UMTRR May, 2005 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting Prohibited. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Legal Stuff

NOTE: This archive edition covers single regular new releases, reprints and some Special Edition cars. Reviews of and commentary on Micro-Trains locomotives (including the FTs) and Special Edition sets such as the Army and Navy Sets are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.

020 00 703, $18.90
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Chicago and Eastern Illinois "Dixie Flagler".

Orange sides, black roof and ends, blue lettering including reporting marks on left. Blue and white C&EI oval herald on left with blue arrow across door to slogan "Route of the Dixie Flagler".
Reporting Marks: C&EI 3.
Approximate Time Period: mid- to late 1940's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The "Dixie Flagler" was the third of three name trains that the C&EI featured on these five special boxcars, and we'll take one more look at the November 1946 edition of the Official Guide of the Railways for some information on that train that's contemporaneous with the Approximate Time Period of these cars. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Flagler was an every third day train that ran from Chicago to several destinations in Florida. Leaving Chicago at 8 AM on Day 1, it traveled down the C&EI to Evansville, Indiana arriving there at 1:13 PM. The Louisville and Nashville picked up the train there and brought it to Nashville for arrival at 4:23 PM. Then the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis took it as far as Atlanta, arriving there just after Midnight on Day 2. The Atlantic Coast Line handled it into Florida, arriving at Jacksonville at 9AM, Tampa at 3PM, Sarasota at 5:35 PM, St. Petersburg at 6:15 PM, and Fort Myers at 7:50 PM, using different sections of the train if I am reading the timetable correctly. The Florida East Coast had a section that arrived in Miami at 3:20 PM. Coming back from Florida, the train had a scheduled departure from Jacksonville at 12:10 AM and arrived in Chicago at 10:55PM the same day. That had to be a long day coming back, and the Flaglers didn't have sleeping cars! Only five "reclining seat coaches" were listed as accomodations, along with a dining car and an observation/ buffet lounge. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While the three trains that the C&EI honored were certainly worthy of placement on these boxcars, I wonder why some of the line's other trains didn't get the same treatment. What about the "Silent Knight" which covered the Thebes to Chicago route? What was wrong with the Meadowlark (Chicago to Cypress, Illinois) or the Whipporwill (Chicago to Evansville); or my personal favorite, the "Egyptian Zipper" which plied the rails between Villa Grove and Danville, the connector cutoff between the St. Louis and the Evansville lines? Well, maybe not. We'll cover more of the routes of the C&EI when Micro-Trains unveils the last two cars in this quintet, since we've got to leave something to write about! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

020 00 716, $18.55
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, PS-1 Type, Single Door (Superior or "Wide Rib" Door), Toledo, Peoria & Western.

Green and yellow sides, green ends and roof. Yellow and green lettering including large "T.P.& W." on left, reporting marks, small roadname and "The Progressive Way" slogan on right.
Reporting Marks: TP&W 7069.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's (1966 service date given by MTL) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Once in a while a car is released by Micro-Trains and you just have to say, "wow." From toward the end of what I call the Era of Color, this green and yellow car is striking and once again demonstrates that in the MTL painting department, there is still no real match to pull off something like this. And so we've got a car that was last done in any form more than thirty years ago. It's clearly my pick to click this month and I don't expect it to stay around too long. You've been cautioned. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This car doesn't exist in the January 1964 issue of the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER), so it's probably OK to surmise that when it was serviced in 1966, it was re-numbered. So we go to the next volume in the UMTRR Research Repository, which would be the April 1970 book. The series 7000 to 7099 is simply "Box, All Steel" and AAR Classification "XM" with inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 41 feet 9 inches, height from rail 14 feet 5 inches (for some reason, the extreme height isn't given), door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3898 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There were 97 cars in the group as of that listing, but they didn't last long: the whole group is gone by the April 1976 ORER. Pity. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The RR Picture Archives site has photos of cars in different series that are of the same general idea. A fifty foot car, TP&W 1298, is shown as it appeared in a Jim Sands photo circa 1966 in Marhsalltown, Iowa in the same scheme as the MTL model. Then there are views of TP&W 5036 and TP&W 5067, which include a logo that probably would no longer be considered politically correct: a charicature of an Indian smoking a peace pipe. One of the photos is a closeup of that logo; see if you agree with me on the lack of political correctness. I believe that it is OK that the logo isn't included, since I don't think all TP&W cars had them. [By the way, that paint scheme was the basis for the Atlas "First Generation" car TP&W 5032 from more than thirty years ago, which does the herald but in only two colors versus the full color prototype. The A1G car is also a double door, not a single door. But there were two versions: one with the roadname under the reporting marks and one without! See my A1G site for images: .] George Elwood's Fallen Flags site has TP&W 5050 from the same series circa 1969. And he's also got an "in-motion" shot of TP&W 7049 which is from the series MTL used and does not have the logo. The model's paint scheme looks dead on to that photo, down to what I think is the insignia of the United States Railway Equipment Company. I'll speculate without too much trepidation that these cars were rebuilds that USRE did for the TP&W. And it could be that these were leased cars which were returned to USRE when the term of the lease was up. That would explain the quick exit from the roster. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

