UMTRR March, 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.

032 00 440, $19.55
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Transport Leasing/Jewel Tea Company.

Gray with red lettering including reporting marks on left. Red, black and white "JEWEL" name on left. Red, black and white company trademark and slogan "Pleasant Shopping with Friendly People" on right. Gray draft gear and couplers.
Reporting Marks: TLDX 33.
Approximate Time Period: 1964 (build date) through early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

In December, we saw what was done with five cars of the Transport Leasing series TLDX 33 to 39 when these cars were built in 1963: they were painted for Libby's. Here's the rest of the story on the other two of that group. If you're from Chicagoland, you most likely know about Jewel, the supermarket. But "Pleasant Shopping with Friendly People" doesn't just apply to you going to them. For many years, the Jewel Tea Company came to you. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"It is the dominant firm in a highly specialized form of retailing, the so-called 'home-service industry,' as well as holding an important place in the food-chain-store field," wrote John S. Wright in "A Brief Marketing History of the Jewel Tea Company" in the Journal of Marketing, for July 1957-April 1958 (amazing what you can find on the 'net, isn't it?). "The Jewel Tea Company is essentially two distinct businesses operating under joint management," Wright described. "The Home Service Routes Department consists of approximately 2,000 routes in forty-one states. Each route is operated by a driver-salesman who calls on a set of customers once every two weeks in order to sell them coffee, tea, spices, and other relatively high-value food specialties. In 1956 sales of this division were nearly $78 million, or 23 percent of the company total for the year." One of the key marketing strategies the company used was premiums: buy enough, get a free item. The best known premium was their "Autumn Leaf" china which is probably in more homes today than we suspect! The home sales, believe it or not, lasted into the 1980's as an operation of Jewel, and was then spun off to its management and route operators where it continues to exist as "JT's General Store." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The supermarket end of the business got started when the Chicagoland "Groceteria" operations of the Canadian concern Loblaw's were purchased by Jewel in 1932. Putting into place the "Jewel's Ten Commandments," which focused on customers and employees, the company rose to become the number one grocery store operator in the area, beating out national rivals like A&P. The company was an early adaptor to the large supermarket concept, and built big boxes in the suburbs before its rivals did. Jewel was acquired in 1984 in a hostile takeover by Albertson's, but the name is still in use. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That's a bit of the history of the company; the history of the car parallels the Libby's car from the same series. I'll "reprint" from the December 2005 UMTRR. 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. © 2006 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. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

036 00 070, $23.95
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Plug Door, Santa Fe.

Red sides, black ends, roof, upper and lower side sills, and details. White lettering including reporting marks on left and large circle cross on right. Small white and yellow "Super Shock Control" slogan at top left.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 48050.
Approximate Time Period: 1964 (build date) through mid 1970's, or mid 1980's with roofwalk removal.
Note: First regular run release, but originally part of NSC Western Roads 3-Pack (NSC 02-89) with road number 48216 and NSC ID 02-88.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

It's two in a row for the Morning Sun Color Guide to Pullman-Standard! The 48050 is shown on Page 17 in a three-quarter view that reveals the alignment with how MTL painted the car. With the two plug doors occupying 15 feet 6 inches of the side, I guess that the Santa Fe was forced with a choice between a large "Super Shock Control" slogan and a large circle cross, and selected the latter, perhaps for consistency. But note that the famous herald is to the right of the doors; it was much more typically to the left. Micro-Trains' car copy is right out of the caption, except for the number series, of which the 48050 was the first of 500 cars. Two more of those 500 are pictured in the MSCG to the Santa Fe, Page 43; there's the 48138 in Ohio 1967 and the 48216 in San Francisco in November 1964, just two months after it was built. The 48216 had a sideboard requesting return to the New York Central in Kalamazoo, Michigan, not present on the other two examples. To MTL's credit, that sideboard is included in their run of this car for the N Scale Collector in 2002! Finally, on the George Elwood's Fallen Flags site there is a black and white photo of ATSF 48057, with its roofwalk gone, its plug door hardware looking quite out of sorts and its original paint scheme apparently changed to all red-- but it's hard to tell-- as lensed in January 1985. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1970 ORER shows the group down ten cars already, to 490, with AAR Class "XM" and description "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors, Shock Control." The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 57 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 15 feet 6 inches and capacity 4950 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. N Scale Ruler in hand, I was about to call MTL on a "door thing," but no, the double plug doors on the 36er body style do add up correctly by my reckoning, and they are staggered with the auxiliary door on the left of center on both sides of the car. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1976 Register showed the group down only another four pieces, to 486 cars. Taking the hint from the Fallen Flags photo, I skipped to January 1985 where there remained 453 cars in a main series plus six small subgroups differing only in capacity. But the October 1986 ORER showed just 62 cars left, and less than 40 were on the roster in the July 1987 book. I would speculate that this was a rebuilding or renumbering rather than a retirement, but I can't be sure. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

