UMTRR August, 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.
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:

020 00 704, $18.90
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Chicago and Eastern Illinois "Southwest".

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 "Chicago St. Louis Southwest".
Reporting Marks: C&EI 4.
Approximate Time Period: mid- to late 1940's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, we run out of trains with this fourth of five cars in the C&EI express boxcar series. So instead of reviewing the schedules of the name trains from the first three cars, we turn to the November 1946 Official Guide and take a look at the maps and other content in the Chicago and Eastern Illinois listing, with an emphasis on the geographic direction depicted on the car, Southwest. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Coming out of Chicago, the line toward St. Louis split from the line to Evansville, Indiana (which we'll save for the last car) at Woodland Junction, south of Watseka and 81 timetable miles south of Chicago. The next major point was Villa Grove, 145 miles out of Chicago, where a line diverged east to Danville and the Evansville line. (This was the original mainline.) At Findlay, Illinois, 185 miles from Chicago, the line to Thebes and Chafee left the main-- we'll come back to that. Between Villa Grove and Findlay the line was double tracked, then single tracked to Pana, 205 miles out of Chicago. The last 80 miles into St. Louis were double tracked again. St. Louis, 290 miles from Chicago, was reached via the Merchants Bridge of the TRRA - the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. Two "name trains" that didn't make it onto the side of the C&EI's express boxcars traveled this route in 1946: the "Silent Knight" and "The Zipper." How could they have omitted "The Zipper"? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Now, let's go back to Findlay. From there a line headed south, passing through Salem, Mount Vernon, Benton and Marion, all stations where Pullman tickets could be purchased, on the way to Thebes, 378 miles from Chicago and still in Illinois. One passenger train each way per day, the Meadowlark went to Thebes, and another pair as far as Cypress, but it was freight service only over the Mississippi River to Chafee, Missouri for an important connection with the Missouri Pacific. An 18 mile branch reached Joppa on the Ohio River and there was even one passenger round trip per day to Cypress. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In short, although it was called the Chicago and Eastern Illinois, more of the line's trackage was west of Chicago. The Missouri Pacific's Chafee interchange and the Cotton Belt's junction at Thebes made that southern line more critical than it would first appear on the 1946 map. In fact, many years later, the MP would take over the "Southwest" portion of the C&EI and put its buzzsaw on the Chicago Line's equipment. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

032 00 400, $18.65
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Baltimore and Ohio.

