UMTRR June, 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.

49570, $16.30
40 Foot Refrigerator Car, Wood Sides, Ice Bunkers, Fishbelly Underframe, Vertical Brake Wheel, Canadian National.

Olive green sides, black roof and ends. Yellow lettering including roadname and roadnumber on left and "Express Refrigerator" on right.
Road Number: 10329 (will be "CN 10329" on website listings).
Approximate Time Period: mid-1920s to mid-1950s.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The first place I turned to for prototype information on this car was the C-D-S "Railway Equipment Diagrams." For those of you who don't know, this is a great source for information on a wide range of both typical and unusual cars especially from Canadian roads. The dry transfers that C-D-S makes are excellent for doing these cars, and sometimes for renumbering multiple copies of MTL cars. C-D-S doesn't make the dry transfers for this exact car, but they do have two sets available for 50 foot express refrigerator cars in the same general paint scheme. They give the time period for these as a longish early 1920's to 1970's! I'm not sure I'd be willing to commit to that long of an Approximate Time Period for this car. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Despite this effectively being "passenger equipment," I do have a reference from the April 1928 edition of the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER). The CN was still working on the consolidation of its various component roads at the time, but the relettering of this series of cars appears to have been completed. Therefore, we have the series of passenger refrigerator cars described as "Canadian National, Steel Underframe, Brine Tanks" numbered from 10315 to 10363. The inside length was 35 feet 5 inches, inside height 8 feet 7 3/8 inches, outside length 41 feet 7 1/8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 2 3/8 inches, and door opening 5 feet wide by 6 feet high. All this adds up to some differences between the 49000 body style and the prototype. The cars could handle 5200 pounds of crushed ice or 4500 pounds of chunk ice, and their lading capacity was 2132 cubic feet or 60000 pounds. There were 49 cars in this group. The fleet is already down to 39 cars in the July 1935 ORER and 36 cars in the January 1940 Register (both Westerfield CD-ROMs). And there are still 30 in the January 1953 ORER-- maybe there is something to this C-D-S timeframe. No wait, there are individually numbered cars in the listing in the January 1964 ORER, and the 10329 is skipped. Ouch. Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars site has the whole series gone by 1967. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

MTL notes that these cars received those famous charcoal heaters in 1939 (which keep cargo from freezing), but it's possible that they also received a device called a "liquidometer" that the CN put on many of its refrigerator cars. A liquidometer measured the temperature at the top and the bottom of the interior of the car and had a display on the outside of the car near the door, on only one side of the car. There's another aftermarket detail part opportunity! Speaking of opportunity, believe it or not, some wood reefers stuck around long enough to be painted with the "wet noodle" herald. Wouldn't that be an interesting release? © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

81710, $26.65
48 Foot Container, Burlington Northern "Cityview" Atlanta.

White with multicolor lettering including large four-color process cityview mural across side. Red and blue BN herald on ends.
Reporting Marks: BNAU 686002.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1990's (1996 paint date given by MTL) at least.
Container manufactured by Deluxe Innovations, painted by Micro-Trains.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Several years ago, while Micro-Trains was in the midst of working through the "Cityview" series of trailers, it was pointed out to me that the series really wouldn't be complete without the containers that the Burlington Northern had painted. I was also told that one way or another, MTL would eventually release these containers as well. When the NMRA convention in Toronto came and went last year-- an ideal time to introduce the Toronto "Cityview", no?-- I assumed that the containers were not to be. MTL wasn't going to tool a new body style just for those releases, right? Well, right! The partnership between Deluxe Innovations and MTL that led to this month's release is a bit of a surprise, but not altogether shocking, since they've worked in tandem before to produce sets for the N Scale Collector's Society. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Though outside the BN's direct service area (three of the four Cityview containers are), Atlanta is an excellent choice for such an honor, and not just because of the Olympics. Atlanta was literally built around the junction of railroad lines, although it actually began, according to at least one account, as the Native American village of "Standing Peachtree" at the confluence of Peachtree Creek and the Chattahoochee River, west of town. Railroad activity began as early as 1826 but the first line didn't reach "Terminus" until 1837 with the building of the state-financed Western and Atlantic. The little town changed names, first to Marthasville in honor of the then-governor's daughter, then, in 1845 to "Atlanta" which was a collapse of the phrase "Atlantica-Pacifica". The first train didn't actually reach the settlement until that year, on the tracks of the Georgia Railroad. By 1847 Atlanta was up to three lines and 2,500 residents and was already petitioning for movement of the state capital to there from Milledgeville. By 1854 there were four railroads in town and a brick "union station" was built to serve them. Like most of the city, however, it didn't survive the Civil War. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

