©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:
25640, $24.30 - 50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Helena Southwestern.Red with yellow stripe, yellow doors, and aluminum roof. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. Yellow roadname on left. Reporting Marks: HSW 1036. Approximate Time Period: 1979 (build date) to late 1980's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.
First up, let's note that we're not talking about Helena, Montana for this railroad, but Helena, Arkansas, a town about 65 miles south of Memphis on the Mississippi River. Counting West Helena, it's home to less than 20,000 people, but it's known around the music world as the location of the "King Biscuit Blues Fest." The local paper is the "Helena Daily World"-- I guess that sums it up. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Like many shortlines which leased rolling stock during the Incentive Per Diem period of the 1970's, the HSW had been in business long before it ever had its name on boxcars. Buried on Page 1202 of the November 1946 Official Guide to the Railways is its short citation. It operated "Restricted Freight Service" a distance of 196 miles from North Somerset, Louisiana to West Helena, Arkansas, via trackage rights on 192 of those 196 miles! Connection was with the Missouri Pacific, Missouri and Arkansas and Illinois Central, all at West Helena. I'm going to guess that the MP provided the trackage rights, but since I can't find North Somerset, Louisiana on any maps or on the web, I can't be sure. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I was able to tease out of the 'net a few other facts about the HSW, though: First, it once owned a Shay steam locomotive. Second, it was once owned by the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company. That fits the listing of a Chicago Office in the HSW's entry in the Official Guide. Third, it was sold in January 1984 to the American Box Company. There is an American Box Company extant but I'm not certain it's the same one. Fourth, based on a Railroad Retirement Board document the line last operated in 1986. That leads me to the conclusion that this road was based on the lumber and/or paper businesses, or something related to wood. Any incremental information would be welcomed. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The prototype for this car was built by FMC, and the MTL 25000 series is based on the FMC Plate B 5077 cubic foot design, but the real cars were within the larger Plate C profile and a bit taller to enable a 5347 cubic foot capacity. (In fact there's a "Plate C" stencil on the model.) The difference is five scale inches, so it's up to the reader to decide whether that's a biggie. The ORER for April 1981 shows the series 1001 to 1050 with AAR Classification "XP" and description "Box, Steel, End of Car Cushioning" with dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 2 inches, outside length 57 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, door opening 10 feet. All fifty cars were present and accounted for. The address for car hire and mileage reports was in San Francisco, consistent with the stencil "Leased from Brae Corporation" that appears on the model just right of the door. In fact that's where repair reports were to be sent as well. In the January 1985 ORER, the group is split into two subseries based on the number and position of lading anchors-- that's too esoteric even for me!-- and the total population has slipped one to 49. The July 1987 ORER shows the group back together again under one listing but it's of only 22 cars. And that's the last we hear of the HSW. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Joe Levitsky sent a reference to David Hoge's "Trains Through Arkansas" site which show some very tired looking former HSW boxcars, largely in their as delivered paint, but restenciled for the Little Rock and Western, reporting marks LRWN. That line had over 900 cars in January 2000 and you've probably seen their quick minimal overpaint jobs roaming around the United States. Joe commented, and I agree, "The pictures remind me of just how ugly today's general merchandise trains, especially the boxcars, have become. There's an interesting dichotomy between the nearly new, fuel-efficient, high-horsepower locomotives pulling these trains and the boxcars which are most often on, at least, their second owner and are decorated in a kaleidoscope of faded colors with painted-out heralds (if they had any to begin with) and only cryptic reporting marks by which to identify them." He added that he can see why my model railroad is set in 1963, within quite the different "era of color." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
75120, $21.65 - 50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Plug Door, Without Roofwalk, British Columbia Railway.