Dark blue ("C&O blue") sides and ends, aluminum roof, yellow ("C&O yellow") door. Yellow lettering including small
capitol dome herald, large "Cushion Underframe" legend and reporting marks on left, and large "B&O" on right.
Reporting Marks: B&O 478555.
Approximate Time Period: 1963 or 1964 (based on MTL car copy) to late 1980's. New Release, but previously run in Road Number 478550 for the N Scale Collector as part of its "Eastern Roads Pack #1" in 2004 (NSC Reference Number 04-11).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Why would a B&O boxcar be painted in C&O colors? The answer isn't all that difficult-- the C&O and B&O, along with the Western Maryland, went into the Chessie System, but what you might not know is how long before Chessie this got started. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The book "Merging Lines: American Railroads 1900-1970" by Richard Saunders is a scholarly look at the North American railroad scene from the turn of the 20th Century to the collapse of the Penn Central. One chapter of the book is devoted to the Chessie and the Norfolk and Western, and included therein is how the Chesapeake and Ohio came to control the Baltimore and Ohio. That's control, not merge, as the C&O, which was still a very profitable coal hauling powerhouse, did not want to assume the B&O's high debt load. They did want 80% of the stock, which enabled consolidated balance sheets and the ability to offset C&O profits with B&O losses. Framed by a background of nearly fifty years of attempted and largely failed consolidations in the East, the presidents of the C&O and B&O agreed in principle to the scheme on March 29, 1960, and the B&O officially accepted on May 17. Not so fast, said the New York Central, which thought it was going to be party to a three-way merger but was frozen out. The NYC set off a proxy fight for the B&O and inflated the Beano's stock price significantly in the process. Meanwhile the B&O, realizing that control and not merger could in fact mean being looted, got cold feet. In the end-- and I'm not doing justice to the story as Saunders tells it-- the C&O did prevail, and did end up with its control of the Baltimore and Ohio. The railroad would not be actually be merged out of existence until April 30, 1987, but its run as an independent line really ended or about February 2, 1961. And that's a couple of years before the building of the freight car modeled by MTL this month. So there you have the use of C&O colors on a B&O boxcar. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In another sort of takeover, MTL picks up the prep work initially done for an N Scale Collector special run and transfers it to a regular release, with, as they promise, a different road number. (And I hope that they do the other four cars in this attractive quintet as well.) This car, the 478555, and the NSC version, numbered 478550, both come from the series that's listed as "Box, Steel" but not otherwise described in the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1964. The road numbers are shown as 478500 to 478649, indicating 150 cars "coming soon." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the April 1976 ORER, the series is cut back a little, to 478500 to 478641, in several subseries based on the equipment carried and the capacity. The main group of 126 cars is described as "Box, Steel, Cushioning Devices, Partial Transco 6-Belt SL-2 Loaders, No Doorway Bars, 25K" and had these vital statistics: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 60 feet 5 inches (which means that extended draft gear trucks could be switched in here), extreme height 15 feet, door opening 10 feet and capacity 4910 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. The subseries may have had Evans instead of Transco loaders, doorway bars, or tote bins, but from the outside wouldn't look any different. That ten foot plug door opening is technically a "door thing" but I don't get as upset about those with respect to plug doors. I don't quite get the reference to "interrupted series" that MTL makes, but I suspect that the varying equipment is part of the answer. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By October 1986 there were just 21 cars in the main series plus a total of 99 more cars in 16 more subseries, for a total of 120, still listed under the B&O. Five years later under the CSXT, all the cars were gone; but that could have been a transfer and restenciling versus a retirement. It was not just a simple change of reporting marks since the 478000s on CSXT were gondolas. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The prototype picture of B&O 478550 that's in the January/February 2004 issue of "The N Scale Collector" magazine doesn't show the extended draft gear couplers that were almost certainly used; in fact, you basically can't see the couplers at all. And it also doesn't show a B&O Capitol Dome herald. Thanks to Joe Levitzky, we know that picture (and most of the MTL car copy) comes from Page 85 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the B&O. Joe adds that "Page 86 of the MSCG has a photo of B&O road number 479562, from a subsequent class of boxcars (M-80/B-66 vs. M-78/B-54). The caption includes the statement: 'The lettering scheme is similar with one welcome exception - the Capitol Dome has reappeared.' Based on that comment, it sounds as if none of the M-78/B-54's would have had the capitol dome logo... Several years ago, Athearn ran the 478550 [in HO] as part of a special edition 2-pack. The Athearn model matches the prototype car in the MSCG photo in that it lacks the capitol dome logo... It would be interesting to know what photo either MTL or the NSC used as a reference." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

045 00 280, $19.95
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, CP Rail.

Action red with white and black lettering including reporting marks on left and "CP Rail" near center.
Reporting Marks: CP 301227.
Approximate Time Period: 1976 (service date given by MTL) to early 2000's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Although a similar car to this one was released in Z Scale just this past April, the road number on this N Scale car is not the same and therefore I can't just borrow from myself. Rats. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But I can borrow from Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars, though, to note that the series CP 301200 to 301299 is a renumbering of 100 cars originally built by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1952. These 52 foot 6 inch cars lasted until January 2001 according to Cranstone. We'll start with the April 1976 ORER, close enough to the November service date given by MTL. That listing shows a larger series from 301200 to 301799, with 502 cars plus six more with special tiedowns for auto frames. As mentioned, the cars have a 52 foot 6 inch "inside" length, a 55 foot 8 inch "outside" length, height of 3 feet 8 inches, and capacity of 166,000 pounds. There is a notation with load limits by length to indicate the concentration allowed on the cars. They are listed as "Flat, Steel, Wood Floors" so if you'd like to customize the action red that MTL painted them, go right ahead. (This is another difference from the Z Scale car, which did have the floor painted in a wood-like brown color.) There were just 38 total cars in this group in the January 2000 ORER, so we don't quite make it to the present as Cranstone indicated. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Canadian Freight Car Gallery gets us close on the paint schemes with 2004 photos of a rather beat up CP 301178 and CP 303318 from the adjacent series of 52 foot 6 inch flats, both attached to cranes and no doubt in Maintenance of Way service. And the Fallen Flags site has two shots of CP Rail 303374 in MOW service. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But we can get to the exact car in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the CP and also see the source of the idea for the three log loads. There are indeed three neat piles of small logs loaded on the prototype CP 301227 as lensed in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1979. To be more prototypical, you'll not only need to add the steel stakes, which are taller than those provided by MTL, but you'll also need binder chains connecting opposite stakes. The "peeler" log loads provided by MTL aren't bad, but could use some more varied coloring to look even more convincing. Should these loads be made available as separate items, I could see picking some up for the small paper mill I'm planning for my layout. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

