UMTRR April, 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.
N SCALE NEW RELEASES:

020 00 736, $14.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown Door), Chicago Great Western.

Red oxide with yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and large "C" on right. Small red, black and white "Lucky Strike" herald on left.
Reporting Marks: CGW 5356.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's to mid 1960's as painted, see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

This exact car appears on Page 34 of the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to the Chicago Great Western by Gene Green. "The large 'C' on the right stands for Compartmentizer," Green reported, adding that there were just 15 cars out of the 600 in this particular group of PS-1s. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1955 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the series 5001 to 5600 labeled no more specifically than "Box". The 15 exception cars are classified XME versus XM for the main series. (By the way, do not fault MTL for putting "XM" on the car instead of "XME" or even "XL". It's wrong on the prototype too!) The inside length of these cars was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 40 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 11 inches, door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3903 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. As you can guess, we're interested in the 15 exceptions rather than the 583 in the main series. Note D explained the Compartmentizers and the road numbers of the cars that had them, ready? The fifteen road numbers given were 5037, 5059, 5119, 5139, 5249, 5268, 5271, 5289, 5314, 5396, 5404, 5455, 5516, 5547, and 5569. What do you mean, there's no 5356? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, we're OK. The January 1959 ORER shows the 5356 in its list of fifteen cars. It looks like there were "swap-outs"; the list in that volume was as follows: 5059, 5095, 5119, 5139, 5216, 5268, 5271, 5289, 5314, 5356, 5396, 5404, 5455, 5523 and 5560. I'll leave the figuring of the deltas between the lists to the reader. In January 1964, the 5356 was still among just eleven cars that still carried the Compartmentizers. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Which brings me to the point that said Compartmentizers didn't last all that long; they were removed beginning in 1963 but one of them kept the "C" until after 1968. Green notes that the 5356 and the 5268 were the last two cars of the fifteen to be in service with the extra equipment, so the mid-1960's end of the ATP is my best guess given the data I found. Perhaps validating this is a second photo on Page 38 of the MSCG with two cars from the same subset of fifteen, one of which, CGW 5289 to be exact, has the reporting marks without the lines above and below and also set lower on the car. That photo is dated August 1965. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the Chicago and North Western listing within April 1970's ORER, there was still quite the healthy complement of CGW cars including 492 cars in the main series 5001 to 5600, plus another 70 that were denoted as having Evans DF Loaders and an adjustment in the inside width from that equipment. No "C"s though. There was a simplified scheme painted on the overall fleet of CGW PS-1's before the 1968 merger into the C&NW, according to the MSCG. A similar scheme was done by MTL as catalog number 20046 in March 1991. The "as delivered" scheme that pre-dated the "Lucky Strike" herald but was still found on PS-1s was also done by MTL as their catalog 20466 in February 1999. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

077 00 110, $13.95
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown Door) Without Roofwalk, Penn Central.