106 00 240, $17.80
50 Foot Steel 15 Panel Gondola with Cover, Burlington (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy).

Red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "Burlington" roadname in center. Small black and white "Burlington Route" herald on right. Red cover.
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 83107.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1959 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q, Page 90, has this car, and much of MTL's car copy as well. Talk about response to shipper requirements... the cars were built in 1958 and rebuilt in 1959. You can't get much more "late 1950's" on the ATP than early 1959, by the way. Looking at the picture of the prototype versus the model, there are two items that are different. First, the Burlington herald is on a placard is attached to the second and third ribs to the right; MTL cheated a little by placing a smaller herald directly on the car between the second and third ribs. That can easily be addressed if you're so inclined. Second, and this is just for you rivet counters-- rivets to count. Specifically, there are two rows of them, one near the bottom and one close to the top of the sides. Perhaps these were required when the gon was increased in height by 14 inches. That can be addressed to, with a rivet wheel and sufficient pressure. On the plus side, MTL does a great job of capturing the additional lettering at the top of the sides and just to the left of the ladder on the right-- uh, which should be grabs, oh well. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1964, which is getting a lot of use this time around, tells a different story from the MSCG. There is a larger Burlington series, numbered 82200 to 83139, which is of open gondolas with what I'll guess is the original dimensions. These are listed as "Gondola, Steel, Solid Ends, Steel Floor. There is a subseries of these that are the rebuilds. These are 52 feet 6 inches inside length and 9 feet 6 inches inside width, but the inside height is 4 feet 6 inches, not 3 feet 6 inches. The outside length is 55 feet 1 inch and the extreme height is also a foot more than the main group, at 8 feet 3 inches. Maybe it's the new math but I don't get a delta of 14 inches anywhere, yet that's what the MSCG says. The cubic footage is up to 2259 from 1761 on the as-built group, but the capacity remained at 140,000 pounds. The end notation calls out the same dimensional differences I did and adds the "sectional roof" to the cars, then gives the 26 individual car numbers, of which the MTL model is one: 82297, 82342, 82358, 82471, 82481, 82508, 82571, 82627, 82895, 83006, 83077, 83105 to 83109, 83112, 83115 to 83120, 83125, 83128 and 83129. So you can get four more examples of the car by changing the last digit only, and only to 5, 6, 8 or 9. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Burlington Northern entry in the April 1970 shows a reorganization of the CB&Q gondolas that results in more series being carved out of the general group 82200 to 83139. However, the same 26 cars are still present, as are their covers. In the April 1976 entry, things are a mess, with even more series, but the bottom line is that there are just 16 gondolas left with covers, and the 83107 is not one of them. (You're still good with 83105, 83106, and 83108 from the easy renumbering candidates.) Oh, and the reason for the regrouping? More "side raising," with some of the gondolas rebuilt to an interior height of 5 feet 4 inches. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

