©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:
21440, $15.60 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, NYRX "Early Bird" (Merchants Despatch Transit / New York Central).Yellow with brown ends and roof and black sills. Black lettering including large reporting marks on left and "Refrigerator" on right. Black and white "Early Bird" logo on right. Reporting Marks: NYRX 2507. Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1958 service date given by MTL) to late 1960's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Right on the cover of the softcover "Freight Equipment of the New York Central Volume 1: Box, Stock and Refrigerator Cars" is a color photo of NYRX 2517, one of the cars in the series that MTL honors this month. But I can do better than that; in the Morning Sun "NYC Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" is the very car NYRX 2507, as lensed in August 1961 at Fort Worth, Texas. The 1958 service date given by MTL was probably close to the build date as well, since the "Early Bird Fast Freight Service" herald was introduced in 1957 on the NYC's double door boxcars (made available by MTL as their catalog number 34220). And yes, this is another case in which what looks like a plug door boxcar is in fact termed a refrigerator. Lots of insulation inside will get you there. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the Merchants Despatch Transit series NYRX 2500 to 2599 with AAR Classification "RB" and description "Refrigerator", with inside length of 39 feet 7 and one half inches, inside height of 9 feet 4 and 7/16 inches, outside length of 41 feet 10 inches, extreme height of 15 feet, door opening of 8 feet and capacity of 3341 cubic feet or 119,000 pounds. There were 50 cars in the series in '59, but there were also 50 cars also numbered 2500 to 2599 and the same statistics with "NYRB" reporting marks. All were relettered to NYRX in the January 1964 ORER, when there was a contingent of 98 cars, but that was down to just 25 in April 1970 by which time the New York Central had been absorbed into the Penn Central. Eventually the "Early Bird" logo was dropped from these cars and the word "Refrigerator" was moved up to the center of the side right of the door. Some of these cars may have gone to work elsewhere with different reporting marks and no Early Bird, which could lead to other releases with the same basic paint scheme. (Youse guys in Talent: I'll call you.) As with the Eastern States car from last month, these were probably constructed right up the road from UMTRR HQ at Despatch Shops in East Rochester, New York, the "ER" in the service date. And also as with the Eastern States car, the title was carried by Merchants Despatch, although since the NYC owned the MDT, this is just some corporate shell games going on. The MDT had been leasing reefers back to the NYC and to others since 1923 so this was nothing new. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I am a little concerned about the reefer yellow color MTL chose for the sides of this car. All of the photos I've ever seen of NYRX equipment, including the two referenced above, show sides that are much closer to orange. Said sides are also pretty dirty, to be sure, with noticable streaks along the vertical rivet lines. (And the boxcar red at the top of the sides hasn't fared well either, appearing to be almost black in the photos.) But did these discolor all the way from yellow? Hard to say, and the two photo references don't help much either. A local source was a bit equivocal on the topic to boot. There are cases in which the MDT painted cars yellow for lessees, so never say never. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
24320, $16.75 - 40 Foot PS-1 Type Boxcar Without Roofwalk, Short Ladders, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Missouri-Kansas-Texas.
