UMTRR January, 2006 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2006 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.

034 00 330, $19.85
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Seaboard Air Line.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks and "Route of the Silver Meteor" slogan on right. Red and white "heart" herald on left.
Road Number: 10198 (will be "SAL 10198" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: mid-1940's to mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

According to the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to the Seaboard, two hundred boxcars in the series 10000 to 10199 were built in 1938 by Pullman-Standard. These cars had two somewhat unusual features that immediately form a delta to the MTL release. First the door opening was just 12 feet 6 inches even though these are double door cars-- which makes for an unusual "reverse door thing" to the 16 feet door opening on this model car (typically MTL doors are smaller than they should be). Second, the prototype cars had flat ends. Now that is different on double door fifty footers; I'm sure that there are other examples but none come to mind. A photo of the car on Page 62 is dated April 1962 and shows a February 1960 reweigh date, so we know we're good for then. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And since we are in that timeframe, let's check the January 1964 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER). The group stands at 186 cars with AAR Designation "XM" (plain boxcar), description "Box, Staggered Doors" and the following key dimensions: inside length 50 feet even, inside height 10 feet 1 inch, outside length 51 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches, door opening the previously mentioned 12 feet 6 inches, and capacity 4629 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. All in all, it's a "smallish" 50 footer, so to speak. The April 1970 listing for the successor Seaboard Coast Line shows the series still extent but with no car count as was the SCL's practice: the renumber series 810000 to 810199 contained just two cars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although the Seaboard's use of slogans promoting their trains began in 1937, it wasn't until 1944 that "The Route of the Silver Meteor" was used, so this is not the as delivered paint scheme. In fact, the MSCG notes that 10000 to 10199 were first painted with the earlier "Route of the Robert E. Lee" slogan. My guess is that the "Silver Meteor" decoration was the second and last, based on the relative slowness with which the SCL did anything beyond restenciling. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Of course, I can't let this release go without mentioning another MTL first, and perhaps another N Scale first: an interior load. Yes, the car inspector might not have let the stacks of boxes go without insisting on a bit more lading security, but what we're after here is the effect, and I think it's captured. I can also safely predict the removal of this load (assuming it can be done) from numerous boxcars and placement at freight platforms all over N Scale layouts. I'm looking forward to this detail being made available as a separate item. For a closer look, check here for my, uh, "uncoverage" of this load. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

038 00 370, $14.15
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Without Roofwalk, Illinois Central.

Orange with black lettering including large roadname, small "Main Line of Mid-America" slogan and reporting marks on left. Black and white "split rail" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: IC 11579.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1967 build date) to late 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Fallen Flags Site hits another home run with a June 1977 photo of this exact car IC 11579, in freshly painted orange, black and white. I can't completely make out the "New" date but it sure looks like May 1967, which would put this car in contention for being among the first painted in the "split rail" scheme that was adapted that year. The photo shows ladders on both sides, both cut down-- the MTL model has one full ladder on the right. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1970 ORER shows the series 11500 to 11799 with AAR Classification "XL" and description "Box, Steel, Single Plug Doors, DF Equipment." The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet 8 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 10 feet, and capacity 4984 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. There were 299 cars listed out of the possible 300. The MSCG to Pullman-Standard shows other IC cars in adjacent number series being built around the same time, so at the risk of what happens when you assume I am going to guess that these cars were newly delivered in the orange paint and not rebuilds and repaints of earlier equipment. No, wait, I don't have to guess: Fallen Flags hits another homerun with the 1972 equipment diagram for the series. It was built in 1967 in the IC's Centralia (Illinois) shops to Specification O-359. Oh, and that brake wheel should be mounted low. I really should send another contribution to Fallen Flags on the behalf of us in the UMTRR Gang. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, since I don't have to assume there, I'll try another guess. While there is but one car remaining in IC reporting marks in the April 1981 ORER registration for successor Illinois Central Gulf, it appears that I may have matched to the renumbered series based on the description (which has changed slightly to "Box, 4 Belt DF 2 Loaders, Single Plug Doors, 25K") and the dimensions; namely, that's to ICG 562000 to 562299, of which there are 42 cars. That puts a pretty short ATP on the group in as delivered paint, if I'm right on the renumbering, the ATP in total is pretty short also with just three cars remaining in the October 1986 Register. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

092 00 200, $24.65
Center Flow Covered Hopper, 2 Bay, The Rock (Rock Island).

