©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:
39230, $13,20 - 40 Foot Double Sheathed Wood Side Boxcar, Single Door, Vertical Brake Wheel, Spokane, Portland and Seattle.Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and small roadname on right. Reporting Marks: SP&S 10053. Approximate Time Period: late 1910's (1918 build date given by MTL) to late 1950's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well, it's more than a safe bet that the folks at the red and yellow sign have the book "Spokane, Portland and Seattle Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" by Ed Austin, published by Morning Sun. Pages 34 and 35 of this book are devoted to this series of cars and there's an example of this paint scheme included. Since it's a color guide, naturally we're not talking "as delivered" here; in fact, former SP&S 10019 is reletted for maintenance of way. Also, the original door is long gone, having been filled in and replaced with a much smaller entry door. Although very faded, the original lettering is amazingly still somewhat intact. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Writing in the Color Guide, Austin notes that these cars were allocated by the United States Railway Administration in 1918, during World War I. The SP&S was owned by the Northern Pacific and Great Northern, as you may know. What I didn't know was that the two roads were pretty stingy with allocating cars for their child line. (As we'll illustrate in a moment.) The demands of war traffic were overwhelming, though, and the GN and NP relented and allowed the SP&S to take the cars allocated to them by the USRA. Unfortunately, Austin doesn't give us the actual builder of the cars; perhaps that detail is lost in the mists of time. We do know from the photos that they had three-section steel ends, with five ribs each, which I think translates to 5/5/5 in freight car shorthand. The ends on the MTL 39000 series car are similar. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1928 shows a total of just 653 cars on the entire roster of the SP&S, so the 300 cars in this series represented was around half the number of revenue service pieces that the line had at the time. The series 10000 to 10299 was AAR Class "XM" and was described as "Box, Steel Underframe" with these dimension: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 9 feet even, outside length 41 feet even, extreme height 14 feet 2 inches, door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3098 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL helps the cause by stating that by 1963, most cars were gone from revenue service. So I jumped all the way to the January 1964 ORER, where we find 14 cars remaining in the group 10078 to 10299. (That means the 10053 is gone.) There were also three cars called out in a subseries that were fitted with roof hatches and assigned to Ralston Purina for bulk feed loading. That would be an interesting conversion. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Although this is apparently the only set of wood double sheathed boxcars that the SP&S had, we're not done with the potential releases quite yet. The scheme depicted by MTL is the "as delivered" version, but there was a later scheme with the roadname replaced by the well-known "football" herald. It's also on Page 35 of the Color Guide. I don't think it's a stretch to say that we'll see that variation out of Talent eventually.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
103090, $19.80 - 60 Foot Excess Height Boxcar, Waffle Sides, Double Plug Doors, Missouri Pacific.
103090, $19.80 - 60 Foot Excess Height Boxcar, Waffle Sides, Double Plug Doors, Missouri Pacific.Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "Eagle + Buzzsaw" herald on right. Reporting Marks: MP 269477. Approximate Time Period: late 1970's (1979 build date given by MTL) to at least the late 1990's.
The final version of the Missouri Pacific's herald, which I refer to as the "Eagle + Buzzsaw," was unveiled in 1979 according to data in the Winter 1985 edition of the MP Historical Society's publication "The Eagle" (quoted by John Nehrich on the RPI site, citing Ed Hawkins, who found the article). This herald combined the buzzsaw (which was reported to be a stylized version of the sun) with the Eagle that was suggested by both the named passenger train and the "Eagle Merchandise Service" to create a relatively simple but neat device. The MoPac used this until being absorbed by the Union Pacific in 1997, but it's still visible at this writing on some MP freight cars. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Since this car was built in Feburary 1979, it's very possible that what we're looking at is the "as delivered" scheme, and if true this would be among the first if not the first cars to wear that then-new logo. It was still wearing the scheme in 1997, when it was photographed in Utah by Dave Krumenacker. That photo is on the Fallen Flags website. We get a rare chance to see inside the car, as the double folding doors have been left open on the side facing the camera. There are a number of wire cages visible, and the inside walls look like they've been fairly well scraped by these cages, loading equipment, et cetera. The car itself looks like MTL made a good match; I'm pretty sure that the Berwick car is the prototype that Micro-Trains selected for the 103 body style. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Turning to the ORER Accumulation, we start in April 1981 which is the closest I have to the 1979 build date. The listing is for 41 cars in series 269459 to 269499, of AAR Classification "XP," description "Box, Steel, End of Car Cushioning, Hi-Cube, 50K" and notation that these cars exceed the "Plate F" dimensional specifications. The inside length is 60 feet 9 inches, inside height 13 feet 2 inches, outside length 67 feet 9 inches, extreme height 17 feet even, door opening 16 feet even, and capacity 7321 cubic feet and 162,000 pounds. The overall total drops one to 40 with one of those, the 269459, being "demoted" to just "Box, Steel" in the January 1985 Register. That listing stays constant through the October 1991 and October 1996 ORERs. In the January 2000 Register under the Union Pacific, there are 29 cars plus ten "demotions," but in the January 2000 book, it's back to 37 cars and only one "demotion". I guess there was some refurbishment. Given the UP's penchant for repainting, we can't guarantee that the eagle and buzzsaw still grace the cars, but that's balanced against the probability that the cars are in captive service and thus much less likely to visit a paint shop.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
108120.1 and 108120.2, $19.80 each, 100 Ton Three Bay Open Hopper, Santa Fe (AT&SF).
