UMTRR December, 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.

020 00 705, $18.90
40 Foot Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Chicago and Eastern Illinois "Southeast".

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 Evansville Southeast".
Reporting Marks: C&EI 5.
Approximate Time Period: mid- to late 1940's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We complete the five car set of C&EI express service boxcars with a look at the line's routes that head in the direction painted on the car: Southeast. But first, C&EI follower and UMTRR Gang Member Bruce Bird has some Incremental Information. You might recall that when Car 4 in this series, the "Chicago St. Louis Southwest" version, was released in August, I discussed a line that diverged at Villa Grove and headed east for the Evansville line. We'll let Bruce pick it up from there: "The line between Woodland Junction and Villa Grove is actually a cut-off. It was constructed to replace the original main that meandered east from Villa Grove and up on the south side of Danville, Illinois where it rejoined the main to Evansville. This is why the shops were in Danville- where the two lines originally split. The branch you talk about was the remnants of the original main, and indeed the passenger trains that survived into the 60's used this original main from Villa Grove northward. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

With respect to the route into St. Louis, Bruce notes, "The line between Pana (just past Findlay) and the TRRA was originally the New York Central main to St. Louis and the C&EI had trackage rights. When Conrail decided to abandon the NYC west of Terre Haute, the Missouri Pacific bought the line. The old Big Four right-of-way markers with "C.C.& St.L." stamped in them are prevalent along this line." That's pretty amazing considering how many decades it's been since the Big Four Route was absorbed into the New York Central. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Now, let's go Southeast using the information from the January 1946 Official Guide of the Railways which is roughly contemporaneous with the express boxcars. Out of Chicago once again, the path is the same as for St. Louis until Woodland Junction, about 82 miles south. Frieght-only branches diverge from Milford, Illinois to Freeland Park, Indiana (16 miles) and from Rossville, Illinois to Judyville, Indiana (15 miles). The main route in which we're interested continues down from Woodland Junction to Danville, Illinois, 123 miles from Chicago, and runs into Indiana just after that with the first station on the passenger timetables being Rileysburg-- I validated this, based on the station list at the back of the OG. On the map of the line that's in that issue, a small branch is shown leaving the main just south of Clinton, Indiana, to serve Brazil, but it's not shown in the timetables, not even the "freight service only" section. Terre Haute is the next major stop, 177 1/2 miles out of Chicago. Most of the "name trains" that called there had a brief stop of ten to twenty minutes. From there, it was on to Sullivan, Vincennes and Princeton, all stations from which Pullman tickets could be purchased, and finally, arrival at Evansville's Union Station, 287 miles from Chicago. The Dixie Flagler, one of the line's name trains, needed 5 hours 13 minutes to make this run. By contrast, the single train in each direction from Fort Branch, 21 miles north of Evansville, down the branch to Mount Vernon 38 miles away, required close to two hours all by itself. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Bruce Bird added a few further tidbits about the past and present: "[There is] an isolated roundhouse of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern that still survives just south of Rossville- almost 100 miles from the EJ&E!" That's a remnant of the trackage rights that the "J" took over the C&EI to move coal from Sidell and Westville up to its steel mill customers in Chicagoland. "Some of today's modern aluminum coal gons start their life in the old C&EI shops," Bruce added; that's because the Oaklawn Shops in Danville are now operated by Johnstown America. "And definitely don't forget the tale of the old Chicago, Attica & Southern, a parallel subsidiary to the C&EI whose main claim to fame was a swastika logo!" Bruce advises. Yikes! That has to be a really old subsidiary since it doesn't show up in the 1946 Official Guide, I thought. Wikipedia says it was a railroad linking small towns in west central and northwestern Indiana to the C&EI at Momence, Illinois which was 50 miles south of Chicago, part of the C&EI's old "Coal Road" and quit in 1945-- which explains why I didn't find it in the '46 OG. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But the C&EI itself remained relatively strong after a turn in receivership in the 1930's. It had a number of connections that depended on it to get into Chicago, such as the Cotton Belt and Missouri Pacific from the Southwest and the Louisville and Nashville to the Southeast. The latter two split up the line much like a wishbone. The MP took control of the corporate entity and the "Southwest" lines, while the L&N took the "Southeast" line. The two roads jointly owned and operated the top of the wishbone into Chicago, an arrangement that continues under successor behemoths Union Pacific and CSX. The MP absorbed the C&EI in 1976 but put its "buzzsaw" herald with "C&EI" replacing "Missouri Pacific" well before that, as depicted on several Micro-Trains cars. And here's a bit of a strange artifact: That "CHTT" that appears on some Union Pacific equipment stands for Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer, a former subsidiary of the C&EI. So the parent is a fallen reporting mark but its terminal line isn't, isn't that interesting? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Though originally slated for destruction by the MP, much of the records of the line were saved by the Danville Junction Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and now reside in the Vermillion County Museum in Danville. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Historical Society also holds a collection of over five thousand (!) photographs. Would you suppose a few of these are of these cars? I hope so. The Society itself has a museum in the former C&EI station in Watseka, past which run some 50 trains per day. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As we close out this historical quintet commemorating a relatively small but important link in the American railroad system, I'll let Bruce Bird sum it up: "Lots of neat stuff about the C&EI." Quite true! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