109 00 260, $16.95
Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car, Commonwealth Trucks, Atlantic Coast Line.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks and roadname on side of depressed portion of car. Includes simulated drag line bucket load.
Reporting Marks: ACL 79104.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1957 build date given by MTL) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I have a bit of a burning question to ask about this car, but it can wait a few more bytes. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We start the ORERs in January 1964, where there is a group of eight DC flats numbered 79100 to 79109. (MTL says there were nine built, which I validated.) The group is broken into seven in the main series and one exception that was dedicated to a special commodity service and wasn't available otherwise. The cars had an "inside length" of 57 feet 8 inches overall and 22 feet in the depressed deck, an "inside width" of 9 feet, and an "outside length" of 58 feet 4 inches. The depressed deck was just two feet above the rails, that's the top of deck so I'm not conflicting with Micro-Trains car copy stating "Fully loaded, this car was only 7 and 3/8 inches above the rails." The capacity was a hefty 250,000 pounds, and a notation adds that the car was designed for all of that to be placed across an 18 foot span in the center of the car. The note also states that the depressed deck was steel and the end decks were wood, which will keep the detailers among us busy for a little while. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although the Seaboard Coast Line merger and its accompanying easy to understand renumbering program were in effect by the April 1970 ORER, two specific cars, this 79104 and the 79108, were still around in ACL paint. I don't know why the SCL people thought that not listing the car count would prevent us from counting to two in this instance! Anyway, by April 1976 there is only the 79108 shown with ACL reporting marks, so the 79104 was either retired or restenciled into the SCL series 679103 to 679110. Basically, just switch the "ACL" for "SCL" and drop a "6" in front of the number, and you're there; but you're outside the ATP. And, I would think, inside a chance for a future MTL release. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, now for my burning question: What is a drag line bucket, or dragline bucket, anyway? Well, after chasing a bucket full of cookies away from my PC, I have a quote from and/or Wikipedia: "A dragline bucket system consists of a large bucket which is suspended from a boom (a large truss like structure). The bucket is maneuvered by means of a number of ropes and chains. The hoistrope, powered by large diesel or electric motors, supports the bucket and hoist-coupler assembly from the boom. The dragrope is used to draw the bucket assembly horizontally. By skillful maneuver of the hoist and the dragropes the bucket is controlled for various operations." Among these operations are strip mining, particularly for coal, and that's where these drag buckets get Huge. One pictured at its base at a coal mine in Queensland, Australia holds 143 metric tons. A much smaller 3 cubic yard drag line bucket was listed on eBay for $4900, buy it now. This is serious stuff; there are patents on different processes of, uh, drag line bucketing. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

112 00 040, $23.95
89 Foot Tri-Level Open Auto Rack, Trailer Train/Erie Lackawanna.

