UMTRR May, 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:

35180, $12.60
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Chesapeake and Ohio.

Freight car red with white lettering including roadname on left and reporting marks on right.
Reporting Marks: C&O 95336.
Approximate Time Period: 1930's (April 1936 build date given by MTL) or mid-1950's (1955 "restored" date given by MTL) to mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Our C&O Special Correspondent James Pugh checks in with a bunch of information on this new release stock car. First, from the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) for the C&O by David Hickcox, we have perhaps the very shot of the actual C&O 95336 from 1963 that was reported by MTL in its car copy. And, well, let's just say it's not a perfect match for the 35er body style. (That 35000 car is actually of a rather limited New York Central prototype, and that car has been used as the model for releases from other N Scale and HO Scale manufacturers as well.) Perhaps most noticable is the C&O roadname on three separate boards on the left, and the reporting marks and road number on two separate boards on the right more towards the bottom of the car. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The December 2000 issue of the "C&O Historical Magazine" has a feature article on the C&O's livestock facilities. If you're thinking that livestock wasn't exactly the mainstay of the Chessie's business, you're right; the article by Al Kresse states that as a proportion of total tonnage, livestock was just one percent in 1890, and a tiny 0.06 percent in 1948, after which the C&O stopped reporting it as a line item in annual reports. ("Products of mines" were in the range of ninety percent of the business.) The C&O magazines have covered the line's stock cars quite extensively considering their small role in the overall scheme of things, with four different articles, and there are even drawings of some of the other series of cars that the road used, which are themselves quite a bit different from both the prototype and the model of C&O 95336. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We make a brief stop at the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) to pick up the vital statistics for C&O series 95300 to 93549: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 9 feet 2 inches, outside length 42 feet 6 inches, extreme height 13 feet 11 inches, and capacity 3005 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. There were 50 cars in the group which represented exactly one-third of the C&O's fleet at that time. By January 1964 there were just nine cars left in the series and just 25 stock cars overall, but there was still a sampling from each of the C&O's three major groups of cars of this type. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

38340, $24.30
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, No Roofwalk, Canadian National "Apple Scheme".

One side: Standard scheme of boxcar red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and CN "wet noodle" herald on right.
Other side: "Apple" scheme of white with red and green stylized "apple" inset with reporting marks in white. Other lettering in black.
Reporting Marks: CN 283032.
Approximate Time Period: 1970's to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I almost want to write "what else is there to say?" about this one of a kind prototype. The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CN Volume 2 notes that this "apple" car was one of four created for a television advertising campaign in 1970. The other three cars featured newspaper mastheads on a plug door boxcar (I wouldn't be surprised to see this next from MTL), a cow on a refrigerator car, and a "Life Saver" rainbow of horizontal colors on a cylindrical hopper, which was already offered in N specifically as a "collector special" and is a very pricey item on the aftermarket. After the TV ads were filmed the cars were released to general service. UMTRR Gang Member Martin Landry offered that a photo of a tired looking "Apple" car which was lensed in early 1981 can be found in the book "Canadian Rail Car Pictorial Volume Four" so the ATP goes that far-- if you like weathering. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There are also several photos available of other examples of the series 280300 to 280499 from which 283032 was pulled. That fleet was built in 1966 and had AAR Classification "XMIH". The prototype is an insulated boxcar with heaters-- yes, it's that infamous underslung heater again, except this time it's methanol, not charcoal. The car sides have some noticable features like vertical rods that control ventilators that you won't find on the MTL model-- or any other widely available model either for that matter. Fifty of the original series went into express service and received orange paint on the plug door to denote that. Besides what's in the MSCG, the Fallen Flags site has a couple of examples. Ian Cranstone reports on his Canadian Freight Cars site that the overall series lasted into the mid-1990s. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

47360, $15.55
40 Foot Ice Refrigerator Car, Wood Double Sheathed, Horizontal Brake Wheel, Milwaukee Road.