101 00 030, $24.95
40 Foot "Hy-Cube" Boxcar, Single Door, Rio Grande (Denver and Rio Grande Western).

Boxcar red sides and roof, black ends. Mostly white lettering including "DF" and large reporting marks on left, and speed lettering herald with slogan "The Action Road" on right.
Reporting Marks: D&RGW 67429.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (build date given by MTL) to mid-1990s.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The MTL car copy for this new release comes directly out of the Morning Sun Color Guide to Pullman-Standard Freight Equipment, Page 35. The 67429 is pictured in a three quarter view that reveals the black ends. There were only four cars in the series, built at Bessemer, Alabama in November 1967. These four cars had the DF belt rails but no load dividers; Pullman also built seven cars numbered 67420 to 67426 for the Rio Grande which had load dividers and P-S' own Hydroframe-40 cushioning system. Those seven didn't have the "DF" device above the reporting marks but otherwise were the same, an easy follow on release for MTL or an easy do it yourself job. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I bring all of this up because the April 1970 ORER doesn't distinguish between the two groups; it rolls them together as one series from 67420 to 67430, which, amazingly includes only the inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, door opening of 10 feet, and capacity of 154,000 pounds. Surely it wouldn't take more than two years to update the ORER! There is a note mentioning that the cars are "Hi-cube equipped with loader complement, cushion underframe and roller bearings and used in Whirlpool Corp. service." All ten of them; the MSCG to Pullman-Standard contradicts this by stating that the first seven (without the DF) were assigned to the Erie Lackawanna at Marion, Ohio, not the Whirlpool plant on the New York Central in Evansville. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Moving to the April 1976 ORER, we find at least that the dimensional data has been filled in, so here it is. The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 12 feet 9 inches, outside length 45 feet 9 inches, extreme height 16 feet 9 inches, door opening 10 feet and capacity still 154,000 pounds; but no cubic footage which is an issue for shippers since they differed between the 67420 to 67426 and the 67427 to 67430. Or perhaps, if they were still in captive service, it didn't matter. Well, maybe by April 1981 it did, as the two groups are finally split up with the differing cubic capacities (4730 and 4900); and the original group of four between 67427 and 67430 is down to three. The series is gone by the October 1996 Register. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

049 00 100, $20.40
40 Foot Ice Refrigerator Car, Wood Double Sheathed, Vertical Brake Staff, Meyer Kornblum Refrigerator Car Company.

Yellow sides, freight car red roof, ends and sills. Black lettering including reporting marks on left and company name on right. White, black and red trademark "Western Dressed Beef Kansas City - New York" on right. Black door details.
Reporting Marks: MKPX 117.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1920's to early 1940's.
Previous Release (as catalog 49100): Road Number 119, December 1982, as part of 49082 "Meat Packers Six Pack".
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Here's the fourth of what I hope will be all six reprints from the Meat Packers Six-Pack (officially called the "Refrigerator Express Line 6-Pack" according to the MTL database). Of course, as much as I want these cars, I dread trying to research them. Let's see how much luck I have this time. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Several sources on the 'net have the reporting marks MKPX listed as existing from April 1938 to January 1943. And sure enough, there is a listing on page 956 of the ORER for January 1940 (Westerfield CD-ROM, courtesy Kenneth Bernstein). I can give you the entire listing, start quote:

The refrigerator (MCB designation RS) cars of this company are marked "Meyer Kornblum Refrigerator Car Company" and "M.K.P.X." and numbered 200 to 249 inclusive, inside dimensions: length 33 feet 2 inches, width 8 feet 4 7/8 inches, height 6 feet 9 inches, capacity 1884 cubic feet 70,000 pounds; (ice bunker capacity 10,500 pounds chunk ice, 278 cubic feet measure of capacity).

