UMTRR September, 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 North Pole Express are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.

20686, $14.40
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), New Haven (NYNH&H).

Black with white lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left and large "McGiness" N over H herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NH 21991.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's to mid-1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

With a tip of the hat to frequent contributor Joe Levitzky who helped with the research, we begin this month on the horns of a dilemma: Namely, what do you do when a reference photograph doesn't seem to tell the truth?

The prototype for this car, right down to the restencil "BO 10-69", can be found on Page 10 of the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to New Haven Passenger and Freight Equipment. As MTL noted, the car is one of many that was part of the 1955 and 1956 program under which the NH sold, had rebuilt and leased back boxcars from the series of circa-1945 boxcars. Early on in this program, cars were delivered in the same boxcar red with script herald that they carried before the rebuild. Other cars were painted black with orange doors, or red, both with large "N over H." And still others were painted red iron oxide, body and doors, with an all white version of the "N over H" which, I'm told, should really be called the "Alpert" scheme, not the "McGinnis" scheme. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ah, and here's the problem. In the MSCG photo of the 21991, the car which was actually painted "red iron oxide" looks black. I mean, really black. There might be some doubt as to the ends, which are in sunlight, but that could have been interpreted as rust over black. In fact, additional "evidence" appears on page 23 of the MSCG, where the left half of sister car NH 23491 is shown next to a black with orange doored NH 36819. And the NH 23491, sitting next to what actually is a black car, also looks black to me. This could be how the color reproduced in the book, how the negative from the circa 1967 photo didn't stay true, or how the eye plays tricks on the brain when viewing objects from farther away. Or "all of the above." © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Without having checked the text on page 6 of the MSCG, which states unequivically that the cars numbered from 21000 to 21285 were "red iron oxide," you'd probably have concluded that the cars were all black. I know I would have, and I would have proceeded full steam ahead if I hadn't been told otherwise. Although you'd probably expect a heat blast in the direction of Talent coming from here at UMTRR HQ, it's hard to point the flamethrower this time, well, without significantly singeing myself in the process. I thought the same thing! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So... what's the modeler or runner to do? Well, I've had some success in "changing" the color shade of a boxcar red car by covering it with a light wash of another color. I'll have to post an example to the website one of these days. I haven't yet tried this on a black car, but it might work and convey the impression that this is a really dirty red oxide car, not a black one. The photos of the NH cars that actually were black in their later years show them looking like a black automobile when you don't wash it for a while, that is, really dirty blackish brown. I suppose you could go the other way and paint the doors orange, then be evasive about the prototype number series if you're asked. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's take a quick look at the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1964 for some dimensions: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 10 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3696 cubic feet or 120,000 pounds. There were 72 cars in the main series and one exception that was a foot different in "height from rail to extreme width." I'll figure that out later, maybe. Note "W" which applied to all 73 cars stated that the cars were equipped with steel floor plates from bolster to bolster. In the Penn Central ORER listing of April 1970, 58 cars remained in the series, but in April 1976 under Conrail all these are gone. Joe and I wondered whether the "BO" in the "BO 11-69" stencil stood for "Bad Order" and not the place of reweight and service, meaning that the car was already out of service when photographed. Which makes the "strictly speaking" ATP, what, "zero" I guess? Not knowing every possible Penn Central shop code, I'll await Incremental Information on that point if any of you might have that data. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

111010, $32.65
89 Foot Tri Level Enclosed Autorack, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Brown (mineral red) with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Modern era "circle cross" herald on left of rack and "Quality" herald (circle cross inside "Q") on right.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 700276.
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1990's to present (probably).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

There's been a lot of advance publicity-- and advance discussion-- on two aspects of this new body style. First, the price; while projected as high as $50 on various discussion groups, settles in at $32.65. Which, while not cheap, is not as out of line with other current releases across the scale as one might initially believe. (Yes, I'd rather still have $1.50 cars too.) Second, the method of manufacture, namely, the enclosure of a translucent plastic core with the detail to build up the "body" of the racking. "But how do I add a load?" asked, or perhaps whined, some 'netted N Scalers. "Will it look wrong?" asked others. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, I got a good up close look at the production model in full Santa Fe "Quality" regalia, and in my humble opinion, the look and feel of the car will be absolutely up to par with the current level of quality that we see in the scale, and significantly better than what's available now. As almost a bonus, this car has weight. Although I did not bring my NMRA standards or a scale, I don't think there should be any tracking problems with this car. How about the load, or lack of same? See below... © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

