©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:
21432, $51.55 - Three pack "Lucky Strike Chicago Show Special", all lettered for the Chicago Great Western.The cars are listed below.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.
I can't think of the last time that Micro-Trains did a three pack of widely different cars for the same railroad. In fact, it's possible that they've never done one as a regular release! Before we get into the individual cars, let's take a look at the railroad for which they are decorated.
The CGW was one of the "Granger Roads" that could basically be described as a somewhat misshapen cross with endpoints at Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City and Minneapolis. The center of the cross was Oelwein, Iowa, where the CGW's main shops were located, and also where Walter P. Chrysler built his first car according to the Oelwein website. The CGW was a relative latecomer to the scene, having been completed around 1903. Despite its name, the Chicago Great Western actually got its start as the Minnesota and Northwestern, a line that ran from Saint Paul to the Iowa border. (Yes, I know that's a southerly direction, not northwest from Saint Paul.) In fact, for many years its rolling stock was lettered "Great Western," not "Chicago Great Western," to de-emphasize Chicago. Why, I don't know exactly, but perhaps its "Corn Belt Route" herald was an indication. The line certainly traversed some of the most fertile farmland in the country. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
A.B. Stickney was the founder and early driving force behind the line, and he ran it his way until his retirement in 1908. Given the number of other roads in the area, Stickney and his successors tried numerous innovations for competitive advantage. They were an early adapter of piggyback, for example. They were well known for long trains (200 car local freights!), and kept their stable of F-unit diesels on the property longer than most roads did. But the ink eventually flowed irreversibly red and consolidations threatened to make the line irrelevant, so the line pursued and got a friendly merger with rival C&NW on July 1, 1968. CGW equipment continued to have CGW reporting marks with CNW paint and herald well after the merger. However, the trackage itself didn't do as well; dismantling of redundant lines began very quickly and today there is very little left of the line. In fact, there is a substantial part of the old CGW converted to rail-trails. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Perhaps the best known feature of the line was its round herald, adapted circa 1954. It is well known as the "Lucky Strike" herald because of its very close similarity to the logo of Lucky Strike cigarettes, which was also red with a black and white outline and black block lettering. There have been a number of previous Micro-Trains cars with the Lucky Strike logo including five individually released tank cars in the various colors the Great Western used to designate different commodities carried. (Although long sold out, and thus somewhat irrelevant, the 65000 body style isn't really close to the much larger prototype cars. In other words, I wouldn't expect reprints.)© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And meanwhile I'm pleased to report that I have in the UMTRR Library the Morning Sun "Chicago Great Western Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" by Gene Green, herein referred to as the MSCG, and the three cars selected by MTL
for this pack are all found in the pages of that volume.
21430, $15.55 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, Chicago Great Western.
21430, $15.55 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, Chicago Great Western.Dark boxcar red with red lettering including reporting marks on left and large "DF" on right. "Lucky Strike" herald on left. Reporting Marks: CGW 382. Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1960's (1960 build date).
This car was one of five built in August 1960 and equipped with insulation and Evans load restraining devices. As such it was given the AAR classification "XMLI" and the large "DF" for "Damage Free" on the side of the car as well as the small white symbol on the plug door. According to the caption included with the photo of 385 in the MSCG (page 35), these cars were in service hauling Campbell Soup out of Chicago. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1964 shows the small group 381 to 385 with description "Box, 'DF' Loaders". The AAR classification has changed to "RBL" though. The dimensions were: inside length 40 feet 2 inches (accounting for the insulation), inside height 9 feet 3 inches (ditto), outside length 42 feet 3 inches, outside height to top of running board 14 feet 10 inches (for some reason the "extreme height" isn't given), door opening 8 feet, capacity 3322 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The five cars remained in the CGW reporting marks in the Chicago and North Western's listing in the ORER for April 1970, and also in April 1976. However, if you're not already thinking repaint into a C&NW scheme with just CGW reporting marks, you've got to be thinking roofwalk removal. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The photo in the MSCG is dated April 1961 and the car looks brand new. It appears to be a generally good match to the MTL 21000 body style. although one difference I picked up right away is a completely straight side sill on the prototype. It could be just the photo but it looks like the shade of "boxcar red" used on the real 385 is darker than on some of the other CGW boxcars. Based on the website image, it appears that MTL has captured this.© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
48100, $17.55 - 50 Foot Steel Side Gondola, Straight Sides, Drop Ends, Chicago Great Western.
