UMTRR September, 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 most single car releases only. Reviews of and commentary on Micro-Trains locomotives (including the FTs), most Special Editions such as the U.S. Army Sets and the "Twelve Days of Christmas" cars are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.

059 00 140, $21.25
40 Foot Steel Ice Refrigerator Car, Needham Packing Company.

Blue sides, black ends and roof. Horizontal black stripe across center of car. Black, red and white lettering including company name and reporting marks on left. "N plus cow" logo with "Flavorland Meats" legend on right.
Reporting Marks: URTX 60507.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's and early 1970's.
New release, but originally done with an unprototypical legend for the N Scale Collector (NSC ID 98-57) with road number 60408 as part of the NSC's Meat Packing Set #1 in 1998 (NSC ID 98-61).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

MTL reaches back into its pile of cars originally done for the N Scale Collector and provides us with a sharp looking car that, unlike the recent re-runs of the wood sided reefers, will fit into a layout set much later in the 20th Century. Colorful cars took one more turn on the rails during the 1960's-- what I call the Decade of Color, and the Needham Packing Company took advantage with some pretty elaborately decorated meat reefers toward the end of that decade. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 5" shows this very car in a 1969 photo along with another photo of its counterpart with yellow sides. According to the caption, the cars in series URTX 60400 to 60524 were leased to the Sioux City Dressed Beef Division, which was part of Needham Packing. (This checks out using the legal references cited above.) That led me to the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for April 1970 and the listing for the Union Refrigerator Transit Lines division of General American. There is a scant 72 cars in the larger series URTX 60200 to 60524, suggesting that Needham didn't have all that many cars. These cars were of AAR Classification RSM, which is described as a bunker refrigerator with beef rails, and described as "Refrigerator, All Steel." The inside length was 33 feet 2 inches, inside width 8 feet 4 inches and inside height 6 feet 10 inches-- significantly less room than implied by the overall size of the car but accounting for the beef rails and the ice bunkers. The outside length was 43 feet 3 inches and extreme height 13 feet 8 inches. Capacity was 70,000 pounds or 1913 cubic feet. The cars had half stage icing grates and could handle as much as 9500 pounds of crushed ice. I went back to the January 1964 ORER and found 93 cars in the same URTX series, but I can't be sure that they were decorated this way. The April 1976 ORER shows the series but doesn't show any cars in it. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, farther on in the Classic Freight Cars book, there is a full page shot of MNX 2374 in the same Needham Packing scheme with "Sioux Beef Division" instead of "Sioux City Dressed Beef"; that's a plug door ice reefer leased from National Car Company which was affiliated with the Burlington Refrigerator Express and Western Fruit Express. Beyond that is LLNX 2454, another plug door ice reefer, leased from Western Fruit Express and painted in... guess what, the same scheme, with "Woodland Beef" as the secondary lettering. And finally, there is a 36 foot wood reefer lettered for the Sioux City Dressed Beef Company that carried reporting marks "SUCX" and came from Merchants Despatch Transportation, which was in the New York Central's universe, and with a reweigh date of November 1954 out of East Rochester, clearly pre-dates all of the black and blue reefers. Quite a haul of photos for one book on one relatively small company! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But like many smaller companies that appeared and left the scene prior to the coming of the Information Age, there's not much available on the 'net about this company. There was a Needham Packing house in Sioux City, Iowa, along with a "hog hotel" which I take to mean a stock facility. It was demolished in 1999. pegs the start of the slaughter operations of Sioux City Dressed Beef at 1954, after the decline in the stockyards concept was underway. It's possible that they took over the former Cudahy plant based on how the citation reads. Sioux City Dressed Beef also operated in West Fargo, North Dakota. Sometime between 1954 and 1961 the company was acquired by Needham Packing. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A Supreme Court case from 1964 was the outcome of a labor dispute between Needham and its packinghouse workers' union; at issue was the conflict between an arbitration clause and a no-strike clause in the union contract. In 1973 Needham changed its name to Flavorland Industries; "Flavorland" is the brand name on the reefer so it all fits together. In 1976 Flavorland and several other packers were targets of a price-fixing lawsuit. Flavorland doesn't appear to be in business anymore, perhaps done in by depressed beef prices in the 1970's that finished off a number of these smaller companies. But several of its former sites were classified as "brownfields" that require environmental remediation. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Strictly, or perhaps not so strictly, speaking, the 59er series car isn't really right for this paint scheme. The real Needham reefers, like many other steel meat packer reefers, had a single horizontal row of rivets just about across dead center of the sides; in fact, that rivet line aligns with the junction of the 3/3 ends of the car. This pretty noticeable spotting feature discloses the installation of meat rails inside the car. Before anyone tosses stones in the direction of Talent, Oregon, let me hasten to point out that Intermountain has also done this paint scheme (it's out of stock there) and it's wrong for their ice reefer too. In fact, the correct reefer body style does not exist in N Scale; in fact, it didn't exist in HO Scale for many years until Walthers released it in a number of paint schemes. So far it hasn't trickled down to 1:160. The degree to which you will term this a "stand-in" is up to you, of course, see Rule #1. ("It's your railroad.") © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