First, though, let's grab an entry from the ORER for October 1991. The AAR Classification was "FA," the description was "Flat, Tri-Level, Axle Spacing 5 feet 1 inch, Truck Centers 64 feet," and the notation was "F+" meaning that the car exceeded Plate F dimensions. You'd better believe it! The inside length was 89 feet 4 inches, outside length 93 feet 10 inches, and extreme height-- well, it is pretty extreme at 19 feet. The capacity, though, was just 72,000 pounds. There were 98 cars in the group 700200 to 700299, out of a possible 100. But what caught my eye was another entry just below it for the series 700400 to 700429, which were described identically except for the note "Wrecked Car Loading Only"! OK, maybe that can't be modeled with the clear core, but wouldn't it be interesting to try?!? © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While the reporting marks were changed to Gothic font back in 1991 per the RPI website, the ruling detail for the ATP is the "Q". Micro-Scale has the Santa Fe's introduction of the "Q" Quality Scheme as being introduced circa 1990, at least on boxcars, aligning with Micro-Trains' car copy. It seems to me that there would still be some of these cars around in the "Q" scheme although the restenciling to BNSF probably has their numbers dwindling. It's at least theoretically possible, as there were still 43 cars in Santa Fe paint in the series 700200 to 700399 as of the January 2002 ORER. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" website can get us oh-so-close with a prototype photo of ATSF 700278, just two numbers away, lensed in Fort Worth in April 1994. The almost side-on shot reveals, well, not much behind those aluminum panels, lending credibility to the technique used by MTL. It wasn't immediately obvious to me whether this or any of the other cars captured on this page were carrying automobiles, although I could eventually discern that. The casual observer of the model car in motion on, say, an N-Trak layout, wouldn't be able to tell either. I should also note that among the other pictured cars in the 700000 series, also photographed in Fort Worth in 1994, some have the "Q" and some don't, and at least one has a mismatched aluminum panel, in white instead of the natural silver color. Just some ideas for a little variety, or in the case of the non-"Q" version, a quickie future release. (Uh, hint.) I also note that the "Q" scheme on racks also appeared atop Trailer Train/TTX flats, for example, ETTX 850358 pictured circa 1998 on the QStation website (look under "Autoracks" in the "Intermodal" section of ATSF Resources), and this would make another neat car, although given the additional complexity of the masking, a more expensive one. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

108110, $27.00
3 Bay 100 Ton Steel Hopper, Burlington Northern.

Black with white right hand panel. Mostly white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left, and large BN herald on right.
Reporting Marks: BN 528932.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's (1979 build date given by MTL) to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"Rotary Coupler End" is what it says in black on the white panel of this BN hopper. I don't think it's fair to assume that they would be operable on the model! The April 1981 ORER lists two adjacent series of cars described as "Hopper, Rotary Coupler at One End Only," numbered from 527750 to 528894 and 528900 to 529899. These have identical dimensions: inside length 47 feet 8 inches, inside width 9 feet 9 inches (no inside height listed, bummer), outside length 53 feet 1 inch, extreme height 13 feet, and capacity 4000 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. There were a total of 2231 cars in these two groups (1331 plus 900). © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Given the proliferation of freight car styles across the scales, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a good source for a little prototype information would be the Bowser site! They've done a pile of paint schemes on the 100 ton hopper in HO, which they report as based on the N&W H-11 class. They've done several different BN schemes in a bunch of different numbers in this pair of number series and others, but not this number and not this particular paint scheme. They note that Bethlehem Steel and ACF provided kits for railroads to build. Dimensions probably varied over production runs. For example, the 1964 iteration of the design was 12 feet 3 inches high versus the 13 feet of the BN group. One thing I did notice from a photo of a car from the first of the two groups is that the trucks are mounted farther outboard than on the MTL model-- or on Bowser's for that matter. The wheels almost stick out beyond the ends of the car. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Turning back to the ORERs, we find 2173 cars listed (1255 + 988) in October 1991, 1779 in October 1996 (912 + 867) and 1634 in the BNSF listing for January 2002 (832 + 802), so it's probably a safe bet that there are cars in this group still rolling the rails. By the way, there was no direct crossover to BNSF reporting marks and the same road numbers for this group in that guide. However, the BN went to progressively blander decorating, climaxing, or perhaps anti-climaxing, with the basic black or brown with reporting marks and data only in white, yawn, so it's not as clear whether this paint scheme has survived "to present". We'll give it the benefit of the doubt this time. The Fallen Flags site has a well worn example of a car from the group, BN 527779 in this paint scheme, taken in November 2003. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