75120, $21.65 - 50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Plug Door, Without Roofwalk, British Columbia Railway.Dark green with light green center door. Mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right with multicolor "dogwood" herald. Reporting Marks: BCIT 800516. Approximate Time Period: mid-1970s (1974 build date) to 1980. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We find our old friends the United States Railway Equipment Company here again, as you might have noted from the USA map stenciled on the right side of the bottom sill. In fact, the April 1976 ORER calls out specifically that these cars are owned by the USRE. The complete description is, pause for deep breath, "Box, Insulated, Cushion Underframe, Under Customs Regulations and Authorized for Exclusive Use in International Service Between Canada and the United States and Must Not be Used in Domestic Service Between Points in Canada, Owned by United States Railway Equipment Co., 50K." Because these were insulated boxcars, they got AAR Classification "RB" which is a refrigerator designation. There were 400 cars in the series 800200 to 800649; MTL's insert label splits these into two groups 800200 to 800349 and 800400 to 800649. The dimensions as listed show a bit of a problem: inside length 52 feet 5 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 62 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 5 inches, door opening 16 feet. In other words, the 75er body style is a little too small for exact depiction of the prototype car, even with extended draft gear couplers which MTL did include here. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
George Elwood's Fallen Flags site includes a shot of sister car BCIT 800480, which brings out other differences. For example, the prototype has short ladders, not full size. And the light green door that's in the center on the model is offset to the right on the prototype, in fact it looks like the centerline of the car is actually between the two doors, not dead center of the main door. And the bottom sill runs completely across the car side. Overall, I think some folks will deem this a "stand in" for the prototype series, and I couldn't blame them. Also note that the photo on Elwood's site shows the colors with some significant fade, although I can't really tell whether it's from actual paint fade or a somewhat overexposed photo. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Moving to the April 1981 ORER, we find something interesting: the series isn't there? There is a group of cars numbered 800650 to 800849 with different dimensions, but the group 800200 to 800649 is not shown. Huh? Ditto from the January 1985 Register under the BC Rail listing. Perhaps these cars were on a short term lease and then returned? According to Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" site that's exactly what happened; he shows them all back to the USRE by 1981. So a short ATP indeed for these particular cars. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
118020, $24.90 - Troop Kitchen Car, United States Army Medical Department (Hospital Kitchen).
118020, $24.90 - Troop Kitchen Car, United States Army Medical Department (Hospital Kitchen).Olive drab with black details. White lettering including reporting marks on left and right, "United States Army" across top center and "Medical Department" and "Kitchen Car" either side of center door. Red cross on white background on left and right, and red caduceus on white background either side of center door. Reporting Marks: USA 8762. Approximate Time Period: early to mid 1940's (1942 build date). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
One of the more sobering aspects of military movements on the rails were the hospital trains. The practice in the United States dates back to the Civil War. I found one 'net reference stating that more than 25,000 Union soldiers were transported back to Northern hospitals. These early hospital trains included kitchens, if not actual kitchen cars. Hospital trains were in use in Europe in World War I; there is a story of a woman who was one of the first nurses on the hospital trains of the American Expeditionary Forces. There is also an official account including dispatching records (!) with respect to "Evacuation From the Zone of the Army." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Of course, hospital trains ran in the United States as well, and during the time period we're most concerned with, World War II. The website of the Golden Gate Railroad Museum describes the history of the State Belt Railroad of California, in San Francisco, and notes that the line moved 265 hospital trains in 1945 alone. I'm sure that some additional surfing would lead to further citations of the use of these cars (and see below). Although I wouldn't have expected to see ORER type data, it turns out that the cars (and in fact troop sleepers in general) were listed in the Official Register of Passenger Equipment. (Which are significantly more scarce and pricey than ORERs, unfortunately.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Given that there were relatively few of these cars built, I thought I would not find a thing on the 'net about these cars. But fortunately I was wrong! We start with a gem on the San Diego Railroad Museum site, an actual surviving member of the fleet. It had been converted to a guard car in 1956 for use in ammunition movements. Attached to this roster item listing on the website is a scanned photo of the actual car modeled, shown in the basic paint scheme that MTL selected. (The caduceus seems to be a bit larger on the MTL model.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It's noted in the SDRM commentary that the paint scheme included a red cross on the roof, which MTL didn't include; but the caption with the photo of USA 8762 doesn't mention it, only the red crosses on the sides. There are lettering diagrams that exist showing a red cross on the roof as well, so does this mean that they did or didn't have them in real life... or both? Meaning, some and some? It may be impossible to say for sure. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, a gallery of Nevada Northern equipment includes a 1975 photo of their storage car 1050, which also started out as a hospital kitchen car, road number 8733, from the same series USA 8731 to 8770. A future MTL offering, perhaps? And let me hasten to add that the webmaster of the NN site, more formally titled "Nevada Northern and Railroads of White Pine County," is Keith Albrandt who is a long time UMTRR gang member. So go peruse the whole site, folks! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