48100, $17.55 - 50 Foot Steel Side Gondola, Straight Sides, Drop Ends, Chicago Great Western.Dark freight car red with yellow lettering including reporting marks on left. Small "Lucky Strike" herald on right. Reporting Marks: CGW 1343. Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1962 renumbering) to early 1970's.
The prototype for this car was pulled from a group of 300 general service gondolas and fitted with DF loaders in 1962 according to the MSCG (page 63). There were only three gons: 1341, 1342 and 1343, that got this treatment which included the "Lucky Strike" herald. The ORER for January 1964 shows these three with dimensions as follows: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 4 feet 8 inches, outside length 51 feet 11 inches, extreme height 8 feet 4 inches, capacity 2240 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. The cars were still present in the April 1970 and April 1976 Registers with CGW markings in the C&NW listing and my guess is that they remained painted as shown by MTL until at least the early 1970's. Later, the North Western painted its CGW gons sometimes in black and sometimes in green. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
MTL brings back a dormant body style for this release; the last 48000 car to be issued was the 48030 Southern Pacific reprint from October 1995, so it's been a while. However, the photo in the MSCG clearly shows the 1343 as a fixed end gondola. It also shows graffiti that not very subtly ties the "Lucky Strike" herald to its apparent inspiration: some joker scrawled "Luckies" above the logo and "L.S.M.F.T." below, the latter standing for "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco" which was the long standing slogan for the brand. I wonder what the American Tobacco Company, original producer of Lucky Strike, thought of this? Free advertising, perhaps?© 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
59090, $18.45 - 40 Foot Steel Ice Refrigerator, URTX/Chicago Great Western.
59090, $18.45 - 40 Foot Steel Ice Refrigerator, URTX/Chicago Great Western.Yellow with black roof and ends. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. "Lucky Strike" herald on right. Reporting Marks: URTX 11614. Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1960's.
Although lettered for the CGW, this car was owned by the Union Refrigerator Transit Company, a part of Union Tank Car Line, which was a division of General American Transportation. That would explain the triangular "General American" logo to the left of the door. The January 1964 ORER shows what appears to be the rather large series 11610 to 11999, but there are only 18 cars in it and they may not have all been leased to the Great Western. The dimensions of this set were: inside length 33 feet 2 inches between the ice tanks, inside height 7 feet 9 inches, outside length 41 feet 8 inches, extreme height 13 feet 4 inches, door opening 4 feet 11 inches, capacity 2151 cubic feet or 75,000 pounds plus another ten thousand pounds or so of ice. These dimensions more or less align with the 59er body style, though the door itself is a bit different on the prototype, i.e. it has two sets of hinges versus three on the model. (You've heard of rivet counting? This is hinge counting!) By the April 1970 Register these URTX series was gone. I would expect that the cars were either returned to the lessor or simply taken out of service, as ice reefers were close to the end of their reign at that time. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Going backwards in time from the 1960s with the help of the MSCG (page 51), we find that these cars were originally numbered in the 11000 to 13999 series and were fitted with the earlier "Corn Belt Route" herald. Gene Green wrote that "apparently the car was renumbered when the Lucky Strike herald was added." The slightly overhead shot shows the "patch job" used to change the road number to 11614 and add the CGW herald. That brings up, potentially, a little bit of an issue with respect to the MTL model; the model looks like it's in "as delivered" paint. It's also got yellow sides while the sides of the car in the picture look much more orange in color. Similar to the NYRX "boxcar acting as refrigerator" release from back in July (catalog 20440), that's not to say that it couldn't have been yellow at some point, or that the color film on which the photo was taken had a shift in tone. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
34320, $16.20 - 50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Door, Southern Pacific.