108120.1 and 108120.2, $19.80 each, 100 Ton Three Bay Open Hopper, Santa Fe (AT&SF).Mineral brown with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "Santa Fe" roadname across top center. Reporting Marks: ATSF 179655 (the .1) and ATSF 179482 (the .2). Approximate Time Period: mid 1970's (1976 build date given by MTL) to as late as the present. NOTE: Both releases have been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The first thing to note about this release is that it is a virtual, not a real, two pack; which makes me wonder whether we've seen the end of shrink wrapped multi-packs, at least for now. Do two releases-- this and the troop sleepers-- constitute a trend? We'll see. And the second thing to notice is that the loads are cast in gray plastic, not black, so they're not coal, but perhaps gravel. I almost missed this! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, the number series for these cars align with the Santa Fe's Ga-195 class, according to a summary of Folio 211 of the Santa Fe Historical and Modeling Society, which I located from several sources on the net. It's just the summary, folks, not the detail-- we've got to let the group sell something to you! One somewhat unusual detail is that these are referred to as "3 cross hoppers", which I hope for MTL's sake translates into three bay! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This detail carries over into the ORER entry for April 1981, which describes this group of cars as "Hopper, Cross". The AAR classification is HT and as MTL reports, the series ranges from 179300 to 179699. The inside length was 45 feet 1 inch, outside length 48 feet 9 inches, extreme height 12 feet 2 inches, and capacity 3420 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds-- which you'd expect with 100 ton Barber trucks. There were 355 cars in the series out of a possible 400, about five years after the February 1976 build date. There were 353 cars in January 1985, and 350 in October 1991, where several subseries start; also the description changes to "Hopper, Steel, Axle Spacing 5 feet 10 inches, Truck Centers 36 feet 2 inches." There's a drop down to 242 cars in October 1996, and another one to 215 cars under new owner Burlington Northern Santa Fe in January 2000, but there are still 199 pieces in January 2002 with the original numbers so there's a good chance that the ATP holds to "present" in my mind. It's not obvious to me whether these cars were restenciled for BNSF or simply retired; and further, if they were renumbered, it's not clear to me what new numbers they received. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Pictures, you want pictures? Have we got pictures this time! First, there is a shot of ATSF 179655 as it looked in Butte, Montana in July 1998 on the Northwest Rail Pics site. Then, there are six, count 'em, six shots on George Elwood's Fallen Flags site. The 179324, 179414 and 179697 were lensed in Arizona in the year 2000, and in glorious black and white we have 179619, 179634 and 179658 at Fort Worth TX in May 1994. The photos show these cars to be 14 panel hoppers, same as the Micro-Trains model.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
109230, $20.95, Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with Commonwealth Trucks and Attached Load, Southern Railway.