Jade green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black roadname on left and large black herald on right. Reporting Marks: PC 160252.
Approximate Time Period: decade of the 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The April 1970 ORER shows that the series 160200 to 160599 contained 398 cars with the description "Box, Steel" and the following stats: inside length 50 feet 7 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 54 feet 7 inches, extreme height 14 feet 11 inches, door opening 10 feet (oops, a "door thing" as the MTL door is 8 feet wide) and capacity 4877 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. As if we need another indication of how mixed up the Penn Central was, the listings above and below this one in the ORER were "Box, Steel, 49 feet 8 inches but less than 59 feet 8 inches"! How's that again? It must have been interesting to try to order up a car for a specific sized load during those days! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It took a bit of digging, but by cross referencing the MSCG to the New York Central, the softcover "Freight Equipment of the New York Central Volume 1" and George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" site under the Penn Central listing, I almost have the rebuild information we're looking for. Fallen Flags has the spec sheet on these "stretch" boxcars that were rebuilt from forty foot NYC cars, first at Beech Grove, Indiana in 1965, 1966 and 1967 and taking New York Central numbers 205000 to 206499. There are several photos available in the books cited above. The Penn Central rebuilt 100 more in 1969 at Beech Grove as Lot-160B, then 109 more in 1970 as X-50D (using the Pennsy nomenclature for car classes), then 150 more at Altoona as X85's (reclassified from 968-B for explosives service). The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie, still a subsidiary of the PC at the time, got into the act with cars in the 31000 and 32000 number series. The only problem with all of this is that there is no PC 160252 in the listing! Could this have been a renumber from the New York Central 205000 to 206499 group? If so, there was quite a bit of attrition-- from 1500 number places to 300! By the way, if you're looking, it's Page 55 or "Spec 983" in the listing of the PC Freight Car Book on the Fallen Flags. Where does George Elwood get this great stuff?!? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, at the coming of Conrail in April 1976-- and that's thirty years ago this month, folks, yikes!-- the PC series stood at 334 cars, but by April 1981 that was all the way down to just five cars. They could have been repainted into Conrail colors, or perhaps just hastily restenciled, but either way, that's the end of the ATP. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Or is it? Is it possible that one of those five was really photographed in 1989? That's the date given on a photo of PC 160269 that appears on Fallen Flags, black roadname and herald and all. I think that the date given should be 1969, though. The car looks too clean and even the PC/Conrail combination wouldn't have gotten away with going twenty years between reweights (that date looks to be February 1969). Whatever the date, we do see a "ladder thing" to go with the "door thing," as the side ladders go only halfway up versus all the way up on the MTL model. And meanwhile, I've been told that there is a photo of this specific car in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Penn Central. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And one more photo that's even more intriguing before we move on: Buried in the photos on the Penn Central Railroad Online site is PC 160211, another sister car, that carries the roadname in a different font! "An early version of the PC scheme" is the caption, and the lot number is 968-B of the New York Central. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

092 00 210, $21.55
2 Bay Center Flow Covered Hopper, Great Northern.

Sky blue with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and large "outline goat" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: GN 173914.
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's (1968 paint date) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

MTL narrows it down for us nicely on this attractive paint scheme: "Three hoppers in the series are known to have been received sky blue paint in August 1968." I guess that'll limit the reprint possibilities. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The series in question is GN 173800 to 173999, with 198 of a possible 200 cars in the Burlington Northern listing for April 1970. The inside length was 34 feet 9 inches, outside length 36 feet 11 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and capacity 2970 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. April 1981's ORER had 174 listed. But the July 1989 Register had just seven and we don't really know whether any of the three "sky blues" were among them. I'd say not and so I ended the ATP in the early 1980's. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A photo of one of the other two CF2970 cars painted in sky blue appears in the January 1995 issue of Rail Model Journal. GN 173824 was lensed in July 1987 and carries significant weathering. This is part of RMJ's coverage of this American Car and Foundry model of covered hopper, which went to a number of different roads, as the MTL roster of releases will attest. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Wondering where to spot this car on your model pike? Well, sister car GN 173970 in the "usual" gray scheme was caught in 1977 by Bob Rivard at the Tuffy's Dog Food plant in Perham, Minnesota! That photo appears in the February 2004 issue of Rail Model Journal along with Bob's HO model of the same car-- which, he reports, used his very last set of Herald King decals! More importantly, the photo shows the fidelity of the MTL model to the prototype series, which should be excellent considering that the 92er body style is modeled directly after the ACF 2970 cubic foot car. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

111 00 071 and 111 00 072, $38.95
89 Foot Tri-Level (but see text) Enclosed Auto Rack, Norfolk Southern.