077 00 150, $15.55
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door Without Roofwalk, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks and large circle cross herald on left and "Shock Control - A Smoother Ride" (in white and yellow) on right.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 12002.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's to mid-1980's.
New release, but originally done for the N Scale Collector (NSC ID 02-85) with road number 14597 as part of the NSC "Western Roads Five Pack #3" (NSC ID 02-89).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The "Priest Book," or "Santa Fe Freight Cars In Color Volume 1" by Stephen Priest and Thomas Chenowith shows no less than six different paint schemes on the Santa Fe's Bx-79 box car series. This MTL release is one of the later, more simple schemes, with sides, ends and roof all in red; the ATSF had previously painted the roof and ends in black but those details fell away as the series moved forward from original build dates. A 1979 photo of ATSF 9143 is the closest match to the MTL model; it has only the circle cross and "Shock Control" slogan. Note that there were several different numbering groups for the Bx-79s, only one of which was the series from which MTL takes this particular car. There are also diagonal lines of rivets near each side of the door, and what looks like some unusual reinforcing plates near the sills as well, which aren't on the model. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's head to the April 1981 ORER for a look at the series 11900 to 12179. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 56 feet 2 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet wide, and capacity 4898 cubic feet or 144,000 pounds. There were 73 cars in the group. In contrast to the MTL car copy, though, the description of the car does include SL Loaders (specifically, it's "Box, Shock Control, SL Loaders, Roller Bearing, Nailable Steel Floor, 25K" with AAR Designation "XL"). The same is true in the January 1985 book where the group is down to 33 cars; only in the October 1986 Register does the giveaway "Box, Steel" appear on a few of the cars that are left. This isn't to say that the car isn't plausible, since there is photographic evidence in the Priest Book; it just may not have the best choice of road number. At any rate, it's easier to tack on than remove, and tacking on an "SL" decal will do the trick if you're so inclined. Note, though, that the ATSF 9143 in the Priest Book is off the roster by April 1981. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 240, $27.45
3 Bay Centerflow Covered Hopper, Trough Hatches, ACF Industries "Glasshopper II".