34320, $16.20 - 50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Door, Southern Pacific.Boxcar red with white lettering including large roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white round herald on right. Reporting Marks: SP 211206. Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1955 build date given by MTL) to late 1960's. NOTE: This item is reported as sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Based on the information on Lee Gautreaux's website it looks like these cars belonged to the prototype class B-50-35, the "50" meaning tons capacity, not length. They're your basic double door boxcar, nothing fancy. The January 1955 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) doesn't yet show this group, so it's off to the January 1959 Register, which shows the series 210556 to 211305. These were, with 16 exceptions, given AAR Classification "XM" and the description "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors" with the following vital statistics: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 51 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch. The door opening was 15 feet meaning a slight "door thing" versus the 16 feet worth of doors on the 34000 body style, but it's not as noticable on a fifty footer as a forty footer. (I think I saw that these were two equally sized doors, also, seven and a half feet each?) The capacity was 100,000 pounds. The 16 exceptions were equipped for auto parts service, lost an inch on the inside height and had AAR Class "XAP". The individual numbers called out didn't match the number modeled by MTL. In January 1964 it was back to a main series of XM's only with 641 total cars. In April 1970 the series was expanded to 210373 to 211304 with 812 total cars, and we'll therefore go one more to April 1976 with, oops, just 17 pieces left. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
From the RPI website, we see that the large Gothic (font) roadname was adopted in June 1955, so it's possible that these were among the first cars to receive them. The name is to the left of the door, with the herald remaining on the right. But in 1957 the large roadname was moved to the right of the door, I assume displacing the round "circle and bar" herald which was dropped. That would align with MTL's car copy to that effect. How long would these cars have stayed in their original paint? My guess is, quite a while, knowing the Espee, and that's why I'm taking the ATP out into the sixties. You could probably get away with in in the 1970's as well, although admittedly it's more likely that the car would look like that modeled by MTL back in 1974 and 1996 as catalog number 34050 (and 34091 before that). © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
49550, $26.20 - 40 Foot Double Sheathed Ice Refrigerator Car, Vertical Brake Wheel, Bangor and Aroostook "Maine Potatoes."
49550, $26.20 - 40 Foot Double Sheathed Ice Refrigerator Car, Vertical Brake Wheel, Bangor and Aroostook "Maine Potatoes."Blue and white sides, blue ends and box car red roof. Blue and white lettering including reporting marks on left and herald on right. Brown and white "Maine Potatoes" logo on left. Reporting Marks: BAR 6006. Approximate (and I do mean "Approximate") Time Period: 1950's. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
I am probably using the term "logo" anachronistically here, but there's no doubt that Maine was and continues to be synonymous with potatoes. Okay, so Idaho easily led in that category in 2001 with a third of all United States production, and Maine was actually sixth (also behind Washington, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Colorado), but the potato continues to be the number one agricultural crop in the state. Ninety percent of that crop is produced in Aroostook County, which ranks first among all counties in the United States in production. The crop is making a bit of a comeback from its low in the nineties, when prices realized for crops didn't equal the cost of growing them, pushing many farmers into bankruptcy, and the pototoes themselves were tainted by quality problems. The loss in land devoted to growing has stabilized since then, and like the potato itself, the industry survives, continuing a tradition begun some 250 years ago. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The BAR used refrigerator cars for the loading of potatoes, because of their insulation, but not to keep the crop cold, but to keep them from freezing. It was convenient to be able to use the cars in the "off-season" when they weren't otherwise occupied keeping other crops cold. But the BAR needed a consistent supply, which might not have been guaranteed if the road depended on anything other than itself. So the line gradually picked up that supply, including this one. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Dennis Rockwell kindly forwarded to me a thread of discussion about this car from the "Steam Era Freight Cars" list. It's too long to include here but you can go over to STMFC@yahoogroups.com to see the whole thing. Basically, though, it's an example of how little we really know sometimes about the life of a paint scheme. A synopsis: The BAR didn't start buying its own reefers until either 1947 or 1951. The paint scheme definitely did exist, apparently with and without the "Maine Potato". And while it's clear that the road did repaint the cars into the more familiar and more plain yellow-orange scheme with black lettering, it's not absolutely clear when this happened. And it also seems that the BAR farmed out (no pun intended) the reefers to the West when the line was in its "off season", although these blue and white ones may or may not have been among those cars. There's apparently at least one photo of one car taken in Salt Lake City in 1951, and while it's in blue and white there is no "potato." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The best I can do with this information (and many thanks for passing it along, Dennis) is check the January 1955 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM), which of course isn't going to tell us how the car was painted. The BAR entry shows the series 6000 to 6999 with description "Refrigerator, Ventilated" and AAR Classification "RS." The inside dimensions, net after ice bunkers, were length 33 feet 2 inches, width 8 feet 5 inches, and height 7 feet 3 inches. The outside height was 42 feet 7 inches and the extreme height 14 feet. The cars had a four foot door opening, capacity of between 11,200 and 12,300 pounds of ice depending on the variety, and capacity of 70,000 pounds of merchandise, which is a lot of potatoes. (I've read that they were bagged for shipment.) Although there were a thousand possible numbers there are just 272 in the series. The BAR also had a different series 7000 to 7856 for an additional 851 cars, with somewhat different dimensions including a 42 foot 3 inch outside length. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
At any rate, regardless of whether they were wearing blue and white or yellow-orange paint, the 6000 series of cars was down to 136 pieces in the January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM). There were none left in the 6000's in the January 1964 Register. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
If you're a bit confused about the reference to "PHD Blue" in the MTL car copy, I assume they mean the Port Huron and Detroit Railroad. I suppose it makes things easy for people to color match to a commercial paint. If you're confused as to why MTL would bring this car to market so soon after someone else has, I don't really have any answers for that. There was a photo reference based declaration that the other version was "righter" because the roof on that car was white and the MTL roof is boxcar red. I'd submit that given the lack of clarity over the ATP of the paint scheme it's entirely possible that there were prototype versions of each version modeled. So enjoy the variety and this sharp, although pricey, car. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
N SCALE REPRINTS:
20350, $15.30 - 40 Foot Box Car, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), New Haven (New York, New Haven and Hartford).Black with red door. White lettering including large "N over H" on left and roadname and reporting marks on right. Reporting Marks: NH 36438. Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1955 rebuild date given by MTL) to mid-1960's. Previous Release: Road Number 36178, June 1982. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Joe Levitzky made a major contribution to the commentary before I even got started with the bytes this time! He provided data from the New Haven Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) and also writes, "At the Amherst Railway Society Show earlier this year, I gave Eric Smith a limited-edition mug, being sold by the Danbury (CT) Railway Museum, which featured the herald of the Central New England Railway. The CNE was ultimately acquired by (you guessed it) the New Haven Railroad. Inside the mug I inserted a note which said 'please reprint 20350.' Perhaps that had the desired effect.
Joe continues, "It's about time that MTL saw fit to reprint this car. Judging by auction results from the N Scale Collector, cars from the original release would make expensive runners. I hope that they don't wait another 20 years to make the next reprint... the original issue from June 1982 was by Kadee. That was back in the dark ages before the Short Line and websites, the "golden" era when Kadee released new cars roughly once every quarter and we became aware of them through advertisements in Model Railroader or Railroad Model Craftsman. How quaint."
