UMTRR November, 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.

035 00 120, $16.15
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Union Pacific.

Brown sides, aluminum roof and ends. Yellow lettering including roadname on left letterboard and reporting marks on right letterboard.
Reporting Marks: UP 48199D.
Approximate Time Period: early 1950's (1952 build date given by MTL) into 1960's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I was not really aware that the Union Pacific painted any of its stock cars in "UP Synthetic Red" or whatever it is that they called it; but I guess I'll go with it since MTL (despite what some folks think) does not produce regular run cars without some sort of reasonable photographic evidence. I can't say a whole lot more about the S-40-13 series, except that other stock car groups built by and for the UP don't look precisely like the MTL body style, which, like a couple of other N Scale models, is based on a New York Central prototype. From that point, several of my readers chimed in. A photo of the real UP 48199D in the Morning Sun Guide to the UP (page 68) shows plainly that the MTL model is not that close, the most obvious difference (to me, anyway) being the placement of the letterboards. The "D" suffix is shown as present on the car and other UP equipment modeled elsewhere; HO Scale craftsman kits, for example; and it stands for Double Deck. There were also depictions of S-40-13s offered elsewhere with brown sides and other with Armour Yellow ones. The yellow cars were roller bearing equipped, as early as 1950, while the red were plain bearing equipped. All of the S-40-13s were red, however. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1953 has an impressive count of 800 cars in the series 48000 to 48799 with these dimensions: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 8 feet 5 inches, outside length 42 feet, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3430 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. The AAR classification of "SA" is defined in the back of the ORER as "A car for transportation of stock on the hoof (except horses and mules), equipped with roof, slatted sides and side doors and fixed deck located sufficiently high to permit the loading of cattle on the lower deck. With or without feed and water troughs." That 800 car count was quite a bit but in the 40000 series the UP had close to three thousand stock cars, at least back in 1953, that is. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The series in question was still in excellent shape in the January 1964 ORER, with 793 of the possible 800 on the roster. The 40000s were also at about 2800 total cars, which wasn't too much of a drop either. But in the April 1970 book the 785 cars in this group are almost 40 percent of the total stock car roster remaining, and in July 1974 the 773 cars are just over half of what's left. In the April 1976 ORER the series itself is down by more than half to 368 and has dropped to about a third of the total UP compliment of stock cars. MTL itself mentions in its car copy that only 88 stock cars remained in the July 1978 ORER, quite the "big drop" as my son used to say when he was younger. (And did you notice that MTL actually used the term "ORER"? Aha!) I believe that refers only to the series from which this is drawn, as 15 remain in April 1981 against an overall total of 488 stock cars, but we get the point. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

073 00 070, $19.95
40 Foot Standard Boxcar, Single Door, Full Ladders, No Roofwalk, Canadian National.

Black with two gray bands across side, one just above halfway of side, other wider band at bottom of side. Mostly black lettering including road number and dimensional data. Small red CN "wet noodle" herald at bottom right of car.
Reporting Marks: CN 11064 (technically this is just a "road number" since the CN initials don't appear in front of it).
Approximate Time Period: 1960's through early 1990's at least, see text.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