Gray with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left and very large "Glasshopper II" legend in slant lettering across side. Four stripes (red, maroon, orange and yellow, in that order) sloping across most of car from bottom to right end.
Reporting Marks: RNDX 166.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1980's (1983 build date).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Here's another of the unique cars for which Micro-Trains has become noted. No reprints on this one! The Glasshopper and Glasshopper II were experimental cars that were all that the name implied-- a hopper made of glass. In this case, it was fiberglass, or more correctly, filament-wound fiberglass-reinforced polyester. ACF (American Car and Foundry) in concert with Cargill, a major covered hopper user, and Southern Pacific, a major railroad (of course), worked together to build the original Glasshopper in 1981 and this Glasshopper II in 1983. An IEEE document cited by Google but hidden behind a member login (any IEEE members out there?) offers that "this covered hopper car utilized a filament... on a steel frame." The citation teases us with the partial sentence, "Like many good ideas, it..." It... what? I suspect, "it didn't work out." MTL's car copy agrees: too expensive. Meanwhile, Bob Dunn wrote on a National Railroad Historical Society bulletin board: "The Glasshopper II... featured a continuous roof hatch, gravity outlets and 100-ton trucks. Its tare weight was 54,300 pounds and its load limit was 208,200 pounds. I recall seeing it at Cominco's fertilizer plant at Warfield, British Columbia, Canada in either 1983 or 1984 when I worked for Canadian Pacific Railway at the shops in Trail, British Columbia." ACF's CF4650 is the model on which both the MTL 93er and 94er body styles are based and the Glasshopper II was a slightly larger CF4720 design. As Dunn notes, the real one had a continuous trough hatch, a delta to the model. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I am not entirely surprised that even two years after the Glasshopper II was introduced, it's not listed in the ORER; in fact there is no RNDX in the main Shippers Car Line (A Division of ACF Industries) entry in the October 1985 Register. The front listing of all reporting marks, in fact, states that the RNDX marks were temporarily assigned to ACF Industries' Amcar Division and expired on January 1, 1985. UMTRR Gang Member Joe Shaw suggests, though, that it was never in the Register to start with and therefore the ORER isn't really helpful; and that the car's ATP is a bit longer. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although I didn't find this car on George Elwood's Fallen Flags site, I did see something else that I hadn't before: a treasure trove of Builder's Photos dating back to the beginning of the 1900's! To get there, visit the site, go to the "ACF Industries" link under the letter "A" and then hit the link for "Historical Builder Photos" which appears at the end of the ACF page. Don't blame me if you get lost. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Finally, let me offer a citation to a general history of ACF in the February 2000 issue of Trains Magazine. It's not in the UMTRR Accumulation so I'll leave that exercise to the reader. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

114 00 050, $15.95
40 Foot "Modern" Log Car with Uprights, Load #5.

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

Please refer to my review in the July 2005 UMTRR; the car is the same as the 114 00 040 from that month with the exception of a new log load, which is six logs this time around. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


020 00 376, $14.05
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Ontario Northland.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and oval "Ontario's Development Road" on right. Orange oval to the left of the door.
Reporting Marks: ONT 90235.
Approximate Time Period: late 1940's or early 1960's (see text) to early 1970's.
Previous Release (as 20376): Road Number 90598, October 1996, as part of Ontario Northland two pack (MTL catalog number 20376-2, which also included an ONT boxcar in green with the same lettering).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I have it directly from MTL that this is, to use my phrase, a "not a reprint." Micro-Trains has added detail lettering not present on the 1996 release, such as the "reflector" rectangles above the sill and the yellow oval to the left of the door. Yes, it means more price, but a more accurate decoration depiction as well. The softcover "Classic Freight Cars Volume 1", page 50, shows a "freshly painted" ONT 90235 as lensed in 1961 complete with the oval. The service date comes right from the photo as well, yielding a "strictly speaking" as well as a more general ATP. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The prototype for these cars was built by National Steel Car, and as such isn't a perfect match to the MTL body style which is of a PS-1. (Yes, I know I've sounded like a broken record on this lately.) Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars site has two series: 90000 to 90569 built in 1947 and 90570 to 90999 built in 1948, both groups lasting in some form until 1986. The ORERs I have combine these groups; we'll come back to that. Ian has some of these cars renumbered to the 91030 to 91069 series in 1963, and others rebuilt into 92000 series cars with eight foot doors in 1968 and 1971. The latter group was painted in green with the large "O inside N" herald, which Kadee and Micro-Trains have done as catalog 24100. Still others went into the 7000's; hey, when you have a thousand cars to start with, you can do a lot of renumbering. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 1953 edition of the ORER has some vital statistics: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet (a bit less tall than the model), outside length 41 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches, door opening 6 feet and capacity 3712 cubic feet and 90,000 pounds. The 996 cars in this group at that time were not only the only steel boxcars on the ONT's roster, but also more than two thirds of the total rolling stock they owned. In the January 1964 Register, there were 927 cars which was nearly 70 percent of the line's freight cars; and in April 1970, still 697 or more than half the total fleet. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