113520, $15.95
30 Foot Skeleton Log Car.

Cast in black, no paint, no lettering. Includes load of three logs (Load #5).
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

With not much to say about a car with no lettering and a log load that isn't described as anything in particular, I returned to my UMTRR Library's reference volume "Rails in the North Woods" (North Country Books, 1978) for some tidbits. Four authors joined to chronicle the history of nine Adirondack shortlines, but the book covers the companies that built them and their operations both inside and outside the Northern New York region. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I was able to pick up a couple of interesting points from my closer look at this volume. First, there's the concept of late 1800's and early 1900's lumber companies as journeying from virgin forest to virgin forest, a premise that clashes audibly with the idea of environmental conservation, or for that matter, even smart business. (Ironically, a number of stripped down land areas were later sold off to various governmental entities to become part of forest-based parks like the Adirondack State Park.) Second, the use of rivers was clearly preferred, with less infrastructure required, if one was harvesting softwoods like spruce and pine. Hardwoods don't float well, so to get them out efficiently, you need something other than rivers. So it was that logging railroads and their equipment invaded the North Country. Third, and this may be peculiar to the Adirondacks, a couple of lines did a nice side business hauling passengers up to lodges and other summer vacation escapes. The Cranberry Lake Railroad which operated from 1903 to 1914 was an example. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


20370, $13.50
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), West India Fruit and Steamship Company.

Boxcar red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and steamship device with wording "Florida - Havana Railroad Car Ferries" on right.
Reporting Marks: WIF 314.
Approximate Time Period: 1950's.
Previous Release: Road Number 301, April 1983.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Accumulators and runners rejoice, the reprint of the 20370 is here! You need no longer face the prospect of plunking down three, four, five, even six hundred dollars to own a copy of one of the four versions of the Micro-Trains WIF 20000 series boxcars! And just to get dirt on those rib-backed wheels? No sir-ree, that's over, finished, bye-bye! © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Alright. Perhaps I should rein it in a little bit. But certainly one of the most expensive catalog number holes to fill in the 20000 series just got a lot cheaper. OK, if you don't mind a different road number. I can't say that I do. What was the deal with the original run anyway? Well, during the early 1980's, Kadee was finding that those Micro-Trains cars just weren't all that popular. Some of the cars in the original 1970's runs hadn't yet sold out. Yes, I know this may be hard to believe, in these times when a car on the factory shelves for a year is considered to be a laggard, but it's true. We may never know how close we came to not having any more Micro-Trains after the early 1980's, but it was probably closer than we realize. Meanwhile, as Joe Levitzky reminded me, this was also right around the time that Kadee shifted away from distributor sales and went to dealer direct sales only, a change that caught some N Scalers, well, "short." This was well before the days of instant on-line ordering, remember. News was snail mailed out. The best you could do was fax in an order, and then only if your retailer had a "telecopier" with which to receive it! With no distributor to fall back upon, once the cars were gone, they were gone. In summary, cars from that production period are considerably more scarce than cars from, say, the early 1970's, and the aftermarket prices certainly reflect that. One of the crown jewels has been the first run of the 20370. That first run will probably remain a key item, of course, but those of us that just want something to pull behind, oh, let's say those forthcoming Seaboard FTs, will be just fine with this rerun. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1955 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the WIF with 210 total boxcars, 150 of which fit into the series 200 to 349. The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 8 feet (uh, oh, "door thing"), capacity 3898 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. This seems like the dimensions of a PS-1, but somewhere I dimly recall that the West India never had any of these. A quick look in the "Classic Freight Cars Volume 1" book shows the very WIF 314 with a stencil for American Car and Foundry, so that answers that question; they weren't built by Pullman-Standard so they can't be PS-1s. (A detail wisely left off of the model.) Another item of interest in the ORER entry is the reference to staff members of the Florida East Coast for reporting movements, per diem, repairs and reports of cars destroyed or damaged. The caption in "Classic Frieght Cars" states that the WIF was a subsidiary of the FEC, but that doesn't really explain how the Atlantic Coast Line wound up with the WIF reporting marks after the cutoff steamship service to Cuba put an end to the WIF. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