We're not quite done yet. It turns out that in 1953, the St. Louis Car Company built updated versions of the hospital kitchen car, that is not of the same design as the ACF one from 1942. (A key spotting feature is a rounded roof.) Two of those survive at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington, and in the collection of the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society. Finally, from Roger Beckett we have a recommendation of the Cannonball Car Shops wesbite. They're the folks who did the troop sleepers and kitchens in HO Scale and they present a nice rundown of the history and disposition of these cars. In fact Roger calls it the most comprehensive he's seen. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
20180, $12.60 - 40 Foot PS-1 Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib") Door, Akron, Canton and Youngstown.Yellow with red lettering including reporting marks and "Serving Ohio and the Nation" slogan on left and large "ACY" with "Road of Service" slogan on right. Reporting Marks: ACY 3326. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1963 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1970's. Previous Releases: Road Numbers 3340 and 3346 (one known, see text), May 1974, originally with catalog number 20416. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The "era of color" was well underway when these boxcars bowed in their bright yellow paint for the "Road of Service." The ACY was largely centered around its first namesake city; although Canton and Youngstown aren't all that far from Akron, the line never made it to either of those cities. Instead, it went west through absorbtion of the former narrow gauge Northern Ohio Railroad, reaching as far as Delphos and connection with the Nickel Plate Road. System maps I've seen show a "stretched" Ohio but the line's geographic position is fairly accurate nonetheless. Delphos is fairly close to the border of Indiana. I note this because it was common for railroads to exaggerate their relative size and straightness of route via cartographic sleight-of-hand. The ACY was sold off to the expanding Norfolk and Western in 1964 when the Wabash and Nickel Plate also went into the N&W, but the line stayed indepedendent until 1982. The "new" Wheeling and Lake Erie now operates the remaining former ACY trackage, about 100 miles of the original 170, not bad. The W&LE has even painted up one of its high nose GP35's in an ACY "tribute scheme." For more on the line, check out the AC&Y Historical Society site. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1964 shows the series 3200 to 3346 of 147 cars of your basic "Box, Steel" with AAR Classification "XM". The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet (shorter than the standard PS-1), outside length 40 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 7 feet ("door thing") and capacity 3717 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. This group was part of 1850 total cars operated by the line, quite a bit for a relatively short carrier. But Akron was very much an industrial center, including being a key point for tire manufacturing, so the ACY cars were probably kept pretty busy. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 1" includes a shot of sister car 3299 as it appeared in May 1963. The door on this car, in addition to being a foot wider than on the MTL model, is also a seven panel Superior model, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they were used on the entire series. Otherwise, looking at the photo, it would be hard for my relatively untrained eye to distinguish this from a typical PS-1 boxcar, although we know for the ORER stats that there are differences. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the April 1970 ORER, the roster stood at 142 cars with a few of those equipped with pallets. I would have needed to say "You've got to be thinking roofwalk removal after that" but by the April 1976 Register there were only a pair of cars left in the series. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The paint scheme depicted by MTL was one of at least two variations on the theme for the ACY, the other sported black lettering in place of the red. There were also versions of the car in boxcar red with white lettering, somewhat more mundane but still eye-catching given that large lettering. MTL's "brother" company Kadee has done those two and also an earlier ACY paint scheme with a small circular herald; so should MTL want to branch out, it could do so easily. Kadee hasn't done the red on yellow one that Micro-Trains has reprinted this month because it's not a positive match for the prototype PS-1. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And lastly, my "see text" in the header: The January/February 2003 issue of The N Scale Collector magazine chronicles the long, strange trip of the elusive road number ACY 3346. To summarize the apparent history of this release, the 3346 printing plate was damaged early in the printing process, and replaced with the opposite end of the plate which carried the common 3340 road number. The actual number of 3340s that were printed is unknown, and so far only one mint in box example has turned up, nearly thirty years after its apparent release date, even though it took more than ten years (!) for this offering to sell out. That single known example shattered all previous records for Micro-Trains products of any kind when it sold in the NSC Auction for-- sitting down?-- $7779.79. Yep, nearly seventy eight hundred dollars. Gee, that would keep Kieran in college for a year... or maybe keep him in schoolbooks for a year of college. But not bad for a car with an original price of $3.00, I guess. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
23040, $12.60 - 40 Foot Double Door Boxcar, Baltimore and Ohio.