24320, $16.75 - 40 Foot PS-1 Type Boxcar Without Roofwalk, Short Ladders, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Missouri-Kansas-Texas.Red with mostly white lettering including large "M-K-T" and reporting marks on left. Red, white and black "Katy" shield logo on right. Reporting Marks: MKT 6696. Approximate Time Period: mid 1960's (1966 rebuild date given by MTL) through the 1970's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
That outline map just left of the door should be a hint about this car's heritage. Looks like the United States Railway Equipment Company was involved with the sell and lease back of the prototype for this car. Fortunately for the Katy, the USRE was persuaded not to use the jade green paint that it had deployed on the Rock Island boxcars (MTL catalog 24270) or the Lehigh Valley gondolas (MTL catalog 46380). Jade green on the Katy? That's a big NO! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Around the beginning of the Approximate Time Period for this car, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas was touting the fact that it had lots of cars like this. "Katy Has Cars for all Kinds of Commodities," proclaimed a full page advertisement in the July 1970 Official Guide. "Cars in exceptionally good order. Usually less than five years old. Because that's how young most of KATY's nearly 13,000 cars are. Average age of the entire fleet is only nine years-- based on dates cars were acquired or rebuilt." Aha, the fine print! The clock starts over with the rebuild. Unfortunately the Katy itself wasn't as renewable as its frieght cars, and it was already in a decline from which it would not emerge. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Among the 12,363 cars listed in the April 1970 ORER (not quite 13,000, folks) was the series 6400 to 6696 of 295 cars, AAR Classification XM for your basic boxcar. Inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 43 feet 10 inches and extreme height 15 feet. Despite the rebuild there is no "door thing" to contend with, as the door opening remained six feet. Capacity was 3898 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. A note added that there was 20 feet 8 inches worth of nailable steel flooring at the center of the car. This series stood at 284 cars in April 1976, and by the way, the Katy's entire fleet had slipped to under nine thousand. Bigger cars, don't you know. In April 1981 these cars were no longer counted in the roster, perhaps renumbered or returned to USRE. Terry LaFrance reports to UMTRR HQ, however, that there are still two of these cars around in company service for the Union Pacific, which bought the MKT through the Missouri Pacific in 1989. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
25650, $18.80 - 50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Canadian National.
25650, $18.80 - 50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Canadian National.Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "wet noodle" CN herald on right. Yellow stripes at bottom of door. Reporting Marks: CNA 419587. Approximate Time Period: mid-1980s to present. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As we've stated before in these bytes, one way in which the Canadian, or Canadien, National could get around the need to be bilingual with its freight car lettering would be to not bother to paint the roadname on the car at all! (Which reminds me-- how did the Canadian Pacific get around this?) The CNA reporting mark designates CN cars built in the United States. An example of this given on the "CNCyclopedia" website is "old RailBox cars now owned by CN." Yep, that's what this one is, in fact. The CNCyclopedia is part of the CN Lines Special Interest Group on Trains Canada. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars roster shows the series 419549 to 419599 as coming over to the CN in 1985 from former RBOX series 40250 to 40749, built by Berwick Forge and Fabricating. The MTL 25000 body style is a model of an FMC car so it won't be an exact match to the prototype. Ian shows these cars as still in service, confirmed, but barely via the January 2002 ORER with just 25 cars spread across the number series 419000 to 419603. The vital stats from that issue: inside length 50 feet 7 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 58 feet 1 inch, extreme height 15 feet 5 inches, door opening 9 feet, gross rail weight 220,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I think we can safely assume that MTL owns the Canadian Rail Car Pictorial series. So does Anthony Hunter who points out that the very car CNA 419587 is in "Volume Four A: 50' - 52' - 60' - 86' Canadian National Boxcars - Part 2, by Richard Yaremko. "Yes, that really is the title, last month's CN release was from Volume 4" writes Anthony. "The paint is identical to the Micro-Trains release. The photo date in the book is June 29, 1985" he added to us here at UMTRR HQ. If you don't have that volume, George Elwood's Fallen Flags site can get you to a photo of sister car CN 419072 taken in June 1999. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
While browsing through the CNCyclopedia site, by the way, I came across another favorite topic of mine: radio. Did you know that the CN was involved in bringing the medium to Canada? What the CN started eventually became the CBC, something I try to listen to when I'm within signal range (or on the 'net for that matter). © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
33150, $17.10 - 50 Foot Boxcar, Combination Plug and Sliding Door, Union Pacific.