Blue with white lettering including "The Rock" roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white "R" logo on right.
Reporting Marks: ROCK 512023.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The MSCG to the Rock Island relates that 107 cars from the original Rock Island series 12000 to 12249 were repainted into the "Bankruptcy Blue" of "The Rock" and renumbered into the series 512000 to 512249. Among these is the very 512023 that is pictured as of June 1977 on page 68 of the volume. If you don't have that book, check Fallen Flags since it's there as well. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for July 1976 has the old "RI" series but not the "ROCK" one, but since it is dimensional data we are after, it can work. The longish description was "Covered Hopper, Steel, Twin Hopper, Self Clearing, Continuous Center Trough Hatch for Loading, Two Discharge Gates Center Line of Car - Gravity Discharge." The inside length was 34 feet 9 inches, outside length was 38 feet 11 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, capacity 2970 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. The ORER has a larger series also, 12000 to 12499, with 360 cars in the main series and another 124 cars with lining. While the 12023 was one, that doesn't necessarily mean that the 512023 was. Here's why, according to the MSCG: when "The Rock" paint was applied, individual numbers were not simply upped by five hundred thousand, even though that's what happened to the series in general. OK, I think I get that. Random renumbering within a fixed series. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What is harder to get is what happened to this car following the total shutdown of the Rock Island on March 31, 1980 (yes, almost 26 years ago already). The ORER listings simply stopped running and tens of thousands of cars seemed to vanish from official records. Many of the cars were, of course, recycled to other railroads. UMTRR Gang Member John Berger offered a couple of possibilities from Fallen Flags in the form of Union Pacific's 219800 and 219679, lensed in March 1980 and May 1988 respectively. Since the 12000's/512000s are the only series of cars of this type that the Rock Island had listed back in the '76 ORER, anything indicating "The Rock" is going to have a strong probability of a match to one of these cars. And both UP restencils still carried the Bankruptcy Blue paint with some off-color patches to cover all references to the once mighty Rock Island Road. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

100 00 280, $21.15
36 Foot Steel Caboose, End Cupola, Rio Grande (Denver and Rio Grande Western).

Black with white lettering including small "speed lettering" herald below cupola.
Road Number: 01390 (will be "D&RGW 01390" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: late 1940's to mid-1970's (1976 retirement date given by MTL).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

You have to keep in mind two things when acting as a journalist, at least by my definition: One, you learn something new every day. Two, you don't know what you don't know. (That's by my definition of a journalist. Under other definitions, if you don't know, you just make it up. Back in my day...) © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

