UMTRR September, 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.

038 00 390, $15.95
50 Foot Steel Box Car, Plug Door, Bangor and Aroostook/Fraser.

Blue with aluminum roof. Mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Multicolor Fraser Paper logo on right.
Reporting Marks: BAR 501.
Approximate Time Period: 1990's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

According to the Fraser Paper website, the firm "is a leading manufacturer of specialized printing, publishing and converting papers. As one of North America's largest producers of specialized paper products, it operates 13 paper machines at two integrated operations in New Brunswick, Maine and New Hampshire in addition to a market hardwood kraft pulp mill in Quebec and 4 sawmill operations in New Brunswick and Maine." Some of its specialized papers include lightweight text and reference grades for books, paper for bibles, stamp and chart papers, and coated grades of paper for catalogs. Headquartered in Toronto, the company has a large operation in Madawaska, Maine, an important fact to which we will return. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I found the BAR 501 as a single car listing in the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for July 1992 with the following information: description "Box, Steel," AAR Classification XM, inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 60 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet, and capacity 5000 cubic feet or 149,000 pounds. The 501 differs on just that last dimension, capacity, from cars numbered 502 to 511 and another one numbered 516. I have the BAR 501 appearing in ORER listings only as early as 1991, but out to my most recent copy, January 2006. That's later than the BAR itself lasted as it was sold off to become the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic which began operations in January 2003. Much of the equipment was shown as still lettered BAR in that January 2006 Register. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The New England Photo Archive has an undated shot of BAR 501 taken by Brad Libby and posted to the site in 2004. Brad's caption is pretty succinct: "The Bangor & Aroostook painted this 50' box car in the hopes to gain Fraser Papers business. It didn't work. Nice try though. Information has it that there were 10 cars in this series." The plug door on the prototype doesn't match the MTL version and the prototype has shortened ladders as well, which the 38er body style doesn't. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A posting on in response to a query I made there cites the book "BAR In Color" as 1991 for the paint date of this car. I will extrapolate that into an Approximate Time Period of the 1990's. The BAR book notes 10 cars painted in the scheme as well. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In October 2003, the MM&A filed with the Surface Transportation Board to cancel the trackage rights of the Canadian National that the CN was using to service the Fraser plant at Madawaska. Well, if painting cars doesn't work, I suppose. Also from, "The outcome of the trackage/haulage rights case is that the CN still has access. MMA hauls the cars in the Madawaska-Van Buren turn. CN has used these rights to capture all of the inbound business to the mill while MMA still has a good share of the outbound business." The poster added that while it owned the BAR, Iron Road sold the access rights to Fraser to the CN and the MM&A tried to get them back after it bought out Iron Road. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

053 00 061 and 053 00 062, $25.95 each
60 Foot Thrall Centerbeam Flat Car, Western Pacific.

Black with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "CENTER BEAM" across top of center beam. Comes with simulated partial lumber load.
Reporting Marks: WP 1401 (the 061) and WP 1403 (the 062).
Approximate Time Period: 1977 (build date) to late 1980's.
Note: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