33150, $17.10 - 50 Foot Boxcar, Combination Plug and Sliding Door, Union Pacific.Dark boxcar red (or "Union Pacific brown") with yellow lettering including large roadname and reporting marks on left and "Be Specific - Ship Union Pacific" on right. Reporting Marks: UP 163080. Approximate Time Period: Mid-1950's (1956 build date given by MTL) to 1970's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
These UP Class A-50-24 boxcars indeed wear the Union Pacific paint scheme, circa 1956, as confirmed in a June 2003 article in Rail Model Journal; a piece which actually deals with some of the forty foot boxcars of the UP. No matter. In 1956, the use of the large roadname began, the "Be Specific-Ship Union Pacific" slogan was already in place, and the "Be Careful" stenciling above the sill step had been added since 1953. So these cars were just in time for all that. The "Be Specific" slogan remained in use until 1963, so you'd expect to see a decline in spotting that iteration of UP paint afterwards, especially given the bright yellow "Automated Railway" scheme which graced many a fifty-footer after that. I did not come up with any pictures specifically of this short 25 car group, but there were other combination door cars that wore the successor to the UP brown with yellow lettering. Throw in the roofwalk removal and I'll judge the MTL era stretching into the early 1980's as just a bit optimistic. Ah, but there is a UP "shield" of sorts on this car nonetheless... take a look at the small one on the side sill, just left of the right truck and directly below the "A-50-24" designation. No, I can't quite read it either... I guess it's time for an Optivisor. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the series 163075 to 163099 with the following dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 53 feet, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, capacity 5023 cubic feet and 100,000 pounds (or 50 tons, the "50" in the "A-50-24" class). The door opening was 15 feet 1 inch wide, setting up a bit of a "door thing" but not a particularly noticable one given the combination door. An endnote in the ORER listing calls that plug door a "7 feet 2 inch flush type auxiliary side door." This was by no means the only set of combo door cars for the UP; the next four series of cars, running from 163100 to 163799, encompass another 700 pieces in addition to the 25 in this set and although they dimensions are a bit different the look and feel is the same. Nitpick: On the photos of the later UP cars of this type, there is a row of diagonal rivets on either side of the combination doors. I can't say for sure whether the prototype for the 163080 had them, but it's possible. The January 1964 ORER showed 25 cars again, the April 1970 Register showed 23 and the April 1976 Register had 21 cars. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
20076, $11.95 - 40 Foot PS-1 Type Boxcar, Single Door (Superior or "Narrow Rib" Door), Western Pacific "Bulk Sugar". Silver (ok, aluminum) with black lettering including "Bulk Sugar" designation and reporting marks on left and WP "Feather" herald on right. Reporting Marks: WP 15299. Approximate Time Period: MTL gives 1935 to late 1940's, but see text. Previous Release: Road Number 15293, November 1991. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Just like heffalumps and woozles, this one is very confuzil. Sorry, I've been watching too much of Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" with my daughter Thalia.
You'd think that all-steel boxcars would be found in the 1950's, but the series to which the serial numbers 15299 and first run 15293 could belong don't exist in the July 1950, January 1959, or January 1964 Equipment Registers. I mean, they're just not there. In the January 1940 ORER there is a series, from numbers 15001 to 16000, of "steel underframe" boxcars-- usual translation: wood sided. This series does not exist in any later ORERs I own through 1964. I seem to dimly remember that someone in HO Scale painted up a double sheathed boxcar in silver for the WP, but I can't put my finger on it just now. Train-Miniature did a single sheathed car in yellow with road number 20835, and Athearn did a double sheathed car in boxcar red with a Bulk Sugar label with road number 26839, both memory jogs courtesy of listings on that Internet Auction Community. No further data on that, folks; this is the UMTRR, not the UTMRR or the UARR! At any rate, I don't have a match for a steel sided boxcar of this type with these road numbers in my research materials. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
However, there were steel "Bulk Sugar" cars owned by the WP. Two of them. Both the January 1959 and January 1964 ORERs contain basically the same information on this. Road numbers 14601 and 14602 are given the AAR Classification "LO" which is a covered hopper, so right there we know something's up. The description is unusual as well: "Closed Top Hopper, Steel Frame, Steel Sheath." The endnote adds "Cars... have enclosed hoppers with roof loading hatches and hopper bottom valves, suitable for bulk sugar loading." Which basically means they're converted boxcars and would need lots of modifications that would make an unusual car if undertaken, but make this offering not really any better than a stand in, and with the wrong number to boot. For the record, the stats from the ORERs are as follows: inside length just 35 feet, probably to account for lining and such, inside height 12 feet 2 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening... none. None? Well, there may have been a door, but it would have been welded shut, I'd imagine, lest all that bulk sugar find its way out. These cars were off the roster by 1970. The original series from which these two experimental cars were plucked, 20201 to 20550, was built in 1945, meaning that they're not PS-1s. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
So, to sum up, very confuzle.