Freight car red flat car and rack. Mostly white lettering including Trailer Train trademark (with yellow "TT" in center) at center of flatcar and reporting marks on right of flat car. White EL herald and roadname on placard on left of racking.
Reporting Marks: KTTX 901010.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960s to mid-1970s.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The book "Merging Lines: American Railroads 1900-1970" by Richard Saunders, Jr. devotes an entire chapter to the joining of the Erie Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western into the Erie Lackawanna, a marriage that was official on September 17, 1960. The title of the chapter is "The Erie Lackawanna: The Agony of the Perfect Merger". Saunders wrote that "it was the first major merger of competing railroads that did not have a prior corporate linkage... Everyone smiled... In that fleeting moment everyone pretended that the future was bright... They were run by technocrats who loved the railroad and wanted it to be able to perform those services, trying to solve the railroad's problems without government help." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As with most railroad consolidations, the seeds of the Erie/DL&W merger were planted many years before the actual union took place. In 1954, both lines were still healthy but still past their peak, and agreed to two coordination moves which, at the time, were bold. The Erie moved its passenger operations upriver a few blocks from its terminal along Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City to the Lackawanna's Hoboken Terminal. (The land on which the Erie's yard sat became Newport Centre.) More dramatically, some seventy miles of parallel operations between Binghamton and Corning in New York's Southern Tier would move to Erie trackage, with nearly all of the newer Lackawanna torn up. It took until 1956 for the passenger station shift and until 1959 for the Southern Tier joint operation. Meanwhile, in 1956 a merger was announced-- but it was a three-way including the Erie, Lackawanna and the Delaware and Hudson. Two years of study followed, but the recession of 1959 hit the D&H much less hard. The computation that the smaller D&H would have been the surviving company sunk the three-way deal. And by 1959 the Erie and DL&W were fighting for their lives. The rest of the story is in "Merging Lines," and like the rest of the book, it reads like a great novel. (Which is another way of saying, you really ought to read this book.) Though we know that the EL ultimately failed, with the final blow being the devastation of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, Saunders acknowledges: "The Erie Lackawanna would demonstrate why consolidation was not a panacea, although before it was all over... it also showed how an honest little underdog could run circles around the dinosaur-- the Penn Central-- that became its main competitor." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Part of the way that the EL intended to survive was through distinctive service, and part of that service was expedited merchandise, including the cargo carried on the auto rack that MTL models this month. I need to fudge a bit on the Approximate Time Period with an assumption which I don't think is wrong. The KTTX series exists in the January 1964 but the 901010 doesn't; it's definitely in the April 1970 Register. But the EL paint including the roadname in a box (but not including the hyphen that was used in "Erie-Lackawanna" until late 1963) can place the car in service prior to 1970, and the lack of consolidated stencils on the flat car says the same thing to me. Anyway, the vitals on the rack are as follows: inside length 89 feet 3 inches, outside length 93 feet 7 inches, extreme height a misleading 7 feet 2 inches-- that's not counting the racking-- capacity 116,000 pounds. While the series ran from 900979 to 901072 for 50 cars of AAR Type F89ch, that's also misleading because there's no guarantee that there were EL racks on any of the other cars, as MTL notes in its car copy. Due to this randomization, there's not a lot of point to tracking the whole life of KTTX 901010 either; it probably outlasted the Erie Lackawanna's diamond herald by a number of years. I'm calling the ATP at the mid-1970s since that's when Conrail freight car red replaced the EL's. I did not come up with any photos to share, but I suspect that this car can be found in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the EL; and if someone out there can verify I'll be happy to post that Incremental Information. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 230, $20.95
40 Foot Box Car, Plug Door, British Columbia Railway.

Green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname on right. Multicolor "dogwood" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: BCOL 8006.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's to mid 1980's.
Previous Releases (as catalog 21230): Road Number 8004, May 1992; Road Number 8002, March 1999.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I didn't realize that it had already been seven years since the previous run of this car, but fortunately it's not so far away that I can't "reprint" myself from the March 1999 UMTRR, with of course some updates. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

On April 1, 1972, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway officially changed its name to the British Columbia Railway, and traded in their previous caribou and "map" heralds for a striking orange, green and white flower, and their box car red for a green that suggested growth and vitality. The line became BC Rail, and its colors became red, white and blue, and then became part of the Canadian National system. But back in '72, it was an interesting move for a railway that had pretty much labored in relative obscurity. Had the PGE or BCOL reached its ultimate dream goal, though, it would hardly have stayed in the background; it would have been the first and only rail link to Alaska. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's trek back to the December 1973 Official Guide of the Railways and see that the BCOL offered daily passenger service from North Vancouver to Prince George, 462 miles through some of the most spectacular, and isolated, country in North America. Rail Diesel Cars were the standard equipment on Numbers 1 and 2, the "Cariboo Dayliner," and, yep, that is "Cariboo" with two o's. It's named for the area's mountain range, not the animal.(I had to check too.) It was an all day excursion leaving North Vancouver at 800 hours and arriving in Prince George at 2200 hours-- that's 10 PM for we folks "South of the Border"). From Prince George there was only freight service to Chetwynd, 193 miles farther north and east. Lines to Dawson Creek (not the TV series!) and Fort Nelson diverged there. Fort Nelson is on the Alaska Highway and is only around a hundred miles from the Northwest Territories. That would probably qualify the BCOL as one of the farthest north railways connected into the North American system. (The Alaska Railroad is, of course, even farther north, but its rail connections are by sea.) © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Predating the BCOL, the February 1964 ORER shows Pacific Great Eastern series numbered 8000 to 8011, classified AAR code "XMIH" and complete with "thermostatically controlled underslung alcohol heaters" and "3 inch thick insulation." You'd better have those if you're going to Fort Nelson! April 1976 shows that the 11 original cars were still around, but could be lettered either "PGE" or "BCOL". That's not much help. January 1985 found just six cars remaining under the "BC Rail" listing numbered 8003 to 8011. These hung around until the July 1989 ORER but were gone from the October 1991 Register. Chances are that the roofwalk would have been gone before then anyway. Oh, wait, let me give the vital statistics: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 9 feet 5 inches (limited by the insulation), outside length 42 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet, capacity 3356 cubic feet or 113,000 pounds. Ian Cranstone notes these cars were built by "DOSCO" or Dominion Coal and Steel, which was Eastern Car Company and became Hawker Siddeley then Trenton Works. This on his Canadian Freight Cars site where they are shown as gone by 1990 in alignment with my findings. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Note: Releases not listed are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.