We're coming up on the thirtieth anniversary of the building of the specific centerbeam flat cars that were modeled by Micro-Trains. In that 1977 group of orders were cars for the Burlington Northern, Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road, all of which have been modeled by MTL, and the Western Pacific, which hadn't been modeled. Until now, that is, and with the first "virtual two pack" that represents fully twenty percent of the entire WP roster. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 shows the short series 1401 to 1410 described as "Flat, Center Beam, Bulkheads" within Plate C dimensions with the AAR Classification of FBS. The inside length was 60 feet 8 inches, the inside height 11 feet 11 inches, outside length 68 feet, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, and capacity a hefty 198,000 pounds (no cubic footage is given; well, it is still a flat car!). The extra weight allowance comes from the fact that for the capacity, centerbeams are pretty light in weight. I'm not terribly concerned about prototype fidelity here as we already know that the Thrall design was the prototype for the MTL body style; in other words, this should be as dead on as you can get for an N Scale model. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These ten cars made it into the merger of the WP into the Union Pacific, as they are in the July 1989 Register; however they are gone from the October 1991 ORER. That's a fairly precise Approximate Time Period. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I'm told that there is a photo of this car in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Western Pacific and that it's noted therein that after this small group of ten the WP went back to the "standard" bulkhead flatcar. There is also an undated photo of WP 1406 on George Elwood's Fallen Flags site; undated, but I think I can make out a reweigh date in the 1980's, perhaps 1986. That large "Center Beam" in all caps really does shout out to the observer. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As is becoming a pattern with MTL, both numbers of this car include representative loads. I'm not sure how representative a partial load is on a Centerbeam car. Certainly an unbalanced load would cause a situation described by the "stick figure" drawing that is present on most all prototype cars of this type (and is reproduced on the Centex and Union Pacific "center partition" cars from MTL). I have seen partial loads go by on bulkhead flat cars for sure, but I don't remember whether I've ever seen this on a Centerbeam. However, it is very difficult to prove the absence of something so I'd better stop right there. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

076 00 080, $23.45
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug and Sliding Door, without Roofwalk, Rio Grande (D&RGW).

Boxcar red with black ends and aluminum roof. White lettering including large reporting marks on left and large speed lettering herald with slogan "The Action Road" on right.
Reporting Marks: D&RGW 63293.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (build date) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The April 1970 edition of the ORER shows the 100 car series numbered from 63200 to 63299 listed as just "Box, All Steel" with AAR Classification "XM" and a cubic foot capacity of... 971? No, methinks that is a typo. How about 4971 cubic feet? How about 4960, as reported by the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society? Yeah, that's better than 971. Anyway, the inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 57 feet 11 inches (meaning that the supplied extended draft gear trucks are more correct), door opening 15 feet, and weight capacity 154,000 pounds. Note "TT" gets pretty specific: "Cars in series... are steel sheathed, wood lined with hardwood floor and equipped with roller bearings, cushion underframe and double doors, consisting of one eight foot sliding main door and a seven foot, plug-sliding auxiliary door." I should mention that with the prototype coming from General American, and the model being based on a Pullman-Standard offering, I wouldn't expect an exact match. There is a photo of the car in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Rio Grande, unfortunately not in the UMTRR Research Accumulation. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By April 1981 the group was down to a total of 96 cars, and 12 of these were lined for food service and reclassified to AAR code XF. Those twelve were numbered 63255 to 63566. Oh, and the cubic footage was corrected to 4960. But that's about all she wrote on this group: by January 1985 there were just two cars remaining, the 63298 and 63299. Talk about a big drop, as our son Kieran used to say. There isn't anywhere obvious I could see for a possible renumbering, either. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is a multitude of detail on this latest offering for the Rio Grande, from the four colors to the lettering inside the rungs of the long ladders on the right hand side of the car, that contribute to the multitude of price. And of course the Uncle Pete Payoff-- oops, I mean the royalty paid to the Union Pacific-- doesn't help either. Still, D&RGW Grande cars general do well for MTL and I think this one won't be an exception. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

110 00 090, $25.15
56 Foot General Service Tank Car, Procor.