20760, $18.00
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Southern Pacific "Overnights".

Silver sides and roof, black ends. Black and red lettering including reporting marks on left and "Southern Pacific Overnights" wording on right. Orange and black "Southern Pacific Lines" herald on left.
Reporting Marks: SP 163326.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's to early 1960's.
Previous Releases: Road Number 163058, June 1987; Road Number 163324, January 1995.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The prestigous and somewhat mysterious author Clifford Notes (who is that guy anyway?) wrote two one-pagers for "N Scale Railroading" magazine that appear in the March/April 2001 and March/April 2002 editions, that combined, provide a nice thumbnail history of the Espee's Overnight cars. For a program that officially lasted only from 1946 to 1959, there were plenty of variations on the theme. The principal versions are, of course, the black and the silver paint schemes, but there are several takes on each of those. One of the black versions of the car, with the full roadname Southern Pacific, remains the single catalog number (20090) with the most releases, at 22 total; but this was preceded by a style with just SP reporting marks, which so far has zero releases. (Hint!) The year 1956 saw the changeover from the black car in athe series 97620 to 98069, to the silver, and 300 boxcars from the initial run of 500 B-50-24 class cars were redone in this paint and placed in a different number series, namely, 163051 to 163350. However, the program was dropped in 1959 by the railroad and some cars started to lose the "Overnights" under the large roadname on the right. Some but not all, so MTL's car copy is correct in stating that the cars could be seen into the 1960's. For a little variety, paint out the "Overnights". © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The citation in the ORER for January 1953 (NMRA Reprint) under the first number series 97620 to 98069 (with black paint) will do for gathering the vital statistics. These were: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3715 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds, although I doubt that given their duties they came close to carrying that heavy a weight. In fact, the description of the car is "Box, All Steel, Lightweight." I probably don't need to point out that these cars weren't PS-1s, but in case you don't know, well, no, they aren't. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

After 1961 you'll need to renumber, though, according to Mr. Notes, who, well, notes that the group of 300 from 163051 to 163350 went to the series 121834 to 122310, apparently with just a touch up job. I have the same edition of the ORER, April 1970, that shows 31 cars remaining in the group, but of course we're not told how they were painted or how that paint held up. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

24100, $16.75
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door) Without Roofwalk, Ontario Northland.

