exception. They could have gone over to Conrail paint, given that as rebuilds they were relatively young and Conrail was relatively strapped for money, but without an expert decoder of renumbering I wouldn't be able to tell you what series, if any. What I did somehow manage to leave out when I reviewed the N version was the dimensional data, so here they are: inside length 52 feet 6 inches, outside length 57 feet 1 inch, extreme height 7 feet 4 inches, capacity 1745 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
New Release: 17005, Marklin Coupler, $45.20, 17005-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $46.90, F-7 B Diesel Locomotive, Unpowered, Lehigh Valley.
New Release: 17005, Marklin Coupler, $45.20, 17005-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $46.90, F-7 B Diesel Locomotive, Unpowered, Lehigh Valley.Cornell red with black stripes. Yellow lettering including roadname and road number at center. Road Number: 515 (will be "LV 515" on website listing). Approximate Time Period: 1948 to 1968, with a caveat, see text. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Uh, oh, here we go again, I thought as I looked at the listing of the Lehigh Valley's diesels located on the "Lehigh Valley Railroad Modeler" site. Yes, there was certainly an LV 515, in fact it was part of an order of ten A units and ten B units delivered in late 1948. However, these were F3's, not F7's. Is it a "model thing"? Well, read on... © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The LV Modeler site cites an excellent article by Bob Kessler on the Valley's F's in the November 2002 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. Although the highly detailed models that Bob built are, being HO, two sizes too big (three if you count TT), the prototype info is just right. And, I quote here, "Lehigh Valley F3 and F7 diesels were virtually indistinguishable when viewed from ground level. The F3A and B[s]... were Phase IV units, having the same stainless steel grilles as the F7's. There are subtle differences which Kessler describes, but I doubt that I could find them in 1:87, much less 1:220. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
For those of you who accept this explanation, there is good news in the form of a chart in the RMC article, and how's this for dedication: a unit by unit roster of precisely how each of the F units the LV owned were painted, year by year! As you may know, the line was, let us say, somewhat creative with its designs, and also didn't like to stay with any one for very long. The company's famous Alco Centuries were the most graphic example of this, both literally and figuratively, but the F's were no slouches either, as there were nine variations on the Cornell Red theme for them. But the 515 actually stayed in its original paint scheme, as delivered, during its entire lifetime from 1948 to retirement in 1969, yielding the longest possible Approximate Time Period of all the F3B's that the Valley operated. To get a match for the booster, you'll need F3A 516 or 522, both of which also lasted in the as delivered scheme from start in '48 to their finish in '68. So far MTL has done units 512 and 514, which have an ATP in this paint scheme of 1948 to 1964 for the 512 and '48 to '67 for the 514 according to the article. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In general, these units stayed around for longer than they did on a number of other Class I railroads for financial reasons, i.e. the red on the units matched the red on the books. All the Fs, whether threes or sevens, were finally gone from the roster as trade-ins by the close of 1972, and the LV itself was closed into Conrail four years later. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Reprint: 14406, Marklin Coupler, $14.50, 14406-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $16.20, 39 Foot Tank Car, Baltimore and Ohio.
Reprint: 14406, Marklin Coupler, $14.50, 14406-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $16.20, 39 Foot Tank Car, Baltimore and Ohio.Black with white lettering including roadname and number on left and capital dome herald on right. Reporting Marks: B&O X417. Approximate Time Period: mid-1940's (1946 built date given by MTL) to at least the 1960's. Previous Release: Road Number X416, March 1985 (with Marklin Coupler) and September 1985 (with Micro-Trains Coupler). NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Please refer to the review of the N Scale version of this car in the September 2002 UMTRR.