UMTRR April, 2004 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2004 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:

20266, $23.40
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, PS-1 Type, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Baltimore and Ohio "Timesaver Service".

Dark blue and orange sides, dark blue ends, silver roof. White and blue lettering including roadname, roadnumber and legend "Fast-Dependable Less Carload Service" on left. Orange, blue and white "B&O Timesaver Service" herald on right.
Road Number: 467434 (will be "B&O 467434" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1950's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

MTL does a couple of things with this release. First, they make us here at UMTRR HQ think about the Mid-Atlantic region of the country, namely, the big N Scale Bash we'll be attending in Chantilly in August. Second, MTL runs a car that had previously been done by them only as a special run-- in fact, in support of a previous N Scale Collector's Convention, the 1995 edition in none other than Baltimore itself. As per Micro-Trains rules at the time, this was a "non-prototypical" special run made so by the inclusion of the event title below the road number, which itself was changed to reflect the date of the gathering, not the real life series of cars from which this model comes. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The B&O's "Time Saver Service" slogan appeared on many cars, but apparently only a few ever got this sharp-- and expensive-- decoration. It's an early but outstanding example of what I call the "era of color." I am strictly guessing that the Approximate Time Period for this car is the decade of the 1950's; just going on the knowledge of the decline of Less Than Carload service in particular and railroad fortunes in general. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A big thanks to Joe Levitzky, one of our UMTRR Special Correspondents, who correctly anticipated that the UMTRR Library doesn't have the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) for the B&O (official title: "B&O Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" by Craig T. Bossler). On page 79 of that volume are photos of two varieties of this car; the B&O 467109 with a blue roof and the B&O 467434 with a silver roof, the latter of course is what MTL selected. The 467434 was lensed in motion in Attleboro, Massachusetts in December 1955. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This car was part of the larger series 467000 to 467999 of the B&O's Class M55 boxcars, version "E". A new addition to the UMTRR Library is the NMRA Reprint of the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1953 (Hardcover!) and the B&O entry shows these as just "Box, Steel" with AAR Classification "XM". The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 42 feet 11 inches, extreme height 14 feet 7 inches, door opening 7 feet and capacity 3715 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Wait, door opening 7 feet, yes, that's a "door thing" but not by much and there is no 7 foot door car available in N Scale so there's not much one can do here. There were 979 cars in the main series and another 10 in a subseries. I already knew that this entire series of close to one thousand cars wasn't painted up this way; most were plain boxcar red. I had hoped that perhaps the "Note O" would disclose the cars in this Timesaver Scheme, but no, it's just ten cars that were specially equipped to handle beams of tire cord yarn. Tire cord yarn? Brian DeVries compiled information based on all photos known to the B&O Modelers YahooGroup and came up with just six cars in this paint scheme. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, Bossler writes in the MSCG that there were perhaps only about a dozen probably non-consecutively numbered cars done up this way in real life. The 467434 is one of them. And guess what? The "new" ORER addition also includes some black and white photographs in a preface, and am image of B&O 467439 in this same Timesaver scheme is one of those photos! So MTL has a chance for a correct reprint with no research required. But one word of advice to the folks in Talent: it's not really "MRL" Blue. The B&O's "Royal Blue" paint definitely existed well before the Montana Rail Link was conceived. Speaking of blue, though, Joe Levitzky points out that the blue "B&O" inside the "comet" on the right side of the car doesn't seem to be the same shade of blue as the rest of the car, although it does look to be the same shade on the MTL model. Looking at the photo in the MSCG, it could even be some sort of silver or aluminum. In the black and white photo in the special edition of the 1953 ORER reprint, it's harder to tell, but I could make the argument. On the other hand, I can't imagine how much higher the cost of this car would have gone if yet another paint color were utilized. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And as long as we're feeling nitpicky, I believe that the MTL car copy should have referred to display of the B&O car at the "York Fair" of 1951, not the "New York Fair." The York Fair is in, well, York, in south central Pennsylvania; think "County Fair" and you've got the idea, but on a much bigger scale. Its roots go back to the 1700s according to its official history. The York Fair is still going on and the grounds are also the site of the East Coast Large Scale Train Show. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

73050, $18.55
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, PS-1 Type, No Roofwalk, Full Height Ladders, Burlington (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy).