Brown with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left of flat car and herald and roadname on placard on racking.
Reporting Marks: NS 171428 (the 071) and NS 171430 (the 072).
Approximate Time Period: mid-1990's to early 2000's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

While it was thought that this release was a major goof by MTL, so far the evidence doesn't seem to support this. The ink wasn't even dry on the cyber-announcements of the April cars when it was quickly pointed out on the usual discussion sites that MTL put NS road numbers on their trilevel autorack that correspond to prototype bilevel racks. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And, to be fair, the statement appeared to be correct. The series NS 171400 to 171497, as listed in the January 2004 ORER, clearly states "Flat, Bi-Level." Let's hit the stats before going on: inside length 89 feet 4 inches, outside length 93 feet 10 inches, extreme height 19 feet, gross rail weight 195,000 pounds (that's the total of the car's light weight and its cargo). I traced back a few Registers and it looks like the car series came to have NS reporting marks sometime between 1992 and 1996. And by the way, the cars in the October 1996 Register were described ONLY as "Flat" with an AAR Designation of "FA" ("Flat car specifically equipped with superstructure or containers for transporting set-up vehicles") so that might be the source of how MTL put bi-level numbers on tri-level autoracks. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

However... the first clue that we were being subject to a sort of April Fool from the ORER-- which, like any publication including this one, isn't perfect-- were photos on the Fallen Flags site and on the site of long time UMTRR Gang Member Joe Shaw. I could not find any external spotting differences between the photos and the MTL models. None. The same number of sections on each side (nine), the same number of metal "panels" per section (four), the same width of the panels (long, short, five long, short, long) even the same number of rows of slots in the end doors (three). I know I'm using something farther out than the "one inch rule" but closer inspection than the "three foot rule". And it turns out that there's a good reason for this. The ORER description calls out bi-levels, but per Joe Shaw himself, the AAR Car Type Code that is in the ORER listing, namely, "V411," designates a Tri-level rack no matter what the description says. Other folks in the UMTRR Gang have forwarded other information to that effect. Therefore, the conclusion is that the cars are in fact tri-level autoracks, or at the very least, they were at one time. The additional wrinkle of reviewing prototype information for a car that is in fact two separate pieces is noted! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But note that there are only two cars in the series cited in the January 2004 Register, since that's my proxy for "to present" in the ATP and now I'm not entirely comfortable using "to present" in my ATP. Does "early 2000's" work, or is that too restrictive? Well, that's why it's approximate. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

020 00 006, $14.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Nickel Plate Road.

Aluminum with black lettering including reporting marks on left, small "NYC&StL" in top left corner and NKP roadname on right.
Reporting Marks: NKP 8505.
Approximate Time Period: late 1940's (1947 build date) to early 1970's.
Previous Release (as catalog 20006): Road Number 8502, April 1990.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, as the Nickel Plate was officially named, technically reached all three points in its name, if you count New York, the state, not New York, the city. Its easternmost point was Buffalo, and for many years it traded fast freight trains with the Lackawanna. The NKP competed using time-- faster service, faster schedules, faster deliveries, and as such it certainly held its own with rivals like the New York Central. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I kept my fingers crossed as I checked the ORER for January 1953, since I recalled that these aluminum cars were used in express service. I was right; but they're in the volume anyway. Specifically, the short series 8500 to 8509 is listed with AAR Classification "BX" and described as "Box, Aluminum Body, Steel Underframe." The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet (a bit shorter than the MTL model), outside length 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 6 feet, and capacity 3713 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. A notation read that "Cars... are equipped for Passenger Train Service having high speed trucks, steel wheels, [and] steam and signal lines." The "BX" designation stood for "Box Express", defined as "A box car constructed and equipped to render it suitable for passenger service." So go ahead and put this car into your version of the Nickel Plate Limited or the Westerner, two NKP trains I noted in a 1951 Official Guide of the Railways. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I found two remarkable things about this series of cars. First, not only did all ten make it to the merger of the NKP into the Norfolk and Western that took place in 1964, but six of them made it to the April 1970 ORER! (But they're gone by the next one in my Research Accumulation, April 1976.) Second, while I thought for sure that there would not be any photo evidence available on the Internet for a series with just ten cars, we have for you a Builder's Photo of NKP 8500 on the Fallen Flags site! In that photo, which is a straight on side view, the ladder and hardware is in black, but that may have been to show off those details as was the case with many of these official portraits. Rivet counters will also notice that there are in fact lots of rivets to count, since the car had riveted and not welded sides like the MTL 20er body style. (Well, I never said the prototype was a PS-1.) The signal and steam lines are plainly seen as well. There is some extremely small print, as in one-third the size of dimensional data, to the left of the door that's not on the MTL model, but I'll wager that they couldn't find out what it said. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The interior load included with this car includes a larger crate than in the first take on this from MTL that came inside the Seaboard boxcar (034 00 330). In fact, my first thought was that the loads should have been switched, to put the smaller packages in this NKP express car and the larger boxes in the Seaboard car! I'm sure that I'll hear about that... Meanwhile, you can see the load "uncoverage" here just as with the Seaboard car. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