When MTL released this car, I didn't know that the Rio Grande painted its cabeese black. I also didn't know that they got any cars from the Denver and Salt Lake, much less steel cabooses. But according to the website of the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society there were at least four: 01390 through 01393. These were former D&SL 10060 to 10063. Only the 01390 and 01391 are listed as "end cupola" type, the 01390 is welded but the 01391 is riveted. Both are still in existence according to a table on the RGM&HS website, although the 01391 got a better deal. It's in the Colorado Railroad Museum repainted into the Denver and Salt Lake scheme. The 01390 can be found in Kremmling, Colorado, "off Red Dirt Road" which doesn't exactly sound like trackside. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, so what's with the black paint? According to a roster on which unfortunately starts at 01400, "all black" was the original paint scheme for all cabeese series except one from 1940 to 1955. There was no "aspen gold" of any variety until mid-1956. So we are good at least from 1947, when MTL says the car came over from the D&SL, until the mid-1950s. I am inclined to believe that a longer ATP is reasonable, maybe even to the retirement year of 1976 that MTL provides in the car copy. Subtables on Utahrails provide evidence that other "all black" cabeese stayed that way for a long time. For example, the 01401 received fresh black paint circa May 1978 according to a photo reference! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although this may not be much help, Fallen Flags has a May 1975 shot of the 01391 with the appropriate caption that it's also ex-Denver and Salt Lake. Steel end cupola caboose it is, but the cupola is farther toward the end, putting the speed lettering starting almost at the edge of the side of the car. There are three windows, not four, and the cupola has more slanted sides. As typical, the model is a "stand in," since, as typical, specific prototype cabeese are not easily matched with commercially available models throughout the scale. That's assuming that the 01390 and 01391 were similar, but then, you don't know what you don't know. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


031 00 290, $21.95
50 Foot Box Car, Single Door (Youngstown type), Western Pacific.

Orange with black ends. Large silver feather across car. Black lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname across car (inside feather).
Reporting Marks: WP 3026.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's (1955 build date given by MTL) to late 1960's.
Previous Release (as catalog 31290): Road Number 3030, February 1998.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I don't own the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Western Pacific, but I happen to know that a car from this series is the one pictured on the cover. The road used these special schemes on cars with cushion underframes or load restrainers. This particular group had both; note the "DF + CU" . It's certainly one of the most striking paint schemes to grace the rails. As such, the original MTL release of the car was a pretty quick sellout-- as in, here in February '98, gone in April '98; I checked my own "back issues". © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My "back issues" didn't tell me that much more, though. We have a lot more ORERs in the accumulation now. My January 1955 edition is just a bit too early, as the cars were delivered later that year, so we must settle for the January 1959 book. There we have the series 3011 to 3050, of forty boxcars with AAR Classification "XME" and deceptively simple description of "Box, All Steel". The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 53 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet and capacity 4975 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The simple description is augmented by "Note A": "Cars in series... are equipped with DF Loaders having 9 belt rails. Cars numbered 3011 to 3050 have Nailable Steel Flooring." MTL has these cars losing the orange and silver feather by around 1970, which I wouldn't doubt given the expense in maintaining the paint scheme. The cars were also renumbered at that time; I suppose I could guess to which series they went, but I won't. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's a little tidbit from Garth Groff's site on the WP: Those ends might have been black from not paint but from black car cement, "a thick sealant similar to automobile rust proofing." Groff reports, "This gunk was difficult to remove, and it was often left in place during repainting. It is also hard to tell from photos whether a car with dark ends was treated, or if that was just road grunge." Groff's site, which focuses on the WP subsidiary Sacramento Northern, has some good info on the parent as well. Meanwhile, Frank Brehm's "WP Lives" website includes a 25 chapter history of the road from incorporation to merger into the Union Pacific. And the Portola Railroad Museum announced its intent to refocus on the WP and has renamed itself the "Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola" (that's California, although you probably guessed that). Portola is deep in the Feather River Canyon and it's also where Rosemary and I took a turn at driving a real live diesel back... wow, more than ten years ago already. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