"Chinese" Red with mostly white lettering including large "Burlington" and reporting marks on left. Black and white "Burlington Route" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 39305.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1968 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Taken with MTL's catalog number 20170, a PS-1 boxcar done by them for the CB&Q (and reprinted this month in Z Scale), you have a set of "bookends" representing the beginning and the end of the era of Chinese Red on the Burlington Route. The 20170s model the first boxcars painted with that hue and these cars model rebuilds that would probably have been among the last before the Burlington switched to Cascade Green in anticipation of its merger into the Burlington Northern. In fact, I uncovered a shot of a 40 foot boxcar in that BN color painted in Havelock in 1969 according to its stenciling, just one year later. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That doesn't mean that the Chinese Red cars suddenly disappeared with the coming of the BN, though. As we've discussed numerous times in these bytes, the BN had other things on its mind besides repainting, and many of the predecessor roads could be seen long after the official merger date. For example, sister car CB&Q 39167 was caught in Galesburg, Illinois in November 1979, complete with ACI label, consolidated stencils and U-1 "yellow dot," all of which would make nice detail additions to the MTL model. It's in the book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 7" by John Maywald. (But in terms of longevity, that's nothing: The Burlington Route Historical Society's website photo album shows a 50 foot double door boxcar in red Burlington paint as captured in March 2002-- and it still had the slogans! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The XM-32D type boxcar may have been an AAR type 50 ton boxcar, I'm not sure, but it almost definitely wasn't a PS-1 since an all time roster of original owners of that type of car that appears in the March 1993 issue of Rail Model Journal doesn't list the CB&Q at all. I'm also reasonably certain that 39305 wasn't the as delivered road number since the January 1955 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the 39000s as being automobile cars with double doors. And there's no 39000s at all in the January 1964 Register. That leads us to the April 1970 edition and the Burlington Northern entry which includes the series CB&Q 39125 to 39674... finally. The inside length of these 546 cars was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 44 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and door opening 6 feet. That is a little unusual, doing a rebuild or rework and leaving the door at six feet, but hey, that means no "door thing" so we'll take it. The capacity was 3898 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. In April 1976 there were still 501 cars in the group and in April 1981 there were 281, but in January 1985 there were just four cars left. By that time the forty foot boxcar was largely a thing of the past, alas, just like the big billboard sized "Burlington." © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

100070, $24.90
56 Foot General Service Tank Car, Procor.

Green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks and company name on left.
Reporting Marks: PROX 75219.
Approximate Time Period: late 1990's (1999 build date given by MTL) to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

This one will fit right into the contemporary modeler's roster, and not just because MTL says so. The giveaway is the rather large black and white table stenciled on the far right hand side of the car. It's called a "Tank Qualification Stencil" and it represents a big change in the way tank cars are tested. "Qualification" is analagous to "air worthiness" testing performed on planes, meant to address potential problems like leakage before they occur. The qualification stenciling indicates when a series of inspections took place, and when they are next due. The regulations were enacted by both USA and Canadian authorities, with compliance required on a staggered schedule by class of tank car, but all in by July 2000. An article by Stuart Streit in the September 2000 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman details these qualification standards and also provides some background on the history of testing tank cars. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The prototype for the MTL release can be found in the Canadian Freight Car Gallery on the Procor page under "Leased/Privately Owned". I note that there's a distinct swayback to the real car, though, perhaps exaggerated by the photo angle but still there. The dome and ladder arrangements and the size of the qualfication stencil differ between model and prototype but the "look and feel" is there. The ORER for January 2002 shows the PROX series 70003 to 80154 with a daunting number of subseries of individual cars of varying AAR Type Codes and Gross Rail Weights. At the risk of my eyesight I believe I can place PROX 75219 in the main series which has a 263,000 pound Gross Rail Weight and an AAR code of T106. The "T106" refers to a car with a carbon steel tank, welded or riveted, perhaps with a rubber lining, that has a capacity of 22,000 to 24,000 gallons. It would have 1741 counterparts in that subgroup alone. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Procor Limited isn't just a partner of Union Tank Car Line; it's actually owned by them and was begun as its Canadian operation back in the 1940's as Products Tank Line of Canada Limited. The Procor name has been around since 1962 and its head office is in Oakville, Ontario, outside of Toronto. In 1981, Procor and Union Tank Car became part of an affiliation known as the Marmon Group which consists of over 100 independent autonomous companies that share services through this arrangement. Today Procor makes its own tank cars and also covered hoppers for sale and lease. I'd be shocked if you haven't seen these in trains no matter what rail line you are near in North America. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

109240, $24.95
Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car with attached Load, Norfolk and Western.

Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks (without ampersand) on left. Buckeye trucks.
Reporting Marks: NW 70098.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's to mid 1990's, based on lettering.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Joe Shaw, our Special Correspondent for Norfolk Southern and its predecessors, checks in with this, start quote:

"A photo of the exact car (empty) appears on page 84 of the Morning Sun Color Guide for the N&W. The photo is dated 1991, location Waukesha, Wisconsin. The second through fourth sentences ("This heavy duty.....post-1982") of the MTL car copy are quoted verbatim from the photo caption. This car is N&W Class F-43, series 70096-70098, coupled length 62 feet 10 inches. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"Based on outside and inside length comparisions in the ORERS, all three cars in the series appear to have been renumbered to the Norfolk Southern series NS 185403-185405 between the July 1995 and Jan 1998 ORERs. If you have any ORERs between those, you can narrow the end of the ATP even further."

"For completely useless trivia (relating to MTL's car copy), the car built by Roanoke in 1948 was class F1 N&W 70099 (Micro-Trains catalog number 109030). While the depressed center of was one foot longer, the car itself was 4.5 to 6 foot shorter."

Thanks, Joe, and I can help with that ATP narrowing since I have the October 1996 ORER, and sure enough, the NS numbers are present and the N&W numbers aren't. So we've got the flip window inside of 15 months, which will certainly do. While I'm at it here are some other stats from the October 1991 Register: inside length 57 feet 9 inches, inside height 2 feet (I assume that's with respect to the depressed platform!), height from rail 3 feet, extreme height 7 feet, capacity 260,000 pounds. The "Heavy Capacity and Special Type Flat Cars" section in the back of the ORER calls out the 21 by 9 foot platform on NW 70098 as well as the 41 foot distance between truck centers, the 4 foot 6 inch space between axles and the car's light weight of just 127,400 pounds. Note 56 gives the load limits by the length of the load. For example, if the load is just two feet long, it can't weigh more than 240,000 pounds. (I can't think of anything practical that is that dense!) If the length is 16 feet or more you can go up to 265,800 pounds. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And speaking of load, that's the draw and the big buzz on this car, the "triple load" of a large machine of some type plus two crates of formidable size that I surmise would carry the rest of the parts. I didn't specifically find any photos of cars on which the end platforms of were used to carry any lading. But Kelly Cruise did in a Model Railroader article from October 1980 which featured plans for a Soo Line DC flat. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

113510, $15.95
30 Foot Skeleton Log Car.

Cast in black, no paint, no lettering. Includes load of "variable diameter logs" (Load #4).
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The surprise appearance of this "new body style" led me to a question I hadn't asked before: How long is the "original" skeleton log car? It's not mentioned anywhere in the MTL material, and of course now it's of a little importance. Locating my handy N Scale ruler, I have determined that the length of the "skeleton" on the 113010 through 113030 releases is about 42 scale feet. That's not counting the overhang from the couplers, just the cast metal "body." The same dimension on this car is in fact 30 feet and the UMTRR website's Body Style Table is updated to reflect this. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The variety is certainly welcome. As we've already discussed, the various railroads concerned with lumbering were pretty much shoestring affairs, and therefore there really wasn't a "standard" design for log cars of any type. A quick pass through the book "Rails in the North Woods," a volume which focuses on logging roads in the Northeast and especially the Adirondacks of New York, suggests that the cars used on those lines were probably closer to 30 feet than 40 feet. The "variable diameter logs" load is also somewhat typical of what I saw in the photos in the North Woods book. It's most similar to the load on the 113020 release from May of last year. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

20036, $17.10
40 Foot Boxcar, PS-1 Type, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo.