From that elegant olive green and gold to... black and gray. Probably not the most popular decision ever made for a passenger train scheme. Well, whether we liked it or not, the Canadian National made the change, and there it was. The closest Official Guide of the Railways I have to the 1961 date of this change is February 1963. The featured passenger train of the day was the Super Continental which ran from Montreal to Vancouver with deluxe coaches, standard meals and a coffee shop, a tourist lounge car, and both roomettes and larger sleeping accommodations. The Super Continental ran daily in both directions; leaving Montreal on Sunday got you to Vancouver on Wednesday morning. The Continental wasn't quite that, making it only as far west as Saskatoon. Other trains scheduled included the Intercity Limited and the Intercontinental Limited routed from Chicago to Toronto and Montreal and back; the Scotian and the Ocean Limited from Halifax to Montreal; and unnamed trains reaching Winnipeg, Churchill, Windsor, Jasper, Prince Rupert, and Hearst. Some routes were already down to one daily train in each direction, and some of these trains were mixed. Perhaps quite a ways down from the peak of passenger service on the CN, but I doubt that many of us would pass up the chance to time travel there anyway. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In that context, we have these cars, and some information graciously provided by long time UMTRR Gang Member Anthony Hunter (who gets a double credit this month since I've "reused" his data on the CN Z Scale boxcar below). In response from a distress call from UMTRR HQ following a wipeout on ORER lookups, Anthony notes the following: © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"There is a picture of CN 11126 in March 1971 on page 5 of 'Canadian Rail Car Pictorial Volume Two A: Canadian National Boxcars Part 2'. There is a article on these cars in CN Lines Volume 6 Number 6 'CNRs Box Baggage Cars.' These cars are essentially freight cars in passenger colours equipped with steam lines so they could be operated in passenger trains. CN 11126 was built in 1943. The remaining cars in the series in the 60s were repainted in the CN noodle passenger scheme starting in 1961. This is the scheme depicted in the Micro-Trains car. Given the uniqueness of these cars they lasted for quite a while. According to the 1992 Trackside Guide a great number of these cars still exist in maintenance service. There is a picture in the CN Lines article of 11077 in maintenance service in February 1987 in Winnipeg." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Thanks, Anthony. That 1987 date is well beyond the passage of passenger train service from CN and CP to VIA Rail Canada, which occurred starting in 1976. I would expect to not find these cars in the CN's Equipment Register listings in either case, since they would have been classified as passenger equipment and then as company service equipment. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

076 00 090, $17.60
50 Foot Standard Boxcar, Plug and Sliding Door, Burlington Northern.

Green with mostly white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and large herald on right.
Reporting Marks: BN 239541.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's or 1978 (repaint / service date given by MTL) to mid-1980s.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The original Great Northern series which was inherited by the Burlington Northern can be found in the ORER for April 1970, the birth year of the BN and ten years after these cars were built by American Car and Foundry. GN 36000 to 36249 was already down to 224 pieces in that issue, with the following dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 51 feet 11 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 14 feet, and capacity 4928 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There is a February 1973 photo of GN 36167 in sky blue paint on the George Elwood's Fallen Flags website which indicates the lack of a roofwalk but full ladders, just like the MTL model. It also shows a six foot sliding door, which is a "door thing" since MTL 50 foot boxcars have eight foot doors. The next photo in sequence is of GN 36295, a similar car still lettered for the Great Northern, but get this, in Burlington Northern paint otherwise. That has to be a pretty rare occurence. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Skipping to April 1981, we find that the transition mentioned by MTL in its car copy has partially taken place. I think the reference to the car finally being repainted and renumbered in 1978 refers to the car depicted, but not the entire series. The BN group 239300 to 239549 has 127 cars in it, but the GN series still has 81 cars. That adds up to 208 total cars meaning that there wasn't too much attrition in the intervening 11 years. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Moving to the October 1986 ORER, we find just two cars left in GN paint-- or at least GN reporting marks, anyway, based on that picture of GN 36295?-- and just 11 cars still in the BN paint. Certainly by then the boxcars of the fifties and sixties were giving way to the exterior post cars of the 1980's, so I guess that isn't too surprising. A service life of twenty years is a bit short of an Approximate Time Period. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So let's try to expand that ATP backwards by checking when the BN series may have first appeared. It certainly wasn't in the April 1970 Register. But there were 27 cars in the BN series in the July 1974 ORER and 32 in the April 1976 book, not exactly a blistering pace there. Yes, the service date is printed on this car, and the yellow U-1 inspection dot is a 1978 item, so I am fudging a little bit here; but it's nothing a little touch-up wouldn't fix. You are basically OK on the consolidated stencils which began in 1974. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Note that MTL has done the GN sky blue scheme on this body style, back in March 2003 as its catalog 76060 with road number 36466. It seems to me based on the time period of your pike that you could run that car and this one together. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

099 00 020, $16.20
Evans Three Bay Covered Hopper, Seaboard Air Line.