109230, $20.95, Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with Commonwealth Trucks and Attached Load, Southern Railway.Freight car red with white lettering including roadname and road number. Blue-green generator load attached to car. Road Number: 50003. Approximate Time Period: Mid-1950s (1954 build date given by MTL) to no later than the late 1980's (based on paint scheme). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Before I even got going on the research for this car, our Norfolk Southern expert Joe Shaw checked in with citations for this new car. He writes, "For the Southern depressed center flat car, the Morning Sun Southern Railway Color Guide has two pictures of SOU 50003 on page 77. It also has pictures of 50009 and 50011. The series is SOU 50000-50013. The MTL copy was written from information in the two captions (General Steel casting built by Southern in 1954, etc. Pictures show two brake wheels, and a 2-54 built date. The first picture shows the car in April 1970 with the original 'Roman' lettering as MTL produced. The second picture is from September 1989, with the thicker modern SOUTHERN lettering, the kind with the green-filled O. Reweight date on the car in the latter scheme is 7-88, but appears to have been reweighed at least once after being repainted." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Joe adds that "There are images of both the 50003 and sister car 50006 on the Southern Railfan Site's photo archives. Select "Freight Cars" then "Bulkhead and Flat Cars".) The 50003, from October 1987, is in the heavy "Southern" lettering, as in the second picture that Joe cited. The 50006, which is not dated, has just reporting marks suggestive of the Norfolk Southern style of lettering, and what looks like it might be a small version of the "NS" logo. That would be a third style for the folks in Talent to replicate. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
On to the Equipment Register from January 1964: The series is listed as AAR Classification "FD" and the simple description "Flat, Steel" which is a bit curious considering other depressed center flat car writeups I've seen. The inside and outside lengths are both shown as 57 feet 9 inches, perhaps a typo. The inside width is 9 feet even and extreme height (obviously without load!) is 4 feet 2 inches. Note E adds, "Length of depression of cars... 21 ft, height from top of rail to top of floor plate in center, 2 ft. These cars are equipped with steel loading floors and have 2 six wheel trucks. Spacing between truck centers 41 ft, between axles 4 ft 6 inches." I checked these metrics against an MTL DC flat and they line up pretty close to dead on. Given Joe's photo references, I got lazy here and stopped looking since we know the ATP will stretch to the time in which the repaint to the bolder "Southern" roadname occurred, that is, 1989 or earlier. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
25290, $17.10 - 50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie.Dark boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "P&LE" on right. Reporting Marks: P&LE 6193. Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1980's (1980 service date given by MTL). Previous Release: Road Number 6189, November 1985. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL says this car was built when? 1951? Well, perhaps originally, but it's doubtful that it looked like this. As it turns out, for the ATP it's not the determining factor.
Since both the New York Central and Penn Central tended to put their logo on many of the cars which were operated by its subsidiary P&LE, the absence of one strongly suggests that the car post-dates the period during which the NYC or PC controlled the P&LE. The use of a second "P&LE" where the logo would have been is another clue. Well, for that matter, so is the fact that this is an exterior post boxcar. However, the lettering font for the reporting marks is of New York Central heritage. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The April 1970 edition of the ORER lists 441 cars in the series 6000 to 6449, with AAR Classification "XL" and description "Box, Cushion Underframe, Loading Strap Anchors, DF Loader Bars." Now, if they'd only added "Exterior Post," but no. The vital statistics were inside length 50 feet 7 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 55 feet 2 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and capacity 5050 cubic feet or 145,000 pounds. That's suggestive of a car like this. So what's up? What we may have here is another case of a car being rebuilt into something it wasn't originally, for example the Green Bay and Western boxcar that's coming up next. But a standard 50 foot interior post boxcar going to an exterior post boxcar... well, I don't know, it's kind of like that hammer that's brand new, except you've changed the handle three times and the head twice. (Yet there are more spectacular examples than this in the area of rebuilding.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL also helps here with the service date of January 1980 and the April 1981 ORER has a description addition of "Truck Centers 40 feet 10 inches," which isn't much help. The series was down to 350 cars at that point. There were 337 cars in January 1985 but just two in October 1991. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Besides the 25er that is now reprinted there have also been three numbers of a similar plug door boxcar, catalog number 27050. Road numbers 6919, 6998 and 6945 came along in March 1984, May 1988 and September 1993 respectively.
31130, $15.30 - 50 Foot Boxcar, Single Door, Green Bay and Western.
31130, $15.30 - 50 Foot Boxcar, Single Door, Green Bay and Western.Yellow with black lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right. Small red and white "Green Bay Route" rectangular herald on left. Reporting Marks: GBW 3020. Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1973 service date given by MTL) to mid 1980's. Previous Release: Road Number 3027, October 1984.