045 00 150, $10.85
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left, roadname in center, and small herald on right.
Reporting Marks: TH&B 1822.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1970's (1974 service date) to late 1990's, see text.
Previous Release (as catalog 45150): Road Number 1825, January 1987.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Believe it or not, Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" site has the prototype series of 100 flat cars lasting into the year 2000. And indeed, a check of the April 1999 ORER showed a single car remaining in THB reporting marks in the registration for the Canadian Pacific (which absorbed the TH&B in 1987 after buying the former New York Central's share of the road from Conrail). That flat was among just 150 cars that still had markings for the line. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But let's go back to the July 1950 Register for a look at when these cars were less than a year old out of the National Steel Car Company. The 100 cars in the group 1800 to 1899 represented about nine percent of the total roster of 1054 cars. The "inside length" was 52 feet 6 inches, "outside length" 53 feet 2 inches, extreme height 3 feet 5 inches, and capacity 120,000 pounds. That capacity figure doesn't seem to have changed throughout the life of these cars. The group was down just one to 99 cars in the April 1970 ORER, and stood at 77 pieces in the CP Rail entry in the July 1987 Register. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A 1969 photo of TH&B 1840 (incorrectly captioned as "THB 1640") as found on the Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery site, and also referenced on Fallen Flags, shows a different paint scheme most notably with an ampersand between the "Hamilton" and "Buffalo". This would have been an older scheme, as the decoration on MTL's previous run carries a 1974 service date. This is supported by information from RPI: about 1960, the ampersand was dropped. And the C-D-S Transfers' "Railway Equipment Diagrams" guide gives 1974 as the paint scheme date including that small "bow tie" herald. So your ATP is a bit limited. So you can't backdate to 1949 on this one? Well, how many people can read that small print? That's up to you. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

065 00 290, $18.75
39 Foot Tank Car, Single Dome, Central Railroad of New Jersey (Jersey Central).

Black with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "Liberty" herald on right. Yellow and black "sideboard" right of center.
Reporting Marks: CNJ 95206.
Approximate Time Period: 1940's (liberal ATP) or late 1950's (based on service date) through 1990's.
Previous Releases (as catalog 65290): Road Number 95204, March 1991.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The MSCG to the Central of New Jersey, Page 60, shows not one but two photos of a cousin car in this group, stenciled "CNJW 92511." The "CNJW" stencil is clearly a later addition, and it's only on the side; the "CNJ" remains on the end. The car was built in 1917 and was an 8000 gallon capacity car. I'm calling the 92511 a "cousin car" since it's parked next to another car that is clearly larger and more resembles the MTL 65er body style. But alas, that one is not the main subject of the photo. We can do better, but we'll come back to the 92511. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A shot of what looks like CNJW 92508-- the number is pretty worn away-- is on the Fallen Flags site. It is much closer to the MTL model and paint job including the assignment stencil "Refuse Oil Only - Raritan Engine Terminal" which is called a "sideboard" by the MSCG author Craig Bossler. Again, the CNJW is an after the fact addition. What can be seen of the lettering appears to align with the data that MTL used on both this car and the original run from 1991, down to the "C 1 5 59" which should be a reference to Communipaw, the Jersey City terminal of the Jersey Central. The end lettering is so bad it's completely unreadable. This would make a fascinating weathering project! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But you can go farther, farther than I would expect MTL to go with this car. Going back to the photos of CNJW 92511, there is a pipe coming out of the dome, making two ninety degree turns along the way to the bottom of the frame. The ladder and small platform have been removed from one side of the car. The one that remains is on the opposite side of the pipe on the 92511. The tank is not quite the same size as the MTL model and the dome isn't either. Meanwhile, on the 92508 on Fallen Flags, there are extra hoses dropped into the dome and just flopped over the side of the car; given that the ladder is detached from the platform and touches the railhead, I guess that the car wasn't going anywhere. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The only ORER I checked for this was the January 1964 edition, and it showed a one liner "Maintenance of Way" for 90 cars numbered 91586 to 93725. A more interesting lookup for this car would be the Official Guide of the Railways for the location of the Raritan Engine Terminal. It is located west of Raritan Station, which was about 37 miles out of Jersey City. NJ Transit owns the trackage of the former CNJ route and the terminal and still supports equipment there for its Raritan Valley Line. The Raritan station was built in the 1800s and is a national landmark. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The "Liberal ATP" that I'm giving for this car is based on the "Jersey Central Lines" herald and the "Spartan Bold" reporting marks font having debuted circa 1943. I don't think that the tank car was in company service from that point, but the cars do date from the 1920's. A more likely scenario is that the tankers were purchased second hand for company service, and were relatively new to the line as of the 1959 service date. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 397, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Florida 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 (mockingbird) and state flower (orange blossom) on right.
Reporting Marks: FL 1845.
Thirty-third release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