052 00 100, $18.35
52 Foot Steel Express Refrigerator Car, San Luis Central.

Yellow sides, black ends and roof. Black lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right.
Reporting Marks: SLC 406.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1973 purchase date) to late 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

So, what do you do if you are the Railway Express Agency, you've shut down and you are about to liquidate? There are still hundreds of reasonably well running frieght cars on the roster, and it would be a shame to just junk them, plus your creditors probably wouldn't approve of the idea. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Along comes the San Luis Central, a 15 mile shortline that rates just about one column inch of space on Page 390 of The Official Railway Guide (Freight Service Edition) of November-December 1975. Running from the Union Depot (!) in Monte Vista, Colorado, where it connected with the Rio Grande, to the town of Center, the line served a small portion of south central Colorado, not far from more famous Rocky Mountain destinations. Monte Vista is about 17 miles west of Alamosa, if you're looking on a road map. And if you're looking for the SLC, it's still there, and as MTL notes in its car copy, it now connects with the San Luis and Rio Grande, successor to the Rio Grande, and from there the SLRG goes to the Union Pacific at Walsenburg. The Union Pacific's own site offers a thumbnail history-- well, they have to take care of those feeder lines, start quote: "The company was incorporated February 19, 1913. The first portion of the line opened in September 1913 to haul sugar beets to an on-line processing mill. Beet growing did not prove popular with local farmers, and the facility soon closed. Other agricultural crops including potatoes, barley, wheat, peas and lettuce are grown in the fertile San Luis Valley. Passenger service ended in 1937. Pea Vine Corp acquired the entire capital stock from the estate of the railroad’s founder in 1969." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

One way to get those agricultural crops to market was in reefers, and the Railway Express had a few surplus ones, as we mentioned. So the SLC eventually bought 400 of them, had them repainted in the traditional reefer colors of yellow and black, and sent them out in common carrier service. They made it to New Jersey, that's for sure, and raised my and my father's eyebrows when they were spotted in freights on the Northeast Corridor. Were those express trucks under those cars? You betcha! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1976 shows the series 200 to 649 with those 400 pieces, described as "Refrigerator, Electric Air Circulating Fans," AAR Class "RS", with inside length 42 feet, inside height 6 feet 10 inches (don't forget the effect of the insulation), outside length 54 feet 3 inches, extreme height 13 feet 4 inches, door opening 6 feet wide by 6 feet 8 inches high, and capacity 2358 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Incredibly, there were still 315 cars listed in the July 1989 issue of the ORER! But they're all gone in the January 1991 Register. You'd raise eyebrows running these on your 1980's era pike, but you'd be prototypical. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 9" by Henry Maywald has the very car SLC 406 as lensed sometime after its service date of February 1973. That "Fruit Growers Express" style lettering shows up nicely in the sunlit shot, as do the BX express trucks-- yep, that's correct too! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags site has two other cars in this group for your perusal: first, a black and white shot of SLC 320 with a June 1972 service date, in Gary, Indiana in July 1975. More eerily, there was SLC 515 in Marshalltown Iowa in 1979 with consolidated stencils, a U-1 wheel stencil, and the "Railway Express Agency" lettering clearly coming through the orange paint. A ghost of past glories, to be sure. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As of the October 2004 ORER, the San Luis Central rostered over 1000 cars, but according to photos, some of those cars now carry the herald of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic. How's that again? Rail World Incorporated is the creator of the MMA, from the Bangor and Aroostook and other lines, and according to my buddies at The Railwire, Ed Burkhardt is both President of the SLC and head of Rail World. So that's why a Colorado shortline has cars that are lettered for a Maine-based regional. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