20720, $12.80 - 40 Foot PS-1 Type Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Tennessee Central.
20720, $12.80 - 40 Foot PS-1 Type Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Tennessee Central.Boxcar red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white herald on right. Reporting Marks: TC 7962. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (1941 build date) to late 1960's. Previous Release: Road Number 7924, April 1987. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Tennessee Central, "The Road of Personal Service," pretty much went where the roadname implied. Its Eastern Division mainline ran from Nashville to Harriman, Tennessee, where connection was made with the Southern. And its Western Division ventured into neighboring Kentucky to hook up with the Illinois Central via Clarksville. Could this be the Clarksville referred to in the 1966 number one single recorded by The Monkees? "Take the last train to Clarksville and I'll meet you at the station," are the first two lines. Well, only if you're hopping a freight-- passenger service on all of the TC had been discontinued well before the 1966 charting of the song. OK, the Louisville and Nashville apparently still called there. By the way, if you want the complete lyrics to the composition by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart-- neither of whom were from Clarksville-- there is no shortage of transcriptions on the 'net. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Official Guide of the Railways for May 1954 does show two passenger trains, simply numbered 1 and 2, traversing the 165 miles from Nashville east to Harriman in about six hours, not exactly a blistering pace. That pair of passenger trains was down from the four shown in the OG of November 1946, when the TC's listing also boasted of direct connection to Knoxville via the Southern and even through service to and from Washington and New York. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The July 1950 ORER shows a group of 99 boxcars numbered 7600 to 7699, one of which (the 7901) was an express boxcar for passenger service. (And wouldn't MTL love to get hold of photo documentation of that single car?) The inside length of this series was 40 feet even, inside height 10 feet, outside length 42 feet even, extreme height 14 feet 7 inches, door opening 6 feet wide by 9 feet 5 inches high. Capacity was 3713 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. There were just 27 of these cars left in the January 1964 Register. Those of you familiar with the PS-1's dimensions might take pause at the stats from the ORER and wonder whether the MTL 20000 body style is really a match, and you'd be right. But are you ready for this? The TC's 7900 series of cars was built in 1941 alright, well before the 1947 introduction of the PS-1, but they were in fact built by Pullman-Standard. An article with photo of TC 7937 from the series in the March 2001 issue of Rail Model Journal describes this group and other cars built around the same time as experimental, and calls them "PS-0" or "PS-zero" type. They're close to the PS-1s except for the ends, which were constructed of two riveted sections; new for the time and proprietary to P-S then as well. The TC was among a very few roads which got these "PS-0"s. And whether spot on or not (and no, it's not), this is one of the very few TC cars ever done in N Scale. (Note to MTL: The line also had notched peak end offset hoppers, a la the long dormat 88000 body style released once and only in the Frisco three-pack of 1998. Break out those molds!) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The later part of the Approximate Time Period of the prototype for these boxcars, unfortunately, also approximates the period of insolvency for the line. It fell into receivership in 1958 and never emerged, having suffered from a decline in its key coal traffic. On August 31, 1968, the TC discontinued operations and portions of its trackage were taken over by the Louisville and Nashville, the Southern Railway and the Illinois Central. Much of the former TC line is now torn up, and Interstate 440 covers the TC belt line right of way around Nashville. There is more history of the line found at the "Tennessee Central" web page of Carey Floyd, who is modeling the TC in N Scale (!). Carey modeled some of the line's sharp looking maroon and yellow RS3's as part of his efforts. There's also a Tennessee Central Railway Museum that's located in a former TC office in Nashville, although it's not exclusively TC. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
78010, $15.80 - 50 Foot Double Door Box Car with End Doors, Pennsylvania Railroad.
