UMTRR October, 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:

045 00 300, $16.35
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Maintenance of Way scheme of aluminum with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left. Maintenance of way shed load included.
Reporting Marks: ATSF 206204.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1970's (1976 service date given by MTL) to at least early 1990's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

You know, I just hate starting out the bytes with a goose egg. Once I saw the silver (or perhaps aluminum or gray) of the W or Work group of cars on the Santa Fe on this release, I was afraid that I was not going to have good luck with the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) collection. And I was right: the April 1976 book has "Miscellaneous Work Equipment not used in Commercial Service" numbered 185000 to 209905 and consisting of 3383 cars. Gee, thanks a lot, that's a big help. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While there is no specific image of this car in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Santa Fe, there are other examples of work cars in silver and black including 190985 and 191305 carrying rails and ties, and 206883 carrying what are termed "track panels," or what we might call Snap-Track! According to a post in the archives of Trainboard, at least one Wt-5 was a bulkhead flat car with a small derrick for handling ties. Out on the web, I got close with a Geocities page that had ATSF 206408 loaded with work equipment which appears to be sitting on track attached directly to the flat car deck. That would be an interesting model! The paint scheme is similar to the MTL model and the photo is dated Summer 1991. I think that can give us an ATP ending no earlier than the 1990's, and probably considerably later than that since MOW equipment was and is subject to few rules. Basically, if it can safely roll, it's in. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So... what would you like to know about Maintenance of Way Sheds? That's the load that MTL has included with the car this time, which I expect will add a lot of appeal to this release. (In other words, you've been cautioned.) Prototype MOW sheds range from converted boxcars to well kept buildings, but they all serve the same purpose: storage of materials required to keep the line going. One might find tie plates, switch stands and other items inside. It doesn't surprise me that MOW sheds could be transportable on flat cars. Maybe they're not "portable" in the sense of being moved around a lot, but they may be pre-fabricated and just brought to where they are needed. The MTL load is a converted boxcar than a modern pre-fab item, and it looks more than a little like a fraction of a PS-2 boxcar. I hope that if the PS-2 mold was used, it didn't break! (Or maybe one did break and was "recycled" for this use?) I can see a number of modelers buying this car and just putting the shed somewhere; if so, it appears that silver-- like the flat car-- wouldn't be a bad color. If you're leaving it on the flatcar, be sure to include some means of securing it. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

077 00 060, $18.80
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door, Without Roofwalk, Guilford/Delaware and Hudson.

White with dark blue ends. Dark blue lettering including reporting marks and large Guilford "G" accented with red underline on left, and roadname accented with red underline on right.
Reporting Marks: D&H 27073.
Approximate Time Period: 1982 (repaint date given by MTL) through about 1990.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Bridge Line Historical Society is slowly bringing to cyberspace some of the rich history of what was one of the oldest transportation companies in America. I must say "transportation" since it began as the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in 1823. It wasn't until May 1867 that the D&H petitioned the State of New York to amend its charter to include all rights and privileges accorded to railroads. Soon after, the D&H leased the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad and the Rensselaer and Saratoga, which were chartered in 1851 and 1832 respectively. The canal closed for good in 1899, but the railroad survived for decades more. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