046 00 290, $15.90
50 Foot Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Canadian Pacific.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname in center. Includes simulated railroad tie load.
Reporting Marks: CP 341998.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1957 build date given by MTL) to late 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog 46290): Road Number 342897, March 1986.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CP, page 85, shows this exact car as lensed in Toronto in April 1989 by John Riddell. Unfortunately, the end is near for the gondola as its reporting marks are lined out. It doesn't look as nearly as bad as some other white-lined cars I've seen. Perhaps it was just surplused and sold off. The brake wheel end isn't visible, so I can't comment on that, but for the nitpickers, there are only three grabs on the right instead of four on the MTL model (rivet, rivet). © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1959 shows the series 341500 to 342399 in two groups, one of which are "exceptions" with a slightly smaller weight capacity. Together the group is of 898 cars. They're described as "Gondola, Steel, Drop Ends, Solid Wood Floor" with the AAR Classification "GB". The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet, extreme height 7 feet 7 inches, and capacity 1746 cubic feet and either 155,000 pounds (the main series) or 152,000 pounds (the exceptions). Those exceptions also had nailable steel floors, and were in the subgroup 341695 to 341699. Five cars out of 898? OK, whatever... © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Next we go to Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" for more information. Ian has the large group split into three pieces based on build date: the 341500 to 341699 were from September 1955, the 341700 to 341899 were from October 1956 and the 341900 to 342399, as MTL reported, were from July and August 1957. So with a little creative renumbering, or use of the modeler's license, the ATP could be pulled back a bit, or your interpretation of "late 1950's" in said ATP could be flexible. Cranstone has all the cars gone by January 2002; I did a spot check of the April 1999 Register that corresponds to the photo date in the MSCG and noted that there were just four gons left in the group 341810 to 342267. The "forty year rule" (cars deemed to be older than that may not be used in interchange service) would have been invoked in the 1995 to 1997 timeframe, further validating the ATP. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
Note: Releases not listed are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.