It's been quite a while since the last Micro-Trains release for the GB&W. In fact, you've got to go back to April 1992 for the reprint of the 25230 boxcar which was also yellow-sided. The GB&W crossed the state of Wisconsin from its namesake city, which was located on the city's namesake bay on Lake Michigan. From there it was westward to the Mississippi River and thence to Winona, Minnesota. How do you like that, a railroad that lives up to its advertising. But let's not forget the subsidiary Kewaunee, Green Bay and Western which actually headed east to Lake Michigan to enable car ferry service across it; service that enabled the GB&W to become a fairly robust bridge line for a part of its history. Speaking of which, Mark Mathu's site "Green Bay Route" site has a nice one for the line from its inception as the Green Bay and Minnesota to its decline and fall and eventual absorbtion into the Canadian National via the Wisconsin Central. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Mark also provides a handy answer to a question we had, through his listing of the Green Bay's freight car roster. Namely, from where did these cars come? Although MTL quotes the build date as August 1952, they're not in any ORERs I have until April 1976. The answer is, a rebuilding program, which stretched some forty foot riveted side boxcars to yield the series 3000 to 3124. Mark shows the ORER history from April 1973-- zero, to April 1986-- back to zero, with the peak in January 1974, all 125. I'll pull the aforementioned April 1976 Register out for more detail: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 54 feet 7 inches, extreme height 14 feet 11 inches. The door opening is nine feet which, as has already been brought up on the micro-trains@yahoogroups discussion list, means a "door thing" as the MTL 31000 series model has an eight foot door. Mark Mathu commented that on "MTL@y" that given the starting point of the cars, the real ones have a rivet seam pattern near the ends versus welded seams elsewhere on the cars. You might already know that the GB&W was bought by Itel Corporation, they of the "incentive per diem" boxcars, so it's not terribly surprising that the stretched boxcars were phased out in favor of the exterior post cars that Itel leased out. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, you'll probably also note that the 31000 body style has full ladders and a roofwalk, which may not have lasted long on the prototype, if either existed at all from the point of reconstruction. I think we should give MTL the benefit of the doubt here and assume that there is photo evidence supporting the use of the 31er versus, say, the 77000 series car which is the 50 foot boxcar without roofwalk. George Elwood's site has a shot of GBW 4220, which is similar but not in the same series at his website. You can also check sooline.org and chicago.railfan.net for other pictures of similar cars, all with cut down ladders and without roofwalks.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
46120, $13.50 - 50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Grand Trunk Western.
46120, $13.50 - 50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Grand Trunk Western.Blue with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and "GT" herald on right. Reporting Marks: GTW 146015. Approximate Time Period: 1970's to mid-1980s. Previous Releases: Road Number 146021, July 1980.
Daniel Ward's "Grand Trunk Western's Homepage" site has some sample pictures of some rather beat up looking gondolas in the GTW Blue that is depicted on this reprint. Okay, maybe that's redundant-- "beat up" and "gondolas," that is. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The principal item for the Approximate Time Period this time out is the use of GTW blue. It's certainly after the original 1954 build date and it's also after the circa-1960 adoption of the runtogether "GT" logo, modeled after parent Canadian National-- which replaced the maple leaf herald, also modeled after parent Canadian National. The best hint I could find for the start of the use of blue in place of freight car red was a reference to an Accurail boxcar in HO stating that the blue was a "1970's repaint." I'll have to go with that. There are no consolidated stencils on the car, meaning that technically the ATP should end around the 1974 start date for that detail, but since adding them via decals isn't a big deal, we'll ignore that. It would most likely go toward the bottom of the panel just left of the herald. You are OK with the roller bearing trucks which were required by 1970 for all new and rebuilt cars. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for April 1970 shows the series 146100 to 146299 -- note that's not the group MTL gives, but hold on for just a moment. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet even, inside height 4 feet and extreme height 7 feet 10 inches. Capacity was 1986 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. Of this set, there were 85 cars with a wooden floor, 109 cars with a nailable steel floor, and six more with a capacity lowered to 135,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the April 1976 ORER, we come to the series that MTL cites, 145700 to 146099. The vital statistics are the same but there are 123 cars with the wood floor and 223 with the nailable steel floor. The series continues into the January 1985 Register with 29 wood and 21 steel floored cars, but that's the last that I found of them.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
49070, $20.80 - 40 Foot Wood Sheathed Ice Refrigerator Car, Vertical Brake Wheel, Scatena Brothers Winery / Keith Tank Line.