Blue sides, black roof and ends. White lettering including reporting marks on left and post-1952 "The Milwaukee Road" tilted diamond herald on right.
Reporting Marks: MILW 79031.
Approximate Time Period: mid to late 1960's (1964 repaint date given by MTL).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Chalk this up as another entry in the ongoing series of cars from Micro-Trains that you probably wouldn't see otherwise. The blue is more than a bit unusual; I'm sure I could come up with another example of a refrigerator car in this color but it might take a while. (OK, I just did, the American Beef Packers steel car. I feel better now.) This is a pretty late ATP for a wood reefer, company service or not. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Adrian Stanislovaitis checked in with some very badly needed background; I was otherwise stumped. The 79031 was one of 69 wooden reefers that were purchased by the Milwaukee. This particular one was formerly employed by Swift Refrigerator Lines with reporting marks SRLX 2711. Originally built in the time period 1930 to 1935, MILW 79031 was acquired on July 30, 1964 and retired on January 28, 1971-- how's that for an Exact Time Period?!? Adrian added, "If I remember correctly, in this case, the Milwaukee Road shipped ice in these blue cars to icing stations, where FGEX (Fruit Growers Express) was not offering this service anymore. As the icing stations would get torn down, the ice was loaded from the blue car straight to the ice bunkers of regular service reefers." © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Based on that "ETP" the only possible ORER in which I could have this car is the April 1970 edition, and we luck out there. As MTL pointed out, it was given a revenue number, and it was included as part of the series 79000 to 79089 of which there were 83 cars. The inside length was 29 feet 6 inches, inside height and width both 8 feet, outside length 38 feet 10 inches, extreme height 13 feet 10 inches. Capacity was 1900 cubic feet or 88,000 pounds but that wouldn't have included ice bunkers. The primary purpose of the car was apparently to transport ice, though. Did one keep the ice cool with more ice? Never mind. Although I haven't seen a photo (I've been told there's one in the Morning Sun Color Guide) I suspect based on those dimensions that MTL may be fudging it a little bit on the use of the 47000 car. Adrian reports that the Milwaukee also had a short series of steel refrigerator cars, numbered 79070 to 79089, in the same blue and white paint scheme. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

56360, $17.70
33 Foot Two Bay Hopper, Rib Sides, Flat Ends, Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left, large initials across side, and "Sooner to and through the Southwest" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: KO&G 759.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1958 build date given by MTL) to the mid- to late-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

This is the very first Micro-Trains car for this railroad, and one of the very few KO&G cars done across all of N Scale's history. It's probably the first one that's getting the entire "Sooner to and through the Southwest" legend inside the sunburst herald; earlier graphics technology wouldn't have enabled this, for example on the Atlas First Generation plug door boxcar on which the legend is truncated to "Sooner SouthW". (But you really can't fault the limitations of printing cars from more than 30 years ago.) AHM also offered a mechanical reefer (?) and a three bay ribside hopper for the line, and that's about all I have in my N Scale Accumulation. So this is a welcome addition. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The KO&G was one of the "Muskogee Lines" that included other roads like the Midland Valley and the Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka. These lines had common ownership out of Muskogee, Oklahoma and shared locomotives, at least some of which had a square herald with all three names included. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let me point out right here that the MTL car copy is actually describing the KO&G "of Texas" which was apparently just nine miles long. We ran into this situation before with the "Missouri-Kansas-Texas of Texas" which was a Texas State-required subsidiary of the main road. Ditto here. The "full" KO&G stretched from Baxter Springs, Kansas, down through Oklahoma into Denison, Texas, a total of 328 miles. It crossed sister road Midland Valley at Muskogee, Oklahoma; the MV went from Wichita, Kansas, southeast through Tulsa to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The OC-A-A came off the KO&G at Ada and went northwest to Oklahoma City. MTL learned of the KO&G and this hopper during the last N Scale Collector's Convention in Tulsa.© 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

At least some of the online business of the KO&G was mining products so a few hoppers on the roster didn't hurt. MTL's build date of 1958 leads us to the January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) where there are 84 cars in the series 700 to 799. They are your basic "HT" AAR Classification and have an inside length of 32 feet 6 inches and an outside length of 33 feet 7 inches. (Sorry, no heights shown this time.) The capacity was 1938 cubic feet and 100,000 pounds. The January 1964 Register shows the group already down to 53 pieces-- what were they doing to those hoppers? Richard Fisher provided the answer: after coal movements to Colorado petered out, some cars went to the Texas and Pacific, and others moved to sand or gravel service.© 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In September 1964, the Texas and Pacific Railroad bought the Muskogee-based cluster that included the KO&G and spun the OC-A-A off to the Santa Fe. The Midland Valley was officially absorbed in 1967 and the KO&G became a fallen flag on April Fool's Day 1970. There's no listing for the line in the ORER of that date and there's no KO&G reporting marks shown in the Texas and Pacific listing either. Not much of the KO&G is extant today, being that it was paralleled by at least one other railroad for most to all of its length, and didn't go through any major cities between Denison and Baxter Springs either. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

112510, $29.70
89 Foot Auto Rack, Bi-Level Open Racks, Baltimore and Ohio/Trailer Train.