Joe refers us to Page 20 of the MSCG for the New Haven which has a shot of the very road number 36438. The shot is one of several of this paint scheme. The repaint was part of an overall sale, refurbishment and leaseback of former NH series 30000 boxcars undertaken by Hyman-Michaels Company through the Harris Trust. The cars dated to 1941 and were initially built by Pressed Steel Car. (Which of course means that they can't be PS-1s.) Page 22 of the MSCG shows a series of consecutively numbered cars painted the same way, 36409 to 36411, on display at the Planned Progress Meeting in December 1955. Most but not all of the Pressed Steel cars went through this procedure, although some came back in red and white paint like that depicted by MTL as Catalog Number 20830. So it's actually possible to have the "script" herald (MTL's Catalog 20029), the black car and the red car co-existing on a layout. In fact, we can toss in the black boxcar with the very large "NH" on the left that was done as Catalog Number 20556. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows 970 cars in the series 36000 to 36990, of description "Box, All Steel" and AAR Class "XM." These cars are shorter than the typical PS-1 at an interior height of 10 feet even (in fact, many of the NH's actual PS-1s were also ten feet interior height). The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, outside length 40 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 6 feet and capacity 3715 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
What's unusual about both it and the white on red scheme of the NH (done as MTL catalog 20830) is that the reporting marks and dimensional data is to the right of the door. Opening the door obscured some of the data. Not good, said the Interstate Commerce Commission. Eventually some of the cars went to the "simplified-Alpert" scheme of oxide red with a "White N over H" herald to the right of the door and the dimensional data moved to its more typical position. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
But many NH boxcars were simply sold off in the 1960's, never to return. By 1965 the group was all the way down to 195 cars and by 1970, just 63. And then the Penn Central took over.
20970, $11.70 - 40 Foot Box Car, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Pacific Great Eastern.
20970, $11.70 - 40 Foot Box Car, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Pacific Great Eastern.Boxcar red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left, and round caribou herald on right. Reporting Marks: PGE 4015. Approximate Time Period: late 1940's (19476 build date given by MTL) or mid-1950's (based on 1954 service date) to about 1960. Previous Releases: Road Number 4012, June 1989, Road Number 4022, April 1993. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
There definitely appears to be a love affair with the PGE and its successors British Columbia Railway and BC Rail going on somewhere in Talent, Oregon. The line has been honored with releases that I'd say are out of proportion to its size. For example, this is now the third run of this basic boxcar. Although I don't think that PGE fans are complaining. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
For a quick rundown of this series, we turn to Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" site which calls out the series 4001 to 4075. They were built by Canadian Car and Foundry in December 1947 and appeared in ORERs from January 1953 until April 1986. The gap at the front end of the time period stems from the PGE's lack of Register listing from January 1927 to January 1953. And I imagine there is a roofwalk removal in there somewhere, as well as the name change from PGE to BCR. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The CDS "Railway Equipment Diagrams" book shows that the Caribou herald was replaced in 1956 by the three line roadname. This was very similar in design to the Canadian Pacific in that it was all capital letters with a larger cap starting each word of the name. It was not stepped however. This motif was supplanted by the chevron with the map of British Columbia above and the PGE initials below, a la the MTL release 32260 (issued July 1989 and reprinted this past February). The CDS data indicates that the three line roadname co-existed with the caribou and that you're good until about 1960 with the 20980 as painted. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The ORER for January 1955 shows the series 4001 to 4075 listed as "Box, All Steel" with AAR Classification "XM." The dimensions were: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 42 feet, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3900 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Since these were CC&F cars, not Pullman- Standards, there will be some differences versus the PS-1 that is the MTL model, but I'm too lazy to go get them. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Meanwhile, Ian Cranstone relates a piece of data that you won't decipher from the ORER Accumulation: In 1960 15 cars from the 4000 series were converted to stock cars! Four cars got permanent decks at the 5 foot 8 inch line, and 11 others became single deck cars. They stayed on the roster until 1980. Wouldn't that be an interesting project? © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
54100, $19.20 - 61 Foot Bulkhead Flat, Minnesota, Dakota and Western.