021 00 400, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Colorado 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 (Lark Bunting) and state flower (Blue Columbine) on right.
Reporting Marks: CO 1876.
Thirty-sixth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Cliff dwellers are perhaps most closely associated with New Mexico, but starting sometime around the Year 1 A.D. the Mesa Verde region of what is now Colorado played host to the same residences. By the 1200's, though, the area was abandoned. These were most likely the Pueblo tribe of Native Americans, but the Ute lived in most of the area, and the Jicarilla (Spanish for "little basket") were among others who inhabited the area. The Spanish were the first from Western Europe to explore the territory, perhaps beginning with Coronado on his fruitless quest for the golden Seven Cities of Cibola. It would be a while longer before the land did give up its gold. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Much of Eastern Colorado was included as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, but instead of Lewis and Clark, it was Zebulon Pike who explored the area on behalf of the United States Government. Pike tried to climb a mountain but failed; it was named "Pike's Peak" anyway. The next couple of decades saw the co-existence of Native Americans with fur traders and trappers-- the "Mountain Men" like Kit Carson and Jim Beckworth. In the 1840's, Mexico granted land to the wealthy in order to try to hold the territory against the new Republic of Texas and the USA; that didn't work and the land was ceded to the United States in the treaty that ended the Mexican War. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Seven Cities of Cibola were never found, but in 1858 the call was "Pikes Peak or Bust" as gold was discovered in the area. Present day Denver was the site of four adjacent settlements. By 1861 Colorado Territory was organized, and fueled at least in part by a number of gold strikes, the population grew to nearly 40,000 by 1870. That same year, the Denver Pacific was constructed to link to the Union Pacific at Cheyenne, Wyoming. A year later, the Denver and Rio Grande headed out of town; not initially west, where it ended up, but south, until it was thwarted by the Santa Fe. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In 1876 Colorado became the 38th state, and became known as "The Centennial State" after its admission 100 years after American independence. The mineral strikes kept coming, particularly around Leadville where there was lots of silver. That was great until the Panic of 1893 and the repeal of the Sherman Act which turned that boom into a bust. It wouldn't be the last time. The fortunes of the many narrow gauge railroads in the state turned with the fortunes of the mining industry. In 1900, for example, Cripple Creek's mines output $20 million in gold-- and that's in 1900 dollars! Is it any wonder that Denver's capital dome is covered with real gold? That building was completed in 1904 but didn't get "gold plated" until 1908 at a cost of $14,680. You might already know that there's a stair on the capital steps that is exactly one mile in elevation above sea level; I'll wager it's the single most photographed stair-step in America! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Today, there's still mineral production, and there's still farming. But there's also a significant amount of high-tech enterprise, particularly in the Denver area, and, I must also point out, a surprising amount of sprawl, also particularly in the Denver area. Buildings so completely surrounded the Stapleton Airport that air traffic was moved to the Denver International Airport in 1995, just about in the middle of nowhere-- at least then. Many of those travelers are headed for the mountains for sightseeing, skiing, or both, depending on the season. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first visit to the Centennial State was sufficiently long ago that I landed at Stapleton Airport; Denver International hadn't been built yet. Specifically, it was 1986-- hey, twenty years ago!-- and after a couple of days in Denver, it was off to the Rockies. A "circle trip" included stops at Golden (had to see that Colorado Railroad Museum), Boulder, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park (including Fall River Road, not recommended for the faint of heart or widetrack vehicles!), Vail, Leadville, Tennessee Pass (where the Rio Grande ruled!), Cañon City, the Royal Gorge, and Colorado Springs before heading back to Denver. It was the first plane trip I made without my parents, and if I recall correctly, only my second plane trip, period. My brother and one of my best friends and his parents were the traveling companions. It would be a number of years before I would return, and then it would be strictly business, so the only other views I have had of the Rockies have been from a distance. But on my way back from western Nebraska on one of those business trips, I drove through northeastern Colorado, a rural agricultural area that I'll bet most tourists never get to see. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Coloradans include two of the cast of Home Improvement: Tim Allen and Zachery Ty Bryan (although Allen is more closely associated with Detroit, a website says he's from Denver); thriller movie actor Lon Chaney, leading actor Douglas Fairbanks, boxer Jack Dempsey, singer John Denver, TV hosts Ted Mack and Ralph Edwards, conductor Paul Whiteman-- that's music conductor, I should add!-- and Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll. And the song "America the Beautiful" is from Colorado, as poet Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write it at the summit of Pikes Peak. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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

HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

New Release:
850 00 011 and 850 00 012, $31.95 each
30 Foot Wood Sheathed Refrigerator Car, Colorado and Southern.