Yellow sides, black roof and ends. Black lettering including reporting marks and "Toronto Hamilton Buffalo" on left. Black and white herald on right.
Reporting Marks: THB 3571.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1955 repaint date given by MTL) into the 1980s.
Previous Release: Road Number 3538, October 1990.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The website of the TH&B Historical Society includes a freight car table that we've used before. The series 3500 to 3599 had an Approximate Time Period of 1953 to 1986 according to that table. And of course that 1955 repaint date starts the ATP for the car in the paint scheme. Michael Livingston, TH&B modeler and researcher, gives "before 1985" as the modification date for this reprint, i.e. roofwalk removed, ladders cut down. But he also notes that the previous release 3536 was renumbered to 3722 and had a nine foot door installed in 1965. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There's a photo of similar car number 3299 taken in 1967 by Mark Hymers in the "TH&B Gallery" section of that website. And there's a photo of sister car 3812 in the book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 7" by Henry Maywald. In fact, from several other sources I found several more TH&B boxcar photos. All of the boxcars I saw have riveted sides and my guess is that the 3500s had them as well. Several other points: First, on some cars the end ladders were yellow, a nice contrast against the black ends, but good luck trying to replicate that detail! Second, there was another paint scheme, with sides that were a good bit more yellow than orange, a less bold roadname with the ampersand, and a simplified "Ti-Cat" herald that was in black only without the white background. That version was done as Micro-Trains catalog number 20320 in October 1981 and it's a relatively rare release. According to the CDS Lettering "Railway Equipment Diagrams" colloborated by Michael Livingston, the orange car was the latest in the sequence. Prior to the "Ti-Cat" schemes (named this for the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team), the TH&B also had boxcars in boxcar red with white lettering. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, Ian Cranstone's roster of TH&B cars gives a larger series, 3300 to 3599 and states that some of those were rebuilt into the 3600 to 3849 series as noted above, replacing their six foot doors with nine foot ones in the process. We might as well go to a sample ORER at this point and the January 1964 edition will work: it shows an even larger group, 3000 to 3599! They're described as "Box, All Steel, Wood Lined" with classification "XM" and these statistics: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and capacity 3900 cubic feet or 124,000 pounds. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

25460, $18.00
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Mississippi Export Railroad.

Yellow with black and white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right. Black and white herald on left.
Reporting Marks: MSE 957.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's (1978 build date given by MTL) to mid-1990s.
Previous Release: Road Number 943, October 1988.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

In the "old days" of the Official Guide of the Railways, there were many examples of railroads, well, let's say, creatively depicting themselves. These practices ranged from remaking curlicue routes into arrow straight lines to the practice of reshaping states to imply that a small road occupied more territory than it did. They've largely disappeared now, though, with the competitive landscape being quite different from those times. But note that I say "largely" disappeared, not completely! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The MTL car copy describing the Mississippi Export Railroad is a direct draw from the opening paragraph of the MSE's website. That passage, specifically "Mississippi Export Railroad is a 42-mile shortline railroad extending from Evanston, MS, to the north and Pascagoula, MS, to the south; MSE... is the north-south corridor connecting the Canadian National Railroad (CN) and the east-west line of CSX Transportation (CSXT)" is also an exercise in, well, let's say, marketing, in the classic style once found all over Official Guides of the Railways. The system map on the site shows all of the lines of both CSX Transportation and the Canadian National system in the United States-- on a map of most of North America! The MSE is the small red stripe up and to the right of New Orleans on this map. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is a multi-page history of the MSE included on the website for your perusal but I'll share a couple of highlights. The line was first projected in the 1880's to serve the logging interests in the area. The road was never really prosperous in its early years and didn't make its mark until purchased by area residents in the 1920's; who clearly had more of a vested interest in seeing the line becoming a success. The MSE website says the line is still owned locally by 138 shareholders many of whom are descendants of those who attended the company's first board meeting in 1922. However, the Canadian National site has the MSE owned by the Illinois Central (the CN owns the IC) and the Luce family which is mentioned as key in the line's history. Besides service to about twenty customers in the chemicals, petroleum and paper industries, the MSE has a railcar maintenance facility and has trackage available for lease for purposes of storing freight cars. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The official MSE website also notes that there are 262 boxcars on the roster, illustrated by an example in boxcar red with white lettering. (Our friend Joe Shaw has a much better picture of MSE 919 in the same decoration on his website.) That, of course, isn't the paint scheme that MTL depicts and so I don't think our Approximate Time Period is going to reach "to present". The January 2000 issue of Rail Model Journal has an example of a car from the 800 series painted as MTL has, taken in 1984; it's of a modified design that American Car and Foundry adopted during its production of these exterior post cars. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 is the first one I own past the 1978 build date given by Micro-Trains. All one hundred cars in the series 900 to 999 are shown, with description "Box, Nailable Steel Floor, Cushion Underframe" and the AAR Designation "XM". The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 1 inch, outside length 57 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, door opening 10 feet and capacity 5347 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. This 900 series of cars stands at 96 pieces in October 1991 and also in October 1996. In the '96 book General Electric Railcar Services is shown as the manager of the MSE's fleet. Not a surprise there; these were probably part of the "incentive per diem" fleet that graced many shortlines in the 1970's and 1980's. I'm going to guess that the mid-1990's were about the latest that you would have seen these cars as painted, although it's possible that some very tired looking and well weathered examples would have survived longer. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