After the war, Atlanta did become the new capital of Georgia, but the state wasn't re-admitted to the Union until it ratified the 15th Amendment in 1870. As Reconstruction slowly tapered off, the city slowly grew and various services were added, most notably the return of public schools. Prohibitionists won a vote to make Fulton County dry, which caused pharmacist John Pemberton to develop a "new headache remedy"-- Coca-Cola. Even today many Atlantans drink it for breakfast, and don't even think about mentioning that rival in the blue can that is on a bunch of MTL cars! In 1894 several railroads in and around Atlanta were reorganized into the Southern Railway. Meanwhile, a series of fairs and expositions helped coax industry to the city, and by 1910 its population had swelled to almost 155,000. The combination of the railroad "terminus" and the commerce that would later include Delta Airlines, CNN, numerous banks and of course the Coca-Cola Company would move the city to the forefront of the South. Today its Hartsfield Airport is the busiest in the world by some metrics, and the population of Greater Atlanta now stands at over three and one-half million. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The CityView trailers page that is part of the QStation website acknowledges that BNAU 686000 is painted in the Atlanta scheme, meaning that there were at least two boxes painted this way. Unfortunately the page doesn't include any pictures of "Atlanta" and I didn't get any other good net references either. Based on the lifespan of the Cityview trailers, I would imagine that these containers would have been around for at least a few years as painted; recall that after Redon took over the BN's trailer fleet, it restenciled the reporting marks but kept the murals intact. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

108150, $18.90
3 Bay 100 Ton Steel Hopper, Western Maryland/Chessie System.

Black with mostly yellow lettering including Chessie System roadname at top left, reporting marks on left and "Ches-C" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: WM 89862.
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1980's (1981 repaint date given by MTL).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

If the ORER for April 1981 is correct, when this car was repainted into the Chessie livery in 1981, it was also renumbered. There's no listing of a road number 89862 in the Register. Joe Shaw adds the incremental information that these cars were built in 1966 from kits (yes, kits!) and were bought second hand by the Chessie, which would explain the absence from the book. By the January 1985 ORER the WM reporting marks are already under the Baltimore and Ohio listing, evidence of the corporate consolidation that was occurring that would eventually lead to CSX. The WM series 89800 to 89993 does show in the January '85 Register, though, and let's run through the usual stats: inside length, 45 feet, inside width, 9 feet 9 inches (sorry, no inside height given), outside length, 48 feet 9 inches, extreme height, 12 feet 4 inches, capacity 3418 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. There were 193 cars in the group which was one short of what you could have. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the July 1987 ORER, the B&O and WM reporting marks were under the Chesapeake and Ohio listing, and the series we're interested in stood at 185 cars. In the July 1989 ORER, the C&O, B&O and WM reporting marks were all under CSX Transportation, and the WM series was down to 102 cars. Interesting how in four years the listings changed, eh? I had been wondering why I'd held on to such closely spaced books, but now I have a good reason to keep that shelf space allocated. By 1992 the group under WM reporting marks was down to just three cars, but I'm reasonably certain that they were restenciled for CSXT or repainted completely. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags Website has several examples of this paint scheme although not in the specific series that MTL used. WM 188417, 188820 and 189815 are all three bay hoppers that carried the Ches-C, the latter two in 1983. The previous "speed lettering" co-existed with these, of course; witness WM 63745 in gray and black from 1987, also on the Fallen Flags site. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

112030.1 and 112030.2, $31.50 each
89 Foot Auto Rack, Tri-Level Open Racks with Crossbracing, Pennsylvania Railroad/Trailer Train.

Freight car red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks near center of flat car and "Trailer Train" logo to right of flat car. Red and white Keystone herald on black placard on left of racking.
Reporting Marks: KTTX 901496 (the .1) and KTTX 901493 (.2)
Approximate Time Period: Early 1970's (1970 build date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: These items (both numbers) have been sold out and discontinued.