032 00 430, $19.95
50 Foot Steel Box Car, Plug Door, Transport Leasing/Libby's.

Light blue-green with olive green door. Black and red lettering including reporting marks and "Libby's" trademark inside a stylized shopping cart on left and "Hydroframe 60 Equipped" legend on right.
Reporting Marks: TLDX 35.
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1963 build date) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The company with its trademark inside the shopping cart dated back to the 19th Century and given just a cursory net search had operations ranging from a salmon cannery in Alaska to grapefruit growing in Florida. Although they made a variety of grocery products, the firm of Libby, McNeil and Libby was first in business to can meat, starting in 1868 with corned beef. A 1900 newspaper account had the following to say: "The Grand Prix d'Honneur and two gold medals have been awarded by the International Jury of Awards at the Paris Exposition, to Libby, McNeil & Libby, of Chicago, for their purity, excellence and superiority of their Canned Foods. Here in America, the 'Libby' Brand has always been recognized as typical of the highest standard of excellence attained in the preservation of Meats, and it is a noticeable fact that the products of Libby, McNeil & Libby have received the highest awards at every Exposition held in the United States during the past two decades." The "Libby's" trademark still appears on such products as "Juicy Juice" here in the United States and elsewhere, but since 1971 the operation has been a subsidiary of the Swiss food giant Nestle S.A. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile the "World's Largest Can of Fruit Cocktail"-- actually a water tower painted with a Libby's label from the 1930's-- resides in Sunnyvale, California, on the former site of a Libby's cannery. If you think that's bad, consider that in order to convince the public of the year 1877 that canned beef was actually safe to eat, Libby's utilized advertising cards depicting Shakespearean characters using their products: Quoth none other than Macbeth on one of these cards: "I have done the deed. The man was fearless, strong and brave, but by my might I did overpower him and capture these cans of Libby, McNeill & Libby's Cooked Corned Beef." How's that again? Ah, never mind. By the way, it will take a couple of clicks but if you search on "The Story of a Pantry Shelf" you'll eventually get to a Library of Congress "American Memory Project" transcription of a book with that title, from which the "Macbeth" "quote" was taken. It's fascinating reading on a number of companies many of whose brands remain on grocery shelves today. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Libby, McNeil and Libby was headquartered in Chicago, and not far from there was Michigan City, Indiana and the Pullman-Standard plant. P-S made just seven plug door insulated boxcars for its Transport Leasing subsidiary as its Lot 8822. Two cars were painted for Chicago grocery chain Jewel Tea (and I hope we'll see that car from MTL soon!) but the last five in the series TLDX 33 to 39 were painted for Libby's. There is a picture of the exact car TLDX 35 in the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to Pullman-Standard. The real car has short ladders instead of grab irons but the general look and feel is there. And yes, the couplers and draft gear are in fact the same color as the car; that was not a case of MTL going overboard. What exactly is that color? MTL calls it pale blue, to me it looks more like blue-green. The door is termed "olive drab" which I suppose is a reasonable description although there's nothing drab about this car! © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1964 shows the seven cars TLDX 33 to 39 described as "Refrigerator, Steel, Pullman Cushion Underframe" with AAR Classification "RBL" which, as I've often noted, applies to insulated boxcars. The dimensions were: inside length, 50 feet 6 inches, inside height, 9 feet 10 inches (net of insulation), outside length, 57 feet 9 inches, extreme height, 15 feet 1 inch, door opening, 10 feet 6 inches (yes, a "door thing") and capacity of 4609 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In its car copy, MTL quotes the MSCG's author James Kincaid on the point that some of these cars remained as painted into the 1970's, and we'll assume that to be correct although you can't really ever tell from ORERs whether there was repainting or reassignment. The April 1970 ORER shows all seven cars in service with the addition of fork lift pallets, platforms or skids. But the April 1976 Register entry for Pullman Leasing lists just the 33 to 37 cars with no car total shown; I am not completely sure what that means, but most probably denotes the end of the Approximate Time Period. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This is a sharp car, and although I can't quite sneak it into my own model pike's ATP (it was built in August 1963 and my line is set in the Spring of that year) I'm glad that MTL has made the effort to bring it to market. No, it's not the first attempt at this car but based on my mostly unbiased opinion it's the better attempt. I think this is a pick to click at the Local Hobby Shops. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