Yellow sides, freight car red roof, ends, sill below door, and trucks. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white circular herald on right.
Reporting Marks: C&S 1113 (the 011) and C&S 1116 (the 012).
Approximate Time Period: 1927 to 1938.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, here it is, the start of a new category in the UMTRR, corresponding with a new body style, and more. I am leading with it this issue although I don't think that it will permanently stay ahead of the N Scale releases in these bytes. But it's the first venture into a new scale for Micro-Trains Line since the company was split out of the "original" Kadee, so why not? A nice surprise is the issuance of two road numbers straight away, a practice that I think modelers will appreciate. The MSRP may seem a bit high at first-- it did to me-- but then, the HOn3 market is not very large and I can't imagine that it would support a huge production run. Therefore, more cost per item to cover the tooling. I have not compared other HOn3 item prices but I'll wager that I wouldn't find $31.95 too far out of line. Hey, high quality standard gauge HO freight cars regularly reach thirty bucks these days! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Colorado and Southern was formed out of the mess created out of the 1893 bankruptcy of the Union Pacific system. The UP-- or should I say, rail baron Jay Gould-- had control of two narrow gauge lines in Colorado, the Colorado Central and the Denver, South Park and Pacific. (I'm leaving out some of the intermediate names here.) When the UP went under, its subsidiaries did as well. Bondholders took over the standard gauge line from Wyoming to the New Mexico-Texas border, from whence affiliate line Fort Worth and Denver took over into Texas, eventually to the Gulf Coast. The C&S took control of the two narrow gauge lines and started operating them in January 1899. The controlling interest in the C&S was sold to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy in 1908. (And that's how the Burlington ended up with former Union Pacific-controlled trackage.) © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While the Colorado Central was somewhat better off than the South Park, both lines were already in decline by the turn of the century. Both lines had historic achievements-- the South Park was the second largest slim gauge road in the Rockies after the Denver and Rio Grande. The Colorado Central had the famous Georgetown Loop which was a tourist attraction even then. The Loop enabled the gaining of 638 feet of elevation in two miles using a full loop and two horseshoe curves, keeping the maximum grade to three and one-half percent. But neither's long term prospects were good, and the combination of fluctuating mine traffic and the encroachment of the highway meant the end for the C&S narrow gauge lines. Much of the Colorado Central is buried under US 6, with the key exception of the Georgetown Loop which was rebuilt and is once again a tourist attraction. Most of the South Park line was shut down in the late 1930's, with small portions kept and one key connector from Leadville to Climax converted to standard gauge to service a molybdenum mine that was strategic for the World War II effort. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Micro-Trains thoughtfully provides the entire Better Than Approximate Time Period for these two specific cars in the C&S series of wood reefers. Both the 1113 and the 1116 were painted in the manner modeled by MTL in 1927 and sold off to the Rio Grande Southern in 1938. (So, is it a stretch to predict that the next roadname for this car will be RGS?) Conveniently near the start of this ATP is the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for April 1928, which we'll go to. Of the total of 895 narrow gauge freight cars listed in the C&S registration are 25 refrigerator cars, of which 20 belong to the series 1100 to 1119. The inside length of these cars was just 23 feet, but that's between the ice tanks which carried 5712 pounds of chunk ice or 4896 pounds of chunk ice. The inside height was 6 feet and one-half inch, which means I could have just stood upright inside!-- and the inside width was 6 feet 7 inches. The outside length was 30 feet even, outside width was 7 feet 11 1/2 inches and the extreme height was 12 feet. The smallness of these cars can really be appreciated by considering the space capacity after the ice tanks are subtracted-- a mere 914 cubic feet! I think that's about the same displacement as my kitchen! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The slide in fortunes of the narrow gauge operation wouldn't be all that evident from the July 1935 edition of the ORER (Westerfield CD-ROM), with a drop in equipment to 790 pieces not all that alarming including a dip to 18 cars in the reefer series in which we are interested. However, there had been no additions of new rolling stock at all, based on the listings in '28 and '35. Considering that the C&S had started its attempt to legally shed itself of its 3 foot gauge operations starting in 1915 via abandonment proceedings, that's not too surprising either. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

500 00 100, Magne-Matic Coupler, $18.65, 500 00 101, Marklin Coupler, $16.85.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door (Youngstown or "Narrow Rib" Door), Rio Grande (Denver and Rio Grande Western).

Silver with black lettering including large reporting marks on left and "Speed Lettering" roadname on right. Red "Cookie Box" stenciling on left.
Reporting Marks: D&RGW 60034
Approximate Time Period: mid 1950's to early 1960's at least, see text.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

"Mommy, can I have a cookie?" There have been any number of times that my children have asked me this question in supermarkets, although now it's more direct: "Cookie Club!" Both of the major chains here in the UMTRR HQ vicinity have this feature: under a certain age, visit the bakery and get a free cookie. The "free fruit club" which was also briefly offered seems to have been swamped by the less healthy version of this program. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"Mommy, can I have a whole boxcar full of cookies?" It's certainly one of the more attractive loads utilizing dedicated service cars over the years, and in one of the more attractive cars no less. There's no real justification for my accumulating it, other than the overriding reason: "I like it" which trumps all logic. I suspect I'm not alone. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This marks the third time in these bytes that I have provided commentary on this car; the first two times were for N Scale runs in May 1999 and December 2002. We'll try to pull all of that together for this first release in 1:220. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