I've got a quote from the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) Volume 2 on the Pennsy, page 127: "The Pennsylvania Railroad obtained its automobile racks from two builders. One was Paragon Bridge and Steel Company. and the other was Whitehead and Kales Company. During February 1968 it was reported that the PRR had installed 1,629 automobile racks on Trailer Train flat cars." © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And on Page 43 of MSCG Volume 1, courtesy of Joe Levitsky, we've got a shot of the 901496. The first thing I notice is the added cross-bracing, which, on the prototype as well as the model, is asymmetric. Specifically, the crossbrace is one "panel" (for lack of a better term) from the left end of the rack and two "panels" from the right end of the rack. This appears to be true on both sides of the car. Second, note that the placard is mounted direcly atop a "panel" which has the crossbracing attached. For most folks, this racking is going to be dead on, although I'm sure that the more fastidious will located some differences. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The flat car on which all of this is mounted does appear to be a somewhat different story. It's of a thinner top to bottom profile at the sides, or maybe I should just say "thickness," than the 91000 MTL body style that they used as a base. I believe it would be an older Trailer Train car, but I can't be sure. The key giveaway is that the lettering is mounted on placards instead of being directly applied to the car; there wouldn't have been enough room otherwise. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In an e-mail to UMTRR HQ, Joe adds: "In terms of ATP appropriate vehicles, the closest I could find are from Classic Metal Works who offer either a 1967 Ford Custom 500 or a 1978 Chevy Impala. I didn't run across any manufacturer that makes an N scale model of an early 1970's Lincoln Continental Mark III like the ones shown loaded on the bottom level of the autorack in the picture. This was clearly the era when the vinyl roof was in vogue." © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Turning to an example ORER, the April 1970 listing for Trailer Train (remember we go there, not to the railroad) shows the series KTTX 901132 to 901701 with AAR Classification "FA" and TTX class "F89ch." The inside length was 89 feet 3 inches, the outside length 93 feet 7 inches and the capacity 117,000 pounds. Once again the height is meaningless as the racks aren't included. "KTTX" reporting marks were assigned to cars "equipped with hinged end tri-level auto racks furnished by member railroads" according to the listing. Pictures of similar cars in the MSCG Volume 1 indicate that the "K" in "KTTX" was added later, sometimes just barely squeezed into the placard. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Because there's no way for me to tell when the PRR Keystone yielded to the Penn Central "friendly worms," or perhaps even to the herald of another assigned railroad, the ATP is no more than a wild guess based on the movement to enclosed auto racks. But there is one clue in the Walthers book "Americas' Driving Force": a TTX car from the same series is pictured with the explanation that it received an enclosed Paragon rack in 1980. © 2004, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


25510, $17.10
50 Foot Boxcar, Exterior Post, Single Door, Nevada Northern.

White with mostly black lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left and herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NN 223.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's.
Previous Releases: Reporting Marks MISS 235 (restencil), October 1991.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Here's a car that is a "not a reprint" simply by virtue of its reporting marks. As MTL mentions in its car copy, the Nevada Northern dispositioned these cars to the Mississippian Railway when it ceased freight operations, and the first release of this car reflects that transfer of ownership via an "overprint" of MISS reporting marks. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The NN was all about copper, lots of it, and in fact it was "The Last Bonanza Railway" having been built in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. It took ore to on-line processing plants and then northbound to the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific for destinations all over the country. At first it was a part of the White Pine Copper Company but after several consolidations eventually became part of Kennecott Copper. As long as the mining and processing business stayed profitable, the line worked its copper trade and also carried some general freight. The line rostered boxcars, gondolas and even had some trailers, witness the photo of NNRZ 600604 on the Fallen Flags website. (It looks cool with the "old" herald.) They even owned a converted and modified troop kitchen car-- are you listening, rolling stock aficianados? But then the 1980's decline in copper prices meant the end of the Nevada Northern-- as a common carrier. However, Kennecott donated a large portion of the railroad including its rolling stock, shops complex and other buildings to the city of Ely, one of the main points on the line, and the Nevada Northern began its second life as a "Historical Operating Railroad Museum". Tourists are treated to an experience that is part nostalgic train ride and partly the feeling of being frozen in time: a calendar in the shop building still reads June 1983 and the work schedule for the last day of operation is still posted! "You think 'they expected to come back' and that's true, they did" said Sean Pitts in an interview for TV station KNPB which did a documentary on the railroad. Tourist trains operate year round, and aspiring engineers can rent and learn to operate a diesel or their 2-8-0 steamer (!) for a real hands on experience. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 shows the series 201 to 235 of "Box, Nailable Steel Floor, 50K" with these dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 55 feet 7 inches, extreme height 10 feet, capacity 5277 cubic feet or 195,000 pounds. There were all 35 cars in the series. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Photos of cars from the series, namely, 201 and 233, are available on the website; they are circa June 1984 and have the NN reporting marks. The key difference I picked up is the door which is a six-panel variety versus the corrugated door supplied with the 25000 body style. The other thing you'll definitely want to do for more realism is a lot of weathering-- white paint plus dirty environment plus scraping of doors equals quite a mess. The paint is quite rubbed off in a number of places along the bottom third of each of the cars, and the dents really show in white as well. The cars were built by Berwick and as such will differ from the 25er which models an FMC prototype; there's another photo from the series in the May 2001 issue of Rail Model Journal. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And if you're curious-- I was-- the flip to MISS reporting marks had not yet taken place as of the January 1985 ORER but the cars numbered 201 to 235 did appear with Mississippian markings in the Register for October 1986. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