There is a road sign in the Sunshine State that holds more than a passing interest to me: "End 1". By that, I mean U.S. Highway One, which begins in Maine and ends in Key West, Florida. Wanderer that I am, I have often thought about driving the entire length of US 1 over time, and perhaps the best known mileage of that route is the Overseas Highway that hops more over the ocean than the Florida Keys that it connects. Railfans know those 130 plus miles of US 1 as the former Florida East Coast "Overseas Railroad" that was built by railroad and real estate magnate Henry Flagler, opened in January 1912 and almost totally destroyed in the Hurricane of 1935. The book "Last Train to Paradise" is an excellent read on the topic. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Centuries before there were Federal Highways or railroads, Native American tribes such as the Seminole, Utina, Choctaw and Creek inhabited what was not exactly a paradise: swamps, snakes, and lots of water, but not always the useable kind. Before the Europeans, native societies of the peninsula developed cultivated agriculture, trade with other groups and a social organization reflected in temple mounds and village complexes. Ponce de León is generally credited with being the first European to set foot there, or should I say come ashore, near St. Augustine in April 1513. He gave the area the name based on the Spanish Eastertime celebration "Pascua Florida" (feast of the flowers). Early attempts at colonization were beaten back by natives, disease and pirates, but St. Augustine was the first permanent settlement in the United States as of 1565. If you don't count its being looted and burned by England's Sir Francis Drake in 1586. The French parried there as well, and I've already mentioned the pirates including the famous Blackbeard. England took over Florida in 1763 but Spain got it back in 1783 as part of the peace treaty that ended the American Revolution. As payback for Spain allowing Britain to use Pensacola as a naval base during the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson stormed it, and kept at it until Spain ceded control to the United States in 1821. Many Americans including escapees from slavery had already made their home there. That meant trouble for the Native Americans and the "War of Indian Removal" which was looked after by, among others, the same Andrew Jackson, this time as President. Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845. It seceded into the Confederacy in January 1861 but was not as ravaged by the Civil War as other states to the north. After the war, farming shifted from plantation type to cultivation by tenant farmers and sharecroppers, both African American and white. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It would be hard to select a state on which there was greater impact from the coming of the railroads. They brought tourists in and citrus out. With the state tied into the network, it was possible to ship fresh oranges from South Florida to the Northeast in just a few days. Henry Flagler and Henry B. Plant built huge hotels along their rail lines to meet the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and those who were able to afford a vacation anyway. But the 1920's brought two hurricanes, land scandals, and the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. And then came the Depression. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The post-World War II years saw the shift from railroads to aircraft and automobiles as the dominant way for the huge influx of tourists to reach Florida, just as it had elsewhere. Population skyrocketed, placing the Sunshine State fourth overall among the United States, and the economic base diversified as well, with a number of large companies relocating headquarters there. CSX is the dominant major rail carrier, but don't count out the Florida East Coast, without its Overseas Railroad but with its solid operation running down the East Coast of the state. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first visit to Florida was not early on in my personal States Quest; it took place in 1996 and was among the last few in the fifty state journey. And it was the hard way: driving all the way down from Atlanta to Tallahassee and back in a single long day. There were two notable things about that trip, only one of which I will tell you here: I met Don Parker the author of two enjoyable books on the lighter side of being a deputy sheriff, and of course I had them autographed. (He turned up many years later on a rerun of "To Tell The Truth" on the Game Show Network and I disqualified myself from the family guessing game.) The other story is too good to not include in a future Irwin's Journal installment so it will have to wait. I didn't set foot in the Sunshine State again until 2004 with a short business trip in the Tampa/St. Pete area, literally my first time on the peninsula that so many people, and theme parks, call home. Key West is on my "Places to Visit Before I Die" list, if only to say I drove the Overseas Highway. Look out, Route One, here I come! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


515 00 130, Magne-Matic Coupler, $19.85, 515 00 131, Marklin Coupler, $18.05.
40 Foot Wood Double Sheathed Boxcar, Single Door, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M).