038 00 320, $20.95
50 Foot Steel Box Car, Plug Door, No Roofwalk, Western Maryland/Chessie System.

Yellow sides, dark blue ends and bottom sill, aluminum roof. Mostly dark blue lettering including Chessie System roadname and reporting marks on left and "Ches-C" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: WM 36008.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's through most of the 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Alright, I get to use one of the very latest additions to the UMTRR Research Accumulation. For those of you looking for the MSCG to the Western Maryland, apparently somebody found a bunch of them to liquidate because there have been a number of them at very reasonable prices on that Internet Trading Community (the one that starts with "e" and ends with "bay"). © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We can get very close on this within the pages of that MSCG, with Page 33 showing WM 36003 from the same short series of twenty cars in the Western Maryland's B-29 class. The cars were originally built in late 1967 by Evans and were the first group of modern insulated boxcars bought by the WM. The as delivered paint was the famous "speed lettering" scheme (there's a shot of that version as well) and the 36003 was redone into Chessie paint in 1974. So, though MTL gives the service date of 1977 for their depiction of the 36008, we can stretch the ATP backwards a little bit if considering the entire series, which I usually do. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There are differences between the prototype and the model, the key one being short ladders and lowered brake wheel on the real cars. Short ladders are used in place of grab irons on both ends of the car. The cars were probably manufactured that way given the build date but I don't know this for sure. There is also somewhat of a "door thing" with the prototype being a generous 10 feet 6 inches and the model's being 9 feet, but, in my opinion, on a plug door that discrepency is much less noticable. The 36003 does not have the DF designation on its side like the MTL model does, which may actually be an oversight by the WM's Elkins paint shop, not MTL's Talent paint shop since the previous Western Maryland paint includes that designation. One item that does have me curious is the red accents on the door hardware that MTL added; there's no markings like that on the prototype car. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1976 shows the series 36001 to 36020 given AAR Classification "RBL" and the description "Box, Insulated, Evans Side Wall Fillers, 2 Evans Bulkheads, Full Track" with the following statistics: inside length 50 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet 1 inch (remember this is net of the insulation), outside length 55 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 10 feet 6 inches as noted above, and capacity 4640 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. With sometimes typical reporting illogic, there are only two cars in the main series and eighteen more, specifically the first 18 cars in the group, in a subseries with the additional information "56 Pallets Supplied By H.J. Heinz Company". There was a Heinz facility on the line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and, in fact, MTL has previously done cars that supported that plant, the 21240 40 foot plug door boxcar in orange and black back in August 1996. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By the January 1985 ORER, the WM is listed under the Baltimore and Ohio's registration and the group of 20 cars is all together again under the description "Refrigerator, Insulated, 2 Evans Bulkheads" with capacity dropped back to 132,000 pounds. In the July 1987 Register, the WM is under the Chesapeake and Ohio and just 4 cars remain in the group, and only one is listed under CSX Transportation in the July 1989 ORER. We don't know which one since the series is listed, so you can stretch that ATP out through the whole decade with a little modeler's license. I won't tell. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

077 00 050, $18.45
50 Foot Steel Box Car, Single Door, No Roofwalk, Union Pacific.