Green with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and large "O inside N" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: ONT 92002.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1968 rebuild date) through 1980's.
Previous Release: Road Number 92077 (originally as catalog number 24377, in both Youngstown and Superior Door variations), March 1974.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The 90000 to 90999 series of forty foot boxcars built by National Steel Car in 1947 and 1948 for the Ontario Northland served well from the fifties to the nineties. (Examples of this how this group were decorated were provided by MTL back in October 1996 in the two pack 20376-2, one in green and one in boxcar red.) Some of the original 90000s were rebuilt into several different series, namely, some 7000s, some 7300s, some 7400s, some 7500s, some 91000s and finally, the ones that we're most interested in, from 92000 to 92089. This last group was done in January 1968 and January 1971 according to Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars site. These cars were in pine green with bold lettering and a huge modern logo adopted circa 1969, a big departure from the plainness of the 1940's ONT cars. What was that O inside N-- or maybe N inside O--trying to be anyway? My guess is it was some sort of indication of the multi-faceted transportation and communication that the Ontario Northland, an enterprise of the Province, provides in what is Really the Great White North. That "ON" herald was later replaced by the three yellow multi-chevron stripes. And another guess is that these rebuilt cars were among the first to get the-- in the words of the RPI Website-- "herald of a square with a circle cut by a diagonal (thus giving an 'O' and an 'N')." © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970 shows the first group of rebuilds numbered 92000 to 92039, with stats mostly identical to the remaining 90000 cars that were raided for this group: inside length 40 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 44 feet 2 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches, capacity 3712 feet or 90,000 pounds. But the door-- oh, the door! It went to nine feet! OK, yes, that is a "door thing" to be sure, but how would a ten foot inside height boxcar look with a nine foot wide door? Kinda strange? © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, I guess that's up to you, but the three-quarter view of sister car ONT 92010 in the softcover "Classic Freight Cars Volume 7" does appear a bit odd to me. The caption of the March 1969 photo indicates that the car was used for newsprint service. There's a nice big sized shot of ONT 92002, the exact car reprinted, on the Fallen Flags site (you need to look for the "Miscellaneous 'O' Roads" when you get there). That car and the 92010 have a football shaped-- oops, make that American Football shaped stencil that reads "Newsprint Only - A" to the left of the door, a detail that would have been nice, but would have added much to the price. MTL does correctly capture the white dots along the bottom of the car and the "return to" stencil that's also left of the door. The final digit seemingly hanging off the end of the stencil box is correct also-- if you don't know what I mean, you will when you see the car. All of these niceties are not on the original run from '74, which I guess qualifies this update as a "not a reprint." © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Given the advance of freight car construction techniques which would start manifesting themselves in the 1970's, and particularly with respect to newsprint service, you'd probably figure that these rebuilds wouldn't last too much beyond then. In fact, they were all gone by the end of the 1980s, as were all the original series 90000s. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

25140, $17.10
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Corinth and Counce.

Blue with yellow and black lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left and herald on right.
Reporting Marks: CCR 6407.
Approximate Time Period: 1979 (build date) to present.
Previous Release: Road Number 6402, April 1983.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The map programs on the 'net tell me that by road it's 20.7 miles in a northeasterly direction between Corinth, Mississippi and Counce, Tennessee. The Official Guide of the Railways tells me that the railroad connecting those points is a little shorter at 16 miles. Like several other shortlines in the Southeast that didn't lie about where they went, the principal reason for this line's existence was paper mills. But the ORER from October 1991 gives a bonus: The 36.5 miles of trackage includes "10 miles of TVA Track to Yellow Creek Port Tombigbee Waterway." That's the Tennessee Valley Authority, that put up all those dams and power plants. The CCR served facilities of Kimberly Clark and Tenneco at one time, and given that the line is still operated by the Kansas City Southern, it's probably still providing lucrative traffic. Counce is actually a dot on the KCS' system map! A series of articles in the January/February and the March/April 1984 editions of the magazine Prototype Modeler should tell you much more; there's a specific piece on the boxcars themselves. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As long as I'm in the ORER, let's check the series from which this car and its 1983 predecessor were drawn: The group 6400 to 6499 carried the AAR Classification "XM" and the description "Box, Steel, Nailable Steel Floor, Cushion Underframe." The stats: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 1 inch, outside length 57 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, capacity 5347 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In its profile of the X-Post boxcars in the year 2000, Rail Model Journal discussed two sets that the CCR leased for its use. First came the series 6000 to 6399, which were built in 1977 by Pullman Standard; these were examples of the early PS 5344 model with a diagonal panel roof. Then came our series of interest, 6400 to 6499 built by FMC in April and May 1979. These are of the FMC 5347 type, which is a bit taller than the FMC 5077 that is the exact prototype for the MTL 25000 series. But even the usually nitpicky RMJ admits that a five scale inch difference in height will be tough to discern. A number of photos of CCR boxcars are available on the Fallen Flags site, with photo dates ranging from brand spanking new in 1979 shots of road numbers 6446 and 6455 to a shot of aging but still blue CCR 6725 from a later series lensed in 1992. The CCR reporting marks were still in use by KCS at least through 2002 and it appears that they were minimally stenciled on plain brown boxcars by that point. But don't completely count out the blue and yellow: the series 6400 to 6499 remains with 97 cars in the January 2002 ORER, the series most intact of all of the Corinth's 1980's roster. In fact, Joe Shaw spotted sister car CCR 6422 in June and there's a picture posted on his site. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There isn't much out there on the 'net with respect to the line, but there is an "Employer Status Determination" from the Railroad Retirement Board that confirms a bit of MTL's car copy. "Information regarding CCRC was provided by Mr. Jaime Taronji, Jr. and Mr. J.H. Burton, former Vice Presidents of CCRC. CCRC ceased train service operations on December 31, 1991. CCRC sold all assets and inventories to TennRail Corporation, B.A. No. 5542, on the same date. In Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Finance Docket No. 31966, decided on December 9, 1991, the ICC authorized TennRail to acquire and operate CCRC's rail line. Mr. Burton stated that CCRC is not dissolved as a corporation. All employees were terminated December 31, 1991, except for employees who were needed to perform administrative and accounting functions required to finalize the closing of CCRC. CCRC's remaining employee, Mr. J.H. Burton, last performed compensated service on December 31, 1992." Continuing that thread, TennRail went to MidSouth, and MidSouth, a spinoff of former Illinois Central Gulf lines, went to KCS. There's still a "TennRail" listing in the online phone directory for Corinth. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