Total, 50 cars.

Note- These cars are equipped with half stage icing grates. When in position the capacity of bunkers is as follows: chunk ice 5600 pounds, crushed ice 6020 pounds.

Handle all cars on record rights.

Report movements and mileage, send bills for repairs to cars and make remittances to Meyer Kornblum Refrigerator Car Company, owner (shipper), 300 Central Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas.

End quote. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So there are two issues which arise from this listing: First, the numbering, with the prototype coming in the 200s and the two MTL cars in the 100's; second, the size of the car, which appears to be nominally the standard 36 feet for meat reefers on the prototype and 40 foot on the MTL cars. This second one is understandable given that the 36 foot body style hadn't yet been created by MTL. But let's not cede that point yet. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The numbering is more curious: Atlas O has done two Meyer Kornblum reefers (with paint scheme nearly identical to the MTL cars) on their 36 footer and those are also numbered in the 100's, plus they've got a service date of April 1934-- and a place of East Rochester, New York. In fact, the original MTL release of this car also has "ER 4-34" printed upon it along with a rebuild of 1925. That turns out to be an important clue, as the July 1935 ORER (also Westerfield CD-ROM) has an entry for Meyer Kornblum and MKPX under Merchants Despatch, the refrigerator lessor owned by and for the New York Central. That listing shows refrigerator cars numbered 200 to 229 with MKPX reporting marks and an outside length of 41 feet 5 inches. Aha! That's as far back as we go; there's no Meyer Kornblum in the April 1928 Register. We'll call the whole thing a partial match, noting that the artwork for both the MTL and the Atlas O cars had to come from somewhere. That source is not Clover House, Champ or Art Griffin according to the collaterals in the UMTRR Library. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So now, what about the company? Well, I can tell you that both cities in the logo are accurate. We already have Kansas City from the 1940 ORER listing. And according to a report on the Gansevoort Market Historic District, a company called Meyer Kornblum and Son occupied part of the building at 84-88 Gansevoort Street in Lower Manhattan from 1929 to 1933. This was the "meat packing district" of the city served by the New York Central's West Side Freight Line. As for 300 Central Avenue in K.C., it's right along the Kansas River just before it flows into the Missouri, and there's a rail line adjacent, but most of the territory is at the junction of I-70 and I-670. At one time Kansas City's meat packing business was the second largest in the country, with Armour and Company being a key name. A disasterous flood in 1951 marked the beginning of the end of the packing plants in that city, with Armour going away for good in 1965 and Meyer Kornblum apparently long gone before that. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 080, $24.95
3 Bay Centerflow Covered Hopper, Trough Hatches, Montana Rail Link.

Dark blue with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "flying W with lion" herald on right. Roadname in red and white left of center.
Reporting Marks: MRL 51022.
Approximate Time Period: 1996 (lion W) to present.
Previous Release (as catalog 94080): Road Number 51033, August 1997.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

As of the October 1996 ORER which roughly coincides with the introduction of the stylized lion to the "Flying W" herald, the Montana Rail Link series 51001 to 51100 consisted of all 100 possible cars. There were 80 in the main series with a capacity of 223,000 pounds and 20 more in a subseries with capacity of 224,000 pounds. The other dimensions were all "outside": length 58 feet 1 inch, extreme width 10 feet 8 inches, height 15 feet 6 inches. The cubic foot capacity was 5150, so these cars aren't the ACF CF4650 that is the 94er body style. The MRL series 50001 to 50100 is of 4650 cubic foot capacity; these ex-BN cars might have been a better numbering choice, except that the ORER indicates that they had one continuous trough hatch. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As of the January 2004 ORER, my proxy for "present," 99 cars in the 51001 to 51100 group were still on the rails. The rrpicturearchives.net site includes a July 2005 photo of MRL 51055-- that's an even better proxy for "to present"! It looks like MTL did a nice job capturing all of the various small lettering that's on the prototype. For you weathering fans, photos on the Fallen Flags site of some cars in the 50000 series represent a real challenge. It's easy to state that these are ex-Burlington Northern cars as the green of the BN is coming right through the MRL paint! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

105 00 530, $13.65
50 Foot 15 Panel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Fixed Ends, Frisco (St. Louis-San Francisco).