45190, $10.30
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, United States Air Force.

"Stratus" (Dark) Blue with white lettering including reporting marks on far left, "United States Air Force" in center and Air Force star insignia right of center.
Reporting Marks: DAF 35507.
Approximate Time Period: nominally at least the early 1950's (1951 build date given by MTL), but see text.
Previous Releases: Road Number 35780, July 1997.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I think this one is going to turn out to be one of those mysteries that show up every once in a while, despite the best efforts of the UMTRR Research Department. The car was built in 1951 according to MTL-- and that's probably by Magor Car, not Major Car as in their car copy. The first run of the car has a build date of October 1952. But the 1953 ORER does not even show a listing for the Air Force, or the DAF or DAFX reporting marks. The January 1959 Register also shows no listing and no matching reporting marks, and the January 1964 ORER shows only one flat with DAFX reporting marks-- and it's 88 feet long! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I believe that MTL's car copy provides a clue as to why we can't find the DAF 35507 anywhere. "The United States Air Force operates railroad lines at certain installations," they wrote. That would probably mean "private" roads, or as private as you can get as a government entity. The cars didn't move in interchange service, therefore they weren't listed and they didn't require the trailing "X" in the reporting marks that designates a private owner with cars that travel on common carrier roads, like, for example, "USAX" for the United States Army. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But here's where another data point makes life interesting: The Fallen Flags website has a shot of Air Force flat car 35802 taken at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The paint scheme is very close to what MTL did, the build date clearly shows as October 1960, and the photo was taken in August 2001! (You need to check under the "United States Government" listing on the site.) Although captioned as "DAFX 35802," you can't really tell if that "X" is there, because there's a stake pocket in the way. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Wait, it gets better. Jody Moore's railfan site for The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad in Oregon shows a number of their maintenance of way cars. It looks like the POTB got a great deal from the government because most of the cars shown are ex-Department of Defense rolling stock, including, drum roll please, a 56 foot 6 inch flat car that was once the Air Force's with road number 35783, or just three numbers off the first run of this car! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So what does that do for the ATP? Well, maybe I should create a new acronym: WYW, for Whenever You Want. Well, maybe not quite that, since the Air Force wasn't spun out of the Army until 1947.

69080, $23.40
51 Foot Mechanical Refrigerator, Riveted Sides, NYMX (New York Central).

Yellow and blue sides, aluminum ends and roof. White lettering including reporting marks on left and "Mechanical Refrigerator" on right. Green and white modified oval herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NYMX 1049.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1956 build date given by MTL) to late 1960's at least.
Previous Release: Road Number 1025, June 1995.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