Aluminum with black lettering including large roadname and roadnumber in center.
Road Number: 35059 (will be preceded by "SAL" in website listings).
Approximate Time Period: 1964 (build date) through late 1980's, but see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"But see text." You know that's trouble. And the trouble is, well, the prototype is not an Evans car. I could understand this more if MTL were trying to come up with later releases for the body style, but only the second roadname for the type? That's... well, let's just say it's disappointing. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the Seaboard Air Line, page 74, has this exact car as captured in February 1975 in Tampa. "Besides phosphates, clay and chemicals, the Seaboard had a fairly substantial business in grain," reports MSCG author Paul Faulk, and so the SAL invested in one hundred cars numbered 35025 to 35124 for that purpose. From the nearly straight on track level view, this car looks pretty good for the Evans body style including the perimeter roofwalk and the side rib arrangement. But read the caption: these cars were purchased new from Magor Car Company for grain shipments, and delivered in 1964, a full fourteen years before the Evans car debuted. (Even the MTL car copy acknowledges that these cars were from Magor.) And these cars had twelve round hatches, not the trough hatches that were on the Evans car. This is the biggest issue with the model that I have. The lettering job is as usual, faithful to the prototype including the "Caution" statement below the last digit of the road number. That slightly off-center roadname is correct, by the way; the "D" does hang off to the right. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Be that as it may, we go to the ORER for April of 1970 to find the usual Seaboard Coast Line problem: a series is listed, but no quantities. The dimensions are there, though: inside length 54 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet 10 inches, outside length 57 feet 9 inches, extreme height 15 feet, capacity 4750 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. The SCL renumbering system would have put these cars into the series SCL 835025 to 835124 and there were, mysteriously, already 99 cars in that entry. Does that seem possible considering that there was a 1975 shot of the 35059? Or was the photographer extremely lucky to get the only one that hadn't already been restenciled? No, actually, the entire number of cars was listed under the SCL entry only. So, I guess that the freight agents of America had to either read the fine print or guess when they needed to check a Seaboard or Atlantic Coast Line car after their 1967 merger into the SCL. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, for the record, the Seaboard listing disappears once all cars have been restenciled for the SCL, and that clearly didn't happen by the July 1974 ORER or the April 1976 Register either. There were 96 cars shown in the SCL entry as of that date, though. However, it's clear from the January 1985 ORER that a lot of them weren't ever restenciled, as the Seaboard System listing shows 60 of the original 100 cars back in the SAL entry. (The SCL renumbering must have been bounced by then.) So, to continue for the record, the series just barely squeaked into the nineties with just one left in the CSX Transportation listing in the October 1991 ORER. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