077 00 140, $21.75
50 Foot "Standard" Steel Boxcar, Single Door, No Roofwalk, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Red with black ends. Mostly white lettering including reporting marks and large "circle cross" herald on left. White and yellow "Shock Control - A Smoother Ride" slogan on right.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 14555.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1970's (1974 service date) to early 1980's.
Although a new regular run release, this car was released as a Special Run; NSC number 02-85, road number 14597, as part of the "Western Road Pack #3" in 2002.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Here is the second instance this year (so far) of the release of an item that was previously available only through an N Scale Collector Special Run. True to its word, MTL has run this car in a different road number. Both numbers are from the Bx-81 series that was built in 1960 and was numbered from 14500 to 14999. The "Priest Book" ("Santa Fe Freight in Color... The Series, Volume 1" by Stephen Priest) shows multiple examples of paint configuration on these cars. The one MTL used was pictured in 1976 with the full height ladders. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Also from the Priest book are the dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 8 feet. Rats, he left off the outside length, let me get the April 1976 ORER: 56 feet 2 inches, which includes the cushion underframe represented by extended draft gear trucks on the model. There is one slightly more than nitpick difference on the prototype versus the model that I can see, and that's riveted sides, including a diagonal row of rivets either side of the door, versus the welded sides on the 77er body style. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A 1980 view of a Bx-81 shows the same paint scheme on road number 14638, but with cut down ladders. A third variation has the "A Smoother Ride" in black and the absence of the yellow "SL" stenciling, and one more has the removal of all but the white lettering with only the circle cross and the "Shock Control" plus a change to Helvetica reporting marks. For the record, this series of cars lasted through the 1980's, as there were about 50 cars listed in the July 1989 ORER in various subseries; but based on the ladder cutdown I am cutting down the ATP. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 230, $23.95
3 Bay ACF Center Flow® Covered Hopper, Trough Hatches, Canadian National.

Gray with mostly black lettering including roadname (one side English "Canadian" and one side French "Canadien") and reporting marks on left and large "wet noodle" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: CN 388531.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1990's (1995 build date) to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The series CN 388000 to 388999 was built in 1995 and 1996 by the Trenton Works. As such the MTL model won't be an exact match; for one thing, Its capacity is 5250 cubic feet which is actually more than the 4650 cubic feet of the ACF car that the 94er body style represents. There is no shortage of example photos, with eleven on Chris vanderHeide's Canadian Freight Car Gallery and eight on Fallen Flags, spanning the time period from 1998 to early 2004 and locations in Ontario and British Columbia as well as "the States". There's also a mix between the "IEN" and "IAN" sides and several different photo angles. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for October 1996 shows a bunch of subseries of cars in the overall group, which differ only by their capacity-- if that. There is no inside length on these cars but the outside length is 58 feet, a bit longer than the ACF version of the car that MTL models, which is at 53 feet 10 inches. The extreme height is 15 feet 6 inches, which is the same as the CF4650. Most of the cars have a capacity of 224,000 pounds and a few are a thousand pounds more-- don't ask me why, I don't know. The total is 896 cars, not 1000, but Cranstone's site has these being built through March 1996 so it's possible that they weren't delivered and listed in time for the October 1996 edition. In the October 2004 Register there are 946 cars altogether in four subseries, cementing that "to present" ATP. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As usual, the need for the bilingual roadname contributes to the price. If you want to see how the real CN cut its costs, a photo of the next series, the 399's, in the Canadian Freight Car Gallery shows a different paint scheme with just reporting marks. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


035 00 030, $20.25
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Missouri-Kansas-Texas ("The Katy").