Freight car red with yellow doors. Mostly white lettering including large roadname and reporting marks on left and slogan "Ship and Travel the Automated Rail Way" on right. Red, white and blue shield herald on right.
Reporting Marks: UP 507406.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1968 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, I gave it a try, but given that there were only 17 cars in the prototype series, I didn't think I would find any online images of these cars. The series 507400 to 507416 was painted brown (or "synthetic red"-- whatever that is-- per the MTL car copy) which, according to the RPI website, should mean that the cars did not have a cushion underframe. The more colorful yellow cars did. I guess that brown cars didn't rate the "Automated Railway" map either, but these did at least get the slogan. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970 shows these 17 cars with the simple description "Box, Steel" but with the AAR Classification "XL". The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 6 inches, extreme height 15 feet, and capacity 5023 cubic feet or 109,000 pounds. The door opening is 10 feet whereas the MTL model has an eight foot door; yes, a "door thing" and one that MTL admits right in its car copy. A notation discloses that the cars have the 9 Belt DF-Loaders, but then, so does that "DF" on the yellow door. Now, if I could only remember what that red dot on the door was for... © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, all 17 cars were listed in the April 1976 ORER, 13 remained as of April 1991 but the series was gone by January 1985. There's a subtle but important point that MTL makes at the end of its car copy: "Road number 507406 [was] capitalized as new equipment." That manuever meant that the depreciation cycle could restart on the car, which was nice for the operating results versus having to expense the entire rebuild in the period in which it occurred. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

079 00 060, $23.15
50 Foot Steel Box Car, Double Doors, "Wagon Top" Round Roof, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia "TAG Route."

Dark blue with black roof. Yellow lettering including large reporting marks on left and large "TAG" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: TA&G 7016.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Growing up in Jersey City, I would, on rare occassions, see a TA&G car in one of the railroad yards that, at the time, lined the waterfront. The TAG was one of those lines that I wondered about-- where did it go, what did it carry. It was not until much later that I learned that TAG stood for the Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railroad and that it actually ran in the states that it listed in its name. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Official Guide to the Railways for February 1963, page 431, shows the map of the TA&G. Starting in Chattanooga, Tennesee, where it connected "with all lines diverging," the line ran south and a little west through Northeast Georgia and down into Eastern Alabama, ending at Gasden and connection with the Louisville and Nashville and the Southern Railway's lines. The total length of the line was just 92 miles. General offices were in Chattanooga. According to the website "Georgia's Rail History and Heritage" the line was built circa 1890 as the Chattanooga Southern to haul iron, coal and timber. It became the TA&G Railroad in 1911 and the TA&G Railway in 1922. The line was purchased by the Southern Railway in 1971. The TAG is mostly abandoned now, with the north end operated by the Chattanooga and Chickamauga Railway supporting a few online customers. The "About North Georgia" site has a colorful depiction of the line that's well worth a look. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Chances are that the rare TA&G car I saw in Jersey City was not this one. In the January 1964 ORER, the line has just 17 cars, none of which are boxcars. In the April 1970 Register, there are boxcars but none are the 7016. However, it definitely did exist and it definitely was a round roof boxcar, for the book "Classic Freight Cars Volume 8", page 59, has exactly this car pictured. The service date is July 1964, so the January '64 Register just misses. With the exception of very small lettering at the top left of the side, the MTL decoration looks dead on including the "for carpet loading only" disclaimer on the door. But the doors on the prototype appear to be double six footers rather than the double eight footers on the MTL model-- a "reverse door thing," perhaps? No matter. The same page in Classic Freight Cars Volume 8 shows a second round roof boxcar with lettering and herald in white, and how's that for a suggested second half of a virtual two-pack? The caption for it notes that the TA&G series of round roof cars was numbered 7000 to 7029 and was a secondhand purchase. From where? Who can say for sure, although the Virginian, Norfolk and Western and of course the Pennsylvania owned some of these cars. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This first ever MTL entry for the TA&G carries quite the hefty price tag for its apparent decoration complexity, and I'm not talking about the one on the car. I think the extra lettering applied to the doors was a contributor to the MSRP, but how about this speculation: there weren't that many copies of this car made over which the fixed setup costs could be spread. In other words, given the limited interest that a Deep South shortline might generate, perhaps the folks in Talent made not so many of these? I don't have any inside information on this, but I do wonder. We'll see how fast this item hits the bye-bye board. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

111 00 060, $36.25
89 Foot Tri-Level Enclosed Auto Rack, CP Rail.