54100, $19.20 - 61 Foot Bulkhead Flat, Minnesota, Dakota and Western.Green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Reporting Marks: MDW 1123. Approximate Time Period: late 1980's (given 1987 service date) to around 2000. Previous Releases: Road Number 1147, December 1989.
MTL does a nice job on the thumbnail history of the Minnesota, Dakota and Western in the car copy for this reprint. It's most definitely a shortline-- it operated just five miles of track in and around International Falls, Minnesota-- well known among weather report watchers as one of the coldest spots in the continental United States. (It even calls itself "Icebox of the Nation.") It operates a fleet of five Alco S-2 switchers for motive power, which were painted an attractive green and white scheme. Several listing of Canadian railroads on the net include the MD&W, but it's definitely a United States enterprise. It's the subsidiary International Bridge and Terminal Company that goes over the border to Fort Frances, Ontario and in fact owns the rail and highway bridge over the Rainy River between the two countries. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
International Falls was originally named Koochiching which was the Ojibway name for the waterfall of the Rainy River. The potential for water power was tapped in 1909 with the damming of the river right at the falls. The Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company mentioned by MTL was founded then by E.W. Backus. It was purchased along with the railroad by Boise Cascade in 1965 and is still the area's largest employer according to the International Falls Chamber of Commerce website. Boise Cascade spun off the Canadian part of the operations as Rainy River Forest Products some time in the 1990s but mill operations continue on both sides of the border. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
When this car was built in 1975 it wasn't for the MD&W as it's not listed in the ORER for April 1976. We pick it up in the ORER for April 1981 as part of the series 1100 to 1149 of all fifty possible cars. The description is "Flat, Permanent End Bulkheads" with AAR Class "FMS". The inside length is 56 feet 8 inches and the outside length 70 feet 6 inches. That seems to be an unusual spread! The capacity is 179,000 pounds. The cars are within Plate C dimensions (that's a group of measurements that give a rough estimate of how big the car is). In July 1987, approximately when the 1123 was serviced, there were 38 cars in the main series but the 1123 is among 12 cars that are described as just "Flat" with the same inside length, but the "FB" classification that usually indicates a bulkhead flat. Eh what? In the October 1996 Register, the previously run road number 1147 joins the group of "just flats" but that "FB" means the bulkheads are still there. We potentially just miss the "to present" designation on the ATP for this series, as there are 36 cars left in January 2000 but just one remaining in the January 2002 ORER which is our current proxy for "now." © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
118010, $18.60 - Troop Kitchen Car.
118010, $18.60 - Troop Kitchen Car.Pullman green with black roof. Yellow lettering including "Troop Kitchen Car" across top, and road number at bottom left and bottom right. Comes with simulated windows, diaphragms and interiors. Road Number: K-125. Approximate Time Period: 1943 through about 1950. Previous Release: Road Number K-100, May 2003. NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.
Please see the May 2003 UMTRR for review and commentary.
N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
21371 (?!?), $19.85 - 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, South Dakota 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 (pasque) and state bird (ring-necked pheasant) on right. Reporting Marks: SD 1889. Seventh 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.