42100, $17.10
40 Foot Boxcar, Double Sheathed Wood Side, Single Door, Hills Brothers Coffee.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. White and black outlined product name on left.
Multicolor "coffee drinker" device on right.
Reporting Marks: HBCX 163.
Approximate Time Period: Decade of the 1930's (a reasonable guess).
Previous Releases: Road Number 161, March 1975 (in several variations); Road Number 166, May 1994.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The website of San Francisco's Exploratorium gives 1881 as the year in which Austin and Reuben Hills bought a retail coffee shop in San Francisco. "By 1900," their "Timeline of Coffee" continues, "they lead the industry by packing their product in newfangled vacuum cans, making it possible to buy coffee at grocery stores instead of going to neighborhood roasters." The "original" Hills Brothers plant was built in 1925 and is still extant as an office building and a National Landmark. Hills Brothers became part of the global Nestle empire in 1985 according to an official Nestle brochure I found, and coffee production was pulled out of San Francisco. (Another national brand with origins in San Fran was Folgers, which suffered the same fate after it was bought by Proctor and Gamble in 1963.) More recently, Nestle rationalized its brands and sold off Hills Brothers and MJB, which was also founded in San Francisco, to the Sara Lee Corporation. Sara Lee folded Hills Brothers in with its other famous brands Chase and Sanborn and Chock Full O' Nuts under its "Coffee and Tea Division." © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I can give you the entire listing for Hills Brothers as found in the July 1935 edition of the ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM): "The box (M.C.B. Designation XM) cars of this Company are marked "Hills Bros. Coffee" and "HBKX" and numbered 161, 162; inside dimensions: length 40 feet 2 1/2 inches, width 9 feet 2 inches, height 9 feet, 7 1/4 inches (capacity 3538 cubic feet, 100,000 pounds). Total, 2 cars. Report movements and mileage, send bills for repairs to cars and make remittances to A. L. Fowle, Traffic Manager, Hills Bros. Coffee, Inc., owner, 2 Harrison Street, San Francisco, California." And that's it, all of it. I'll let you do your own compare and contrast with the MTL model but it seems to me that we're in the range of a "representation" as opposed to an exact replica. We'll also hope that at some point the Hills Brothers had more than two cars otherwise two of the three road numbers used thus far are non-prototypical. I'm not quite sure what the cars would have been used for; I suspect that one reason that there were so many large coffee operations in the Bay Area was that this put them close to the shipping lanes from Latin America and the Far East, where much coffee is grown. Off the boat and into the roaster for maximum freshness. Hey, that wouldn't be a bad slogan. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is no listing in the January 1940 Register and there isn't one in the April 1928 ORER either, so we'll stick to the ATP of the Thirties. I'm not sure whether the ban on billboard cars would have caught this one too, but it wouldn't surprise me. Meanwhile, a Hills Brothers coffee can described as circa 1932 shows much the same "coffee drinker" in yellow outfit and white turban as appears on the car. The Sara Lee site shows a contemporary Hills Brothers coffee can with a version of that same coffee drinker. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The original run of the Hills Brothers car in 1975 has been divided into at least two versions by the collecting fraternity, based on the shade of yellow of the outfit that the "coffee drinker" is wearing. There is the "yellow man" and the "lemon yellow man"-- not entirely accurate, since it's not the "man" who is "yellow," but his clothing, however it gets the point across. This variation was further complicated by the discovery of clip-on trucks versions of early run Micro-Trains 40 foot wood sheathed boxcars including at least one copy of this one. The 1994 reprint has no such variations-- at least as far as we know at the moment. And no, "regular" or "decaf" is not an example of possible variations! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

57100, $15.90
33 Foot Two Bay Hopper, Composite Sides, Flat Ends, Pennsylvania "Buy War Bonds".