Action red flat and rack with aluminum roof and panels. White lettering including reporting marks on left of flat car and CP Rail roadname on panel on rack.
Reporting Marks: CPAA 556561.
Approximate Time Period: 1994 (acquisition date) to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

As I was starting the byte-slinging this time, UMTRR Gang Member Dan Spence checked in with prototype references for the roster and for the car itself, for which many thanks. First, there's a photo of the very road number 556561 (the MTL site left off the last digit) on the Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery. The car was caught at Sarnia, Ontario in December 2004 and looks a bit rusty. The caption notes that while built in 1970, CP acquired it in 1994. As if that's not enough, Fallen Flags has a shot of the same car in Nashville in February 2004! I don't suppose that Sarnia and Nashville could be the two ends of a standard run? Nah, too easy. This car is a bit out of character for an auto rack in that the reporting marks on the rack match that on the flat car. More typically, and especially with Trailer Train/TTX flat cars, the racking was supplied by the railroad and had a different identification. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Next, we go to Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Car site. The CPAA reporting marks were instituted in 1967 to designate cars that were made in the United States but used for international service. Ian has the Approximate Time Period as starting in January 1994 as well, and states that they are still in service. He notes the use of "fourth generation Thrall radial doors" as did MTL in its car copy. A quick compare to a previous auto rack model shows that these seem to be what MTL has been using; honestly, I've never thought about auto rack end doors all that much and perhaps I should. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for October 1996 also has a thing for the "fourth generation Thrall radial doors" as it's right there in the car description! The rest of it is "Flat, Steel Superstructure, Fully Enclosed" with AAR Classification "FA". There are 74 of the 75 possible cars in the CPAA series 556500 to 556574, with inside length of 89 feet 4 inches, outside length of 93 feet 8 inches, and extreme height of 19 feet. The capacity is shown as "J"? Which I am assuming is a typo; hey, when you're printing 1896 pages of material those are bound to creep in here and there. I skipped all the way to the October 2004 ORER to find that 71 of these cars are still around, easily resulting in the "to present" ATP. However, with recent announcements of automobile plant closings in Canada as well as the US, I wonder how the international service supplied by these racks will be affected. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


046 00 080, $17.15
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Mineral red with white lettering including reporting marks (only) on left. Simulated steel beam load included.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 75045.
Approximate Time Period: 1954 (build date) to early 1980's.
Previous Releases (as catalog 46077/46080): Road Number 75047, July 1975; Road Number 75041, November 1975.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Similarly to this reprint, the initial 1975 runs of this car carry a build date of January 1954, a service date of April 1973 and a Santa Fe classification of Ga-87. The folio listing on Russell Crump's Santa Fe Archives concurs with this, adding the series 75000 to 74599 and stating that these were mill type gondolas. Archives of the Freightcars List add that these were solid bottom, drop end mill gons built by Pressed Steel Car Company, most likely at its Mount Vernon facility, and may have been the very last cars manufactured by that firm. Not bad before even getting to the ORERs, eh? © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So let's get to the ORER for January 1955 (Westerfield CD-ROM): The series is in fact described as "Gondola, Mill Type, Drop Ends, Wood Floor" with AAR Classification "GB". The inside length is 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet 3 1/2 inches, extreme height 7 feet 4 1/4 inches, and capacity 1738 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. As with most of the MTL gons, the inside length is a little shorter than the prototype but the overall length is a bit more than the prototype. The January 1964 Register shows 499 cars in the group and adds the note that some of the cars have been fitted with a nailable steel floor; none of the three road numbers done by MTL have had that treatment at that point. By the April 1970 ORER there are 442 cars with a wood floor and 47 with a steel floor, but again the three in which we are interested are with wood floors. In the April 1976 the score is 334 wood, 129 steel; and the original two road numbers MTL did have been fitted with steel floors while this month's reprint still has a wood floor. April 1981 anyone? The tally was 303 wood, 112 steel and the split remains the same. Well, you get the idea. Alright, one more because there's a big drop in the count: the January 1985 shows just 83 cars with wood floors and 35 with steel, and it looks like the 75041 and 75047 have been derostered. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Whether the MTL model represents a wood or steel floor is probably a matter of debate. To me it looks like more like wood but I'm not solidly behind that opinion. Given that MTL includes a load with this release, it may be a moot point anyhow. Interestingly, the image of the car shows the drop ends down to enable this load to fit, at least at one end. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

054 00 030, $18.75
62 Foot Bulkhead Flat Car, St. Louis Southwestern "Cotton Belt."