78010, $15.80 - 50 Foot Double Door Box Car with End Doors, Pennsylvania Railroad.Boxcar red with white lettering including large roadname and road number on right. Black and white "shadow keystone" herald on left. Reporting Marks: PRR 81906. Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (introduction of "shadow keystone" through 1960's at least. Previous Release: Road Number 82023, November 1996.
The "shadow keystone" scheme of the Pennsylvania Railroad was introduced in 1954, and for the first few months of that time on the "P" Company, the road number appeared in what's called the "Calendar" version, where the digits in the number aren't all within two parallel lines. Put another way, the tail of the "9s" drop below the line formed by the bottom of the other digits, and the top of the "6"s land above the line formed by the top of the other digits. For example, the 81906 on this MTL reprint. After June 1954 the numbering was in a "straight line." Here's where a picture may be worth at least a thousand words and so have a look at the car on the MTL website, or in the "2003 Month by Month" part of the UMTRR Web Site if it's after the month of release. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As you may know, the PRR had its own classification system for cars, and these were X41a class. The diagrams on Rob's Pennsy Home Page distingiush the X41a from all the other X41s as having the double doors and end doors. The dimensions of the prototype come right off the diagram: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet 7 inches at the eaves and 11 feet 2 7/16 inches at the center, extreme height 15 feet 2 1/2 inches, 14 feet 6 inch door opening, and 54 feet 7 1/2 inches coupled length. Capacity was 4935 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds, and the weight of the car-- there's something you don't get in the ORER!-- was 47,200 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The July 1950 Register (Westerfield CD-ROM) predates the 1954 shadow keystone but the X41a's were already around, in the series 81890 to 82089 with 199 cars. (The original 1946 paint scheme wouldn't be a bad idea for a future MTL release, for that matter.) That was off only 4 to 195 in January 1964 but dropped significantly by the April 1970 ORER under the Penn Central. There were 18 left in the X41a designation but 44 cars had been converted to service hauling felt. Yes, felt, that's what Note 51 says! And they received redesignation to PRR Class X41f. F, for felt, I guess. You just can't make up these things. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
116010.4 and 116010.5, $18.55; Troop Sleeper Cars.
116010.4 and 116010.5, $18.55; Troop Sleeper Cars.Pullman green with black roof. Yellow lettering including "Pullman" across top, "Troop Sleeper" across bottom, and road number on bottom left and bottom right. Comes with simulated windows, diaphragms and interiors. Road Numbers: 9082 (the .4), 9340 (the .5). Approximate Time Period: 1943 through about 1950. NOTE: The .4 item has been sold out and discontinued.
Please refer to the description in the May 2003 UMTRR.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
21370, $19.85 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, Massachusetts 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 (mayflower) and state bird (Black-capped chickadee) on right. Reporting Marks: MA 1788. Sixth 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.
There was once a commercial which contained the tag line, "The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America" and that certainly holds true even if you're not a tourist. In fact, for this patriotic month of July you can't go wrong with honoring this sixth entry of the Union. (Technically, it's a Commonwealth, not a State.) The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775 in Lexington, Massachusetts with the "shot heard 'round the world" (documented in multimedia at EarlyAmerica.com, very cool!). But the future Commonwealth had already noted a number of firsts prior to Lexington and Concord, for example, the first public park, Boston Common, in 1634; the first American college, Harvard, founded 1636, as well as the first public secondary (1635) and primary (1639) schools; the first public library, 1653; the first regularly published newspaper, 1704; and let's not forget the first Thanksgiving, 1621. And there's that Tea Party thing as well. A number of the Founding Fathers, including John and Samuel Adams, were from Massachusetts. The television program "Founding Fathers," in fact, gives a fair amount of credit to Samuel Adams for stirring things up, though it's his cousin John that became more famous over time and eventually became President. (Unless you're counting beer brands; Sam is up one on John there.) John Adams was one of five US presidents that hailed from the Bay State. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Native Americans who inhabited the area included the Nauset, the Massachuset and the Wampanoag when the first Europeans came to the area. Unfortunately, they brought disease which eventually wiped out three-quarters of the native population in New England according to one account. Crispus Attucks, who was killed in the Boston Massacre, was the son of a Massachuset woman, but that particular tribe was entirely gone by 1800. In 1826, the first American commercial railroad was built in Quincy, its purpose to haul granite. By that time the Commonwealth was well on its way to becoming a major industrial center, producing iron, textiles and devices such as the sewing machine (developed in 1845 by Elias Howe) and materials such as vulcanized rubber (produced by Charles Goodyear in 1839). Leisure and sports can be traced to here as well; the first basketball and volleyball games were played within Massachusetts borders and at Revere was the first public beach. The first sucessful American subway opened in Boston in 1897; note that "successful" disclaimer! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