Oxide red with white lettering including roadname and road number across center, circle keystone on right and legend "Coal Goes to War" across top center.
Road Number: 220886 (will be "PRR 220886" in the website listing).
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1940's (1942 build date, 1943 service date given by MTL).
Previous Release: Road Number 220877, April 1994.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Hey, it's the return of the "Ten Year Vintage Reprint" series! Well, maybe not, at least not "offically" but I do note that the first run of this car bowed exactly ten years ago. Yikes! And I was writing a primitive form of the UMTRR then-- double yikes! But nothing that I could borrow from in either case. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Pennsy is among the best documented railroads on the 'net and so I wasn't completely surprised to find a pile of data on the Pennsy.railfan.net site. Including the basis for the Approximate Time Period of the entire H31a class, numbered 220842 to 221641 namely, early 1940's to early 1950's (although a few hung on into the early 1960's). The class H31b was the composite side version of the earlier H31s; when rebuilt to steel sides, they became H31c class hoppers. In that form about half made it out to the Penn Central roster. I don't think that the "Buy War Bonds" slogan lasted quite as long as the overall ATP, though I think you're safe until the end of the Forties. (And no one knows for sure.) © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Also on that site, there is information on the trucks used (Barrett-Whitehead), the dimensions (inside length 31 feet 1 and 5/8 inches, length over sills 32 feet 9 inches, height 10 feet 3 inches, capacity 100,000 pounds, weight 40,400 pounds), where to find photos (the book "PRR Steel Open Hoppers" for example and the Morning Sun Color Guide Volume 1), and references to drawings. Yep, it's pretty much one stop shopping. But I went somewhere else as well. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ed Hawkins, writing in the December 2000 issue of Rail Model Journal, notes that the PRR version of the "War Emergency" hopper wasn't the same as the "standard" as built from AAR drawings. For one thing-- and this one thing isn't on the MTL model-- the end sheets were wood instead of steel as well; also, the trusses supporting the wood side are a bit different. There's a good three-quarter view photo of PRR 220984 accompanying this article. Pennsy purists might howl, but it's doubtful that anyone will come closer than the 57er body style as a generally available option. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:

21377, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Maryland State Car.

Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware; Red and black primary lettering including reporting marks, state name and outline map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state flower (Black-eyed Susan) and state bird (Baltimore Oriole) on right.
Reporting Marks: MD 1788.
Thirteenth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

No slight to Marylanders, I hope, but I had to think a while before coming up with the first time I set foot in the state. I'm pretty sure now that it was on a family trip to the area taken just before I could drive, and the destination was the famous Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum and its collection. Since then, all of my family has at one time or another set foot in the Old Line State including visits to Annapolis and Baltimore with its fabulous National Aquarium. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Maryland was the seventh state to join the Union and did so on April 28, 1788. Western Europeans had begun settling the area about 150 years previously; the Maryland Charter was granted to Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, in 1632. In 1649 religious freedom was granted by law in the colony. But slavery for life was permitted by law fifteen years later. The famous Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed by those two gentlemen in the mid 1760's. Marylanders who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 included one Charles Carroll; when it was remarked that his common name meant it would be easier to hide from the British, he quickly added "of Carrollton" to ensure that they would know exactly who he was! While Maryland was active in the American Revolution, it was a battle of the War of 1812 that probably overshadowed those; watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor on September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner," our National Anthem and arguably one of the most difficult songs to sing in American History. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Commerce was big in Maryland, so transportation was key. The National Road between Cumberland and Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia) began the process of opening the state to the West circa 1818. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was chartered in 1827 and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was begun a year later. And in 1844 Samuel F.B. Morse demonstrated the telegraph. Maryland was a crossroads of the Civil War, and various towns were held for ransom by Confederates! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Marylanders, and just to clarify, I mean people born in the state per website information, include abolitionist Frederick Douglas, explorer Matthew Henson, slugger Babe Ruth and "iron man" Cal Ripken Jr., singer Billie Holiday, writers H. L. Mencken and Upton Sinclair, the somewhat difficult to categorize Frank Zappa, and Sesame Street's Elmo-- well, actually, the puppeteer Kevin Clash who is the little red monster's heart and voice, and Jim Henson himself, creator of the Muppets. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And how about that flag? The design is taken from the "escutcheon" or "shield," in the first Lord Baltimore's Seal, dating from the 1630s. Black and gold quarters are the arms of Lord Baltimore's family, the Calverts. Red and white quarters are those of his mother's family, the Crosslands. But note that the gold on the MTL car looks more like orange and as such it's really too dark. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

Reprint: 15108, $17.25.
30 Foot Box Car, Double Sheathed Wood, Vertical Brake Wheel, Colorado and Northwestern.