White with mostly black lettering including company name and reporting marks on left. Horizontal yellow stripes on tank. Tank inspection data table on right.
Reporting Marks: PROX 23303.
Approximate Time Period: The present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Another car that is right up to date! The previous release of a Procor tank car in this body style series by MTL included the "Tank Qualification Stencil" that was mandated on all tankers on North American railroads by July 2000. Check my comments on the previous car in the April 2004 UMTRR archive and the article by Stuart Streit in the September 2000 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman for more details on that item. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But go one better with that horizontal vertical striping, meant to be reflective and, hopefully, lessen the chance of collisions between motor vehicles and trains. It's no laughing matter; depending on the cargo, such a crash could be deadly, and believe it or not, I have been on a tourist train that was, in fact, hit by a car, not the other way around. (The driver underestimated both the train's position and his ability to stop before reaching the crossing.) The website of the Federal Railway Administration was not especially helpful in pointing out exactly when this requirement went into effect, although other sources seem to converge on the year 2010 as when the striping of locomotives and rolling stock in either yellow or white must be completed. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, good thing I have acquired the January 2006 edition of the ORER, although as usual it's not terribly helpful with respect to tank cars. We do get the series that is nominally 23000 to 24116 as a subseries of the huge number span from 101 to 29003. Yeah, thanks. The 23003 is part of that subgroup of 412 cars which is just called "Tank" with an AAR Classification of "T" and a gross rail weight of 263,000 pounds. The AAR Car Type Code is T107. And guess what? Those code translations are no longer carried in the ORER; instead, you're directed to a railroad industry pay to play website which I'll bet is restricted to the industry only. Which makes me wonder how much longer print versions of the ORER will be available... anyway, the obvious workaround is an earlier edition of the ORER, which offers that a T107 is a car with a carbon steel tank, welded or riveted, perhaps with a rubber lining, that has a capacity of 22,000 to 24,000 gallons. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Fallen Flags website offers a May 2006 Shannon Edwards photo of PROX 23009 as lensed on a bridge in Chicago. The weld lines are particularly noticeable on white cars, aren't they? Weathering seems to congregate along them. The stripes and tank qualification stencil are in evidence, and although there is an apparent slope downward toward the center of the tank from both ends, it doesn't seem to be as pronounced as it does on the prototype for the green Procor tank car that MTL did in 2004. There is also a shot of PROX 23030 by Shannon Edwards, which illustrates that the bottom of those ends get really dirty as well. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


074 00 010, $21.35
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, without Roofwalk, Full Ladders, CP Rail.

Yellow with mostly black lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white Multimark on right. [Multimark is on right on both sides of car.]
Reporting Marks: CP 165181.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's or late 1980's (see text) to late 1990's.
Previous Release (as catalog 74010): Road Number 165204, July 1996.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

There aren't too many cars that I know of that use an italic font for dimensional data, but this is one of them. Yeah, I'm getting to the point of needing assistance to read said dimensional data, but getting older still beats the alternative of not getting older. (Ahem.) If the reweigh date on the original run of this car is accurate- it reads "CP 11 88" this car would have been at the tail end of the time period in which CP Rail used the famous Multimark. But the Multimark, and the yellow for insulated cars, had been in use from the start of the CP Rail time period, so we kind of have a split ATP here. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars website has the series 165000 to 165200 showing in Equipment Registers from 1963 to 1998. The 200 cars were built by DOSCO, or Dominion Steel Car, in October 1962 and have those famous underslung alcohol heaters-- we're still waiting for that aftermarket detail part, folks! There were similar cars taking the next 100 numbers built by National Steel Car in 1963. Ian says that 15 of these cars from the two groups were converted to mechanical refrigerators numbered 285600 to 285614. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's grab a sample ORER from July 1989. The two groups Ian shows are combined into one series, 165000 to 165299, of which there were 179 extant at the time. The description was "Box, Steel, Bulkhead, 3 Inch Insulation, Thermostatically Controlled Underslung Alcohol Heaters" and the AAR Designation is XLI. The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 8 feet 9 inches, and inside height 9 feet 2 inches, all somewhat constrained by that insulation. The outside length was 45 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet, and capacity 3100 cubic feet or 114,000 pounds. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Canadian Freight Car Gallery nails the larger series with a 1997 photo of CP 165282. The plug door is different from that on the MTL model, and there are those trapezoidal channels on the car sides, one to the left of the door, one to the right, that I believe contain equipment related to the temperature controls-- hey, more aftermarket part possibilities! Despite the roofwalk removal, the high ladders are intact, and yes, that dimensional data is indeed in italics. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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

021 00 405, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, North Dakota State Car.

Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware; blue and black primary lettering including reporting marks, state name and outline map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state bird (Western Meadowlark) and state flower (Wild Prairie Rose) on right.
Reporting Marks: ND 1889.
Forty-first release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

As we mentioned when the South Dakota car was released, back in October 2003, the order of admission into the union of North and South Dakota is forever unknown. President Benjamin Harrison signed both statehood bills on the same day but mixed them up and didn't look (or so it's told) when signing them. (Harrison did pretty well in terms of states; six were admitted during his single term.) So technically the two Dakotas are the 39th and 40th states, but we don't know which is which. Alphabetically, N comes before S, so North Dakota is viewed as the 39th State in many accounts. So far three initiatives to drop the "North" from the state name have failed, most recently in 1989. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's a bit of trivia: while we know North Dakota as principally agrarian, the first export was flint-- in approximately 9500 BC! The Native Americans were still hunting mammoths and giant bison. Tribes like the Cheyenne, Hidatsa, Sioux and Dakota inhabited the area thousands of years later; "Dakota" comes from the Sioux for "friends" or "allies." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the major claims department, Henry Hudson claimed the area for England as part of the Hudson Bay watershed in 1610 and LaSalle claimed it for France as part of the Mississippi River watershed in 1682. It wasn't until 1738 that the first European visited the area, 25 years after England received the northern part of the territory from France. Spain got into the act as well, taking from and then relinquishing to France the Missouri River basin. France in turn sold off the "Louisiana Purchase" to the United States. Louis and Clark explored it, including the area along the Missouri River in both directions of the historic cross-country trek, with more than a little help from a young Native American called by several versions of the name Sacagawea. Lake Sakakawea, the result of damming the Missouri, is more than 200 miles long. A 12-foot-high bronze statue of Sakakawea and her baby son Baptiste stand in Bismarck (and by the way, it is spelled "Bismarck," sorry Micro-Trains). North Dakota became part of the Missouri Territory in 1818 and was "finished" when the 49th Parallel was fixed as the boundary between the US and British Territory that would later become Canada. Pieces of the Missouri Territory were sliced off into other territories, and for a time between 1858 and 1861, the area had no formal government! Military occupation and native displacement followed for some years after that. The first homestead in northern Dakota was not established until 1868. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Northern Pacific Railroad was built in the territory starting in 1872 and made it to Bismarck the next year, but the Montana border wasn't reached until 1881. What became the Great Northern entered near Grand Forks and reached Montana in 1887. What's now the Soo Line completed to Portal on the Canadian border by 1893. But 1905 was the biggest year for railroad construction with over 500 miles completed; at one time, "granger" lines of the Class I railroads covered the state. The last major construction was a Great Northern branch in 1916. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While there are at least two sayings about Minot: "Only the Best Come North," the motto of the Minot Air Force Base, and "Why not Minot? Freezin's the reason" that is probably not a motto of any kind, did you know that the state is the leading producer of sunflowers? Speaking of flowers, the International Peace Garden straddles the USA/Canada border, partly in Rollete County and partly in Manitoba, and "The Peace Garden State" was adopted as North Dakota's nickname in 1957. Almost due south of the Peace Garden is the town of Rugby, the geographical center of North America. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous North Dakotans: an' a one an' a two, Lawrence Welk was a-raised in a-Strasburg and his boyhood home is a-open; the bandleader's television show started in 1955, was produced for 26 years, and is still seen worldwide including during PBS Pledge Weeks. Actresses Angie Dickinson and Ann Sothern are from the state as is basketball coach Phil Jackson. Commentator Eric Sevareid was from Velva in the state; author Louis L'Amour grew up in Jamestown and singer Peggy Lee was born there. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Of all the states in the union, South Dakota was the state that I most slighted in terms of setting foot, which occurred during the Whirlwind Tour of 1988. North Dakota did a little better. After reaching Interstate 29 from the top right hand corner of South Dakota, my friend Paul and I headed due north to Fargo, and had lunch there, specifically at a local mall. Within that mall was a display commemorating the life of Roger Maris, long time holder of the record for most home runs in a single baseball season-- and quite despised for it by many baseball fans, I'm afraid. How could he have deigned to topple the long standing achievement of Babe Ruth, the Bambino? Well, he did, and obviously the modern record holders didn't have any problem passing him; although it's questionable at this writing whether these more recent achievements were, eh, entirely performed naturally. Enough said about that! Back in 1988, if performance enhancing substances existed, I certainly hadn't heard about them, and I doubt that my traveling companion who was a devoted baseball fan had either. Well, I guess that's progress. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No releases this month.