According to the CDS Lettering Guide, this paint scheme dates to 1948, which means that the cars would have been delivered from National Steel Car in this general decoration but perhaps not with the orange oval. This was right around the time that the name of the road was being changed to Ontario Northland from the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario (try saying that three times fast). CDS lettering set number 60-20 will help you with different reweigh dates to more closely catch your railroad's ATP, and also with renumbering if you're interested. In 1969 the line switched to the green scheme with the big "O inside N", so based on that plus the famous Roofwalk Removal, I'm calling the ATP at a few years after that. It's possible that you could stretch it out a bit more. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

047 00 080, $16.60
40 Foot Ice Refrigerator Car, Wood Double Sheathed, Horizontal Brake Staff, New York Despatch Refrigerator Line.

Yellow sides, freight car red roof, ends and sills. Black door hardware.
Reporting Marks: NYDX 8060.
Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (1937 build date) to mid-1950's.
Previous Release (as catalog 47080): Road Number 8051, December 1976.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Back in the day when the principal aftermarket was mail bid auctions, I was pleased as punch to receive via post a runner copy of the first run of this car. It was one of my first forays into bidding, and I thought I got a great deal on it even after the shipping for just one car. It's nice to see the NYDX back again, although, as I subsequently learned, it doesn't have all that much to do with either New York or its Despatch Shops. This kind of qualifies as a "not a reprint" since the door hardware is done in black here which it isn't on the 1976 original release. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The build date on this car is 1937, which, as we'll see in a moment, is accurate, so it's off to the ORER for January 1940 (Westerfield CD-ROM courtesy of Kenneth Bernstein). The Chicago, New York and Boston Refrigerator Company owned and operated both the New York Despatch Refrigerator Line and the National Despatch Refrigerator Line and listed a number of refrigerators on its roster-- although for some reason, no quantities of cars are given. No matter: the series 8000 to 8099 was AAR Classification "RS" and was described as "Refrigerator, Steel Underframe" with these dimensions: inside length 35 feet, outside length 42 feet 6 inches, extreme height 14 feet 4 inches, doors 5 feet wide by 6 feet 4 inches tall, and capacity 1920 cubic feet or 75,000 pounds. The cars in this series were "equipped with Liquidometer Temperature Indicating Apparatus" -- you mean, a thermometer?-- and had "beef rails and Divided Basket Barriers suitable for half stage icing." I will assume that there were close to or exactly 100 cars in this series. The company was headquartered in Chicago, and the home shops were the Grand Trunk Western's. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Aha! So these weren't the New York Central's cars, you say. That's correct; according to a description of a specific kit for this prototype in HO Scale by Norwest Kits, 100 cars were built in 1937 and eventually transferred to the parent, the Grand Trunk Western in the 1940's and 1950's. (Another potential paint scheme!) The ORER bears this out; in the January 1953 edition the cars are under the Grand Trunk Western's entry with a dual listing of NYDX 8000 to 8099 and GTW 206900 to 206999 with 55 total cars remaining in the group. The NYDX reporting marks were gone by 1957 according to several listings on the 'net. The Norwest site has a shot of the car in GTW lettering in orange paint with freight car red ends and aluminum roof (big hint to Talent). The 47er body style looks pretty good versus the HO model, which was developed from prototype drawings; the roof is the biggest of the deltas between Norwest and MTL. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 393, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Washington 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 (rhododendron) and state bird (American Goldfinch) on right.
Reporting Marks: WA 1889.
Twenty-ninth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