For four of those years, perhaps the worst of the entire history of the proud railroad line, it was under the control of Guilford, from January 1984 to June 1988 when it was placed into receivership. And that leads us to the photo of D&H 27073 on the BLHS website. You may not believe this quote, I didn't: "Under the Guilford reign, most of D&H's locomotives were repainted into the Grey and Orange scheme, or into the MEC Orange scheme, but only one D&H box car was ever painted in the 'Big G' scheme." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first thought was "Good!"-- I guess I wasn't a fan of the Guilford takeover-- but my second thought was, "What?" That just seems too hard to believe... only one boxcar on the D&H got that treatment? And would that make all the other N Scale offerings in this scheme, well, to use a popular term, "foobies"? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, anyway, the photo of the 27073 is dated March 1983 and that's before the January 1984 completion of the Guilford takeover. In fact, MTL gives 1982 as the repaint date. The closest ORER I have is January 1985 and it shows the series 27001 to 27075 described as "Box, Steel, Cushion Underframe" with 61 cars in the main series and six more with two non-swivel load dividers. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 60 feet 5 inches (need those extended draft gear trucks!), extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 10 feet, and capacity 4900 cubic feet or 150,000 pounds. Oh, yes, that is a Door Thing by two feet, and the ladders on the prototype don't go to the top of the roofwalk since there's no longer a roofwalk. So, what was that about "foobies," Mr. Irwin? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although Guilford control effectively ended with receivership, this car and its bretheren which were not painted this way stayed around a bit longer: 30 in July 1989, and five in October 1991. Going back to pre-Guilford days, the cars were built in April 1964 by Pullman-Standard and came delivered in bright yellow paint with black ends and blue lettering. There's a photo of D&H 27027 in the Morning Sun Color Guide to Pullman-Standard. Except for the door, this looks like a good match for the MTL 34er body style, the same car with the roofwalk... hint, hint. No pressure for those of you in Talent, Oregon, but it's on Page 33. We did have catalog 76030 done in this same yellow and blue scheme released in October 1997. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

099 00 011 and 099 00 012, $19.75 each
Evans 3-Bay Covered Hopper, Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy).

Green with mostly yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and large "M K T" initials in center.
Reporting Marks: MKT 4194 (the 011) and MKT 4196 (the 012).
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's (1978 build date given by MTL) to present.
Note: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The 4780 cubic foot version of the covered hopper was built by Evans Products between 1977 and 1981 at three plants: Blue Island, Ashland City and Washington. Prior to this, Evans built 4750 cubic foot cars to Pullman-Standard and Trinity designs. Some 4740 cubic foot cars were built before that. An article on the 4780s by James Kincaid appears in the August 1998 issue of Mainline Modeler. The B&M and Louisiana Midland (LOAM) are two other roadnames mentioned in the citation of the piece in the Model Railroad Magazine Index. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 shows the Katy series 4100 to 4199 with description "Covered Hopper, Steel, 3 Compartments, Trough Hatch," AAR Class LO and Car Type Code L153. The inside length was 54 feet 1 inch, outside length 58 feet 9 inches, extreme height 15 feet and capacity, well, 4780 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. There were 99 cars in this listing. Moving further, there were still 99 cars in October 1986, 86 in October 1991 under the Missouri Pacific listing (the Katy having gone into the MP even though it was the Union Pacific that bought it), and 40 in October 1996 again in the MP listing. In the January 2000 Register under the Union Pacific listing (into which the MP et. al. was folded) there were still 34 cars in the listing. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But... can we make it all the way "To Present" in the ATP? Well, there were 30 in January 2002, and still 28 in October 2004. And... yes, 27 cars in the January 2006 ORER, my current proxy for current day. That seems close enough. Roofwalk removal isn't a factor, since those stayed in place on covered hoppers-- how else to reach the hatches? As for that bright green paint job, well, that might be a different story; certainly it won't be as pristine as it was when delivered. And it's possible that a plain gray dip job with UP herald could be the current decoration for the surviving cars of the series. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A photo of MKT 4192 from the series-- in fact, the exact photo used in the promotional information for the car-- is available on Fallen Flags. That particular photo was taken in Fort Worth in April 1981. There are shots of MKT 4198 in 1979, and MKT 4175 in 1987, looking a little dirty but not bad, and sporting disparate trough hatch covers. That second shot is from above, also giving a look at the roofwalk. MTL has taken a few shots over its "molded in roofwalk" description but perhaps that's a bit misleading; I think what they were trying to say is that it is similar in design to what they used on the centerflows they've done. Would etched metal have been better? Perhaps, but at what price? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Micro-Trains threads the needle on this 103rd new body style, supplementing the offerings from other manufacturers that represent other prototypes of the general modern covered hopper car type. For example, there is a 4750 cubic foot covered hopper available in N Scale; a key spotting difference is the 14 ribs on the MTL depiction of the Evans 4780, of which there are a couple of more wider gaps, versus 18 ribs that appear to be evenly spaced on the 4750. And another manufacturer offers 4700, 4740 and 4750 models based on FMC and P-S designs. Will enough people be interested in the variety provided by this car to make it a hit? We'll all find out together. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

020 00 226, $22.50
40 Foot PS-1 Boxcar, Single Superior Door, Great Northern.