Freight car red with mostly white lettering including "Trailer Train" logo at center of flat car. Gold B&O "Capitol Dome" herald on blue placard on left of racking.
Reporting Marks: TTBX 963017.
Approximate Time Period: Early 1970's (1970 build date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

First, let's make a correction of an MTL typo that appears on the website and also in the Short Line and Micro-News: The reporting marks on the car are correctly TTBX, not TTRX as described. Joe Levitzky pointed this out as he lent an assist to the commentary on this release. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the B&O includes a photo of the exact car MTL selected for its debut release on this body style. TTBX 963017 was caught in Jessup, Maryland in early 1978 complete with a payload of eight brand new Chevrolet pickup trucks. It's quite interesting how they are spaced, which is to say, not evenly. Oh, and the colors of these pickups appear to be: two white, two black or perhaps dark blue (they are the farthest away from the camera), one light blue with white cab roof, one muted yellow, one bright red, and one that could be either brown or black, which would make the ones that are either black or dark blue probably dark blue. Joe adds that should you want to replicate this load, you can look into the products of California Frieght and Detail for some '73 Chevys, or if you think Ford had a better idea, Cal Freight can help you there as well with some contemporaneous 1975 model F-150s. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The caption concurs with the Bethlehem Steel builder and the date of 1970, but notes that in the quite large series TTBX 961367 to 964743 of 1521 cars, not all would be carrying racks provided by the Baltimore and Ohio. In fact, without some very exact detective work, I doubt that we'll find out exactly how many Beano racks there were. Based on a peek at the Accurail site-- they make this same car in HO-- you've got Pennsy, NYC, Wabash, Boston and Maine, GM&O, Erie Lackawanna, L&N, Southern, Western Maryland, Rock Island, Burlington and Burlington Northern, NP, and the C&NW all placing racks atop TTBX flats. Still others used "BTTX" reporting marks-- same purpose though, in the Trailer Train translation in the ORER. That all should keep MTL busy for a while. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1976 ORER shows Trailer Train's TTBX series described as "Flat, Bsh11, End of Car Cushioning" with an inside length of 89 feet 4 inches, outside length 93 feet 8 inches, and width 9 feet. The capacity was 150,000 pounds and the extreme height of three feet is of course meaningless since it doesn't count the racks. In the January 1985 Register, this is sort of fixed, with the extreme height measurements varying from 13 feet 8 inches to 18 feet 10 inches (!) but the formerly large single group of BSH11s has been subdivided into a hopeless number of subseries. I can tell you that the 963017 is perhaps no longer among those almost three pages' worth of listings. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

25410, $20.70
50 Foot Boxcar, Exterior Post, Single Door, Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern.

Dark blue sides and ends, aluminum roof. White lettering including reporting marks on left. Red and white diamond herald on left. Large "MNS" in red on right.
Reporting Marks: MNS 49749.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's (1978 build date) to late 1980's.
Previous Releases: Road Number 49745, May 1988; Road Number 49754, May 1993.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Like many shortlines, the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern started out with a much bigger scope than it attained. But there aren't too many railroads that started out being named after a horse! © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Dan Patch was a celebrated trotter horse which broke numerous world record times during the early 1900's, and as today, association with a celebrity name could mean publicity and notoriety. Such was the case with Dan Patch's owner, who was a founder of the Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company. This venture was quickly dubbed "The Dan Patch Line" and was envisioned as a major interurban trunk line connecting the Twin Cities with points in Iowa-- and a "Big Money Maker". It never got past the environs of Minneapolis but it did become a belt line around much of the west side of the city and thus did reasonably well for itself. In 1918 the road was reorganized as the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern. Its trackage extended between the two named points, 45 miles, plus a few branches. The MN&S also managed the Minnesota Western Railway, which operated from Minneapolis west to Gluek, 115 miles. The MNS was well known for its unusual motive power, consisting of Fairbanks-Morse and Baldwin diesels including large Baldwin centercab units. The line was purchased by the Soo Line in 1982. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The May 2000 issue of Rail Model Journal notes that this MNS group of cars was built by Pullman-Standard in April 1978. That series received Stanray roofs with diagonal panels; an earlier order from P-S had the standard Pullman roof panels. The MTL car is a model of an FMC car so there are differences, for example there are six ribs left of the door on the prototype versus five on the model. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Checking the ORER for April 1981, we have the series 49725 to 49774 including all three of the cars done so far by MTL. They were AAR Classification "XF" designating food loading, had nailable steel floors, and fit into Plate C dimensions. Speaking of which: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 55 feet 7 inches, extreme height 15 feet 5 inches, door opening 10 feet, and capacity 5344 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. All 50 cars were on the roster as of that issue and the January 1985 issue as well. The MNS was pulled into the Soo Line's listing in the July 1987 book but all 50 cars stayed together. Finally, in the January 1989 edition, there's just one car left in the "series" (yes, I know) numbered 49733 to 49744. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags website has a photo of MNS 49897, from a sister series of cars, lensed in March 1983; you need to check the "Miscellaneous Railroads - M" page to find it but you'll also be able to view pictures of their diesels if you head over there. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