21382, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, New Jersey 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 (violet) and state bird (Eastern Goldfinch) on right.
Reporting Marks: NJ 1787.
Eighteenth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Let's get dis straight, I don' wanna hear ANY jokes about Joisey, especially dat "What Exit?" one, 'cause I'm from dere, and I wouldn't want ya ta get whacked, ya know? © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, maybe if it's a good joke about my native state, I'll listen, but I've heard a lot of them so it really does need to be a good one. Yes, I know the state bird is the mosquito, the state color is Bondo, and the state hairstyle is "big", and it's actually not a joke but a fact that the song "Born to Run" by Jersey native Bruce Springsteen was once dubbed "The Unofficial Youth Anthem of New Jersey" by some branch of the state government. Obviously not quite considering the lyrics of the song. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I briefly wondered how much of this commentary I could spit out without doing any research at all, but then I decided, well, I'd better at least do a little bit of fact checking, since I'm really not that good with dates. I can certainly tell you that the Lenni Lenape tribe was among those Native Americans who first populated the area before Europeans set foot. That's a fact that has not left me since the third grade. Today they are known as the Delaware and the Munsee. Before that, dinosaurs did rule the roost in Jersey, and one of the first nearly complete fossils was found in Haddonfield. Its name, "Hadrosaur", comes from that location. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Colonists of several different nationalities, including Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, showed up before the English took ownership of the entire area in the mid 1600's. One of the earliest settlements was Paulus Hook, founded by the Dutch right across the Hudson from Lower Manhattan, and now part of what is now the city of my birth, Jersey City. (See "My Town" in the Irwin's Journal Online part of the website for more on this.) © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As small as it was, the colony was divided into East Jersey and West Jersey from 1676 to 1702. Philip de Carteret, governor of East Jersey, was the second namesake for the borough in which I lived for twenty years. (It was first called Roosevelt; I'm actually somewhat amazed that residents reached back that far into the area's history.) You might already know about Washington crossing the Delaware in 1775, one of the pivotal events that took place within the "Crossroads of the Revolution". Well, it is on our State Quarter. But you might not know that the 1776 State Constitution did not explictly deny women the right to vote, and they did, at least until 1807. Both Trenton and Princeton briefly served as the Capital of the United States. New Jersey was the third state to approve the Constitution, in 1787 but it was the first to ratify the Bill of Rights and to sign it. Canals including the Delaware and Raritan and the Morris, preceded the railroads. And railroads? There have been books, and more books written about them, and nearly all of them have had a Micro-Trains release from the mighty Pennsylvania to the tiny Rahway Valley. But the first steam locomotive in America operated on the estate of John Stevens in Hoboken, on a circle of track. Who says roundy-round isn't prototypical? Not far from this site and also in Hoboken was one of the contenders for the home of the first baseball game in history; except to say that "Elysian Fields" is one of my favorite place names, I won't enter that controversy. [Sorry, Dad. He's a native of Hoboken, as is that singer, what was his name, oh, he had a lot of hits... oh, yeah, Frank Sinatra.] © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