"Loader" Scheme of Pullman Green roof and ends, and bottom half of sides and doors; Omaha orange on top half of sides and doors. White lettering including reporting marks on left. Pullman green roadname at top left. Small black and white round outline goat herald with "Great Northern Railway" on right.
Reporting Marks: GN 2547.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's to mid-1970's at least, see text.
Previous Releases: Road Number 2530, March 1995 (as part of 20226-2 "Fallen Flags Multipack" with Burlington Northern predecessor railroads); Road Number 2533, July 1996.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Sometimes the story of the MTL model can be interesting, besides the story of the actual prototype car. This is one of those times. The first release of this car came in the somewhat infamous Fallen Flags Pack of 1995 and was a major blowout. As in, it went so fast that consumers and dealers were unhappy. MTL did what was pretty unprecedented at the time: promised another run of the four cars in the set. And they did deliver over the course of the next fifteen months. This was the last of the cars to be reprinted. (The other three redone: Burlington Center Flow, Northern Pacific green boxcar, and Spokane, Portland and Seattle boxcar.) This time, it's more than ten years, and the market is a little different; for one thing, the car has been done in the interim by, uh, others. No one has exactly modeled the plywood sided boxcar that the prototype series was, however. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for July 1950 shows the series 2525 to 2549 with the description "Box, All Steel" with, as hinted at in the MTL car copy, an AAR Designation of "BX" for Express Box. The dimensions are close to typical: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 9 inches, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3712 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. An end note calls out "passenger type trucks, steel wheels, marker lamp brackets, steam and signal train lines and can be used in baggage and express service" with a reduced capacity of 60,000 pounds. All 25 cars were present. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Oh, but I probably shouldn't have gone to the July 1950 Register. While the cars were built in 1948, they didn't wear this particular scheme until the 1950's-- 1955, to be exact, according to the RPI website. The as delivered paint scheme was the pullman green with yellow lettering and large goat herald, as depicted by MTL itself on GN 2538 and 2528 as their catalog 20406 in March 1997 and March 1999, respectively. (I thought that ORER record looked familiar!) © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The previous runs of this car have "F 6-66" as the reweigh information; that "F" for Fargo, I would think, and "6-66" for June 1966 (no, don't go there with another interpretation, please). The differences in load limits for freight and passenger service are duly noted, by the way. Let's jump to the ORER for April 1970 to the Burlington Northern entry to find 22 of the original cars still in service with Great Northern markings. They've been moved directly into the "Passenger Baggage Express Cars" subsection. With the BN out of the passenger business, the cars were shifted to the XM classification by the July 1974 Register (that book a relatively new addition to the Research Accumulation, by the way) and and 21 cars were in place. MTL says that this particular car GN 2537 was in service until March 23, 1989, I guess that's a better than Approximate Time Period for the one car. But I only have the 2546 left in the April 1981 book and nothing after that. I don't doubt the data point, but perhaps the service was non-revenue, or there was a renumbering along the way. My ATP is with respect to the older date and the group of cars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

025 00 500, $20.45
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Railbox with Missouri Pacific restencil.