My first visit to this state was a direct result of Seton Hall's 1989 entry into the NCAA Basketball Championship game. Seton Hall University is my brother's alma mater, and it was certainly exciting to see any New Jersey team get within one win of the national title (they lost, though, to Michigan, by one point!!!), but does this have to do with it? Well, that game was played at Seattle's Kingdome, and when CBS Sports did an overview of the city, I thought it was as good a place as any to get my first look at the Pacific Ocean. And since I had bloated my frequent flyer account via a couple of trips with excessive connections, I was able to fly there for free-- and that was back in the day when a free ticket also meant certificates for free or discounted hotel rooms and car rentals. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Except, as you probably already know, Seattle is on Puget Sound, not the Pacific Ocean. OK, well, no problem, off I went in the rented Mustang to the little town of Ocean Shores, where I first caught site of the Pacific. Eventually, there will be a longer version of this story on the website, but not now. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Centuries before my pilgrimage, Native Americans such as the Quinault and the Nootka inhabited the region. These peoples of the Northwest Coast are known for the Potlatch, roughly defined as a large party during which the host gave away a number of valuable items. Potlatch hosts competed with each other to give away the most-- isn't that a deal. (OK, Potlatch at Micro-Trains! Well, actually, I think the N Scale Collector's Convention banquet sort of qualifies!) Although when it's rained for days on end it may not seem like it, the generally favorable conditions of the Pacific Northwest made it possible for the Native Americans to hold such events rather than simply fight for their very existence as in other areas of the country. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Spain explored and claimed the area in the 1770s, Great Britain followed, and then American Robert Gray named the Columbia River after his ship in 1792. The Hudson's Bay Company established forts on that river circa 1825 but it wasn't until some fifteen years later that any large immigration to what became the Oregon Territory occurred. Washington Territory was carved from that in 1853, two years after the first settlement of what is now Seattle. To keep the railroad theme going, the Northern Pacific reached Tacoma in 1883 and the Great Northern reached Seattle in 1893; in between the Territory became the 42nd state, on November 11, 1889. The Klondike Gold Rush helped the growth of Seattle as the 19th Century closed. Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899, which reminds me of a favorite crack about Seattle's weather: "It's easy, if you can't see Mount Rainier, it's raining. If you can, it's going to rain." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Depression-era projects included the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dam which forever changed the Columbia River. The first television station, KING-TV, began broadcasting in 1948. Seattle's "Space Needle" was the symbol of the 1962 World's Fair; twelve years later, Spokane hosted, the smallest US city to host the World's Fair. In 1980, the Burlington Northern Railroad lost a fair amount of acreage when Mount St. Helens blew its top; did you know that the BN was the owner of that "real estate"? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Washingtonians include singers Jimmie Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Judy Collins and Bing and Bob Crosby; rockers Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain; game show host Bob Barker; "Dennis the Menace" cartoonist Hank Ketcham; inventor Chester Carlson (the Xerox copier, though we in Rochester benefited more from that); choreographer Merce Cunningham; actresses Dyan Cannon and Carol Channing; hall of fame bowler Earl Anthony; and businessman Bill Gates, who I think has something to do with some kind of software. And Holy Batman, Batman! Adam West is from Walla Walla! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


535 00 240, Magne-Matic Coupler, $20.60, 535 00 241, Marklin Coupler, $18.80.
30 Foot Steel Caboose, Center Cupola, Atlantic Coast Line.