Boxcar red with white lettering including company name and reporting marks on left. Red and white early 3M logo on right.
Reporting Marks: MINX 1040.
Approximate Time Period: late 1940's to early 1960's.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

When this car was done in N Scale in November of 1999, it was not only a "not a reprint" from the February 1975 release, it was not even on the same body style as the original! Back in '75, the first 3M car was done on a 42000 series wood boxcar with horizontal brake staff; when redone it was on a 39000 with vertical brake staff. And here in 1:220 it's done with the vertical brake staff as well. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The car copy for this release is identical to that for MTL's N Scale run of the "not a reprint". Although refurbished in 1948 which gives the start of the ATP, I couldn't resist a peek at the October 1919 ORER to see if the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company operated the car nearer its given 1910 build date. The verdict: If they were, they weren't telling anyone. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The July 1950 Register has a listing of 49 total cars in the employ of 3M, including the series 1001 to 1040. These looked like boxcars, and they were described as "Special Box, Steel Underframe, Roof Hatches," but as such, they were given the AAR Classification "LC". The inside length was 40 feet, and the inside height was 7 feet 11 inches versus an extreme height of 13 feet 11 inches. Some of that would have been the hatches, but that suggests to me that there was some sort of lining or equipment inside the car which cut down its available space. "Note A" attached to this specific series is neat: It mentions what cars are "vacant", namely, 1003, 1004, 1007, 1008, 1010, 1011, 1012, 1014, 1015, 1018, 1022, 1025, 1028, 1033, 1037. Just in case you'd like to pick up 25 copies of this car and renumber to model the entire series! The notation for all 49 cars is most interesting: "Cars, when made empty, should be returned to [3M] Wausau, Wisconsin, destination routing Chicago & North Western or Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, or Corona, California, destination routing Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe." The Wausau location was gone by the January 1955 ORER, as was the 1017 from the series. By January 1959's Register there were just 10 cars in the group and the 1040 was among the missing. Only 31 cars were left to service the Corona facility. Just two cars, the 1019 and 1027 remained among a total of only 12 cars in the January 1964 ORER, and the routing location was Copley, Ohio via the Akron, Canton and Youngstown. Well, these cars certainly did get around. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I was curious back in 1999 as to what went on in Corona, California, and it turns out that the company still operates a "surface mine" there according to Riverside County records. It's tied to the firm's "Safety, Security and Protection Services Business," part of which is "Industrial Mineral Products." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We'll end with some reprinting from the November 1999 UMTRR, start quote:

What is now the multifaceted global business called simply "3M" began around the turn of this century as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, a venture to mine and process abrasive material for sandpaper and grinding wheels. That enterprise almost died on the vine but the company abandoned the "mining" and concentrated on the "manufacturing" instead. New ideas were encouraged from the very start and the company, still known worldwide as an innovator, brought to market diverse products from sound recording tape to fabric protector spray. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There's a bit of an innovative approach to 3M's website as well. It's not always 100% positive spin control on its history, like almost every other corporate web site I've seen. Take, for example, the story of its trademark. A direct quote: "Today, 3M cares a lot about its logo. But at the turn of the century, 3M was more concerned about its survival than it was about a logo." In fact, the company calls its logos up to the oval version depicted on this month's reprint "nonchalant trademarking"! That oval was in general use soon after its debut in 1950 but there were so many variations that a common branding approach was still lacking. It almost seems a bit schizophrenic to me. 3M has always been a kind of conglomeration of new products borne of new ideas-- Post-It® notes and Scotch® brand tape being the two that come to my mind first-- so the idea of a single identity may have been a bit distasteful to all of those rather independent operations. While the oval logo was replaced in 1961, it took until 1977 and a complete image redesign for the company to achieve a unified identity under a single logo-- and a rather simple red one at that. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