Yellow sides and ends, aluminum roof. Mostly black lettering including reporting marks (in white on black stencil box) on left. Large Railbox logo on left. Slogan "The nationwide boxcar pool" and red, blue and black "Next Load Any Road" device on right.
Reporting Marks: MP 357372.
Approximate Time Period: 1983 through the early 2000's.
Previous Release: A three pack with road numbers 356767, 357415, and 357610, October 1992.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

When this car was first done in the three pack back in 1992, I was just sort of paying attention to new releases in N Scale again. I made the comment to myself that this was one of the more offbeat choices for a three pack, especially considering that the real cars certainly weren't going to look pristine when restenciled. The user, of course, was free to add his own weathering to the cars, and I'm sure many did. You needn't look too far to find examples of the more likely shape in which these were turned over to the MP and eight other North American railroads. What surprises-- no, amazes-- me is that these cars were still in this hasty repaint some twenty years later! Yikes; this is one case where I don't think I would have minded the MP or the Union Pacific using a little paint. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It helps to start with a little background. Railbox was a unit of Trailer Train, which was in turned jointly owned by the Class I railroads. Developed as their answer to the boxcar shortage and a counter to the large number of Incentive Per Diem cars that were built as investment vehicles. Eventually 25,000 Railbox cars were built, but the box car bubble burst after the Interstate Commerce Commission revoked the IPD rules. There was such a glut of general service boxcars that in 1983 nine of the Class I's took over direct responsibility for more than 11,000 of the RBOX fleet. And that's why, for a while, there were yellow boxcars saying "Next Load Any Road" but in the service of a specific major railroad. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The MP 357372 shows up in the January 1985 ORER as part of the series 356700 to 357687. All but nine on the 980 cars of which are described as "Box, Steel, Nailable Steel Floor, Lading Strap Anchors" with AAR Designation XM and AAR Car Type Code B314. (The last nine are AAR XP's with code A302.) The inside length was 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. The count was 945 cars in the main series and six exceptions in the October 1991 Register. The count was 926 and 6 in the October 1996 Register, still under the Missouri Pacific. Under the Union Pacific listing for January 2000, there were 597 cars in the main series, which had incidentally been flipped to AAR Designation XP and Car Type Code A302, and a headache-inducing fifteen sub-series, predominantly onesie-twosies, mostly of differing capacities with the plain "Box, Steel" description again and totalling 79 cars, for a grand total of 674 cars. And for the record 447 cars in this overall group were listed in the UP registration in the January 2006 ORER. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I can get you straight to this MP 357372 as lensed in Elmira, New York in 1990 on my dad's birthday, November 3, courtesy of Fallen Flags. The heritage of the car is the XAF11 series built for Railbox by ACF as part of a 2800 car order in the RBOX series numbered 10600 to 13399. It provides a good study for how these cars could be done to more closely resemble the real thing. Use a fair amount of dirt, and repaint the door yellow. But fortunately, no graffiti, please, at least not yet. Fallen Flags has photos of at least another ten MP cars in this group that haven't made it out of RBOX paint as late as 2005 (!!!), and a couple that have in fact gotten the Union Pacific Treatment. © 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 00 406, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Virginia 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 (Cardinal) and state flower (Dogwood) on right.
Reporting Marks: VA 1788.
Forty-second release in the States of the Union series.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