Yellow and black with black lettering including reporting marks on left and small "The Katy" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: MKT 47475.
Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (1937 build date given by MTL) to early 1960's.
Previous Release (as Catalog 35030): Road Number 47500, June 1989.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Headquartered in St. Louis and Dallas, and serving its namesake states and quite a bit of Oklahoma as well, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas or "Katy" provided a "Natural Route Southwest." Name passenger trains like the "Texas Special" (shared with the Frisco) and the "Blue Bonnet" carried patrons down to Fort Worth, Dallas, Waco, San Antonio and Houston. There were also "second day" frieght manifests from St. Louis to Texas, and they were given names like the "Komet" and the "Klipper"-- yes, not normally spelled with a "K" but then this was the "Katy." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The area that the MKT traversed was of course cattle country, so the 500 stock cars in the 47000 series were part of the line's rolling stock from the 1930's to the 1960's. The ORER for January 1953 shows that series with 492 cars out of the possible 500, with an inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside height of 8 feet 7 inches, outside length of 42 feet 1 inch, extreme height of 13 feet 2 inches, door opening of 6 feet wide by 8 feet 2 inches high, and capacity of 2980 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. The MTL 35er body style is of a unique New York Central prototype so I wouldn't expect it to be all that close to the MKT's cars (in fact, the dimensions just cited are off the model's proportions, particularly the height). On the other hand, the road number is correct for the MKT series; earlier N Scale models like the Atlas "1st Generation" are not even in that ballpark! To wrap up the ORER data, there were 58 cars remaining in January 1964, and the series was gone completely by April 1970, not a surprise given the decline and fall of livestock shipments by rail. A research call brought the opinion from my Katy experts that this car is still not that close to the prototype, however. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So, the only MTL stock car to have not been previously reprinted finally does get reprinted this month. On the other hand, it is by far the most N Scale expensive stock car I've ever seen at an MSRP of $20.25. The black at the bottom and the Uncle Pete Payoff... oops, I refer to the royalty due to the Union Pacific Railroad, successor to the M-K-T... drive up the price, to be sure, but that's still a lot of cattle feed. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

051 00 020, $19.50
34 Foot Wood Double Sheathed Caboose, Straight End Cupola, Seaboard Air Line.
Red with white lettering including roadname, "heart" herald and road number below cupola. Slogan "Hold Tight 'Til Footing's Right" left of center.
Road Number: 5458 (will be "SAL 5458" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: late 1953 to no later than 1967 (based on slogan, see text).
Previous Release (as Catalog 51020): Road Number 5212, October 1989, this as part of the three pack of SAL cabeese, Catalog Number 51022.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

When MTL noted in its car copy that this caboose has been preserved at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer (actually the former site of rival Southern Railway's locomotive shops), I thought this one would be a "gimme." Cue sound of obnoxious "wrong answer!" buzzer... © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It turns out that while the museum does have a nice website, the current version of said website no longer has the specifics on the caboose. All seemed lost until I remembered the Wayback Machine, an access portal to archives of Internet sites. So I was able to pull the page, copyrighted 1995 (which is ancient history in 'net years) and pull a few facts for our use. If they only had a picture... well, you can't have everything. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

According to the information compiled by Jackson McQuigg for the museum, this car was one of eighty built in 1925 at the Seaboard's own shops, and was among 239 cabeese built for the SAL between 1921 and 1926, which became three-quarters of the caboose fleet. The Seaboard went into receivership in 1930 and stayed there until 1946, so the wood sided steel framed cabeese stayed on the line for quite a while as there was no money to replace them. Some remained into the late 1960's which would have put them to the threshold of the Seaboard Coast Line merger. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

McQuigg reported that "Not until December 1953 would Seaboard's cabooses begin to obtain what is considered by many to be their most distinctive feature. Catchy, two-line safety slogans (some rhyming) were applied to the sides of all cabooses operating on the railroad. One of ten slogans was added at the time of repainting; the ten slogans were keyed to the last digit of each caboose's number. Thus all cabooses with numbers ending with the numeral 1 bore the same slogan, cabooses with numbers ending with the numeral 2 bore a different slogan, and so on." These slogans lasted into the SCL merger. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Hmm, do I supply the whole list or do I wait to see if MTL does any more Seaboard caboose reprints? Decisions, decisions... OK, you talked me into it. Please excuse the all caps, that's how they were painted on the real cars.


This sequence applied to wood and steel cars alike as there are photos of SAL steel cabeese on the Fallen Flags site.

So does that mean, sharp eyed readers, that we have a "not a reprint" by nature of the slogan? Actually, no; the first run of the 51020 has road number 5212 and the "Hold Tight" slogan even though it should have the "Look Around" slogan. The other two cars in the 1989 three-pack have slogans misaligned with the car numbers as well. I could argue that the rerun still gets a "not a reprint" given the change in trucks and the addition of the simulated windows, though. At "press time" I still hadn't decided. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Back to the real 5458: Having apparently been retired some time in the mid-1960's, it was sold to a private citizen and then resold in 1970 for $700 to J. Fred Corriher of Landis, North Carolina. Corriher intended to use the caboose as the start for a museum, but instead started restoration, giving it the appearance of a car in use during the years in which it carried the slogan. In 1983 the 5458 went on exhibit at the Spencer Shops. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

116 00 011 and 116 00 012, $18.55 each
Troop Sleeper Cars.