981 01 040, Magne-Matic Coupler, $185.95, 981 01 041, Marklin Coupler, $184.15.
GP-35 Locomotive, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Blue and yellow "warbonnet" scheme with large "Santa Fe" across long hood, number on cab and modified striped circle cross herald on nose. Yellow handrails, black underframe, aluminum trucks.
Road Number: 2893 (will be "ATSF 2893" on website listing.
Approximate Time Period: 1984 to 1999 (given by MTL).
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, the folks at MTL make this review easy with the car copy-- or perhaps I should say locomotive copy. This loco was built in 1965 as part of the series 1300 to 1460, was repainted and renumbered in 1970, and was painted and renumbered again in 1984 into the version that MTL modeled. BNSF lettering was applied in 1999, my guess is that it was on the cab at first. And there you have your ATP. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

How about some pictures? Well, there's one of the very 2893 on the site, as of June 1991 in Boise City, Oklahoma. And there's one of sister unit 2896 as lensed in October 1983 in Phoenix by Tom Fassett, on his photo review of ATSF diesels. Tom has a number of '35s shown and all of them have some extra appliances of some sort behind the cab. That could be air conditioning, as, according to the ATSF All Time Diesel Roster the unit as done by MTL is actually a GP 35u rebuild. And so the 2893 has this too. If this is a bother, I think it wouldn't be difficult to fabricate something, particularly in Z Scale. Jeff Tritthart has an example of what these units looked like in BNSF paint in the form of number 2501 as lensed in August 2004. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Another painting data point: These units were assigned the number series 3561 to 3718 in the Santa Fe Southern Pacific merger, which as we know didn't work out. "Shouldn't Paint So Fast" as they said then. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


520 00 030, Magne-Matic Coupler, $18.05, 520 00 031, Marklin Coupler, $16.25.
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Southern Railway.

Brown with white lettering including
Road Number: 45784 (will be "SOU 45784" in website listing).
Previous Release (as catalog 13803): Road Number 45782, May 1988.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

Both the original run and the reprint-- and, for that matter, the N Scale releases of the same road numbers-- come from the prototype series 45650 to 46002. The N Scale reprint with this number has a "New" date of February 1939 and a Built date of June 1943-- uh, oops. But it gives us a place to start looking. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That place would be the January 1940 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) and although the series is listed, there's not that much data, just the inside dimensions (40 feet 6 inches long, 9 feet wide, 8 feet high), the outside length (42 feet 3 inches), capacity (80,000 pounds) and the door opening (6 feet). Now that's usually about all that I pass along myself, but there are a number of other data points that these entries usually list. Could this have been more of a "coming soon" item? There were all 353 cars in the group, though. A trip back to a 1935 Register confirms that they weren't listed there. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No, apparently I'm wrong on the "coming soon", since the January 1945 ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM) has the same small list of dimensional data and the same 353 car count. The January 1954 ORER shows a slight slip to 349 cars. Given the precipitous decline in livestock traffic that began in the Fifties, I am surprised that there was still a pretty healthy count of 245 cars in the January 1964 Register. But by April 1970 that count is zero and the series numbers have been partially reclaimed for a group of boxcars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Putting "Southern" plus "stock car" into a search engine yields mostly references to the stock cars that are driven around racing tracks, not ones that roamed the rails some forty years ago. I couldn't come up with any 'net based images from the usual sources. The only reference I found with respect to the paint scheme was that the Champ Decal sets HD-3 and HN-12 specify a "red car"; but that could certainly include "freight car red". We know that the MTL body style in both N and Z directly take after a New York Central prototype, so other roadnames are going to include some compromises. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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