While most people think of Boston first, and perhaps Boston Baked Beans second, when considering Massachusetts, much of the western portion of the state remains decidely rural and scenic; the age-old Berkshires provide the mountainous backdrop. I'm reminded of how open the space is when I have to drive the forty mile stretch between exits 2 and 3 on the Massachusetts Turnpike! Are we there yet? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
My first entry into the Bay State was, appropriately, by train; by Amtrak Turbotrain, to be exact, into Back Bay Station in Boston. I had to look up the exact date but I recall what happened: President Nixon resigned that night, August 8, 1974 as the family watched from our room in the Copley Plaza hotel. Since then, I've been back for pleasure, business and some really good clam chowdah, and I'm looking forward to introducing the kids to both the old and the newer-- the Freedom Trail and the New England Aquarium, to continue the tradition. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.
New Release: 14119, Marklin Coupler, $17.00, 14119-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $18.70, 40 Foot PS-1 Type Box Car, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Canadian National.Box car red with yellow door. White lettering including roadname (English on both sides) and reporting marks on left, and maple leaf herald on right. Reporting Marks: CN 487544. Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's to mid-1960's at least. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Anyone who models the later part of the decade of the 1950's should have at least one example of the CN's "maple leaf" boxcar on their 1:220 pike. They were just that common, especially in the northern regions of the USA and of course in Canada. But that yellow door is a new one on me, at least on CN boxcars of this type. Anthony Hunter reports that this car appears in the book "Canadian Rail Car Pictorial: Volume Two: 40' Canadian National Boxcars Part 1", by Richard Yaremko. A photo of CN 487544 is on page 21 and matches the Micro-Trains release. The photo date in the book is May 21, 1961. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As MTL notes in its car copy, the "square leaf" herald, so called because the "Serves All Canada" slogan is in a square box inside the left, not because the leaf itself is square, was introduced in 1954. Make that July 17 of that year, to be precise, according to the RPI website, which also adds that the lines above and below the reporting marks were eliminated in early 1957. So the "strictly speaking" ATP for this car starts then. The cars were built in the early 1940's so they won't precisely match the PS-1 type that is the MTL Z Scale 14100 model; they're probably closer to 1937 AAR Standard boxcars, but they were built at Canadian Car and Foundry so don't quote me on that either. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The "wet noodle" replacement for the maple leaf herald bowed in 1961, although there were still maple leaf cars extant until the 1980's at least. What's debatable is whether the yellow door lasted that long; MTL notes that it was supplanted by a yellow dot starting in 1966. Which would have given you the wet noodle herald anyway, so, well, whatever. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) is closest in my accumulation to the 1957 start of the ATP based on the RPI information, so here goes. The 487554 was part of the large series 480715 to 487764, which totaled an impressive 6783 cars. (Ian Cranstone, on his Canadian Frieght Cars site, pulls out 487265 to 487714 as a separate listing of just 450 cars.) The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet even, outside length 41 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches, door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3712 cubic feet or 90,000 pounds. In the January 1964 ORER this group was down just a bit to 6643 cars, and in April 1970 stood at 5959 pieces. Still more than the rosters of most entire railroads-- see what I mean, every pike of the time period should have one? The series takes a big drop by the April 1976 book to 3174 cars, still not chopped liver. And in April 1981 there are 1964 cars left, but you've got to be thinking that the yellow door is long gone from the examples of the series that were still around at that time, and perhaps the maple leaf and the roofwalk as well. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.