Freight car red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Simulated pulpwood load included.
Reporting Marks: SSW 88267.
Approximate Time Period: 1979 (build date) to present.
Previous Releases (as catalog 54030): A six pack (catalog 54032) with Road Numbers 88164, 88196, 88219, 88236, 88325, and 88339, January 1987.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

According to Lee Gautreaux's SP Freight Car Page the SSW series 88000 to 88399 were 60 foot 7 inch bulkhead flat cars, class F100-18 and were built in 1979 by Thrall. Lee has four images of cars from the series with photo dates ranging from 1983 to 2003, including one of his own of SSW 88134 lensed in Lafayette, Louisiana. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's grab the ORER for April 1981: The description of the cars is "Flat, Bulkhead, Freightmaster EOC (End of Car) Cushioning" and besides the 60 foot 7 inch interior length, there is an inside height of 10 feet 6 inches, which I will take to mean the height of the bulkheads; outside length of 70 feet 2 inches, extreme height of 14 feet 2 inches, and capacity of 181,000 pounds. There were still 389 cars rolling of the original 400 in October 1991 and 358 in October 2004 under the Union Pacific roster, though some were apparently demoted out of the "EOC Cushioning" description to just plain old "Flat". That seems like a "to present" ATP to me. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, though, Railwire's "3rdRail" has this to add with respect to what MTL has the car carrying: "The flatcar comes with a pulpwood load. MTL correctly states that the car is an 'FB' [designation] with a flat floor. Well, 5 foot 6 inch pulpwood logs cannot be loaded on such a car as shown by Micro-Trains' load. The logs would fall off upon coupling. While a pulpwood 'flat' looked like a flat car loaded, it was not, having a vee shaped floor so that logs would slide to the center of the car. The mechanical designation did not even begin with the letter 'F,' but with 'L' for specia'L'. It was an 'LP' for 'Special, pulpwood', not an 'FB', for 'Flat, bulkhead.' I worked for a railroad that got 80 cars a day of 'shortwood' at one time, so I am somehat familiar with the pulpwood business, and MTL's car just won't do at all, at all." Well, good thing the load is removable, and thanks for that prototype view, 3rdRail. The proto photos on Lee Gautreaux's site show other loads including lumber which would more typically be carried by these cars. I'm not sure there will be a mass removal of the simulated pulpwood by N Scalers, but it's good nonetheless to have the information needed to be correct. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 396, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Kansas 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 bird (Western Meadowlark) and state flower (sunflower) on right.
Reporting Marks: KS 1861.
Thirty-second release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Sunflower State was first inhabited by descendants of the Asians who crossed into North America via the land bridge between modern day Russia and Alaska, circa 10000 BC. Approximately 1 AD, the Woodland period of prehistory was marked by extensive use of pottery and the development of the bow and arrow. Small-scale farming co-existed with bison hunting by 1500 AD. In 1541 the first Spaniards visited the area, followed by the French in the 1700s who traded with Native American tribes such as the Kansa and Osage. Trading was about all the interaction between Europeans and Native Americans until the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, quickly followed by the Louis and Clark Expedition. Early United States settlements were at present day Atchison and Fort Leavenworth. The Santa Fe Trail was established circa 1822 by William Becknell. In 1830 the "Indian Removal Bill" forced immigration of eastern tribes to the area; they and the native tribes would be "resettled" several more times during the century. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The year 1854 saw two pivotal events in the history of Kansas: First, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, leaving the option to be a slave or free state to its inhabitants. This caused considerable debate-- and violence-- as the slave-staters and free-staters locked horns, often after moving from other states in an attempt to influence the ultimate decision. When admitted in 1861 after four tries at a state constitution, it was as a free state. Second, Cyrus K. Holliday came to what is now Topeka and founded the city, and eventually promoted a little enterprise known as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A remarkable statistic from the Civil War: Kansas contributed more than 20,000 men to the Union Army, apparently two-thirds of the eligible male population at the time. The Civil War ended but hostilities against the Native Americans continued later in the 1800's, with forts such as Dodge and Hays established. Railroad construction across the state was in full swing and millions of head of cattle were driven north out of Texas to the railheads in Abilene and elsewhere. Legendary characters like Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok actually lived during this time. Salt, coal, zinc and oil and gas deposits began to be developed in the later part of the 19th Century, but the key industry was agriculture with one-seventh of the entire world's wheat crop grown in Kansas in 1928. The state was, of course, deeply affected by the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930's which coincided with the Depression. World War II brought a resurgence in farming and the rise of Wichita to "Air Capital of America". © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Kansas natives and residents include Amelia Earhart, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, presidential candidate and Governor Alf Landon, actor Ed Asner (his desk from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" resides at the Kansas State Historical Society), rocker Kerry Livgren of the group Kansas (remember "Dust in the Wind"?), circus clown Emmett Kelly, basketball inventor James Naismith, basketball player Wilt Chamberlain, abolitionist John Brown and temperance advocate Carrie Nation. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first trip to Kansas was relatively uneventful; it was for business in Kansas City and didn't involve much more than an "in and out" although there was a side drive up to Omaha. The second trip, however, was to Topeka and a business-related visit to the Topeka shops of the Santa Fe (which was BNSF by that time). Although the shops were already considerably smaller than they must have been when the Santa Fe was churning out thousands of freight cars, there was still some activity, mostly repairs of one form or another. And the mass of Santa Fe power in the "backyard" was quite the awesome sight. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