Boxcar Red with mostly white lettering including roadname and road number on left. Red, white and black herald on right.
Road Number: 1028.
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1900s.
Previous Release: Road Number 1026, September 1998.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I looked back at the commentary on the original release of this car and I noted that I had nothing much to say at all. That was before the long-term loan of the book "American Narrow Gauge Railroads" by George Hilton from the Irwin Library South to UMTRR HQ-- in fact, it may be before Irwin Library South acquired said volume. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, MTL's car copy gives a quick view of the line, but let's dig a little deeper. As Micro-Trains states, this line got started as a Union Pacific venture in 1881, starting as a means to get gold and silver out of Boulder Canyon in Colorado, but intended to stretch all the way to Salt Lake City and thence to the Pacific. (See, and you thought only dot-coms were hare-brained schemes.) Like many slim gauge lines, it was not exactly constructed for the ages, and it was prone to flooding. That's exactly what occurred in May 1894 when it rained for about 60 straight hours. Just two miles of the line were left after that washout, and the UP lost interest. Local businessmen revived and rebuilt the line as the Colorado and Northwestern Railway, with mining traffic in mind to be sure, but also tourist traffic. This line actually came down into Union Station in Denver via a third rail on the Colorado and Southern! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

However, neither the mines nor the tourists lasted very long. Better mines elsewhere killed off the former, with a brief spike during World War I, and better roads into and out of Boulder killed off the latter. Despite various reorganizations including one as the Colorado and Northwestern Railway and another as the Denver, Boulder and Western, the railroad was finished and completely dismantled by the beginning of 1920. As you might therefore expect, although I do have the Westerfield CD-ROM of the October 1919 ORER, it's not of any assistance. Hilton's history gives us enough of an ATP to get by, though. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Despite its relative obscurity this is the third car for the line: this and the previous boxcar and also a gondola released as catalog 15205 in May 1997. That gon is in fact the last one MTL has done to date. The herald is pretty elaborate for a narrow gauge line, which makes the car both more costly to produce and more attractive. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE:

New Release:
13721, Marklin Coupler, $19.35, 13721-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $21.15.
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific).

Dark boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Red and white "tilted rectangle" herald on left above reporting marks.
Reporting Marks: MILW 13252.
Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (1938 build date) to early 1950's (based on herald change).
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Here's a new entrant in Z Scale that was done in N Scale back in May 1986; that run is one of the semi-key items for collectors in the 1:160 34000 body style selections. This car carries the same road number as that N Scale release, in fact. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The combination of the full roadname inside the rectangular herald and the use of the "MILW" reporting marks instead of the preceding "CMStP&P" pegs this car as being from the 1930's to the 1950's. When the 59100 URTX/Milwaukee steel refrigerator car was released last month, I noted that there are at least two versions of the full name tilted rectangle. Well, guess what? This boxcar is an illustration of the "other" herald variation, with the "St Paul" in a straight line and the word "Pacific" in a curve. (The reefer has that flip-flopped with the "St. Paul" curved and the "Pacific" straight.) Techincally, the prototype is significantly older than the exact MTL body style used, but as scale gets smaller, differences get harder to pick out. Your mileage may vary. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1940 shows this series with AAR Classification "XA" which is for automobile cars. The series was numbered 13000 to 13474 with description "Automobile, All Steel, Staggered Side Doors." The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 4 inches, outside length 51 feet 8 inches, and extreme height 14 feet 10 inches. The side door opening was a somewhat unusual 12 feet 6 inches; everyone including MTL is going to wind up with a bit of a "Door Thing" against that measurement. We'll also forgive Micro-Trains for not including the small end door, dimensions 16 by 18 inches. My guess is that this enabled double duty for this car, lumber as well as automobiles. The capacity was a typical 100,000 pounds or 4,784 cubic feet. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My NMRA reprint of the January 1953 ORER comes in handy once again. The Milwaukee Road entry in that issue shows 449 cars in the series of the possible 475, and there's another 25 cars with the same dimensions numbered from 13475 to 14999 which are equipped with Evans auto loaders. So plenty of renumbering possibilities here. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I think that by the issuance of the January 1964 ORER, the paint scheme on these cars would have flipped to the somewhat more flashy one with the large "Milwaukee Road", but for the record, there were only 130 cars left in the series by then. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Reprint:
14107, Marklin Coupler, $17.90, 13619-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $19.70
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door, Burlington (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy).