021 00 399, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Hawaii 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 (Nene) and state flower (Hibiscus) on right.
Reporting Marks: HI 1959.
Thirty-fifth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The "modern history" of our fiftieth state does not stretch back nearly as far as it does for the other forty-nine. It was well into the A.D. calendar when Polynesians traveled from Tahiti to these islands in outrigger canoes. But think about how perilous that journey must have been, over two thousand nautical miles more than one thousand years ago. Put another way, Tahiti is about as far below the Equator as Hawaii is above it. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

At any rate, the Polynesians made it, and from sometime before 750 A.D. to 1778 lived by themselves. Which is not surprising: the islands are 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan, 4,900 miles from China, and 5,280 miles from the Philippines. In other words, the most isolated population center on earth. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Captain James Cook was called the first to "discover" the territory, and gave it the name "Sandwich Islands" after the Earl of Sandwich. (Who already had, well, the sandwich named after him.) But Spaniards had visited before that and witnessed a volcano eruption. The islands were placed under a British protectorate in 1794. Other Western countries tried to gain control as well; missionaries did convert most natives to Christianity. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Hawaiian civilization was united under King Kamehameha in 1810, starting a dynasty that lasted into the 1890's when it was replaced by a republic. In 1840 a constitution was added to the monarchy, in 1848 the concept of "fee simple" land ownership was granted to commoners, and in 1882 the only royal palace in the now-USA was built on Oahu. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Key crops of the islands are not as old as I thought. Pineapple came from Spain (!) in 1813, coffee was first planted in 1817 and those wonderful (if highly fattening) macadamia nuts were not cultivated until 1892. Sugar plantations were begun in 1835, and the first train operated in 1879 on Maui to haul that sugar cane. This was the year after the first telephone was installed in Hawaii! But at least I have something to say about trains. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In 1898 the islands were annexed to the United States and the Stars and Stripes replaced the Hawaii flag. The City of Honolulu began streetcar service in 1901. Two years later a Joint Tourism Committee was formed and one of the key industries of the territory began in earnest. But that was without outdoor billboards starting in 1927 when they were banned! In 1935, the first scheduled flights from San Francisco began, and took 21 1/2 hours using the famous "China Clipper". © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If there is any one Hawaiian historical event with which most people are familiar, it is the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which brought the United States into World War II. After the war's end, the tourism business took off; over 40,000 people visited in 1948, when it was still a long journey from the mainland. With jet service available now, the numbers currently stand in the millions. The fiftieth state entered the Union on August 21, 1959. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While most people think of the weather in the Aloha State as always perfect, the 1946 "Great Tsunami" did significant damage to the island of Hilo, Hurricane Iwa struck in 1982, and Hurricane Iniki caused $2 billion in damage in 1992. And then there is the ever-present danger of volcanoes, from which the islands rose millions of years ago. It's a balance between beauty and danger, to be sure, but today more than one million people call the islands their home. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Rosemary and I visited as-- what else?-- part of our honeymoon in August 1991, our only appearance there to date. It was just a stop on the way to the main event (Australia), but it was certainly a fun couple of days. We took in some of the usual tourist destinations but also took the rental car-- a convertible Mustang, which I still remember fondly-- to the back side of Oahu, where tourist traffic is much lighter, and I enjoyed what is still one of the all time great hamburgers I've ever eaten. (They cooked it with vermouth, which burns off but leaves a great taste.) We also splurged on a helicopter ride over Oahu, and the video is in the archives someplace. And I can't leave out the fact that I drove on Hawaii's interstate highways, which of course leads to the imponderable question, how can Hawaii have interstate highways? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Hawaiians include entertainer Don Ho, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye who was also Hawaii's first congressman, political leader Sanford Dole who was the Republic's first governor, astronaut Ellison Onizuka, actress and recent "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Tia Carrere, actress and singer Bette Midler (born in Honolulu), baseball pitcher Sid Fernandez, and beauty contest winners Carolyn Sapp (Hawaii's first Miss America, 1991), Brooke Mahealani Lee (Hawaii's first Miss USA and Miss Universe) and Angela Perez Baraquio and Leslie Lam (Miss America and Mrs. America both in 2001). © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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