23040, $12.60 - 40 Foot Double Door Boxcar, Baltimore and Ohio.Boxcar red with white lettering including small "13 States" capital herald on left and roadname and reporting marks on right. Reporting Marks: B&O 298895. Approximate Time Period: late 1940's to 1960's. Previous Releases: Road Number 298891, April 1973; Road Number 298897, November 1973 (these two also with Catalog Number 23157); Road Number 298899, January 1990. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The CDS Railway Equipment Diagrams book gives 1947 as the year for this particular paint scheme, which features the capital herald that includes the slogan, "Linking 13 States with The Nation." In an earlier UMTRR I actually attempted to name those thirteen states, but we'll leave that exercise to the reader this time. (Hint: Not the same as the Thirteen Colonies.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
While it might look to be a plain ol' boxcar on the outside, there was a lot going on inside. We'll look at three ORER examples that fall into the ATP. First, from July 1950 (Westerfield CD-ROM), there are three subseries for the main group 298000 to 289899, 900 total cars. The first set is of 254 cars in AAR Classification "XM" with description "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors" with 254 cars. Note G adds that the cars "are being equipped with Evans Auto Loaders". The next subset is of 354 cars that already have auto loaders with AAR Classification "XMR" and description "Box, Auto, Steel, Staggered Doors". The third subset was of 247 cars with AAR Class "XME", strangely enough, had the notation that they were equipped with "Auto Loaders which have been sealed." Does that mean they were out of service already? Or maybe they hadn't been placed into service yet? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Anyway, on we go to the January 1955 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM). At that time the series 298000 to 298898 consisted of two subseries. The larger one was of 567 cars with AAR class "XMR" and description "Box, Auto, Steel, Staggered Doors" with Note L (we'll get to that) and the smaller subset was of 189 more cars with AAR class "XM" and the description "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors" and Note X (we'll get to that too). In other words, some cars were no longer classified as being Automobile Box Cars. The dimensions on both sets were identical except for the inside height which was 10 feet 6 inches on the non-auto boxcars and either 10 feet 6 inches or 9 feet 5 inches, depending on whether the internal racks were in play. The cubic footage capacity also differed because of the racks; it would have been 3898 on the non-auto cars and 3898 or 3497 on the auto boxcars. Other statistics: Inside length 40 feet 6 inches, outside length 42 feet 10 and 3/4 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 14 feet (versus 16 feet on the MTL model-- a "door thing") and weight capacity 100,000 pounds. Note L discusses the Evans Auto Loaders and the differences in capacity and inside height-- the lower numbers are when the loaders are folded against the roof, not when they're unfolded into position. Note X lists the individual car numbers of the non-auto boxcars that don't have the auto loaders. Of the numbers that MTL has done so far, the 298891 is listed as being just an ordinary boxcar. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
In the January 1964 Register the cars are broken into five subseries, three of which have Auto Loaders. Two of those sets had "permanent modifications" to these loaders for "specific complete auto loading." It's surprising to me that in the Sixties there would still be boxcars hauling automobiles-- and forty foot boxcars at that! A few other cars were set up with containers for the transport of transmissions, and there were still those plain ol' boxcars as well. The total across all these subsets was 329 out of a possible 1000 cars. So they were hangin' in there. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Joe Levitsky sent along the citation from the Morning Sun "Color Guide" for the B&O by Craig Bossler, and notes that MTL's car copy was borrowed from it. What's interesting, though, is that the car pictured with the caption isn't in the same paint scheme! It's actually wearing a later B&O scheme with large "B&O" and it too doesn't list any of the "Expedited Freight Services" that appeared on other B&O boxcars. ("Sentinel Service" for one.) Bossler notes that all of the Class M-59 were off the roster by 1985 but I think the ATP for the "13 States" herald ended well before that. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
38210, $13.50 - 50 Foot Plug Door Boxcar Without Roofwalk, Lehigh Valley.