"Chinese" Red with mostly white lettering including large "Burlington" and reporting marks on left. Black and white "Burlington Route" herald on right with alternating slogans "Everywhere West" and "Way of the Zephyrs".
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 62988.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1958 build date) into the 1970's.
Previous Release: Road Number 62948, November 1986 with Marklin Couplers and June 1987 with Micro-Trains Couplers.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

If this month's catalog 73050 in N Scale represents the "after," then this Z Scale reprint represents the "before," at least in terms of appearance if not exact same prototype series. The decoration shown is the "classic" Chinese Red with slogans and white stripes, which debuted in 1958. I checked with MTL to validate that there are two different slogans and they say that the "Everywhere West" is on the left side and "Way of the Zephyrs" is on the right. That's when you are looking at the car from its end. Yes, it continues to be confusing without the ability to illustrate. Don't forget my website page "@BW?!?" for just such an illustration. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We start with the January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) and the series is just one short of capacity at 1499 cars in road numbers from 62500 to 63999, which it had better be given the build date of less than one year earlier. The inside length is 40 feet 6 inches and the outside length, 41 feet 9 inches. Door opening is 6 feet and the capacity is 100,000 pounds. So we're basically fine on the general dimensions. In January 1964's Register there is a slight change: eight cars were given eight foot doors and reclassed XML, while 1472 cars remain in the original series. By the Burlington Northern of April 1970 there are 1425 cars in the main series, the same eight called out separately, and just one demoted to lowly hide service (road number 62714 if you're curious). The BN demonstrated its usual slowness in repainting, so there are still over 1100 cars in the main group in April 1981, plus 20 in "tankage service" (you don't want to know), three "hide loading only" and two for "battery loading only." At this point, you've got to be thinking roofwalk removal though, a la the 73050, above. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

George Elwood's Fallen Flags site includes several examples of these cars such as a photo of car 32046, complete with six foot Youngstown door, in this same paint scheme circa sometime after 1973. The red looks decidely more brownish than bright, and there's an ACI label covering a piece of the stripe below the "Everywhere West" slogan. The car was reweighed and restenciled in October 1973 but I can't make out where. The roofwalk is still in place on this car at the time of the photo. More to the point is CB&Q 62973 from the same series as captured in 1966 by Jim Sands. What's interesting about this car is that it appears to have a galvanized roof and running board. It also has a five panel Superior door so there's an opportunity for a little variation. I wouldn't assume that all 2500 cars had this type door. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

New Release:
17007, Marklin Coupler, $53.20, 17007-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $55.00.
F-7 B Diesel Unit, Unpowered, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Silver and red with red and yellow stripes; "Warbonnet" paint scheme. Black lettering consisting of roadname on side. Red and black "Chief" plus Circle Cross herald on side left of roadname.
Road Number: None.
Approximate Time Period: late 1940's and early 1950's into the 1970's.

Part of the on-line resources of the Santa Fe Modeling and Historical Society (atsfrr.com , no "www" needed) is the compendium "40 Years of F-Units" by Lee Berglund. Please consider yourself recommended to that site for more detail on these locomotives which were delivered to the Santa Fe starting in 1949. The first B-units were numbered in the 37s to 47s when part of A-B-B-A sets and in the 300s when part of three unit A-B-B sets; apparently there was no difference between groups but there were differences in the dynamic brake fans, some were 36 inches and some were 48 inches. (In Z, we're talking .055 inch here.) Later, the road got more F's in the 325 series which were geared for dual service, passenger and freight. Since these units as offered by MTL aren't numbered, feel free to use them in any set you want, I guess. And also remember that the line didn't limit itself to just A-B-B-A sets, a fact to which plenty of photographs and motion pictures attest. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The F7's were the mainstay of the Santa Fe's passenger fleet for some time. But while many of the A-units went into the rebuild program and emerged as CF-7s, most B-units weren't so lucky. Some became Radio Control Equipment, others became slug units and still others were simply retired. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.