33080, $14.40
50 Foot Boxcar, Combination Plug and Sliding Door, Florida East Coast.

Dark blue with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Large "FEC" on right.
Reporting Marks: FEC 5002.
Approximate Time Period: Decade of the 1970's.
Previous Release: 5029, July 1979.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.
Well, I need to try to get a few things sorted out here, and I'm doing so with the much appreciated assistance of Jon Halloran and Josť Cabanillas who are both FEC followers.
The first observation from the ORER Accumulation is that there are no cars numbered in the 5000s in the listing for line in the January 1964 Register nor are there any cars that come near the dimensions of this boxcar. Josť notes that the same is true in a Westerfield CD-ROM version of a 1965 ORER. Note that the first run of the 33080 has a "New" date of July 1967. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
But Josť has a copy of the FEC's 1963 Annual Report which prominently features a group of 15 plug and sliding door cars purchased for gypsum service. These were the first new boxcars for the line in quite a while. Jon passes along into from the FEC Railway Society that these cars came from FGEX. That's Fruit Growers Express which did used to build cars at its shops in Arlington, Virginia. Josť provided UMTRR HQ a scan from a slide and commented that the cars as painted by MTL look more than a shade darker than they do in the photo. It also has a white sliding door, probably a Superior type (also known as "wide rib" in collector circles) and a diagonal panel roof. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
This must have been a very popular group of cars among the FEC management, as they appear in two different annual reports in the 1960's, reports Josť. A "roster shot" of 5012 and others shows the lighter blue paint; the extended draft gear couplers match in shade. But the cars don't show up in the ORER for that time period. Could be, he notes, that the cars didn't go off line and thus might not be listed in the Register; but that doesn't explain why flat cars used in captive service would be listed there. (And that's, mercifully, another story.) © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Now, we jump to the April 1970 ORER, where there are two series numbered 5001 to 5015 and 5016 to 5030 respectively. Both these groups are AAR Class XL, described as "Box, Steel" and had inside lengths of 50 feet 6 inches and inside heights of 10 feet 6 inches, but they differ on outside length, extreme height, and capacity. But both sets have 16 foot door openings. And this is where I wish the ORER had given a little more data, e.g. what type of doors did the second group of cars have? Of the first number of the 33080 and the only number of the 36060, one of these is probably going to be wrong; that is, I really doubt that the FEC was going to mix door arrangements within a short series. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
And that may explain why MTL jumped out of the 5020's from the second series 5016 to 5030, and down to 5002 from the series 5001 to 5015. Based on the data from Josť and Jon, I'm going to speculate that they're in the correct group of cars this time and the original run has the wrong doors; and the 36060 is also correct with respect to the double plug doors. This release would therefore mark a correction of sorts. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
Be that as it may, or may not, in the April 1976 ORER-- are you ready for this???-- the two groups of cars are slammed together into one series, 5001 to 5030, with 29 total cars. As Charlie Brown would say, "AAUGH!!!" This makes absolutely no sense to me at all. As I mentioned above, Jon Halloran added that the 5001 to 5015 were obtained from Fruit Growers Express, while the 5016 to 5030 were built by Berwick Forge and Fabricating, this data from the FEC Railway Society of which he is a member. So it's possible that MTL wasn't really thinking of a "correction" if they went to one of the ORERs where the cars are grouped together. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.
These 29 cars stayed together in the April 1981 Register, but the roofwalks were probably gone by then. And in the January 1985 book? The two groups are resplit into 5001 to 5015, 15 cars, and 5016 to 5030, 12 cars. That's about when I gave up. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

43040, $16.20
40 Foot Box Car, Wood Double Sheathed, One and One-Half Doors, Great Northern.