Pullman green with black roof. Yellow lettering including "Pullman" across top, "Troop Sleeper" across bottom, and road number on bottom left and bottom right. Comes with simulated windows, diaphragms and interiors.
Road Numbers: 9356 (the 011), 9027 (the 012).
Approximate Time Period: 1943 through about 1950.
Previous Releases: Road Numbers 9010, 9153 and 9426, May 2003; Road Numbers 9082 and 9340, July 2003.
NOTE: These items (both numbers) have been sold out and discontinued.

After five very successful numbers in 2003, the market for troop sleepers cooled off a bit for MTL when they began issuing railroad-specific iterations of the body style. That's not terribly surprising, since not everyone can use a C&O or a Western Maryland. But the original version will be of more general appeal. Given that the N Scale Collector member car for 2005 is an "Operation Lifesaver" paint scheme on the troop sleeper, it also doesn't surprise me that we are seeing some regular runs here as well. As long as they have the molds and the pullman green paint out, why not. It's also nice to see MTL hold the line on the pricing, which was also $18.55 for the previous five numbers. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I will choose to "reprint" myself from the original coverage of May two years ago, in a condensed version. In summary, the troop cars were built in two groups totaling 2400 cars. The first set was numbered 7000 to 8199 and was constructed from October 1943 to March 1944, and the second set was numbered 8300 to 8499 and 9000 to 9999 and built from October 1945 to May 1946. The 800 kitchen cars were built by American Car and Foundry from October 1943 to March 1944, and numbered K-100 to K-499 and K-600 to K-999. Yes, that means that troop sleepers didn't exist for much of World War II. And that explains why there were so many "miltary surplus" available to be sold to railroads after hostilities ceased. Although thoroughly deployed while in service, they still were hardly "well used" especially compared to the old, tired equipment that the railroads had to hang onto from before the war. There were all sorts of jobs given to the second hand equipment, some of which can possibly be captured by MTL in future releases. For example, the May 1991 issue of Model Railroader has a fine article on postwar Express Box Car conversion. In fact, Kalmbach did not one but three different articles in 2001 and 2002. First, as part of its extensive coverage of "World War II: Railroading's Finest Hour" in the Winter 2001 edition of "Classic Trains," there are eight pages devoted to the cars' history. That's followed up by articles and drawings of the sleeper and kitchen car in the December 2001 and February 2002 issues of Model Railroader. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

End reprint: In the August 2003 issue of Model Railroader, Jim Hediger reviewed the first runs of the cars and gave them the MR equivalent of the "two thumbs up." "These excellent models will make great roster additions for World War II-era layouts," Hediger summarized. Also note that the N Scale Collector members only car (the freebie that you get with your annual membership renewal) is a Troop Kitchen Car in a fantasy (but plausible) "Operation Lifesaver" scheme. I would not at all be surprised, therefore, to see another number of the Kitchen car in the original garb out before too much longer. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 390, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Nebraska State Car.

Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware; blue and black primary lettering including reporting marks, state name and outlne map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state flower (goldenrod) and state bird (western meadowlark) on right.
Reporting Marks: NE 1867.
Twenty-sixth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