506 00 080, Magne-Matic Coupler, $29.20, 506 00 081, Marklin Coupler, $27.40.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Door, Union Pacific ("Campbell Soup" Version).

Yellow sides, aluminum roof, ends, sills, trucks and draft gear. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. Multicolor "Campbell Soup" herald on left and "Automated Rail Way" map herald on right.
Reporting Marks: UP 160157.
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1962 build date given by MTL).
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is a partial "reprint" from the May 2003 UMTRR, when the N Scale version of this car was released.]

I'm just tickled to see that the very short-lived "Campbell Soup Shield" of the UP has been memorialized by Micro-Trains. First, I think I'd better explain this somewhat odd naming of "Campbell's Soup Shield" to those of you who live outside of the United States (although I think Campbell's is sold in Canada and elsewhere too). The reference is to the label of the extensive line of Campbell's condensed soup, which is red on top and white on the bottom. That label has been around since 1898 and is itself based on the red and white uniforms of Cornell University. The red and white cans were depicted as part of the very first streetcar advertising ever in New York City-- see, you knew I'd get back to trains, right? Campbell's was among the first to advertise nationally as well, and by the decade of the 1900's the brand was known across the country. Although now diversified into many different types of food products, Campbell's premier product remains to this day its line of condensed soups. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So it's not surprising that when the Union Pacific bowed its own red on top, white on the bottom herald (if I may call it that) as a replacement for the venerable red, white and blue shield, it was immediately tagged with the "Campbell Soup" moniker. I'm not sure that was good. I'd say the UP didn't think it was good either. According to the railroad's official website, the design was introduced in 1962 and dropped in 1963, with the line returning to the 1950 version of the traditional UP shield. There were actually two versions of this attempt! The first had thinner lettering and a smaller roadname, and the second had a white inlay on the "U.P." above and below, the roadname in what even UP calls "redrawn in a quirky but much bolder lettering." There is a small but discernable photo of the very car UP 160157 that MTL modeled on the UP website alongside this explanation, but get this-- it appears to have the top half of the second design and the bottom half of the first design! By December 1962 this design and the whole idea of making boxcars reminscient of soup cans was tossed. Wise choice, Uncle Pete. But it does get you a very short Approximate Time Period, since, as we know, this is one road that's pretty good at repainting rolling stock in a timely manner. Especially high profile Armour Yellow boxcars. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

MTL helps my lookup cause by disclosing that the car is part of the series 160150 to 160181 built in 1962, so without delay we can check the January 1964 edition of the ORER. This group of just 13 cars was given AAR Classification "XME" and description "Box, Steel, Cushion Underframe, Staggered Doors." Note Z declared that the cars had side wall lading anchors. The inside length of the cars was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 52 feet even, extreme height 15 feet even, and door opening 15 feet even. That last stat indicates a "door thing" of minor proportion since the MTL body style has a 16 foot opening. The capacity was 4955 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. This is the only ORER I checked, since although the cars remained into the 1970's at least, the paint scheme most likely did not. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

522 00 110, Magne-Matic Coupler, $15.70, 522 00 111, Marklin Coupler, $13.90.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Soo Line.