Vermillion (red) with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large slanted roadname on right. Small black and white goat herald on left.
Reporting Marks: GN 30353.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1957 rebuild date) into the 1960's, but see text.
Previous Releases: Road Number 3596, March 1975; Road Number 3287, November 1987; Road Number 3345, August 1992.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Great Northern didn't get its first all-steel boxcars until, believe it or not, 1948. This car is an example of what they did for boxcars prior to that, but a much more common example is the single door "modified 1937 design" boxcar which used tongue and groove siding. The GN picked up 8,000 copies of that car from several different builders. That series is well documented in the model railroad press, most recently in the May 2003 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, research on this reprint has raised more questions than I started with. First, the quite different road number of this car versus the three previous runs suggests to me that this should be classified as a "not a reprint." Previous cars were numbered in the 3000 series and this one jumps into the 30000 series. So which one was it? © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ignoring the paint scheme for the moment, the answer from the April 1928 ORER appears to be that the newest number is more correct. The series 30000 to 30599 had a key dimension, a ten foot door opening, whereas the 3000 to 7999 group in that ORER had a door opening that was just 5 feet 5 1/2 inches. This data is reinforced by a table on the "Great Northern Empire" site. But here's why I ignored the paint scheme for this-- by the January 1953 ORER (NMRA Reprint) this series of cars is shown with just a six foot door opening, not ten feet. This strongly suggests that the cars have been slimmed down to a single door, not the door and a half on the MTL model. However, there is a series 38900 to 38988 that is described as "Box, Steel Frame, Staggerd Doors" and does have the ten foot door opening. But it also has a 50 foot 6 inch inside length. Yikes! We're not getting anywhere here. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 1959 and January 1964 ORERs tell the same story-- the 30000 series cars have six foot doors. In the '64 Register there are no boxcars at all with ten foot doors. I'd also add that a car that was rebuilt in 1957, whether it stayed with wood sides or not-- which is quite possible with the GN-- it probably would have been given a steel roofwalk. The key issue here, though, is whether the 1950's red and white paint scheme could have been found on a one and one half door boxcar. It seems to me that the change of number series from the 3000's to the 30000's for this run means that there was some photographic evidence MTL obtained. We'll await some possible Incremental Information on this. For the record, the 30000 series of cars was off the books by the Burlington Northern merger. And also for the record, whether it turns out that the MTL model is 100% accurate or somewhat less, I've joked that the mascot "Rocky" could be stamped onto the head of a truckpin and it would sell out, and although that popularity seems to have slowed down a bit recently (or MTL is just making more copies), I advise that "Rocky" could once again leap to the bye-bye board pretty quick. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

45180, $15.65
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, United States Army.

Olive green with white lettering including reporting marks on far left, "United States Army" in center and Transportation Corps insignia right of center. Cast resin "covered load" included.
Reporting Marks: USAX 38065.
Approximate Time Period: early 1950's (1953 build date given by MTL) to mid-1960's.
Previous Releases: Road Number 38066, June 1996; Road Number 38064, July 1997.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