Freight car red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "FRISCO" right of center.
Reporting Marks: SL-SF 51523.
Approximate Time Period: 1973 (rebuild date given by MTL) through mid 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog 105530): Road Number 51512, November 1999.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

There's a real family resemblance between this car and the first Frisco gondola produced by MTL, catalog 46230. That body style has drop ends, though. However, the 46230 releases come from the same prototype series and were numbered 51243 and 51245, so this 105er (and the previous one) appear to be a correction of sorts. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1976 ORER shows the SLSF series of "Gondola, Steel, Fixed Ends, Axle Spacing 5 foot 8 inches, Truck Centers 44 foot 1 inch" numbered 51001 to 51895, of 198 cars. This series is not in the April 1970 Register, validating MTL's car copy that these were rebuilt in 1973. I believe the source series was the 61000 to 61899 group which have the same general dimensions and "end doors" and were built for the Frisco in three groups starting in 1949. The length dimensions, inside of 52 foot 6 inches and outside over the couplers of 57 foot 7 inches line up well with the 105500 series model. The ORER accumulation shows the 51000 series lasting into the Burlington Northern's takeover of the SLSF through at least 1986, although only 41 cars of the series remained at that time. The listing wasn't in the July 1989 book. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

With my review of the first release in Novemeber 1999 I noted the "Saint Louis and San Francisco Home Pages" which were looked after by the Frisco Railroad Museum of Springfield, Missouri. Springfield was the crossing point of the SLSF's St. Louis to Oklahoma City and Kansas City to Birmingham main lines and was the spiritual center of the road. My business trip there in 2000 showed that a lot of that spiritual center had been taken out by the BN and then the BNSF. And that's not all, unfortunately; according to a web posting, as of 2003 the museum was gone too; the small collection housed there was purchased by a private citizen which took it out of public display. The website is now the home of the Frisco Modelers Information Group with some resource listings. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags site doesn't have photos of the specific series MTL modeled but does have the paint scheme on other gons including 65171 (covered and looking very new in 1968) and 69015 (not looking so good in 1998). One of the cars from my supposed source series, 61645, is shown in 2004 in Maintenance of Way service; if I'm right about the origin of the Frisco's 51000 group, the photo illustrates that not all cars were converted back in 1973. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:

021 00 392, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Tennessee State Car.

Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware; blue and black primary lettering including reporting marks, state name and outline map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state flower (iris) and state bird (mockingbird) on right.
Reporting Marks: TN 1796.
Twenty-eighth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