White with red and black lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname (in red) across side.
Reporting Marks: SOO 63352.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1970's (1976 build date given by MTL) to possibly as late as the present, see text.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Micro-Trains gives a build date of 1976 for this car but it's too late to get into the April 1976 ORER, so it's off to the April 1981 edition which is the next one in the accumulation. Soo Line series 63332 to 63531 is shown there with all 200 possible cars intact-- well, one would hope so only five years after their construction. The vital statistics: inside length 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 5 feet, outside length 57 feet 2 inches, extreme height 8 feet 7 inches, capacity 2494 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. Oh, yeah, one other point; the description of the car is "Gondola, Steel, Fixed Ends." Micro-Trains doesn't make a fixed end gondola in Z Scale, though. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There were 197 in service as of the July 1989 Register although with a capacity slightly reduced to 194,000 pounds. By the April 1999 Register the original group had been rolled into the larger series 63332 to 64053 with 318 cars in the main group and 97 more in two subseries differing in capacity only. This series was very much alive in the October 2004 ORER, with 221 cars in the main series and two subsets with another 81 cars. However, the thirtieth birthday of the 63352 was fast approaching and it may be a stretch to say that the ATP goes quite that far. I will call "to present" but that should be taken with a grain of salt. And it should definitely be taken with a lot of weathering. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags site has an undated shot of SOO 63348 from the same series. Although undated it probably was taken very close to the build date as there is nary a scratch or dent on the car, which would have easily been seen on white paint. Also apparent are the fixed ends... well, enough of that. Drop down one entry in the Fallen Flags list of cars and you'll see what white cars look like a number of years later; in 1996 a similar car, SOO 63930, appears to be more rust colored than white and the roadname is just barely discernable. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

535 00 170, Magne-Matic Coupler, $26.30, 535 00 171, Marklin Coupler, $24.50.
30 Foot Steel Caboose, Center Cupola, Canadian Pacific.

Brown (freight car red) sides, red ends and cupola ends, yellow details. White lettering including script version roadname below cupola.
Road Number: 437496 (will be "CP 437496" on website listing).
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The MSCG to the Canadian Pacific presents a photo of this exact car as it appeared in 1970 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Yes, it's a steel center cupola caboose, but it really doesn't look like the MTL model. The best way I can think of describing it is "more square" and I think that's because the cupola sides don't slope toward the centerline of the car; also, the roof doesn't arch quite as much as the MTL car's does. The "van" (as CP called them) has just two windows per side as well. Although it appears to be significantly longer than the model, it isn't at 33 feet 2 inches over the end sills. The yellow stripe below the cupola on the Micro-Trains car is meant to suggest a metal grid walkway around the cupola. Yes, we're talking "stand in" here but I doubt that you'll see this specific a prototype car modeled more exactly anytime soon. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This car series, CP 437455 to 437504, carried three paint schemes: first, the block lettering roadname from its build date of 1954 to the early 1960's; second, the one MTL depicted; third, the yellow "CP Rail" version, for which you'd need to lose the running boards. The Fallen Flags website has a shot of sister caboose 437486 "on static display" in Quebec circa 1996 in CP Rail paint. It's easy to see the differences between the prototype and the model. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

538 00 020, Magne-Matic Coupler, $16.95, 538 00 021, Marklin Coupler, $15.15.
40 Foot Skeleton Log Car with Uprights and Load (Load #2).

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

Instead of cheating and just offering a reference to the previous log car release-- about which not a lot was said anyway-- I thought it might be interesting to try to confirm the ATP that I'd projected for this particular type of skeleton log car. We know that the plain cars had more or less been around since about the turn of the 19th Century to the 20th, but what about the use of uprights? I have two data points which will be of assistance. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

First, the book "Rails in the North Woods" which is my reference volume for most of what I've thrown together thus far on this body style includes a photo taken at one of the Pennsylvania-based operations of the Emporium Lumber Company. In that photo there's a log car with uprights; one can see from the photo that the uprights can be folded down to enable easier loading (which I suppose should have been obvious to me already). The photo is undated but that particular operation was shut down circa 1911 so I think we're OK for the first decade of the 20th Century. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Next, while poking around the MSCG for the Canadian Pacific (for the previous car) I came across a photo of a 43 foot skeleton log car that was one of 200 owned by the CP. It was 43 feet long and used as its "frame" a 30 by 10 inch timber sill, to which the couplers were directly attached. Yikes! Watch that hard shoving! The uprights were attached to the sill directly over the center of the arch bar trucks. These cars were built in 1930 and initially carried lettering for CP subsidiary Esquimalt and Nanaimo which operated on Vancouver Island, where they operated exclusively; at least one made it as far as 1969. Overall, this particular car is not a bad match for the MTL model, and the information does help justify my Approximate Time Period, including the arch bar trucks. © 2005 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.

Z SCALE SPECIAL EDITIONS: No releases this month.
These releases are covered exclusively in the Subscriber Edition of the UMTRR.