No releases this month.


510 00 150, Magne-Matic Coupler, $24.30, 510 00 151, Marklin Coupler, $22.50.
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, CSX Transportation.

Dark blue with aluminum roof. Mostly yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and CSX logo on right.
Reporting Marks: CSXT 141001.
Approximate Time Period: late 1980's to early 2000's at least, see text.
NOTE: This item (both coupler versions) has been sold out and discontinued.

This car was done in N Scale (Catalog 25550) in four numbers as a "runner series" of sorts back in 1996. One of those four numbers is the same as the road number on this Z Scale release. It's a bit of a five for one special here since I didn't do much of a review back then. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's something interesting: although CSX Transportation had been in existence for around a year, the July 1987 ORER does not yet show CSXT reporting marks. Well, wait, it doesn't show the Chessie System railroads (C&O, B&O, WM) either! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

OK, let's move on, then, to the July 1989 Register, where there is no shortage of CSXT-lettered equipment. Among those is the series 141000 to 141999, which could be up to a thousand cars in size, but, as we'll see in a moment, isn't quite there. The description of the main series-- and you know I'm in for it when I use that phrase "main series" is "Box, Steel, Sheet Metal Lining, Lading Strap Anchors, 50K, Reinforced Nailable Steel Floor" with AAR Classification XM and the following dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 7 inches, outside length 55 feet 7 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 10 feet, and capacity 5090 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. There are 131 cars in this main series. And then, I get a splitting headache, as there are eleven more subseries with slightly different dimensions, some with AAR Classification XP instead of XM, and some with a different car type code, A302 instead of B314. ("A" denotes equipped and "B" unequipped according to the table in the back of the ORER.) There are as many as 84 individual road numbers and as little as just one in this parade of subsets, which take up a good portion of Page 354 of the book, but all told, there are (reaching for calculator) 415 cars out of the possible thousand in the group, which is not exactly a full house. Oh, and if the 141001 existed at this time in that CSXT paint scheme, it would have been in the main series. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Seven years later in the October 1996 Register, it's worse. The main series is described the same way with the addition of "(Paper)" which I imagine denotes what was carried. There are 249 cars in the main series, and a total of 912 cars in twenty-nine different groups-- aaugh!-- but if that's not headbanging enough, the 141000 road number is listed in the main series AND called out in the first subseries. How's that again? Let's read that real slow... the first car in the series is in the main series, and it's in the first subseries. Well, obviously it isn't, since the main series entry is meant to show, well, the entire series. Anyway, the 141001 has been demoted to just "Box, Steel" and is in this first subseries as well. In the July 1998 ORER, it's a little less messy: 911 cars in ten groups. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In January 2000, we're down to 706 in ten groups. In January 2002, the group takes a bounce back up to 903 cars in 15 groups, suggesting renumbering. However, the 141001 doesn't appear to be among this group. That would end your "strictly speaking" time period. But, since in January 2006, there remain 762 cars in thirteen groups numbered 141000 to 141999, I don't think anyone would scream if you ran this car in an Approximate Time Period of "now." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We know from Fallen Flags the source of at least one of the incremental cars added to the initial series. CSXT 141003, just two numbers off the MTL modeled car, is an ex-Railbox car lensed in 2005 with the original paint, or perhaps I should say what's left of it, a CSX restencil, and graffiti right over the road number. Bleah. There is a CSX blue door though! A shot of CSXT 141012 also from 2005 shows the paint scheme we're after. It does show that MTL is cheating a little on the "Ease Up!" cautions; on the prototype they are really inside the ladder rungs. (Good luck doing that in 1:220.) In fact, Fallen Flags has a goodly of photos to choose from, but I like the image of CSXT 141570 from the fall of 1999, looking brand new and freshly painted, even if it might not be so. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