With the fifty states all visited by this wanderer and sometime Micro-Trains release reviewer, I've since turned my attention to cities around the United States that I still want to visit. And Number One on that hit parade is Nashville. That's right, Music City USA, the home of both Country and Western, the locale of the Grand Ole Opry. I'm quite sure my daughter Thalia would want to come with me; she already almost knows all the words to three Lee Ann Womack songs! Well, Maybe It Was Memphis, to borrow the Pam Tillis song, as the place I set foot in the Volunteer State, and yes, I've been to Graceland (a lot smaller of a house than I thought it would be). But in fact the first stop in Tennessee was way over in the eastern part of the state, you know, the part that gets stuck in its own little map in the Rand McNally Atlas. It was early 1991 and it looked very much like I was going to be moving west after Grad School, so my then fiance Rosemary and I took a trip south from Rochester to pick up both Tennessee and South Carolina for my list. Johnson City was the primary destination that trip before heading over the mountains in what was, and still very much is, Clinchfield Railroad country, regardless of what the names on the locomotives say these days. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Eastern part of Tennessee that I first visited was once the home of the Cherokee, while the Memphis area that was the site of three business trips was once inhabited by the Chickasaws. Desoto first claimed the land for the Spanish in the 1540's but LaSalle established a fort on the Mississippi circa 1682 as part of the Mississippi Territory for France. A series of "indian treaties" followed through the 1700's and Daniel Boone blazed his trails through the area starting in the 1760's including the Wilderness Road. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Interestingly, North Carolina held title to territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and at first ceded the area now called Tennessee to the Federal Government, then changed its mind. In the meantime, some of the settlers who were already there wanted a State of Frankland, later Franklin in honor of Benjamin Franklin. John Sevier was the first governor in 1784 before he was arrested by North Carolina! He returned to head the Tennessee government upon the granting of statehood in 1796. Another early governor of the state was Sam Houston, who later went on to fame and fortune in Texas. In 1838 one of the darker events in United States history-- the "Trail of Tears" forced eviction of the Cherokee-- took place across the length of the state. James K. Polk became state governor the next year, and U.S. President in 1844. And Andrew Johnson took the same path later. But that was after Tennessee became the last state to withdraw from the Union to the Confederacy, a choice made by popular vote. The celebrated "Scopes Monkey Trial" took place in Dayton in 1925, a collision of the state's "anti-evolution statute" with Darwin's theory of evolution and a showdown between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow. The Tennessee Valley Authority changed the state forever with the hydroelectric dams it built starting in 1933. And music was changed forever in 1953 when what became known as the Sun Records studio in Memphis recorded a young man name Elvis Presley; in March 1957 he bought Graceland for himself, his parents and his paternal grandmother. Elvis was from Mississippi but he will always be connected with Memphis. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A list of famous native-born Tennesseans include a landslide of musicians and singers, as you might expect, and not all country either: how about Aretha Franklin, Issac Hayes, Tina Turner, and Dinah Shore? Of course there is Dolly Parton, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins and Lester Flatt (of Flatt and Scruggs). The Ballad of Davy Crockett salutes that frontiersman. Actors Cybil Shepherd, Sondra Locke, and Morgan Freeman called the Volunteer State home. And I just had to look further into Jack Garnet Carter who was tagged "minature golf"; it turns out that he invented it and was born in Sweetwater in 1883. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

032 00 403, $18.35
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Smokey Bear Forest Fire Prevention Series #3.

Metallic charcoal gray with aluminum trucks. White lettering including reporting marks on right. Black and white slogan banner "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!" on right. Four color process "poster" with Smokey Bear mascot at gravesite and legend, "This Shameful Waste Weakens America!"
Reporting Marks: SBX 1953B.
Third in a series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"This shameful waste WEAKENS AMERICA" declares Smokey Bear as he points toward a raging forest fire in the circa 1953 poster depicted on this month's entry in the SE Series. The presence, just behind Smokey in the poster, of a bear couple praying in the wake of the blaze, again brings home the idea that humans are not the only the victims of forest fires. A forest fire weakens America? He certainly looks pretty ticked off, unlike in last month's "Why?" poster from 1959 where he looks more sad than angry. Has Smokey been watching the conservative news channels or something? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Uh, no, not really. This poster is actually a "follow up" of sorts to a 1950 poster in which Smokey stands in front of a burned out forest and says, in all caps, "You can stop this shameful waste!" And recall that in 1953, World War II was over, but the Cold War was well underway. The United States was on high alert against the spread of anything that would weaken the nation, including forest fires... accidental or otherwise. It's not really a joke that some Americans believed that there were Commies everywhere. (Including one American named Joseph McCarthy.) And the poster is also a throwback to a pre-Smokey Bear poster from 1943 which was captioned "Our Carelessness Their Secret Weapon" and featured caricatures of Hirohito, Hitler and Mussolini. SmokeyBear.com calls the 1940's posters "among the starkest" and indeed the '53 version is actually a little lighter than those made before Smokey became the spokesbear for the Forest Service. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Speaking of the website Smokeybear.com, it has been quite a while since I mentioned that there is a fair amount of material for the young ones on that site. Whether forest fires or wildfires, the time to teach fire safety to kids is early-- now, admit it, haven't you at least mentioned "stop, drop and roll" to them?-- and the "Smokey's Kids" section of the SB site is worth a look. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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

Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

502 00 240, Magne-Matic Coupler, $18.15, 502 00 241, Marklin Coupler, $16.35.
40 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, New Haven.