507 00 290, Magne-Matic Coupler, $26.90, 507 00 291, Marklin Coupler, $25.10.
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Santa Fe "Super Shock Control."

Red sides, black ends, roof, upper and lower side sills, and details. White lettering including reporting marks and large circle cross herald on left. Black and yellow "SL Insulated" legend at top left. White and yellow "Super Shock Control - A Smoother Ride" on right.
Reporting Marks: SFRB 6572.
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's (1962 build date) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

To me this is the "classic" Santa Fe "Shock Control" scheme, and it has all the features with which the AT&SF began this series of cars. Although it's an insulated boxcar, it's classified as a refrigerator and carries the "RBL" designation from the Association of American Railroads classification series. More specifically from the ORER of January 1964, it's "SFRB Refrigerator, Shock Control, SL Loader." Hmm, maybe the ORER people read this right off the car. Anyway, the inside length was 50 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet 7 inches (less because of the insulation), outside length 54 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet, and capacity 4470 cubic feet or 135,000 pounds. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A nearly brand new SFRB 6572 was photographed in Columbus, Ohio in December 1962 and that photo appears in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Santa Fe by Lloyd Stagner. We get an ideal three-quarter view from above that shows the black outlining the red sides quite nicely. This car and its 49 sisters belonged to the Santa Fe class Rr-73, as did the larger group 5250 to 5599, all built at Topeka Shops in 1962 as MTL notes in its car copy. There are tiny quibbles that could be made with the model versus the prototype, but even if this weren't 1/220th actual size, they'd still be tiny quibbles. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Continuing the chronology, the April 1970 ORER showed all 50 cars intact along with a note that fork lift pallets "considered part of car" were added. Meanwhile, the sister series 5250 to 5599 was down a bit to 340 cars out of the original 350. In April 1976 just the last fifth of numbers in the group, 6590 to 6599, with 9 cars, kept the fork lift pallets and the rest, down to 39 cars, were once again without them. In April 1981 the count was 9 and 37 respectively. By this time, it's likely that the roofwalks would have been gone and it's also possible that the paint had been downgraded to something a bit less flashy. But one of the cars in the 5250's survived to 1984 in its original paint scheme and it's shown on the Fallen Flags site, albeit with an ominous "condemned" chalked next to the road number, which has been crossed out. That might have been the fate of the series we're interested in as well, since it was down to just eight total cars by January 1985. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

522 00 120, Magne-Matic Coupler, $17.85, 522 00 121, Marklin Coupler, $16.05.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Seaboard Coast Line.

Black with mostly yellow lettering including reporting marks on left, initials "SCL" in center and small herald on right. Includes simulated scrap load.
Reporting Marks: SCL 698045.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's (1971 build date, 1973 service date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item (both versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