How about this fact: fully one-third of New Jersey actually lies below the Mason-Dixon Line. But Cumberland County, south of the line, provided a greater proportion of volunteers to the Union side of the Civil War than any other county. After the war, industry took over, especially along the Northeast Corridor between New York and Philadelphia that is most folks' impression of the Garden State. Refining, metals, textiles, light and heavy manufacturing, breweries, yep, all there. "Trenton Makes The World Takes" still adorns the side of a vehicular bridge over the Delaware. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And speaking of vehicles, if you're in a state that has over eight million people and is only about 140 miles long from High Point to Cape May with 7,417 square miles in land area (that's 1,134 people per square mile, the densest of any state), you'd better know something about roads. And so it was that New Jersey gave the country its first cloverleaf, its first jughandle, the "Jersey Barriers" of concrete, the spectacular and under-appreciated Pulaski Skyway, and the first drive-in movie theatre. It also had an enormous number of traffic circles-- not those wimpy "rotaries" mind you, these were Major Federal Highways intersecting! The New Jersey Turnpike blasted through in 1951; it's the only highway I know that has its own book ("Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike"). And the Garden State Parkway was opened circa 1955, the first expressway to have mileage based exit numbers. Those of you who know the state well can join the debate as to which road is the most dangerous. 4, 17, 22, and 31 are my nominations, in sequential order. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But let me add to those who insist that New Jersey is much more than the "Garbage State" that most people think of. Areas like the Pine Barrens, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Skylands can be very pleasant indeed. Cape May, with its Victorian mansions, is a personal favorite and there are other areas of the "Jersey Shore" that remain relatively unspoiled. And although the show is filmed in Joisey for the most part, not all of the population is part of "The Sopranos" family. And no, we haven't cut down all the trees-- yet. (Sorry, I violated my own rule about "no jokes.") © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


New Release:
14013, Marklin Coupler, $107.05, 14013-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $108.85.
F-7A Diesel Locomotive, Baltimore and Ohio.

Blue with large black stripe and yellow pinstripes. Yellow lettering including roadname and road number on side.
Road Number: 4471 (per the photo in the Short Line).
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's and 1960's. NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The "Bando Blue" paint scheme also has some black in it, and it's a transition out of the handsome blue, black and gray that the Baltimore and Ohio's F-units wore when first delivered. Basically, you switch out the gray for black, and, it appears, the insignia plate on the nose for just a painted on "capital dome" herald. Less expensive to paint, to be sure, but it's still a lot more classic than the later scheme of just blue with a little yellow striping and a large gothic font "B & O"-- essentially the late road unit scheme applied to the "covered wagons." Let's not forget the "sunburst" version that came along before the "big B&O," though. I do like the selection of a less common variation on the B&O theme, and kudos to MTL for trying it out. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

You might remember from the review of MTL's FT's in N Scale that the B&O shook up its numbering scheme in 1956. According to the all-time B&O diesel roster found on, the units numbered 4420 to 4479 started out as F3's numbered 113 to 171. We are OK there, assuming that the MTL copy noting the conversion of these units from F3's to F7's, a conversion which could have been mostly inside the carbody. A photo reached from that all time roster shows sister unit 4466 in the "Bando Blue" format, coupled to another F-unit which has the older blue and gray. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I suspect that even if I were to come across an exact start date for the "Bando Blue"-- which I haven't although I suspect it was around the same time as the renumbering (little help?), the photo cited above proves that at least it and its predecessor co-existed. The dominance of black and white photos on the 'net with respect to documenting this series makes it a bit difficult to call anyway-- dirty gray is going to look a lot like black. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

New Release:
14150, Marklin Coupler, $15.50, 14150-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $17.30.
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Superior Door), Canadian Pacific.