My first thought upon reading the car copy was, "C&O Blue? C&O Yellow?" Well, it's true that around the time this car was built for the New York Central's refrigerator operations, the Chesapeake and Ohio and the NYC were having some pretty serious merger discussions. So maybe that's how the paint really was specified. But they didn't pan out and the C&O took over the Baltimore and Ohio and the Western Maryland instead. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The softcover "Freight Equipment of the New York Central Volume 1" from The Railroad Press includes a black and white shot of NYMX 1015. The MTL model looks pretty close to the real thing, although I'm sure closer inspection will reveal something different. There is a photo of NYMX 1037 in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the NYC taken in 1972; after the Penn Central merger the NYC herald was painted out, and there's an ACI label planted on the stripe left of the plug door, but otherwise the car looks much the same as it did in the 1960's, including the roofwalk which is clearly visible. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And speaking of that stripe... from the time that the first MTL run of this car bowed in 1995, I've been wondering about its color. All of the other models I've ever seen of this series have the stripe in a shade of green, not a shade of blue. And even a special run of decals made for Eastern Seaboard Models has the stripes in green. (Of course you know I did up an MTL reefer using those decals, and completed it just before Micro-Trains released their version, also known as the Irwin Jinx. I had four more reefers already painted and ready for decals!) The photo in the MSCG suggests that the stripe could have been blue, and the B&W shot in the "Freight Equipment..." book doesn't help at all. Perhaps the source of the MTL car copy can be found and then we'll solve this one once and for all. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1959 shows the NYMX cars registered to the Central's subsidiary, Merchants Despatch Transportation Corporation. Curiously, only 50 cars are shown in the 1000 to 1099 group. The inside length was 44 feet 5 1/2 inches and the outside length 52 feet 5 1/2 inches; the difference was the allowance for the mechanical refrigeration equipment and some insulation. The door opening was 6 feet wide by 7 feet 2 1/2 inches high, so just as on the model, it doesn't reach all the way to the roof. "Note F" rather confusingly states "These cars are equipped with sliding doors," I think that's meant to draw the distinction versus hinged doors. In January 1964, all 50 cars remained, in April 1970 there were 48 cars and in April 1976 there were still 36. By April 1981 the NYMX reporting marks and the cars were all gone, the MDT had moved to Consohocken, Pennsylvania and it rostered more auto racks than refrigerator cars; later it had a fleet of Flexi-Flo covered hoppers. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


21379, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Wyoming 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 state flower (Indian paintbrush) and state bird (western meadowlark) on right.
Reporting Marks: WY 1890.
Fifteenth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"The Equality State" is called that because of its traditional committment to women's rights. Before the territory became a state, women had the right to vote; in fact, the 1869 bill granting "female suffrage" was the first of its kind in the world. Wyoming had the first female justice of the peace three months later, and the first woman governor in office in 1924 (beating Texas by 20 days). © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There are lots of states that might lay claim to the term "wide open spaces," but Wyoming has a legitimate right to it too, being that it has the lowest population of any state in the union. Its population of just over 500,000 is lower than many cities, never mind other states. Almost six times as many people as actually live in the state visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. OK, so it's only 49th in persons per square mile (5.10), but there's still plenty of acres for you, cowboy. Nearly 92% of the land area is classified as rural. But the Federal Government also owns 50% of the land area and the state itself owns another 6%. Here's another important fact: there's no corporate or personal income tax. And there's no reciprocal agreements with states that do have one, an attribute that wasn't lost on someone we know that moved out of New York with a generous pension and stated flatly, "Let them try to come and get me." Now that's the cowboy spirit! Oh, and speaking of that, be careful about using the "Bucking Horse and Rider" insignia that has become the symbol of the state-- it's a registered trademark so you'd better have a license! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Evidence of Native American settlements from more than 12,000 years ago exists in what is now Wyoming. These were the Plains tribes-- Arapaho, Cheyenne, Nez Perce, and Sioux, among many others. The "Medicine Wheel" is an ancient shrine and a modern mystery. John Colter visited the area circa 1807 and wrote about what is now Yellowstone National Park. But for many years, Wyoming was a stop on the way to somewhere else, be it via Oregon Trail, Pony Express or Transcontinental Railroad. As late as 1870 its population was just about 9,000; buffalo greatly outnumbered humans for decades. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was one of those persons, though, and one of Wyoming's most famous natives. The town of Cody hosts a large museum that preserves the Old West. Devils Tower was the first National Monument, designated so in 1906; Yellowstone was made the first national park thirty-four years before in 1872. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Union Pacific was the first railroad into the territory as part of its transcontinental route; the Chicago and Northwestern reached the state in 1886. That was plenty important many years later when the Powder River Basin was found to have coal-- lots of it. And it moved by rail, once construction of railroad lines to it was completed in the mid-1980s. Wyoming's economy is heavily dependent on the mineral trade which contributed $6.7 billion of taxable value in 2001, whereas agriculture kicked in just under $900 million, and tourism about $1 billion. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


New Release:
13001, Marklin Coupler, $34.30, 13001-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $36.10.
Gunderson Husky Stack Car with Containers, Trailer Train.