So much for stealing from the previous N Scale release... it was back in March 1985 when this car was done in 1:160. And of course, if you wanted a load for it back then, you had to make one. MTL saves us the trouble with their first scrap load in Z. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1976 shows the series 698000 to 698099, which just five years after being built, is down to 73 cars out of the possible 100. We'll explain that in a moment. The full description was "Gondola, Steel, Drop Ends, End Doors: Width 8 Feet 9 Inches and Height 3 Feet 4 Inches, Axle Spacing 5 Feet 8 Inches, Truck Centers 43 Feet 8 Inches." That bit about the end doors as opposed to drop ends is unusual. The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 3 inches, outside length 57 feet 2 inches, height from rail 7 feet even, and capacity 1521 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It's not as bad as it looks for this series of 100. Twenty of the gons-- the 698045 not among them, fortunately-- were converted to assigned glass service by '76 through removal of the ends and the addition of end of car cushioning. Need a road number for this? Try 698048 or 698043, these seem relatively simple to make out of the trailing "5" of the road number. The only dimension which changed on the cars versus the original series was the outside length which went to 61 feet 5 inches. Coming up with a glass load, you may be on your own there. No, wait, try Hay Brothers. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the April 1981 Register, there were 66 cars in the main series and 18 in the glass service subseries. By January 1985's ORER, under the "Seaboard System" the total was all the way down to 19 cars, of which 18 were described as before and just one didn't mention the end doors. That's when I stopped looking and that does point to a fairly short ATP. That may explain why I didn't find any 'net based photos in the usual places. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

981 01 050, Magne-Matic Coupler, $195.95, 981 01 051, Marklin Coupler, $194.15.
GP-35 Locomotive, Chessie System/Chesapeake and Ohio.

Yellow, orange and dark blue with dark blue lettering including large "Chessie System" roadname across long hood and "Ches-C" herald on nose. C&O reporting marks and road number on cab. Orange handrails and stanchions.
Reporting Marks: C&O 3562.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's to late 1980's.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

It is very hard for me to believe that it was thirty four years ago, in 1972, that the Chessie System paint scheme was unveiled. In September of that year, the Chessie Cat was introduced on 85 GP40-2's according to a piece in "Classic Trains" Spring 2006 edition. They were painted in yellow, blue and vermillion-- except for "GM50," the diesel that celebrated EMD's fiftieth year in operation, which was gold. But I digress. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Geep would have been painted some time after this, but "early 1970s" will still do for the start of the Approximate Time Period. Given that the unit was purchased in 1964, it certainly didn't begin service with the Cat. It was C&O 3562 painted in the usual blue and yellow, delivered in October 1964 with EMD Build Order Number of 7737-3 as MTL reports. Two pictures of "the way it was" in Chesapeake and Ohio paint appear on the Fallen Flags site, from 1967 and 1971 respectively. And doesn't that paint scheme look significantly like CSX's current "Bright Future 2" decoration? There are dozens of photos of GP35s on Fallen Flags, some of which illustrate that it took a while for Chessie to replace the as-delivered C&O (witness number 3536 lensed in 1986, for example). An example in Chessie paint can be found one roster number up; the 3561 is shown at Salamanca, New York (on the old Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh, no less!) in 1987. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Chessie fans on the Z_Scale Yahoogroup have actually narrowed this paint job down to a specific Chessie shop-- Huntington. It seems that there were variations on the placement of the roadname on the long hood across the different shops of the system. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

How about the end of the ATP? Well, one source gives the Spring of 1986 as the time period in which CSX began to repaint locomotives from its predecessor schemes. Renumbering into a rationalized number scheme that took more from Seaboard than Chessie took place before that, leading to MTL's comment that "this loco wore this... 'Chessie System' paint scheme even after it was renumbered by CSX in the 1980ís." It was in fact renumbered to CSXT 4402, and then a lot more than that: it was rebuilt to a "slug" unit, CSX 2276 according to the Unofficial EMD Loco Page (you've gotta like that title). A "slug" unit is de-engined and works with one or more other powered units to provide incremental tractive effort; externally it may or may not look any different from the time that it moved under its own power. In the case of CSX, the access doors on the long hood were plated over in many cases. I don't have exact dates for this particular unit, but the renumbering dates to 1987 and 1988 according to a note, and CSX's conversion of GP30's and GP35's to slugs took place 1998 to 1991 according to an article at (which also has a lot more to say about slugs and how they work). A maintenance assignment roster from 1993 that I also found shows just one GP35 remaining, the 4426. © 2006 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.