First off, the Rio Grande did not own any 40 foot PS-1 boxcars (they did own some fifty footers) so there are going to be discrepancies on this body style versus the prototype which came from Pressed Steel Car Company circa 1939. There is a very unusual door opening width-- just five feet, three inches, which sets up a little tiny "door thing" in Z Scale that is only worth mentioning as an absurdity with respect to Z-- that nine inch difference is an "actual size" of .04 inch on the car! (But that same "door thing" also makes everybody's N Scale releases technically wrong. Technically, that is.) If the model railroad manufacturers are to be believed, there was an all white version of this car in addition to the more familiar silver. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These cars were pulled from the original Rio Grande group numbered 68400 to 69899, refurbished in 1954 and 1955, and placed into dedicated service for the Keebler Cookie Company. Keebler was called the United Biscuit Company until 1966, but it began as the sole proprietorship of one Godfrey Keebler in 1853. Keebler was purchased by the Kellogg's of cereal fame in 2001; interestingly, they also own former Keebler rival Sunshine Biscuits. But I digress. Keebler had a bakery in Denver and its baked goods moved in these "Cookie Box" cars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1955 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the series 60000 to 60024 with AAR Classification "XI" for Insulated Boxcar and the description of just "Box, All Steel." Let's get "Note A" out of the way right now: "Cars... are specially equipped and assigned to bakery goods loading at Denver, Colorado." Well, we knew that already! Here are the key dimensions: inside length 40 feet, inside height 8 feet (no doubt the special equipment figured in here), outside length 42 feet 11 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening as mentioned 5 feet 3 inches wide by 8 feet high, capacity 2906 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The capacity was reduced from 3850 cubic feet and the inside height from 10 feet 4 inches in the "donor" series, by the way. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And then things get a little murky with respect to the Approximate Time Period. The January 1959 ORER shows the cars as an "addition" (?) and the January 1964 ORER shows the series as running from 60000 to 60076, a larger group. The April 1970 Register has 12 cars left in the group. However, an "unofficial" Rio Grande website I found back in 1999 showed the time period for the cars as going only to 1961, a roster on the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society site has them on the scene from 1954 to 1959 with numbers 60000 to 60046, which is the group that MTL cites in its car copy. And finally the CDS Lettering Guide gives a time period of 1950 to the late 1970's. One more data point: For the 2002 coverage, I located a 1962 Otto Perry photograph of car number 60064 in the silver version of this scheme in the web archives of the Western History department of the Denver Public Library. Yikes! Talk about conflicted information! And that's not even considering the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Rio Grande, to which I don't have access. Well, sometimes that's just the way the cookie crumbles. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

501 00 070, Magne-Matic Coupler, $25.25, 501 00 070, Marklin Coupler, $23.45.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Door, New York Central.

Jade green sides, roof, and stirrups, black ends. One door is jade green and the other is boxcar red. White lettering including reporting marks on left. Large black, white and red "cigar band" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NYC 77140.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's, but see text.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is a "reprint" from the May 2004 UMTRR on the N Scale release of this car.]