Reporting Marks: CP 4901.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1967 repaint date) to mid-1970s.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

It was March 2001 when this car was released in N Scale (as catalog 20546) so at least a partial reprint of the commentary from then seems reasonable:

The July 1963 edition of the Official Guide of the Railways shows Trains 1 and 11 westbound, and Trains 2 and 12 eastbound, as the CP's famous "Canadian." This train, apparently formerly known as "The Dominion," took passengers from Montreal to Vancouver, a distance of 2,881 miles, in 70 hours 45 minutes, and from Toronto to Vancouver in 67 hours 20 minutes. This train was all steel streamliners, and featured "Scenic Dome" service, both lounge-sleepers and cofeee shop coaches with reserved seats. For your added convenience, seats were reservable in the dining car as well. What a great way to spend a weekend-- leave Friday at 1:45PM on Friday from Montreal, or 5:10PM from Toronto, and arrive in Vancouver on Monday at 9:30AM, in time for a late breakfast. Along the way, experience the rugged Ontario scenery, the endless plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and of course the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park. As a further part of "The World's Most Complete Transportation System," the Canadian Pacific could take you via steamer from Vancouver to Victoria and Seattle once you left the train. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Don't confuse this version of the "Canadian" with the train of the 1950's that ran down to Chicago from Montreal and Ottawa. The version of "The Canadian" was inaugurated on April 25, 1955. These cars may have been in service on that train from that point, but we know from the MTL car copy that these were repainted in 1967 into the scheme modeled. That gives you the start of the ATP. I'm assuming that the other end of the ATP couldn't be any later than the VIA Rail Canada takeover of the passenger operations of CP and rival Canadian National, which would give you roughly 1977 or 1978 depending on how fast the CP either pulled cars like this out of service or VIA repainted them. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Since these are express boxcars, the ORER accumulations won't help. Back in 2001, John Morton located identically painted road number 4904 for us on page 19 of "Canadian Railcar Pictorial Volume 1". Since then, I've added the MSCG for the Canadian Pacific to my accumulation, and on Page 24-- in the passenger equipment section, no less!-- is a photo of sister car 4907 lensed in 1975. The cars were 10 feet high with a 6 foot door, dreadnaught ends and a flat panel roof. The MSCG notes that the cars came from the series 29019 to 29115 and were equipped with steam and signal lines, which clearly show in the photo. An example in the "standard passenger scheme" is also included and perhaps we'll see that someday from MTL as well. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Reprint: 14906, Marklin Coupler, $16.35, 14906-2, Micro-Trains Coupler, $18.15.
40 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks and large circle cross herald on left, and medium roadname on right.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 21937.
Approximate Time Period: roughly the decade of the 1970's (based on paint scheme), but see text.
Previous Release: Road Number 149978, October 1986 with Marklin Coupler and June 1987 with Magne-Matic Coupler.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

I have to admit that I really do enjoy finding a specific Santa Fe boxcar in "the Priest book" (officially, "Santa Fe Freight in Color, the Series Volume One - Boxcars" by Stephen Priest and Thomas Chenoweth), although sometimes it takes me a little while to match the MTL car with the photo. © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The match, or at least the intended match, is to the Bx-85 series, a group of about 950 cars that was rebuilt in 1964 and 1965 from the Santa Fe's Bx-12 series of 1930's vintage single sheathed woodside boxcars. Some of the Bx-85 cars got six foot wide single sliding doors, and the others got eight foot wide plug doors with two embedded small doors at the top for grain loading. Yes, that's right, perhaps these should be "grainloading" boxcars similar to those done by Athearn in HO, and never done in N Scale, never mind Z Scale. And that's the reason for the "see text" disclaimer, although I don't know exactly how one could pull off a reasonable modification, or justify tooling to do a more exact depiction. But perhaps not, as there is a loophole we'll get to. Anyway, several example Bx-85s in the Priest book also show a lack of roofwalk, particularly the one that is painted up most closely to the Santa Fe scheme done by MTL. I suppose that would be a second reason for the "see text" disclaimer. Anyway... © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970 predates the introduction of the paint scheme by about two years, but it's close enough for our purposes. The series 21447 to 21946 is described as "Box, Steel Sheathed" (another clue that these were rebuilds) with AAR Classification "XM" with the following stats: inside length 40 feet 5 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 44 feet 9 inches, and capacity 3969 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. There were 493 of the possible 500 cars in this group and a notation confirms the "grain access doors". In April 1976 there were 336 cars in the group and in April 1981, just 12, but with one extra that does not list the grain access doors. Its road number just happened to be 21937-- the one MTL modeled! How about that! Maybe we are OK with the plug door as shown on the Z Scale model after all, for that one road number. Now, about that roofwalk... © 2004 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.