Yellow with silver details and mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left and TTX symbol on right. Silver 40 foot container and one red and one white 20 foot containers included.
Reporting Marks: DTTX 56811.
Approximate Time Period: early 1990's (1992 build date given by MTL) to present.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Gunderson is a relatively new name to the railroad car business. It and its predecessors have been in business since 1960 and have produced more than 100,000 railcars according to the company's website ( ). But compared to AC&F for example, they're still young'uns. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Husky Stack car is also a relative newcomer to the rails. It was a response to the increasing proportion of trailer and container hauling by North American railroads. The stand-alone car is one of the offerings available in the line. Straight from Gunderson's spec sheet we have the following dimensions: Length over coupler pulling faces, 71 feet 7 1/4 inches; truck centers, 57 feet 5 1/2 inches; well size (that's the "hole" that the containers fit into), 48 feet by 102 3/8 inches; height with two empty containers, 20 feet 2 inches. These are pretty big cars, even singly. But the most amazing statistic-- I'd say almost unbelievable-- is their curve negotiability: just 180 feet uncoupled. That equates to less than a ten inch radius curve in Z Scale. OK, so there's no equivalent of the "0-5-0 Switcher" in the real world, so maybe the "coupled to like car" stat is more appropriate; that's 281 feet which equates to about a 15 1/3 inch radius in 1:220 scale. Still pretty tight. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Among the articles available with more detail is one by David Casdorph and Ed McCaslin in Model Railroading's October 1995 issue. That piece is including in Model Railroading's "Intermodal Modeler's Guide Volume 1" as well. I don't have the mag or the book so I can't speak to the contents but David Casdorph is a well known authority on Intermodal so I expect it's a well written article. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for October 1996 shows the Trailer Train series DTTX 56775 to 56873 with AAR Classification "FC" and description "Flat". Well, OK, I suppose a little more detail would have been better. The AAR Car Type Code is better: "S312" translates to Stack Car, 48 foot well, single well (or "FC" again), and the load type, which can consist of two 20 foot or one 40, 45 or 48 foot container in the well and one 40, 45 or 48 foot container stacked above. Well, I guess "Flat" is enough of a description, then. The inside length is, as you'd probably guess, 48 feet, the outside length 71 feet 8 inches (notice the round-up from the Gunderson spec) and the capacity is 164,000 pounds. There were 98 cars in the group in October 1996 and from there I jumped right to the January 2002 Register where the same 98 are in place. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

13701, Marklin Coupler, $18.55, 13701-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $20.35.
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Doors, Pennsylvania.

Tuscan (boxcar red) paint with mostly white lettering including shadow keystone on left and large roadname and reporting marks on right.
Reporting Marks: PRR 32155.
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's to mid-1970's.
Previous Release: Road Number 32156, April 1988.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The shadow keystone of the "P" Company debuted in 1954 but the use of the "PRR" reporting marks between the large roadname and the road number didn't start until November 1957 according to the RPI website. However, the N Scale version of this car (released in July 1974 as catalog 34472/34080) has a "new" date of 1960. I'll assume that the Z Scale version says the same thing, and it's a pretty good bet because the 32000 series doesn't show in the January 1959 ORER. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So it's off to the January 1964 Register where we find the Pennsy's X55a class in road numbers 32001 to 32700 for 698 cars. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 52 feet, extreme height 15 feet 2 inches, door opening 15 feet (a slight "door thing" versus the model) and capacity 4860 cubic feet or 90,000 pounds. That seems a little light so let's check the notations: first, they had 19 Belt Rail Evans DF Loaders and were used for automobile parts; second, they had nailable steel floors. Nothing unusual there. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So let's try Robert Schoenberg's excellent Pennsy site which has lots of equipment listings. An equipment drawing for the X55a does indeed indicate a nominal capacity of just 45 tons. Rob also notes that there's a photo of PRR 32099 from the series in the "SK2a" scheme-- which, to save time, is the one MTL used-- on Page 52 of the PRR Color Guide Volume 2. And there it is, with a caption confirming that the cars are from 1960 and were built at the Samuel Rea Shops. The photo dates to 1976 so at least one made it that far. And according to Rob's Pennsy Page, some of them made it into Penn Central as well; PC 270278 was PRR 32023 and it's pictured in the MSCG for the PC. But 361 cars still painted for the Pennsy made it into the Conrail listing in the April 1976 ORER, and 83 lasted until April 1981, supporting MTL's statement that these cars had PRR reporting marks into the 1980's. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.