38210, $13.50 - 50 Foot Plug Door Boxcar Without Roofwalk, Lehigh Valley.White with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname on right. Red and black LV "flag" herald on left. Reporting Marks: LV 7051. Approximate Time Period: late 1960's to early 1970's. Previous Release: Road Number 7050, April 1997 (as part of the 78052 "Conrail Fallen Flags" multi-pack).
Before the Lehigh Valley Railroad, there was the Lehigh Canal, and before that, the Lehigh River itself. All three are nicely integrated into the National Canal Museum in Easton, Pennsylvania, the place where the Lehigh River empties into the Delaware River. This museum of "manageable size" is part of the Two Rivers complex right in the heart of downtown Easton, and covers all United States canals and navigable rivers, not just the Lehigh. It boasts tens of thousands of pieces of research material, from oral histories to a mine service 0-4-0 Vulcan steam locomotive. And to say it is family friendly is an understatement of grand proportion, for it not only has exhibits that appeal to all ages, it sits one floor above the Crayola Factory which is chock full of kids' arts and crafts activities. In fact, the two attractions share a common admission price. Meanwhile, if you want to witness a bit of the ghost of the prototype line, you can do that in the Easton area as well. While much of the former LV didn't survive past the very beginning of Conrail, the line coming across from New Jersey is still in place, and remains quite active as the Norfolk Southern's principal entry into the Greater New York area. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I must say I'm a bit surprised at MTL's choice of this as a reprint, considering how long it took the Conrail Fallen Flags set, in which the first run was included, to sell out. Although I'm not at all unhappy! With this initial reprint, MTL has covered fifty percent of the prototype four car series. With just a six year life, I hope I have an ORER which falls into that window... oh, good, the April 1970 Register will work. The four cars numbered 7050 to 7053 were described as "Refrigerator" and had AAR Classification "RBL". The inside length was 50 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet 11 inches, outside length 56 feet 1 inch (MTL appropriately supplied the extended draft gear trucks), extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 10 feet (a "door thing" but harder to notice on a plug door), and capacity 4608 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. A notation gives a clue as to why they only lasted six years; these cars were owned by the North American Car Company and leased to the LV. My guess is that the Consolidated Rail Corporation declined to pick up the lease, if the Leaky Valley hadn't already defaulted on the payments by Conrail Day, April 1, 1976. The dimensional data tells an interesting story as well: service date September 1965, original build date November 1942! I guess North American had a little rebuilding done before leasing the cars out. And from the "LV Modeler" site, we get a reference to the Morning Sun CNJ/LV Color Guide (page 88) and a note that these cars started on the Valley as NIRX 41000 to 41003 in 1963. There's also the question of whether only the 7050 was painted up in this manner, a question that may not ever be answerable.
55080, $15.00 - 33 Foot Two Bay Hopper, Offset Sides, Flat Ends, Northern Pacific.