It was near the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago, that the earliest documented human occupation occurred in what is now Nebraska. Nomadic in nature at first, the Native Americans began to settle into more permanent locations and shifted from hunting to agriculture, often borrowing from tribes to the east. By 600 to 1000 years ago, there were settlements along streams and housing that incorporated pits for food storage and waste disposal. Siouan-speaking tribes were in the east and tribes like the Apache and Lakota were farther west. The first Europeans may have visited as early as the late 1600's but definitely by the early 1700's. In 1714 a French trader named the area "Nebraskier" and in 1814 there was a settlement at Bellevue. The establishment of the Oregon Trail circa 1830 brought settlers through but not necessarily to the area. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 made the region available for settlement, breaking promises made to the Native Americans. Eight years later, the Homestead Act gave any head of household 160 acres of land if he lived on it for five years. The railroads, beginning with the Union Pacific, were also given huge land grants on either side of trackage that they built. From 1862 to 1869, though, it was the Transcontinental Railroad, which spanned the length of the state, that got most of the attention. Nebraska achieved statehood two years before the Golden Spike, on March 1, 1867. Nebraska was one of the last states to allow women's suffrage, because it was tied up with strong feelings about prohibition of alcohol. Meanwhile, Father Flanagan founded Boys' Town in 1917 as a place where young men would be safe while trying to find work; it remains one of the most well known support organizations anywhere. World War I put the Progressive Movement aside and World War II saw Nebraska build many military aircraft including the Enola Gay which dropped "the bomb" on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The website contains a well-organized body of material and special emphasis on several main events and key state historical figures. One of those is Edwin Perkins, the inventor of Kool-Aid. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Other famous Nebraskans include dancer/actor Fred Astaire, actors Henry Fonda, Robert Taylor, James Coburn, Nick Nolte, Sandy Dennis and David Janssen, investor Warren Buffett, founder of Arbor Day J. Sterling Morton, and U.S. President Gerald Ford. There is a listing of "700 Famous Nebraskans" but anyone who was convicted of a felony was automatically excluded. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first foray into the Cornhusker State was a drive up to Omaha from Kansas City, and although I made it a point to drive out of Omaha on US 34, in order to get at least a few miles in after coming up on Interstate 29 on the other side of the Missouri River, I really didn't get to see much. My second trip was to Alliance, and I did two nights in that small town which hosts a large now-BNSF rail shop. Should I mention Carhenge-- the reproduction of Stonehenge that is done with junked automobiles? It's just northeast of Alliance. Perhaps I should mention that in terms of Big BNSF Coal Drags, out of the Powder River Basin, it would have been really hard to beat that site. It was just one after another on one of the mornings in which I visited. Yes, the second time around was certainly more memorable. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

993 01 010, $169.95
Chehalis Western Log Car Train Set.

Consists of the following:
985 00 203, Life-Like SW-9 diesel switcher locomotive painted by Micro-Trains in yellow with black top of hood, and black and red lettering including herald in center of hood; 114 50 010, 114 50 020 and 114 50 030, three 40 foot spine log cars with uprights and loads, black with no lettering; 051 50 260, 34 foot wood sheathed caboose with straight cupola, painted in yellow with black and red lettering and herald in center.
Road Numbers: Locomotive, 493; log cars, none; caboose, 599.
Approximate Time Period: see text.

According to Rob Jacox's "Western Rails" website, the Chehalis Western existed in two separate incarnations, both owned by the Weyerhauser Timber Company. The first CW was a common carrier that extended nine miles from Chehalis to Ruth in the state of Washington, south of Olympia. This CW consisted of ex-Milwaukee Road trackage purchased in 1936, but Weyerhauser also operated "nameless" trackage up to South Bay where they had a log dump, using trackage rights on the Milwaukee and Northern Pacific to connect to that line. That CW ceased operation in 1975, replaced by the Curtis, Milburn and Eastern on a shorter stretch of railroad. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The abandonment of all Milwaukee operations west of Miles City, Montana resulted in the creation of the second Chehalis Western, as Weyerhauser purchased much of the Milwaukee's line south of Tacoma. The new CW was private, not a common carrier, but sported four new GP-38 diesels for log hauling service! That augmented the roster of two GP7's from the "unnamed" or "Vail" line and a rare Alco C-415 that had been used on the first CW. (The first CW also had two Fairbanks-Morse H-10-44s, lending some credence to the painting of Minitrix's model of that loco in Weyerhauser paint by Con-Cor...!) And you can see where I'm getting with this: the SW-9 in CW paint may be authentic looking enough, but neither incarnation of the real CW ever owned one. Which is why my ATP is "see text." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The second CW was closed in July 1992 with the GP-38s eventually transferred to other Weyerhauser lines. The entire railroad was sold to the City of Tacoma in 1995 along with the rare C-415. Part of the line is now a hiking trail. A former Milwaukee Road depot at Chehalis Junction was moved to the Chehalis-Centralia Steam Train site in Chehalis and was renovated in 2004; the steam train itself operates over former MILW/CW trackage southwest of Chehalis. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And a note on the catalog numbers of the log cars and caboose, and this is straight from behind the red and yellow sign. In order for MTL to keep better track (sorry) of what's in their system, the "set stock" piece freight cars have the middle digits of "50" if they first appear in a set. These do, so the liners will have those catalog numbers. No, you won't have a rare printing error, sorry. This should tie the aftermarket guide and software writers up in knots for a while. As has been their practice, MTL doesn't give individual item prices anymore. Also note that when the 114er log car is issued as a single item, it will have the middle digits "00," not to worry. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