Red with white lettering including roadname across top and road number in center.
Reporting Marks: ACL 069.
Approximate Time Period: 1960's.
Note: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Normally, cabooses are a bear to research and that goes double for the Z Scale releases for some reason. But I luck out on this one: the Fallen Flags site just happens to have several images of a few ACL center-cupola cabooses with four windows per side (some with small awnings!) numbered in the 000s. And that includes the very 069 that MTL modeled. The types range from wood sided to riveted steel side, and the lengths vary as well. The 069 in particular, as shown in a 1970 photo, has smooth plywood sheathed sides, four windows with awnings, and the lettering including the "Electric Lights" and "Radio Equipped" data right smack in the middle of the car. The 'boose is an ACL Class M-3 and was built in 1927 with a service date of 1964, which seems kind of out of date versus a photo date of 1970. The plywood sheathing, which looks a lot like steel (it fooled me!) was first applied to this M-3 class of ACL cabooses around 1960. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although it's a short center cupola caboose, MTL's is pretty much a "stand in" model of the real thing. The cupola is squared off and has angle braces, the sides of the 535er model are riveted, the real caboose is almost 39 feet long, and I don't know where any manufacturer is going to be able to simulate those awnings on a large production run of injection molded rolling stock! As I've said before, cabeese tend to be unique by railroad and sometimes within the same railroad, and that makes widely available prototypically faithful Z Scale models a daunting proposition... although AMB made an M-3 laser-kit in HO Scale in a planked side and smooth side versions. The AMB site says, "First produced by the ACL's Waycross shops in 1922, the M-3 became the standard caboose on the ACL for over 40 years with a few remaining in service as late as 1969." © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Have any ACL cabooses survived? Well, the site has a Keith Berkebile shot of ACL 0443 under a protective canopy at Waycross, Georgia, circa 1999.

981 01 010, Magne-Matic Coupler, $165.95, 981 01 011, Marklin Coupler, $164.15.
GP-35 Diesel Locomotive, Powered, Pennsylvania Railroad.

Dark Green Locomotive Enamel, aka "Brunswick Green" with yellow roadnumber on cab and small red and white keystone at front of hood and on nose.
Road Number: 2365 (will be "PRR 2365" in website listing).
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The debut of MTL's second diesel in 1:220 comes in one of the most minimalist paint schemes ever used on a North American diesel locomotive. The paint, more properly called "DGLE" or Dark Green Locomotive Enamel than the oft-used "Brunswick Green" is set off only by relatively tiny keystones and no roadname at all. The negotiations around the merger of the Pennsy and the New York Central were well underway when these locos were delivered in 1964 and 1965, and less paint then meant less paint later. Well, at least that was the theory; DGLE and Penn Central black are in fact two different colors, although it was often hard to tell the difference. MTL reports that this particular Geep made it through the PC to Conrail blue. Is that a hint? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"Rob's Pennsy Page" gives all the dimensional data that just about anyone could want upon a scan of an actual Pennsy equipment diagram for what they called Class EF-25. The Geep was 56 feet 2 inches from coupler to coupler, with 32 feet even between truck centers. It was 15 feet 3 inches tall over the stack, 10 feet 4 inches wide counting the cab armrests, and had trucks with EMD D67 motors mounted, powered by the venerable 567 engine. The wheels were 40 inches in diameter. The loco weighed 261,860 pounds, had a maximum tractive effort of 65,465 pounds and carried 2600 gallons of fuel oil. The maximum speed was 71 miles per hour. In Rob's page, look for the extensive equipment diagrams section. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The minimum curve radius of the real thing was 39 degrees at a 150 foot radius; that translates to just over an 8 inch radius in Z Scale, but for less than one-eighth of a circle. Even so, MTL opted for an open pilot and truck mounted couplers, clearly a concession to practical operation of these units on the typical Z Scale layout's tight curves. As long as we're on the features of the MTL model, there is a chassis mounted light board with golden white LED's, a coreless 9 volt motor, and etched metal handrails. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Back to the prototype: According to Jerry Britton's "Keystone Crossings" site, the Pennsy rostered GP35's numbered from 2252 through 2370. The Fallen Flags site has no less than 26 different photos of the GP-35s including one of the very number 2365 that MTL modeled, as lensed in Tiffin, Ohio in June 1967 by the Fallen Flags webmaster himself, George Elwood. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Early reports back on the Micro-Trains Geeps have been very favorable; as already reported, they ran up a storm at the Z Scale gathering that coincided with the NMRA Convention in Cincinnati back in July. Overall, this should be a big winner and is a welcome addition to the MTL catalog and to modeling in 1:220 in general. I'll bet that fans of other roads that rostered the GP-35 are waiting to see if they get their model next. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.

Z SCALE SPECIAL EDITIONS: These releases are covered exclusively in the Subscriber Edition of the UMTRR.