49070, $20.80 - 40 Foot Wood Sheathed Ice Refrigerator Car, Vertical Brake Wheel, Scatena Brothers Winery / Keith Tank Line.Aluminum sides, freight car red roof, ends and side sills. Black and red lettering including reporting marks at top left and "Finest Sonoma County Wines" on right. Scatena Brothers trademark in red, black and green on left. Reporting Marks: KTX 6002. Approximate Time Period: I'll say 1930's or 1940's but it's at best a reasonably educated guess. Previous Releases: Road Number 6003, August 1982; Road Number 6000, April 1990 (both as part of "Beverage Six Packs"). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Keith Tank Line, also known as the Keith Railway Equipment Company, was, let's say, a smaller player in the leasing business. Apparently located in Chicago, in January 1928 its ORER listing included only tank cars, no refrigerator cars of any kind. Same thing in the July 1935 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM, and yes it's a new addition to the UMTRR Reference Shelf). And just for giggles, I even went back to the October 1919 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM and another new addition) to find the same thing, all tankers, no reefers. Well, you might say, that's still not a total elimination, since a wine car might actually be a tank car in disguise as a refrigerator car, something like the "Shasta Water Tank Car" that consisted of tanks hiding in a single sheathed boxcar (MTL catalog number 28140 if you're curious). However, the three ORER listings didn't show any tank cars in the 6000 series to which the prototype would have belonged. And the closest ORER I have to the September 1946 build date given on the MTL label is the July 1950 (Westerfield CD-ROM) and again it has tank cars but no refrigerators and nothing numbered in the 6000s. Secondary sources such as the Clover House catalog didn't help here either. So to paraphrase selected Watergate conspirators, "I have nothing for you on that." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Or maybe I do. It could be that this Scatena Brothers car is a "fantasy scheme," but if it is, Micro-Trains is far from the first to fantasize. There were a number of HO releases of cars painted up this way including releases from AHM and Train-Miniature, the latter of which was available on that Internet Auction Community as these bytes were being strung together. At least one other of the HO iterations was on a steel plug door fifty footer if I'm not mistaken, which would have been laughably wrong in this age of higher fidelity expectations. But unless someone way back in the earlier days of HO was pulling a fast one on us, there probably was some real life Scatena Brothers car on which the models were based-- or perhaps some decals first? Manufacturers of 1:87 rolling stock certainly used the Walthers decal line as a primary source. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The subject of this reprint is almost equally difficult to pin down, with just two references to the Scatena Brothers Winery on the 'net. Fortunately, they're useful. A 1995 oral history given by Mike Teldeschi, a vineyardist of the Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg, California, includes his working life. Part of that was a job as shipping clerk at Scatena Brothers. "We used to bottle wine in the bottles, and gallons, and half gallons, and barrels, and also wine at the time used to go out in tank cars on the railroad. This company, Scatena Brothers Wine Company, used to ship all over the United States," Teldesci noted. "It went to Florida, went to Texas, went to Chicago, went to New York, went everywhere." Teldeschi worked at Scatena until 1941. What became of the winery? It's still around, but it's apparently now owned by the Seghesio Family, as Ed Seghesio and his wife purchased it in 1949 and operated it for bulk wine sales from 1950 to 1972. The family switched to production of premium varietal wine in the late 1970's and they're still at it. Meanwhile, the "History Happened Here" page for the Sonoma Valley adds one more bit: "Martin Scatena, who started out in San Francisco in 1870 as a vegetable peddler and later moved to Healdsburg to become a successful wine producer."
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
70010, $23.40 - 51 Foot Mechanical Refrigerator, Rib Sides, Pacific Fruit Express.
70010, $23.40 - 51 Foot Mechanical Refrigerator, Rib Sides, Pacific Fruit Express.Orange sides, aluminum roof, black ends. Black lettering including reporting marks plus Union Pacific and Southern Pacific heralds on left. Large "Pacific Fruit Express" in stepped sans serif lettering on right. Reporting Marks: PFE 302113. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1960 build date given by MTL) to early 1970's. Previous Releases: A six-pack of road numbers 301213, 301231, 301312, 302011, 302210, and 302322, December 1988; Road Number 302212, July 1993. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
First, a little numerological trivia: anyone notice that all the previous releases had used only four digits in the road numbers: 0, 1, 2 and 3? This one doesn't break that streak either. Something for lottery fans?