New Release:
816 00 020, $23.60
34 Wood Double Sheathed Caboose, Two Window Cupola, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Light freight car red with white lettering including roadname across top of side and herald below cupola. Simulated window glass included.
Road Number: 0503 (will be "C&TS 0503" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: 1970's to 1980's, but see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I doubt that I could describe this line better than the official website does: "Built more than 120 years ago and little changed since, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the most authentic steam era railroad in North America. Jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico, the 64-mile line connects Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico via 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass, and is an archetypal remnant of the Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad system that once stretched hundreds of miles throughout the Rocky Mountains." The state governments bought the line and equipment to operate it in 1970 for not quite $550,000 dollars-- such a deal! The entire railroad is a National Historic Site, and it's both the longest and highest narrow gauge railroad in North America. The "Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad" website confirms that the 0503 is a "long" caboose and was bought from the Rio Grande in 1970. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But a photo of the 0503 taken at Chama in 2003 shows something else-- the caboose still in Rio Grande paint and lettering? No, that can't be right! Or can it? Yes, it can, according to my narrow gauge helpers: The C&TS is in the process of repainting the car into D&RGW paint. A 1999 roster of surviving D&RGW narrow gauge cabeese from 1999 shows that the 0503 was in C&TS paint at that point, and a 1988 photo of the caboose does in fact show it in C&TS paint as modeled by MTL. Incremental information received by several readers indicated that the C&TS paint has indeed been supplanted by the Rio Grande decoration. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


500 00 530, Magne-Matic Coupler, $18.90, 500 00 531, Marklin Coupler, $17.10.
40 Foot Steel "Standard" Boxcar, Single Superior Door, Atlantic Coast Line.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and 1950's circle herald on right. White horizontal dashes across bottom of sides and doors.
Reporting Marks: ACL 21003.
Approximate Time Period: early 1950's to early 1960's.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

[This commentary is more or less from the release of the N Scale version of this car in January 2003.]

The history of heralds used by the railroads has always been a particular point of interest with me. For example, before the ACL adopted the circle with small "Atlantic" and large "Coast Line", all in sans serif lettering, and Thanking You for Using Coast Line, there was this smaller version of the circle herald with all words getting equal weight. That was preceded by the circle herald with the much more ornate script wording of the railroad name, and the states served by the ACL wrapped around the circle (for the record, clockwise from approximately the eleven o'clock position, these were: North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Virginia). © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There was overlap in the use of these heralds on the ACL system, as seen in the public documents of the line. For instance, the ACL's entry in the May 1954 Official Guide of the Railways (OG) shows the older fancy circle herald, not this simpler one, even though the simpler one was adopted for use on rolling stock in 1951. And there's a fourth logo in most of the OG: a rounded rectangle in black with a large "Coast Line," all in caps, centered in this shape, a smaller "Atlantic" above and "Railroad" below. Although the big "Coast Line" herald was already in place by the time of the February 1963 OG, the fancy herald and the rounded rectangle remained. In the May 1966 Official Guide, one of the last OGs in which the ACL appears prior to its merger with the Seaboard, only the rounded rectangle is present. But here's an interesting tidbit: apparently that fancy round "curlicue herald," as John Nehrich calls it on the RPI rundown of railroad milestones, was never used on any freight cars. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As long as we're citing John Nehrich, he mentions that the little stripes along the bottom of the car were, on the prototype, a shiny reflective paint called "Prismo" that the Coast Line used from about 1951 to about 1958. That, more than the herald or paint scheme, is more likely to define the Approximate Time Period. How to make the model's paint actually reflective is something I'll leave to the more advanced modelers out there. But note that the stripes are on the ends too, adding decorating complexity-- and price. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

With those tangents out of the way, let's check out the volumes we more regularly go to and see about the car itself. The Official Railway Equipment Register for July 1950 (Westerfield CD-ROM) is a little later than the 1942 build date but close to the apparent repaint date for this car. The series 20000 to 21629 is a pretty big one, 1602 cars described "Box, Solid, All Steel" with AAR Class "XM" plus nine exceptions that were converted to Ventilated boxcars, AAR class "VA". (Which would make for an interesting project.) The key dimensions: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height, 9 feet 10 inches, outside length, 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height, 14 feet 6 inches, door opening, 6 feet, capacity, 3676 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The car's a little shorter than the standard PS-1 that is the MTL 20000 body style, but we're definitely not talking as short as the USRA/AAR type either. The January 1959 ORER (also Westerfield CD-ROM) shows this series at 1564 cars, not much of a drop. Although I'd estimate it be toward the end or even outside of the "strictly speaking" ATP, the January 1964 Register shows 1291 cars still roaming the rails. As you may know from previous columns, when the SAL and ACL merged, the car totals for the partners were wiped out of the ORER, so there's not a good way to estimate how many cars were left after 1967. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

505 00 220, Magne-Matic Coupler, $19.65, 505 00 211, Marklin Coupler, $17.85.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door, Boston and Maine.