As you may already know, one of the favorite films here at UMTRR HQ is "1776," the 1974 musical that tells the story of the writing of the Declaration of Independence. What is known in the business as a "gem part"-- a relatively small but remarkable role-- is that of Richard Henry Lee, one of the representatives from the colony of Virginia. He delivers a show stopping number called "The Lees of Old Virginia" in which he declares that he will have no trouble coming back with a needed document. "May my horses turn to glue, if I can't deliver unto you, resolution for independency!" he sings. There is plenty of play on the delegate's last name: "When do you leave? Immediate-LEE! When will you return? Short-LEE!" As much fun as this is, it also underscores the heritage of the state that is this month's honoree on a Special Edition car. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Virginia is said to have been named for Queen Elizabeth I of England, the "Virgin Queen." The first attempt to settle the area was the Lost Colony of Roanoke, followed by Jamestown, established in 1607 and capital of the colony until 1699. No less than four state houses were built, and burned down, during this time period; at some points in their history the Virginia legislature met in taverns. In 1699 Williamsburg was established and became the capital and the home of the College of William and Mary. Two more state houses were built here. The capital moved to Richmond in 1788. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If you're a follower of the Norfolk and Western Railway, you've probably heard of the Powhatan Arrow, one of the line's few name trains. But who was he? According to a document on the Colonial National Historical Park, "by 1607, Powhatan was the despotic ruler of the largest and most politically complex Indian empire in Virginia. The empire's population was approximately 14,000 Indians. Powhatan's domain of 30 tribes encompassed the entire coastal plain of Virginia from the fall line at present day Richmond to the ocean and from the Potomac River down to the modern Virginia-North Carolina border." Powhatan was also the father of Pocahontas, whose marriage to Englishman John Rolfe led to at least a few years of peace for the Jamestown Colony. But relations between the English and Native Americans were hardly cordial most of the time until 1746 when a treaty was signed and the tribes became subjects of the Crown. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

George Washington, leader of the military during the American Revolution and of course later the first President of the United States, was born in the colony in 1732. All in all there have been no less than eight U.S. Presidents born in the colony and then the state. In the order of service, there's been Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. And there are plenty of other famous Virginians as well, including both Lewis and Clark, statesmen Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death!") and Henry Clay, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, writers Russell Baker and Tom Wolfe, singer Ella Fitzgerald, actors Warren Beatty and George C. Scott (whom my mother worked with once before he was famous!) and actress Shirley MacLaine-- well, at least this time, anyway. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We briefly touched Virginia at Arlington and Alexandria during our family's first trip to Washington, DC; but the trip after that was to Williamsburg and Norfolk, and also led to the writing of my essay "Scotland Ferry" which is available on Irwin's Journal Online. Many years later, I flew over that same area heading out of Norfolk. I've also been down the spine of the state along I-81 and stayed at the Hotel Roanoke which was once the property of the Norfolk Southern. Most recently, the entire family attended the 2004 National N Scale Convention. Where was that? Oh, right... Chanti-LEE! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

850 00 041 and 850 00 042, $39.75
30 Foot Wood Sheathed Refrigerator Car, Colorado and Southern.

Yellow sides, freight car red ends and roof, black door hardware. Black lettering including large "C&S" and small roadname on left, and "Refrigerator" and road number on right.
Road Numbers: 519 (the 041) and 515 (the 042).
Approximate Time Period: 1909 (build date given by MTL) to 1912.
Note: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, that's a pretty specific-- and short-- Approximate Time Period for you! MTL's car copy provides about all we need: built in 1909, repainted and renumbered in 1912. Although my ORER accumulation is improving, thanks to the addition of CD-ROMs, it's not that good, so I can't provide any specific data from that short span of years. A direct net search on the reporting marks also turned up nothing. Hard copy pictures of these cars in any paint scheme appear to be scarce as well; a 1997 web listing by Donald Ray Burger cites just two of the repainted 1119 in the book "Colorado and Southern Narrow Gauge." This paint scheme is, not surprisingly, referred to as the "block lettering" version by San Juan Decals, as opposed to that with the "button herald" which followed it. There is a four part series titled "Refrigerator Cars of the Colorado and Southern" that appeared in 1991 and 1992 in the magazine "Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette". No, it isn't about only this series of cars. I've also found out via the PBL website that this car is a "Type III" denoting steel underframes and cast trucks. Steel underframes were fairly unusual for narrow gauge cars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Note that there may is a third paint scheme for these cars, though, as the MTL car copy for the first C&S release of these narrow gauge cars back in April says that the repaint was in 1927. And they had to be painted in some way from 1912 to 1927, right? The CDS Lettering Guide provides a bit of an answer, but we'll be keeping mum on that since we have to be able to say something when that third version is, perhaps inevitably, released at some point. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

523 00 030, Magne-Matic Coupler only, $19.35.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Straight Sides, Drop Ends, Southern Pacific.

Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and round "Southern Pacific Lines" herald on right. Simulated telephone pole load included.
Reporting Marks: SP 94230.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1930's to late 1950's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Lee A. Gautreaux's website provides an extensive look at the freight cars of the Souther Pacific and it's the first place I went for information on this car. According to Lee, the prototype was the SP's class of 50 ton gons G-50-14, built by the SP Equipment Company in Sacremento in 1936 and 1937. The series SP 94050-94249 were renumbered to SP 310165-310339. There was also a group of Texas and New Orleans gons built to the same design, originally numbered 44000-44024, transferred to the SP in 1943 and renumbered to SP 310340-310363. That renumbering is a key part of the Approximate Time Period, and we'll come back to that. Lee didn't cite any available pictures of this class in print and I'll take his word on that. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1940 shows this series as the highest numbered of the Espee's gondolas, with description "Gondola, All Steel, Drop Ends," AAR Classification GB and these dimensions: inside length 50 feet even, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 52 feet 9 inches, extreme height 8 feet 2 inches, and capacity 1547 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. In the January 1945 Register the series had been trimmed back to 94075 to 94249 and numbered all possible 175 cars. "Wood Floor" had been added to the description. The same was true in the July 1950 and January 1955 ORERs. In the January 1959 ORER the series was trimmed back again, to 94080 to 94242 and had just 51 cars in it. We can start to see the Great Renumbering as well, as gondolas in the 300000's are shown. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By the January 1964, the renumbering is almost complete. There's just one car left in the original series and the 310340 to 310363 is in place with... uh, just one other car? Hmm, perhaps there wasn't that much to renumber after all. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

531 00 031 and 531 00 032, Magne-Matic Coupler only, $19.95 each
Two Bay PS-2 Steel Covered Hopper, Katy (Missouri-Kansas-Texas).

Red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on right. Red and white Katy herald in center.
Reporting Marks: BKTY 1311 (the 031) and BKTY 1308 (the 032).
Approximate Time Period: 1966 (build date) or 1976 (service date) to late 1990's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

This neat looking pair of cars are models of the prototype series BKTY 1300 to 1374, described in the April 1970 ORER as "Covered Hopper, Steel" with AAR Classification LO. Let's do the stats: inside length 29 feet 3 inches, inside width 9 feet 11 inches, outside length 37 feet 8 inches, extreme height 15 feet, capacity 2600 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. All 75 cars in the series were present in that entry. MTL mentions that the BKTY reporting marks refer to cars leased from Bankers Leasing Corporation. That firm had a subsidiary, The Commonwealth Plan, Inc. which showed in the same Register as leasing cars to Vulcan Materials Company (VMCX), Southern Pacific (BLCX) and Air Products and Chemicals (APLX). Oh, and according to a quick 'net search, Bankers was, at least at some point, a subsidiary of Southern Pacific! That might explain why the BKTY reporting marks lasted well into the Union Pacific absorption of the Katy. In fact, at least one of these covered hoppers made it into Union Pacific gray with UP style lettering of that BKTY mark. A note on Lee G's SP freight cars site states "The SP purchased a number of freight cars through their Banker's Leasing Corporation subsidiary and leased them back to the MKT railroad for a period of 15 years in the mid 1960's. These cars carried BKTY or MKT reporting marks and were painted in the Katy's red scheme with the Katy herald, but carried SP class designations." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. In the July 1974 ORER, there were 73 cars in the main series and two numbers (1300 and 1347) called out for calcium carbide loading. The April 1976 book showed the same numbers. The April 1981 entry showed 68 cars in the main series and five numbers (1300, 1316, 1318, 1347 and 1366) with the additional description on the special service: "Covered Hopper, Steel, Two Compartments, Eight Hatches, Four Hoppers, Hatch Lids and Car Seams Rubber Sealed (Calcium Carbide). In January 1985 all 73 extant cars were brought back together again under a simple "Covered Hopper" listing. There were 50 cars left in the Missouri Pacific listing of October 1996, but just one car in the Union Pacific listing for January 2000. I should mention that all this does not necessarily contradict MTL's car copy (probably quoted from the Morning Sun Color Guide?) that the first twenty cars in this series were assigned to calcium carbide. I don't have every ORER, that information wasn't always communicated, and we also know that ORERs aren't perfect either. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That Approximate Time Period has two beginnings based on the use of the consolidated stencils on MTL's model. One could certainly backdate by removing those (Polly S "Easy Lift Off" will make quick work of that) and the reweigh date would have to be attended to as well-- although, now that I need glasses to see it, I personally wouldn't be that concerned! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The several photos of this group of cars indicates that although an attractive scheme, it unfortunately didn't wear that well. For example, there is the very BKTY 1311 modeled in 1979, with gray steel clearly showing at the ribs and several of the panels. Some of these cars were painted in the later "John Deere" green and a 1993 picture of BKTY 1300 which was one of the cars assigned to calcium carbide service shows the red, and the Katy herald, coming right through the green. BKTY 1331 is in green with a freshly repainted center panel, perhaps to cover the calcium carbide stencil, or maybe the original herald. In 1994, BKTY 1318 was caught in the Union Pacific paint and looked pretty good for a 30 year old car. Finally, there's a lineup of four cars: a sandwich of two painted in green with a yellow panel which may call out the calcium carbide loading bracketed by two cars in the original, and faded, red. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