This R-70-12 refrigerator car counts among the first large contingent of mechanical reefers put into service by the PFE, and marked the beginning of the end of the ice reefer era. They were state of the art for the time and included such niceties as load dividers. The ORER for January 1964 shows a large series of one thousand cars-- well, ten short of that-- numbered from 301213 to 302212. The inside height was 44 feet 10 inches (allowing for all of that mechanical refrigeration equipment), inside height 8 feet 2 inches, outside length 53 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch and capacity 3174 cubic feet or 120,000 pounds. There was an eight foot door opening; the MTL model looks to be a nitpicky width off that, not enough to declare a "door thing". © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the April 1970 ORER, the large series had been subdivided into a number of smaller sub-series and the description has changed to "Mechanical Refrigerator, Load Dividers." The subset we're most interested here was 302113 to 302187 for 75 cars. By April 1976, the series is gone completely... but not really. A glance at the definitive history of the Pacific Fruit Express, appropriately titled "Pacific Fruit Express" by Anthony Thompson and Bruce Jones, notes that the R-70-12s had their load dividers removed starting in 1968, and when the cars were thus de-equipped, they were renumbered into the 305000s. The ORER listing confirms this, showing 700 plus cars in those series. The inside length went up to 45 feet 7 inches without the dividers, and the PFE must have also added extended draft gear trucks as well, pushing the outside length to 55 feet 7 inches. As renumbered, it looks like a number of these cars may have lasted until split up between PFE owners Southern Pacific and Union Pacific as part of the dissolution of the company in the 1980s, although a few of the just 62 cars left in the PFE listing in the October 1986 Register look like they could have been held over from that original R-70-12 series. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES: No releases this month.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):
New Release: 15116, $14.05 - 30 Foot Boxcar, Single Door, Pacific Coast Railway.Boxcar red with white lettering including roadname and number on left. Road Number: 1508. Approximate Time Period: 1900's (the decade) to 1930's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This car came to the Pacific Coast Railway third hand, not unlike many cars on prototype slim gauge lines which had several owners over their lifetimes. In fact, many cars lasted beyond the death of their original and sometimes their secondary owners. This was one of ten cars that, after being built by American Car and Foundry in 1900 as MTL notes, went to the Florence and Cripple Creek and then to the Nevada-California-Oregon. The second number on the right is most likely a vestige of the former owner, not a bizarre exercise in confusing brakemen. (It should therefore be significantly faded.) There were some peculiarities about this car-- not modeled-- discussed on the Nn3@yahoogroups list (which see). © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Pacific Coast Railway was of its own right a relatively good-sized narrow gauge operation in Central California, running from San Luis Obispo Bay to Los Olivos. It lasted from the 1880s to the 1940s until succombing to a combination of standard gauge competition and the automobile. Starting as a lifeline in an area where land travel was difficult at best, the line eventually became an oil hauler. But the line was just part of a company that had marine interests along the Pacific and also operated several railroads. Another of these was the Pacific Coast Railroad of Washington State, which, long before the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads, was assigned the reporting marks "PC"! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I found a couple of printed references to this Pacific Coast Railway. First is a book titled "The Pacific Coast Railway: Central California's Premier Narrow Gauge" by Kenneth Westcott and Curtiss Johnson and which deals specifically with this line and was called "what may be the most extensive collection of photos, track plans, illustrations, and structure, rolling stock, and locomotive drawings to appear in a single volume about a single railroad" by FineScale Modeler. Next is the volume "Ships and Narrow Gauge Rails: The Story of the Pacific Coast Company" by Gerald M. Best which covers the larger company and its numerous divisions. I had a quick chance to scan through this book during my vacation and it's no slouch either. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
New Release: 14012, Marklin Coupler, $110.25, 14012-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $111.85, F-7 A Diesel Locomotive, Canadian Pacific.Maroon and gray with yellow stripes. Yellow lettering including roadname and number. Red and white shield herald on nose. Road Number: 4069 (will be "CP 4069" on website listing). Approximate Time Period: 1952 to 1954, then 1965 to 1974, and then 2000 to present. (What? See text.) NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Well, let's start off with the bad news: CP 4069 in real life was an FP7, not an F7. FP7's are four feet longer than F7s to make room for a steam generator. This enabled their use in passenger service. No, I don't think the "FP" officially stands for "Freight Passenger"! The CP had a number of FP7s. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Now for the good news: There is an entire webpage devoted to this very locomotive, as part of the "Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive Roster and Photo Archives" site. OK, maybe this is good news for me as a researcher with limited time this month, more than anything else! I won't repeat much of what's on the webpage, except to say that the prototype was built in August 1952, it was numbered 1425 for a time, and went back to being 4069 before being sold to VIA in 1978. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Now for better news: The West Coast Railway Association bought this locomotive and restored it to its original glory in the year 2000. There are several photos available of this sharp looking cab unit as it looks now available from the above website.