I did not have to do any serious research to find this car... I knew to go right to the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to New York Central Passenger and Freight Equipment, by Sweetland and Yanosey. Micro-Trains knew right where to go also, as their car copy is drawn directly from the caption of the photo of the real NYC 77140 that appears on page 79. Especially the part about the Penn Central's attempts to keep everything on the road without repainting. Just get a door that fits, boys! I'm not even sure that the green on the door that is green matches the green of the sides of the car! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The photo date of February 1970 is after the Penn Central merger, in fact, suggesting that this "NYC" car wasn't really an "NYC" car at all in the form that MTL captured. Folks that want to model the box as it was from its rebuild in 1962 to the time of the PC merger may want to think about painting that brown door back into jade green. On the other hand, if you want to keep the car in its 1970 condition, you'll need a fair amount of weathering. The reporting marks look particularly faded, there are numerous dings and scrapes on the sides around the door, and there's an ACI label that has clearly seen better days as well. But yes, the roofwalk is intact and the ladders go all the way to the roof. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's hope that the PC eventually saw fit to repaint the door and assume that we only need to check one edition of the ORER, namely, the April 1970 issue. The NYC series 77000 to 77499 could have held 500 cars, but there were only 72 in the group with AAR Classification "XM" and description "Box, Steel." The cars had an inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside height of 10 feet 6 inches, outside length of 44 feet 4 inches, extreme height of 15 feet 1 inch, capacity of 3898 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds, and door opening of 15 feet 1 inch. Wait, that's a "door thing" since the double six foot doors on the MTL 501er body style yield 12 feet. Unfortunately, the differing door colors on the prototype really call this out; it's much more noticeable with one larger brown and one smaller green door. Ooh, another reason to backdate! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, just one more ORER, and a new owner. Under Conrail in April 1976, the NYC series was down to just a single car, the 77255. I can just imagine what that car looked like by then. There's no clear renumbering scheme into either Penn Central or Conrail of which I'm aware so I can't tell you whether any of these cars made it into PC or CR decoration. Somehow, though, I doubt it. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

538 00 030, Magne-Matic Coupler, $16.95, 538 00 031, Marklin Coupler, $15.15.
40 Foot Skeleton Log Car with Uprights and Load (Load #3).

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

Please refer to the commentary in the August and December 2005 editions of the UMTRR.



Z SCALE REPRINTS:

520 00 090, Magne-Matic Coupler, $19.65, 520 00 091, Marklin Coupler, $17.85.
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Burlington Route (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy).

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white rectangular "Burlington Route" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 52145.
Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (1937 and 1938 build dates) to early 1970's.
Previous Release (as catalog 13809 and 13809-2), Road Number 52002, March 1992.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q, page 73, shows a car from the SM-19 series, CB&Q 52018 to be exact. This car is different from the MTL model of a stock car, which is not terribly surprising since the MTL model is based on a specific group of New York Central stock cars. A key feature not on the prototype is the letterboard that spans the entire side of the car; or maybe it was framing for the adjustable deck that the NYC cars carried. At any rate, the sides are different. The caption in the MSCG notes that several slats in the door were filled in to enable the painting of the "Everywhere West" slogan, a detail not present on the MTL car. The ends of the prototype are also quite a bit different from the model. OK, so, I guess I'm saying that it would be a stand-in. That would more or less be true with respect to several groups of the "Q"s stock cars, whether the first SM-19s or the later SM-19As and 19Bs. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1940 shows the series 52000 to 52149 as "Stock, Single Deck, Steel Underframe, Steel Frame" with AAR Classification "SM". The inside length was a short 36 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet, outside length 37 feet 9 inches, extreme height 13 feet 8 inches, and door opening 5 feet wide by 8 feet 9 inches high. Capacity was 2286 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. There are all 150 possible cars in the series. The ORER for January 1953 apparently lumps all of the SM-19s together into one group, 52000 to 53199, with a total of 845 cars. That quantity was not even a third of the more than three thousand stock cars on the Burlington's roster at that time. Clearly, they were still in the livestock moving business, as you'd expect for a road that took in much of the central part of the country for its service area. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That business was still pretty healthy in the early 1960's, based on the ORER for January 1964; there were 833 cars left in the series, down just 12 from a decade before; and the Burlington had actually put some new fifty foot stockcars on the roster. That's certainly within the range of painting into the Chinese Red scheme of the Burlington. And 803 cars in the group survived into the Burlington Northern's listing in the April 1970 Register, more than I would have guessed. The officially allowed lifespan for interchange service was running out, though. Though 630 cars were shown in the April 1976 listing under the BN, I suspect that these were the later SM-19As and Bs. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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