Blue with black door. White lettering including reporting marks on left. Large black and white McGuiness style "B inside M" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: B&M 77019.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1956 build date) to early 1970's at least.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The prototype group of 1000 boxcars in the 77000 series represented a substantial fraction of the Boston and Maine's entire fleet of rolling stock in the late 1950's and early 1960's. In the January 1964 ORER, for example, it's more than twenty percent of the roster. The group 77000 to 77999 was listed as "Box, Steel" with AAR Classification "XM" and the following statistics: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 51 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 9 feet, and capacity 4840 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There is a bit of a "door thing" on this offering since the MTL model has an 8 foot door, but in Z Scale this starts to approach unnoticable. What's a little more noticable is that MTL seems to have missed the black side sills. This car hasn't yet been done in N Scale and I hope they do the sills when (if?) they do run it in 1:160. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although I cut off the ATP earlier than this, and you'll see why below, there are 903 cars in the group in the April 1976 ORER and 619 in April 1981, but just 43 in October 1986. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A bit of a validation on the correctness of use of the PS-1 boxcar body style is the fact that "brother company" Kadee has done several cars from this prototype series in HO, and they never do anything that isn't an exact match. (I know what you nitpickers are thinking! Don't say it...) © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is a Jim Sands photo of sister car 77405 as it appeared in 1967 on the Fallen Flags site. As you might expect, the blue paint didn't hold up that well and there are fairly large areas of rust coming through around the doors-- probably where the scraping of said doors took off the paint. A later paint scheme is shown as of 1976 on B&M 77340: all blue except black on the side sills and a much smaller B&M herald. The roofwalk is gone and the ladders are cut down as well. That leads me to pull the ATP back to the early 1970's, but do remember that "at least." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

540 00 040, Magne-Matic Coupler, $32.90, 540 00 041, Marklin Coupler, $31.10.
Gunderson Husky Stack Car with Containers, Southern Pacific.

Red with silver details and mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname right of center. White and brown 40 foot containers included.
Reporting Marks: SP 513419 (A).
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.

Circa March 2004 photos of 513419 as it appeared in Tuscon, Arizona are available on the Fallen Flags website. Well, make that 513419 A... B... C... D... and E. So there's a message here: Buy five of this month's release? Well, perhaps not, because you'll also need to figure out how to span the middle cars across trucks, and you'll have to change the lettering on four of the cars. Including that "Exceeds Plate C" warning on the B unit... yeah, no kidding on that! Also note that the five units are not in alphabetical order. Depending on how you look at it, I believe that the sequence is A, E, D, C, and B... or B, C, D, E, A if you're on the other side of the track. That puts units lettered like the model at the ends, units lettered "Double Stack 125 Service" either side of the center, and a relatively blank unit in the middle, although I do recall seeing the old "Sunset" herald on some of these Espee cars. I simply don't pay that much attention to double-stacks; I just don't find them that interesting. I suppose I should become more interested! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

All that aside, the fact is that many Husky-Stacks were purchased as multiple-unit sets, and that does present a problem for MTL. It might not be all that feasible to market three or five-part cars, especially with an MSRP north of $35 for just one car. But the ORER doesn't lie (usually); the October 1996 edition shows 40 (!) in the series 513390 to 513429, next to another 75 (!!) numbered 513430 to 513504. These are all given AAR Classification "FCA" and the description "Flat, Well, COFC-Double Stack, 5 Unit Articulated". The inside length is 48 feet but that's per well. The outside length is 304 feet 6 inches and the extreme height-- unloaded, of course, is 7 feet 11 inches. The total capacity is 585,000 pounds. That's a lot of containers. The October 2004 Register shows most of these still in service with SP reporting marks under the Union Pacific listing, although some of the descriptions have been knocked back to just "Flat" with an inside length changed to 60 feet. With the change from capacity to Gross Rail Weight, we get a sense of how heavy these things are: subtract the GRL of 801,000 pounds from the capacity above and we find that the 5 unit set comes in at about 216,000 pounds, give or take a brake wheel. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.

Z SCALE SPECIAL EDITIONS: No releases this month.