When the first two runs of this popular car were released in 1996 and 1997, although I was writing the UMTRR, I was not privy to the number of ORERs that I am now. And so, for the first time, we have the chance to provide a more comprehensive review and in fact a three for one special covering the previous two numbers as well. You'd think so given that you've got consecutively numbered "triplets" across the three runs. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The July 1953 ORER (NMRA Reprint) shows a total roster of 6265 cars registered to the Department of the Army-- and that's not counting passenger equipment. Pretty impressive, and more than most railroads or private owners. Of that, 3846 cars were tank cars and the remaining 2419 were of other types. And of that 2419, a whopping 650 belonged to the flat car series modeled by MTL. That would be numbers 38016 to 38665, which have AAR Classification "FG". We'd better check that: it translates to "Flat or Gun Truck Car for special transportation of heavy ordnance or other heavy commodities." And the description matches: "USAX Flat, Heavy Duty." So does the capacity: 200,000 pounds. I suspect that this means that the MTL model isn't a true match for the prototype car. The rest of the dimensions: Inside length 54 feet, outside length 54 feet 9 inches, extreme width 10 feet 7 inches, extreme height 4 feet 2 inches. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In January 1959 there were still 640 cars in this series but the total number of non-tank cars had slipped all the way to 913. However, the cars were still marked "USAX." In the January 1964 ORER there were some changes: First, the overall designation was flipped to "FM" which is an "ordinary flat car for general service" even though the capacity remained at 200,000 pounds. Second, 14 cars were redesignated "LF" which translated to the ability to handle "demountable containers" (the three numbers MTL has done not in that subset). And perhaps most importantly, the Army and Navy rolling stock was consolidated into one listing for the Department of Defense, the precursor to the relettering of all military cars to DODX reporting marks. This transition was well underway by April 1970 even though there were still 623 cars in the original series of flat cars. The DODX restenciling was done by April 1976 but 619 flats in the group made it to that point, plus 16 of the LF reclassifications. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As with the two previous runs, I expect this car to be popular and perhaps an early sellout. The inclusion of the load is a contributing factor to the almost doubling of the MSRP from the 1997 run. On the other hand, a string of these would make a nice compliment to the troop sleepers, but not necessarily in the same train, if you're willing to be a little anachronistic. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:

21378, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, South Carolina 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: SC 1788.
Fourteenth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

One of the more memorable lines from the film "1776" is heard during roll call votes of the Continental Congress. North Carolina is called for a yea or nay, and the response is, "North Carolina... respectfully yields to South Carolina." I've been told that every line in the movie and the play that preceded it was actually spoken by the character (although not necessarily in the chronological sequence as presented in the movie) so I'd always wondered why North Carolina always respectfully yielded-- and then voted the same way as South Carolina. It turns out that Carolina was split into North and South in 1712, and that a site across the river from what is now Charleston, in South Carolina, was the first permanent settlement in the territory. So South Carolina could be interpreted as being the older colony. Thus, the respectful yielding. Well, MTL didn't follow that protocol, as the North Carolina car was the fourth release and South Carolina is here at fourteenth! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The colony was originally a proprietorship and as early as the mid-1600s, the plantation structure was set up. The area became a Royal Colony in 1729. While New England is usually associated with the key rebellions that led to the American Revolution, South Carolina created an independent government in March 1776. The first battle south of New England was fought at Ninety Six, South Carolina-- and how's that for a place name?-- and the British laid siege to Charleston from 1780 until the end of the war. After the war, the capital was moved to the more central location of Columbia, but Charleston remained one of the centers of the South. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Cotton was a key crop and tariffs a key issue prior to the Civil War. The state passed a Nullification Act in 1832 setting aside Federal tariff laws, a move which was nullified by the Union. But then the state was the first to secede from the Union, and the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, started the War Between the States. Reconstruction was not a pleasant time and racial equality was set back numerous times by acts like the notorious "Jim Crow Laws" of the later 1800's. Agriculture has slowly yielded to more industrial development, military bases contributed to the economy, and the state's position in the Sun Belt has attracted residents in large numbers. And let's not forget that the signature dance craze of the 1920's originated in the city for which it is named-- the Charleston. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous South Carolinians include the statesman Benjamin Baruch, actress Eartha Kitt, "the godfather of soul" James Brown, trumpter Dizzy Gillespie, baseball great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, author and creator of the term "cyberspace" William Gibson, and letter turner Vanna White. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): No releases this month.

Z SCALE:

New Release:
13627, Marklin Coupler, $19.50, 13627-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $21.30.
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Pacific Great Eastern.