981 01 081 and 981 01 082, Magne-Matic Coupler only, $165.95 each.
GP-35 Locomotive, Conrail.

Blue except for black frame, trucks and walkways; white lettering including roadname at rear of long hood and "wheel on rail" herald from front to center of long hood. Road number on cab. Roadname on nose. Black and white numberboards.
Road Numbers: 2257 (the 081) and 2261 (the 082) (will be prefaced by "CR" in website listings).
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's to early 1990's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Thanks to accumulations of units from the Erie Lackawanna, Reading and Penn Central, the Consolidated Rail Corporation started "Day One" with quite the lot of GP35's. Robert Waller's Conrail Cyclopedia shows 223 units, of which 150 came from the Penn Central. These two are among that group; in fact they carried the same road numbers over from not only the PC, but the Pennsylvania Railroad before that! They were EMD serial numbers 29006 and 29010 and were both built in May 1964. According to the Conrail Cyclopedia, "the units served until the early 1980s, when they began going into and out of storage until the final few units were permanently retired in the mid-1990s. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As many students of Conrail know, the fleet of locomotives did not magically appear in blue and white overnight. There was many a hastily applied restencil on acquired locomotives, so it could have been just a sloppy "CR" in the Penn Central font over black overpainting of the PC roadname and herald for a while. We, the Irwin Family living along what became the Chemical Coast branch, were not particularly amused by this, but we didn't exactly get a vote either. So the real beginning of the Approximate Time Period may remain unknown, although the late 1970's seems like a reasonable bet. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ken Roble caught CR 2257 retired in Conway Yard near Pittsburgh in June 1994 in a photo posted on the "rrpicturearchives" site. In happier days, the same loco is shown on the point of a freight near Hillsborough, New Jersey on "The Blue Comet" site. But all was not lost; as of April 2006, the 2257 was on the roster of Progress Rail Services as its 1009 according to "Thedieselshop" site. Fallen Flags has a 1980 photo of CR 2261 at Port Jervis, New York on the Erie Lackawanna/Erie trackage. That almost three-quarter view shows where to paint the handrails and steps white if you're so inclined. There is an August 1992 shot of the 2261 paired with the 2256 at Motor Yard in Macedonia, Ohio on Arnold Hans Morscher's site. The Unofficial EMD Homepage shows the unit traded into EMD in October 1995. Meanwhile, go back to Fallen Flags in the Penn Central section to see these same units in that black and white paint, in photos that are also in black and white. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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