531 00 020 and 531 00 022, Magne-Matic Coupler, $17.15, 531 00 021 and 531 00 023, Marklin Coupler, $15.35.
Two Bay PS-2 Steel Covered Hopper, Pennsylvania Railroad.

Gray with black lettering including, from top to bottom, large shadow keystone herald, large roadname and roadnumber in center.
Road Numbers: 257128 (the 020 and 021) and 257235 (the 022 and 023) (will be preceded by "PRR" in website listings).
Approximate Time Period: 1955 (build date) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item (all numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Want to know how to paint a freight car? I mean, exactly how to paint a freight car-- specifically, this one! Well, on Rob's Pennsy Page you can learn exactly how covered hopper painting was done on the Pennsylvania Railroad, courtesy of the "Instructions for Painting Freight Equipment Cars" dated December 1, 1955, one of several editions that's out there. The roof received "Asphaltum-Asbestos Compound, Medium Consistency"-- yikes!-- and the sides were painted first with "Synthetic Freight Car Primer" and then "Ready-Mixed Alkali-Resisting Light Gray Freight Car Paint," two coats, please. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The H34 series were the first of Pennsy's covered hoppers to be painted in that "Ready-Mixed Alkali-Resisting Light Gray Freight Car Paint" straight away. Prior to that, the choice was "Freight Car Color"-- a shade of oxide red in layman's terms. The initial group of H34's was built by Pullman-Standard, but as MTL states, the next group of cars was built by the "P" Company from kits supplied by P-S. H34b's, c's and d's would follow and there was also a single H34e. By the time the H34c's arrived on the property in 1957, the paint scheme had changed: still gray with black lettering but in a different arrangement with a smaller keystone, the large roadname moved up, and the road number coupled with PRR reporting marks. However, the scheme depicted by MTL co-existed with later (and in fact earlier "freight car color") rolling stock. There are a number of photos available in print materials dating from 1955 to 1975. For example, the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Pennsylvania, Volume 2, has the 257128 that MTL modeled as it appeared in January 1962. A 1975 view of PRR 257056, still in its original paint, appears in the book Classic Freight Cars Volume 4. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The photographic evidence suggests a nice long Approximate Time Period, so let's go to the ORERs, starting with the January 1959 (I just miss on my January 1955). The description is "Covered Hopper, Self Clearing, Steel" with AAR Classification LO, and the Pennsy class H34a is included as is the case with this road. The 300 cars were numbered 257001 to 257300 and had an inside length of 29 feet 3 inches, inside width of 9 feet 5 inches, outside length of 35 feet 3 inches, extreme height of 13 feet 3 inches, and capacity of 2003 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. Jumping all the way to the Penn Central registry in April 1970, there were still 290 of the original 300 in service, of which 70 had been raised to 154,000 pounds capacity, including the 257128 but not the 257235. And moving to the initial Conrail entry in the April 1976 ORER, 198 cars are listed in the Pennsylvania series, 45 of which are of the higher capacity. But just 16 cars were left lettered for the Pennsy in the April 1981 book, although that doesn't necessarily mean they were retired. The Conrail series of covered hoppers numbered 876659 to 876844 are listed as H34a's. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

538 00 040, Magne-Matic Coupler, $16.95, 538 00 041, Marklin Coupler, $15.15.
40 Foot Skeleton Log Car with Uprights and Load (Load #4).

Black body, no paint, no lettering. Simulated log load included.
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: most of the 20th Century.

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

No releases this month.

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