The State of South Dakota has the distinction for me of being the state in which I have spent the smallest amount of time. My lone visit was part of what I call "The Whirlwind Tour" which took place in August 1988. As part of my quest during that journey to knock off as many state visits as possible, I nicked the northeast corner of South Dakota, heading directly west from Minnesota and stopping very briefly in a small town called Rosholt. From there it was onto Interstate 29 northbound into North Dakota, and that, I'm sorry to say to the state's residents, is all she wrote for the Irwin Experience. The only evidence I have that I've ever been in South Dakota is a snapshot taken of the sign pointing the way to 29, with the shield clearly subtitled with the state name. I suppose I will have to amend for that someday. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Fortunately, the state's history is a little more interesting than that. In fact, if you have any children at the fourth grade level of learning (or equivalent) there's a complete history of the state available. I can handle that, so let's use it! The earliest recorded human activity was about 11,000 years ago; archaeological evidence shows that the "Clovis Hunters" roamed the then swampy areas of the state hunting mammoths. Three thousand years ago the Woodland people hunted bison instead. French Canadians were the first Europeans to visit the state's territory, circa 1743, but it was an expedition in 1804 by Lewis and Clark that garnered much more attention. At that point the principal Western industry was the fur trade, but Native Americans like the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes called the region "the Buffalo Nation." (It's estimated that in 1600 there were sixty million buffalo roaming North America.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
The first railroad came to South Dakota in 1873, and the Chicago and North Western and Milwaukee Road built into the state. Between the coming of those lines and the Homestead Act of 1862 allowing claims of up to 160 acres of land for farming opened up the state for settlement. Many settlers came over from Scandanavia and Central Europe. As occurred many times elsewhere, the Native Americans were pushed onto reservations, but as anyone who knows what happened at Little Bighorn knows, they didn't go without a fight. The Black Hills gold rush didn't help matters for the Lakotas. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Statehood for both the Dakotas came in November 1889 when Benjamin Harrison signed the bills making both North and South Dakota states. Harrison shuffled the bills and only he knew which one he signed first; so it's only alphabetizing that puts South Dakota as the fortieth state behind North Dakota, the thirty-ninth. Had things gone differently, there might have been an East and West Dakota, by the way. In 2002 about 750,000 people called South Dakota home, and major industries continue to include agriculture, but, believe it or not, tourism is a growing economic force. Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills probably contribute to that figure. Famous South Dakotans include politicians Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern, both Democrats; and it's an interesting contrast that the Dakotas had to wait for a Republican president to be admitted to the Union because the territory was so heavily tilted in that direction! NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw hails from there, as does former Charlie's Angel and children's author and activist Cheryl Ladd, whom I've met. (And yes, she's gorgeous, guys. She always was my favorite Angel.) © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Before I forget... note that catalog number? 21371! Does that imply releases in the State SE series going to integers instead of multiples of ten? Note that the previous use of the ones digit in N Scale catalog numbers was to designate a Micro-Trains car with Rapido couplers. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.
New Release: 14919, Marklin Coupler, $18.75, 14919-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $20.50, 40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, Chicago Great Western.Dark boxcar red with red lettering including reporting marks on left and large "DF" on right. "Lucky Strike" herald on left. Reporting Marks: CGW 382. Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1960's (1960 build date). NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Please see the commentary above on the 21430 N Scale release. Note, though, that MTL's car copy describing the car as having Archbar trucks should not be correct. At least, I hope it isn't correct because the car would be really inaccurate. The website borrows the image of the N Scale release so no help there.
Reprint: 14404, Marklin Coupler, $14.50, 14404-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $16.30, 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, GATX/ General American Transportation.
Reprint: 14404, Marklin Coupler, $14.50, 14404-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $16.30, 39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, GATX/ General American Transportation.Black with yellow lettering including reporting marks and company name on left and triangular GATX logo on right. Reporting Marks: GATX 19291. Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1957 build date given by MTL) to late 1960's at least. Previous Releases: Road Number 19283, March 1985 with Marklin Couplers and July 1987 with Micro-Trains Couplers (how about that?). NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This car echoes the February 2003 reprint in N Scale, catalog number 65040, but with a different road number that actually hasn't been done in 1:160. As I noted back in February, prototype data is mighty scarce on this car despite its famous lineage as part of one of the largest ever lessors of railroad equipment. The January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) has the series listed with no other information; 18700 to 19999 of 665 cars with 100,000 pounds capacity. In January 1964 this was 372 cars and in April 1970 just 77. I also noted that the use of the GATX trademark which was usually found on Airslide covered hoppers was probably unusual at best. Since then nothing's come to light that adds incremental information. © 2003 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.