Oxide red with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and large "N over H" (McGuiness) herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NH 45097.
Approximate Time Period: 1968 (refurbish and repaint date given by MTL) to late 1970's.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was just about to end its life when this car was painted in the line's Maybrook shops in 1968. A forced merger into the Penn Central was not far away, and the red of this car suggested the torrent of red ink that had been plauging the road for a number of years. At its peak, the NH covered Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts like a blanket, stretching from Cape Cod to New York City. The NH also reached from Danbury, Connecticut up to Poughkeepsie, New York, thence over the Hudson River and down to Maybrook and Campbell Hall. Connections there provided much needed interchange traffic from the south and west. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

On the passenger side, the NH served as the northern end of the "Northeast Corridor", taking long haul trains from both Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station and bringing them to New Haven, Providence and Boston. There was also a great deal of commuter service northeast from New York and south and west out of Boston. The extensive costs and infrastructure required to move rush hour traffic contributed to the New Haven's undoing, particularly as the industrial base of Southern New England shrank in the second half of the 20th Century. The NH went to the Penn Central, which promptly collapsed, partially because it had to pick up the NH; and while Conrail initially took over, it systematically pulled out of the region. Today, Amtrak owns the Boston to New York line; Metro-North and the MBTA handle the commuter traffic and a number of small railroads have carved up the remaining freight business. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This car is part of the series 45000 to 45099. These were the cars originally painted in the "State of Maine" scheme when delivered from Pacific Car and Foundry in 1953 and were the last new 40 foot boxcars the NH got as MTL reports. They were listed in the April 1970 ORER as insulated box cars with ventilators, with these statistics: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 8 feet 6 inches (owing to the insulation), outside length 45 feet 3 inches, extreme height 13 feet 9 inches (lower than typical) and door opening 6 feet wide. There were 22 cars of 80,000 pounds capacity and 68 more with 88,000 pounds capacity, or 90 total out of the original one hundred. There were 67 cars in the October 1972 ORER. I can validate MTL's statement that these made it to Conrail: 28 cars in NH reporting marks as of January, 1978. But they are gone by 1981. There's a photo of NH 45097 as it appeared in Maybrook in 1970 in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the New Haven. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

538 00 010, Magne-Matic Coupler, $16.95, 538 00 011, Marklin Coupler, $15.15.
40 Foot Skeleton Log Car with Uprights.

Black metal, no paint, no lettering.
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

This is sort of a non-surprise for us here at UMTRR HQ, although, honestly, I'd forgotten all about it. When the Great Catalog Number Change was taking place at the beginning of the year, this New Body Style was actually briefly posted on the translation table on the MTL website. When I asked about this, their response was, "Er, oops." I'm not one who strays from being sworn to secrecy, which was easy because I not only expunged the release from my own UMTRR tables, but also from my brain! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But the Z Scalers at the NMRA did get a look at this car, I'm told, and liked what they saw. One apparent concession to the nature of the scale is the use of truck mounted couplers on this 1:220 version versus body mounts on the 1:160 edition; the same is true, by the way, on the forthcoming Z Scale GP-35. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although the website copy describes the load as three logs, I count at least four, and most likely there are five, in the picture of the car. This would have to be, of course, a new log load for this car. I believe that the Peacock brakewheel may be new for Z Scale as well, unless it's the same one used on the Nn3 Scale cars. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.

Z SCALE SPECIAL EDITIONS:

507 00 330, Magne-Matic Coupler, $23.70, 507 00 331, Marklin Coupler, $21.90.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Smokey Bear Forest Fire Prevention Series #3.

Metallic charcoal gray with aluminum trucks. White lettering including reporting marks on right. Black and white slogan banner "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!" on right. Four color process "poster" with Smokey Bear mascot at gravesite and legend, "This Shameful Waste Weakens America!"
Reporting Marks: SBX 1953B.
Third in a series.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Please see the commentary on the N Scale release above.