55080, $15.00 - 33 Foot Two Bay Hopper, Offset Sides, Flat Ends, Northern Pacific.Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname across side. Reporting Marks: NP 70215. Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (based on build date of 1940) or mid-1960's (based on 1966 rebuild date) to late 1970's. Previous Releases: Road Numbers 70352 and 70351 (the 70351 is considered rare), November 1979; Road Number 70224, September 1996. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
How picky you are about "the fine print" will define the ATP for you on this reprint, and as you can see from the header it's a pretty wide range. Captions in Morning Sun's NP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment suggest to me that the as delivered paint scheme back in 1940 and 1941 when these cars were built by American Car and Foundry is the one that MTL depicted, even with the rebuild 26 years later. The MSCG (note introduction of new abbreviation!) also shows a very beat up NP 70245 from the same series with just reporting marks; a fairly simple modification given the amount of weathering and rust that should also be included. Author Todd Sullivan reports that this series of cars was used to haul lignite, which is a sub-bituminous coal. As such, the hoppers may not have wandered far off the home road. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Reaching back to the January 1940 ORER, just the series 70200 to 70599 was listed, with no data and no car total, denoting a "coming soon" group of cars. But we'll check close to the rebuild date of 1966, so the ORER for April 1970 shows, under the Burlington Northern listing, the series 70200 to 70899, of 425 cars. In keeping with the standard ACF design, the cars sport an inside length of 33 feet, inside width of 10 feet 4 inches, outside length of 36 feet 6 inches, extreme height of 10 feet 5 inches, and capacity of 2081 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The BN hung onto these cars a bit longer, with 332 remaining in April 1976 and 120 in April 1981. I think it's safe to say that these weren't relettered to BN reporting marks. But it's possible that consolidated stencils were added toward the end of the 1970's, which could shorten your strictly speaking ATP as well. It's an easy detail to add, but be sure to include heavy weathering if you do. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
61010, $13.75 - 50 Foot Gondola, Composite Straight Sides, Fixed Ends, Rock Island (Chicago Rock Island and Pacific).
61010, $13.75 - 50 Foot Gondola, Composite Straight Sides, Fixed Ends, Rock Island (Chicago Rock Island and Pacific).Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and "Rock Island" roadname across center. Reporting Marks: RI 187509. Approximate Time Period: 1930's (1929 build date given by MTL) to early 1950's. Previous Releases: Road Number 187500, August 1987; Road Number 187507, October 1993. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This release makes three of a kind-- of a one of a kind. The Rock Island is the only roadname for which there's been a release in this body style, one of the varieties that I'd considered to be a "lost body style." But then, I said that about the 63000's which have only been out in the Grand Trunk Western, too. But I digress... © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Technically gondolas by their AAR Classification "GS", the Rock Island described these as "Coal, Dump, Steel Underframe" in the July 1935 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM). Many roads east of the Mississippi preferred to haul coal in gondolas instead of or in addition to hoppers. The task of literally shoveling coal out of gondolas was probably one of the top ten back breakers of the time. However, the "dump" part of the description probably alludes to drop bottom doors on this gon, similarly to a group of 40 foot GS composite gondolas that were built for the Rock Island in the 1920's and 1930's. That's a detail that MTL missed, and frankly, I'm not sure how they'd depict it. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Back to the '35 Register: there were all 2000 cars of a possible 2000 in the series 187000 to 188999-- one wonders why MTL chose the numbers it did given that, all in the first ten cars in the series. The inside length was 48 feet 6 inches, inside height 5 feet even, inside width 9 feet 4 inches-- that gets important in a moment. The outside length was 50 feet 4 inches and the capacity was 2242 cubic feet or an impressive (for the time) 150,000 pounds. MTL notes that the cars were built in 1929. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As with many composite cars, the sides were rebuilt from wood and steel composite to all steel. This hadn't taken place in the July 1940 ORER, but by the July 1950 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) that was well underway, with 849 cars having been changed over and 1140 remaining as built. Because the steel was thinner than the wood that it replaced, the inside width increased to 9 feet 5 inches. Whoopee, a whole inch, you might think; but that added 56 cubic feet to the capacity, from 2242 to 2298, given the overall size of the car. In the January 1955 Register (Westerfield CD-ROM again), there were 1440 cars with all steel construction and just 35 with the composite sides. I think that's close enough to call the end of the ATP. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES: No releases this month.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):