Reprint: 14126, Marklin Coupler, $16.30, 14126-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $18.10, 40 Foot PS-1 Type Box Car, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), West India Fruit and Steamship Company.
Reprint: 14126, Marklin Coupler, $16.30, 14126-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $18.10, 40 Foot PS-1 Type Box Car, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), West India Fruit and Steamship Company.Pullman green with yellow lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left, and steamship herald on right. Reporting Marks: WIF 210. Approximate Time Period: 1950's. Previous Release: Road Number 212, August 1992. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Back in September 1999 when MTL released the N Scale wood refrigerator car (Catalog Number 49510) I was able to direct you to a citation on the history of the West India Fruit and Steamship Company. Alas, the website link results in a dreaded 404 error and a web search for places it could have gone resulted only in links to descriptions of other WIF model rolling stock. (Plus a paid link: "Meet West Indians for dating and romance." I don't think so.) So we'll have to settle for a "reprint" of my text from back in '99, start quote of, uh, me: © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
When is a railroad not a railroad? When it's a steamship line!
Page 1236 of the May 1954 Official Guide of the Railways is devoted to a description of the "Florida-Havana Railroad Car Ferry Service" offered by the West India Fruit and Steamship Company. The line differentiated itself by carrying entire freight cars to and from Cuba, as opposed to (I suppose) break bulk type shipments. Four steamships were employed by the WIF and made daily sailings from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida, to Havana. The company's general offices were in Norfolk, Virginia, with freight agents in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Jacksonville. A photo included with the description showed two of the four steamships-- actually, not much bigger than the run of the mill car ferries that plied Lake Michigan and other non-oceanic bodies of water-- in port at Palm Beach. One ferry full of cars was being unloaded, and clearly visible is a Seaboard 40 foot double door round roof boxcar with "Orange Blossom Special" slogan. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Ed Ridolph wrote an article for a 1982 issue of the magazine "Gateway." (This is the "not found" URL.) Ed notes how the Port's rail operations were closely tied to the operations of the WIF while it was in operation from the period 1946 to 1960. The Port hosted the last operating steam locomotives in the state, which were retired in 1959 and were, unfortunately, scrapped. The WIF was scrapped not much later; after Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba and the subsequent trade embargo, the car ferry business went to zip. The WIF was shut down for good in August 1961. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
End quote. Fortunately, we are in better shape with the accumulation of ORERs than we were back in '99 and I can reference the January 1955 and January 1959 ORERs (both Westerfield CD-ROMs). The series 200 to 349, of 150 cars in both editions, had the following stats: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet, and door opening 8 feet (yes, that's a Door Thing although in Z it's easier to not notice I suppose). Capacity was 3898 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. I can't say for sure whether these were PS-1 boxcars but somehow I think not. By the January 1964 ORER the WIF was gone, as noted above. The Atlantic Coast Line had the reporting marks, but with one solitary exception, no cars using them.
© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Reprint: 14414, Marklin Coupler, $13.70, 14414-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $15.50, 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Union Pacific (Water Service).
Reprint: 14414, Marklin Coupler, $13.70, 14414-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $15.50, 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Union Pacific (Water Service).Green with black lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Reporting Marks: UP 908726. Approximate Time Period: at least the 1970's (1971 service date given by MTL). Previous Release: Road Number 908728, April 1994. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Uh, oh, it's another Company Service Tank Car, which usually means trouble. This time it does... the various relevant ORERs in the UMTRR Accumulation list revenue service tank cars that the UP had, in different series, but nothing on the non revenue service tankers that these were. In fact, in both the April 1970 and April 1976 Registers there is a huge gap in the numbering from 800501 to 952250, which of course includes the above numbers (reprint and original release). © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I did have the opportuntity to review both of Morning Sun's Union Pacific Color Guides while I was away, and there was nothing doing in either of those volumes either, which was a bit of a surprise. I did learn that the fleet of revenue service cars was the likely source of these company service cars, which isn't a stretch since it's common practice for rail lines to recycle rolling stock in this manner. At least some of the revenue cars were dedicated to acid hauling. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.