Dark boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Chevron herald, with outline British Columbia map and large "PGE," on right.
Reporting Marks: PGE 4521.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's (1966 build date) through the 1970's.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Frieght Cars" site (at www.nakina.net ) shows 100 cars in the series 4501 to 4600, built by "HST"-- that's Hawker Siddeley, formerly Dominion Coal and Steel Company-- in February 1966. He's got them lasting until the year 2000 but that's an overall date span which, as you'll see, needs to be slimmed down. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1970 ORER entry for this series of cars numbered 4501 to 4600 is specifically tagged with a pound sign (#) denoting "large cars within Plate C dimensions." The exact description of the group was "Box, Steel, Plug Doors, Roller Bearing" with AAR Classification XM. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches and the inside height 11 feet. Overall length was 55 feet 6 inches, extreme height was 15 feet 5 inches, and the door opening was 9 feet, a minor "door thing" since the MTL model has an 8 foot plug door, but it's harder to notice than with sliding doors. All 100 cars were present and accounted for. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

You might recall from previous MTL Pacific Great Eastern releases that after the PGE became the British Columbia Railway in 1972, the ORER listings didn't seperate series by reporting marks, i.e. they could be PGE or BCOL. So the exact end of the ATP caused by restenciling will be vague. I can tell you that there were 98 cars in April 1976 and 88 in April 1981. In the October 1986 ORER, the listing reads BC Rail Limited, and the PGE marks are finally called out separately. However there's just one car marked that way and 25 marked BCOL so thus endeth the ATP. They'd probably have removed the roofwalk by then so even mid-1980's is a stretch. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


New Release:
13628, Marklin Coupler, $20.30, 13628-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $22.10.
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, New Haven.

Red with black door and side sills. White lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Large "McGuiness" N over H herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NH 40602.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's to late 1970s.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Here is the first offering in Z Scale of a car that's been done twice in N (MTL Catalog 32190). The prototype was a "short run" that lasted only a relatively short time in real life. The series of just six cars, 40600 to 40605, was delivered to the New Haven in 1965 and, according to Morning Sun's NH Color Guide, were the last new box cars ever acquired by the road. The ink was redder than the car color at that point when the cars arrived in January 1965. Pullman Standard built the cars, and that's their "Hydroframe 60" logo to the left of the door. The outside length of this car was a big 60 foot 9 inches over the cushion underframe, suggesting to me that the "60" in "Hydroframe 60" wasn't just pulled out of a hat. Penn Central kept these cars when its forced marriage to the NH took place in February 1968; and Conrail got five of the six when it took over the remains of the Wreck of the Penn Central in April 1976. Only the 40600 and 40603 remained of the intital six pack in April 1981 so I stopped looking. The vital statistics: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 60 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet, capacity 4952 cubic feet or 148,000 pounds. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Besides two photos in the aformentioned NH Color Guide (page 25), the book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 8" carries a three-quarter view photo of the 40602. The black on the sills is right there, but on the Z Scale version MTL skipped the black on the ladders and other details; I guess they have the technology to do this in 1:160 (the 1999 run of the 32190 had this) but not quite yet in 1:220. Also, the plug door is not a match on the model. The snapshot shows that the 40602 survived long enough to get a consolidated service stencils. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


Reprint:
14802, Marklin Coupler, $17.85, 14802-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $19.65.
40 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Great Northern.

Red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Large "goat" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: GN 3350.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1955 built date given by MTL) to the early 1970's.
Previous Releases: Road Number 3570 (I think this, not the "357" listed on the MTL database), January 1987 with Marklin Couplers and March 1987 with Magne-Matic Couplers.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Based on the information I've found, the 1955 build date for this car as given by MTL puts it right on the cusp of the transition between "mineral red," which is more like brown, and "vermillion," which is more like just plain old red. What's interesting, though, is that the RPI data indicates a movement to the large slanted roadname at around 1956. An example of that later scheme is on the Fallen Flags site, by the way, look for GN 3582. So that may or may not mean a short ATP for this car-- and the N Scale version, which has been done in four numbers as catalog 23060/23190 starting in 1974. Given the lack of attention paid to the repainting of cars on the Hill Lines (GN, NP and SP&S), I think we're still safe at least into the 1960's. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER data indicates that the series itself made it into and slightly past the 1970 Burlington Northern merger, in fact. Let's do the stats from the January 1959 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM): The group numbered 3000 to 3499 had an inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside height of 10 feet 6 inches, outside length of 41 feet 11 inches, extreme height of 15 feet, and door opening of 15 feet-- oops, a "Door Thing" (although the next series in the GN listing, 3500 to 3999, did have 12 feet worth of doors). The capacity was 3972 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There were 497 cars in the group in '59, 489 in January 1964, and 477 in April 1970 at the BN Merger. A total of 196 made it to April 1976 but I doubt that their roofwalks did. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.