Reprint (well, sort of): 15502, $22.00 - Caboose, Wood Sides, One Window Cupola, Denver and Rio Grande Western.Dark freight car red with white lettering including roadname across top and "speed lettering" herald on right. Road Number: 0586 Approximate Time Period: early 1940's to early 1970's, or to present if you count museums. Previous Releases (all with Catalog Number 15701, see text): Road Number 0585, July 1989 (in one window cupola version); Road Number 0584, November 1990; Road Number 0588, May 1993; Road Number 0587, November 1995 (last three in two window cupola version). NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL is being very conservative here; this is probably about as far as you can go as a "not a reprint" without declaring this to be a new release. First, there is new tooling including, for the first time, window glazing and truss rods! Second, the previous runs were on a different body style, namely, the two window cupola version. With one exception, although it wasn't listed as such initially. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
As we've already reported in these bytes, the Rio Grande's "Speed Lettering" herald debuted in 1941, so that marks the beginning of the Approximate Time Period. Although well down from its peak mileage of 1,673 (!) the narrow gauge operations were still pretty healthy at 562 miles in that year. Much of the former three-foot trackage had been converted to three rail or standard gauge by that time. I'm sure I'm like most folks in immediately picturing the sharp curves, steep grades and breathtaking views of lines like those on the Durango to Silverton line, but believe it or not, there was also a 53 mile stretch of tangent track-- that's right, 53 miles of perfectly straight route! © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1940 (Westerfield CD-ROM) doesn't show cabeese of either standard or narrow gauge persuasion-- I didn't expect it would-- but I do note that there were nearly three thousand pieces of slim gauge revenue freight equipment back then. Following through the ORERs from there you'd notice a steady decline in that tally as the narrow gauge was pulled closer and closer to oblivion. The last 46 miles were sold off to become the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge tourist line which is still in operation at this writing. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
It's also nice to report several of the D&RGW's roster remain extant today, including a number of museum pieces. One of these is the 0586 itself-- or at least we hope it's still at the Georgetown Loop where it was photographed in good condition in July 2000. But I can beat that... how about an entire short photo book devoted only to this particular caboose?!? Tim Mullina has done just that, putting together 50 pages and 80 photos on the 0586 and her sisters. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
New Release: 13730, Marklin Coupler, $20.15, 13730-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $21.95 - 50 Foot Double Door Boxcar, Santa Fe (AT&SF).Pullman green with yellow lettering including reporting marks and circle cross herald on left. One side of the car has the straight line system map plus the "Ship Santa Fe all the way" herald right of the doors. The other side of each car has "The Scout for economy travel West" slogan. Reporting Marks: ATSF 10055. Approximate Time Period: 1941 to 1944. NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Here's the second of what I'd expect to be the Z Scale series of five cars that was released all at one time in N Scale as the Chicago Show Special for 2001. As I wrote in October of that year, "The Scout" was the first of the five trains to be discontinued, with the dropping of the name in the late 1940's according to several 'net sources. It was alive and well in 1946 as trains 1 and 2 from Chicago to California. Connections to and from St. Louis were shown by no less than four different railroads-- the Burlington, the Alton, the Missouri Pacific, and the Wabash. There were "free porter service and drinking cups" on this train, which left at 10PM out of Chicago and arrived Los Angeles at 7:15 AM on the third day out (for example, leave Sunday night and get there Wednesday morning). This was from the Official Guide of November '46. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The prototype cars were the Santa Fe series Fe-24 and were listed as passenger equipment, so there was no ORER data to be found. They're cheating a little with Arch Bar trucks standing in for the Allied Full Cushion trucks that the prototype had. The ATP is a lot shorter than first thought, though. According to the website of Steve Sandiford, the elaborate map and slogan motif is good for only 1941 to 1944, after which all the former 10000 to 10199 series cars wore a much simpler scheme with circle cross and reporting marks on the left and only the word "Express" on the right, although still in pullman green and delux gold. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.