046 00 330, $18.25
50 Foot Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Wisconsin Central.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname in center. Includes simulated scrap load.
Reporting Marks: WC 55136.
Approximate Time Period: late 1980's to present.
Previous Release (as catalog 46330): Road Number 55169, July 1995.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The wide majority of the WC gondolas "preserved" on Fallen Flags (of which the WC is one) are painted in the white and maroon scheme which, I would put it mildly, doesn't wear well. The white paint was also used by the Soo Line, from which much of the Wisconsin Central was spun off, and I suppose it didn't wear well there either. So the black with white lettering may-- that's MAY-- be a bit more unusual. I don't have a gondola by gondola breakdown so don't assume I know what I'm talking about here. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I can certainly talk about the ORERs, though, and let's start in July 1989 which is not quite two years after the Soo Line's Lake States Transportation Division was sold off to become the WC. There is listed in that edition a bit of a mess of various types and sizes of gondolas in the general series 55000 to 55266, with one "main" series of only six cars and seventeen more subseries ranging from one to six cars each. One of the cars called out, though, is the 55136 so we can check the dimensional data: inside length 52 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 6 inches, inside height 4 feet 9 inches, outside length 56 feet 10 inches, extreme height 8 feet 5 inches, capacity 2400 cubic feet or 196,000 pounds. The AAR Type Code G519 denotes the length and capacity and also a steel floor with solid ends. I guess that would give this car an "End Thing" since the MTL model has drop ends. Based on photos of other cars in the series, which could be of questionable value this time, the car does appear to be correctly modeled as a fishbelly side gondola. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By October 1996, the overall count of the series has filled in to 173, but there are a headache-inducing 33 subseries, some of which are of just one car-- like, for example, the 55136 again. Well, at least we know it's still there. And it's still all by its lonesome in a sea of subsets in January 2000. In January 2002 it's a group of 22 cars that is among just six in the 52000 to 52266 gang with varying heights and capacities. It's more of the same idea right through my current proxy for "the present," the January 2006 ORER. I just wish I was a little more sure about that black and white paint scheme. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, it turns out, I can be: has a shot of the very WC 55136, or most of it, anyway, as of May 2005, dinged and dented but still in service and still in black and white. Note that the MTL model correctly shows the reporting marks on one line whereas the first run had the reporting marks on two lines. Enough for a "not a reprint"? Probably not. Oh, and stay with that site for a look at WC 63209 in Canadian National paint next to another black and white gon in WC paint. I doubt that WC fans will be overjoyed about that red oxide taking over both the black and the white. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And I can certainly be sure about the scrap load, though, as it is a main cargo for gondolas and a key reason for why they end up looking as beat up as they do. There's not a lot of mind paid to how much the scrap slides, shifts and bounces around inside these cars, as long as it stays inside the cars. Based on the image of the car in the Micro-News it looks like MTL is paying heed to that and not loading the model gondola clear up to the top. Wise choice. We'll also see if it was a wise choice to include the load and what it will do to the sellout cycle, as the movement of the first run of this car to the bye-bye board was not exactly speedy. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

093 00 030, $25.20
Three Bay Center Flow Covered Hopper, Round Hatches, New York Central.

Gray with black lettering including reporting marks on left. Large white, black and red "cigar band" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: NYC 886029.
Approximate Time Period: 1964 (build date) to early 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog 93030): Road Number 886005, February 1996.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

As, rats, it's built in 1964, I technically can't run this car on my 1963-era Wilmington and New York Railroad-- unless I look the other way when I put it in a train... © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

An undated photo of sister car 886006 and another of the 886033 appear on the Fallen Flags site. I'd say the shot of the 886003 is older; the car is quite a bit cleaner and doesn't have restenciling. From it we can tell that the MTL paint job is accurate. The shot of the 886006, though, provides an example of what to do with the car later in its life; for instance, consolidated stencils, and ACI label, and perhaps even an RFID tag, although I'm not sure about that last one. It looks like that could be the rectangular object at the far right of the car near the end ladders, but I can't be certain. At any rate, the presence of the ACI label and consolidated stencils puts us well into the Penn Central and even the Conrail era for at least this car in the series. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Penn Central listing in the ORER for April 1970 is the closest I can get in the Research Accumulation but it will certainly do, as 91 of the original series 886000 to 886096 were still in place. These were described as "Covered Hopper, Center Flow, Interior Lining" with an AAR Designation of LO and a type code of L252. The inside length was 48 feet 9 inches, inside height 10 feet 7 inches, outside length 53 feet 9 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, and capacity 4650 cubic feet or 195,000 pounds. There's an immediately following group of 23 cars, NYC 886097 to 886121, that show with the same information except the AAR Type Code of L253. That second group has a representative photo in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the NYC Volume 1 and some additional data: they were built by American Car and Foundry in 1964 and sport a giant 12 feet by 5 feet 4 inch "cigar band" herald. Hmm, that's bigger than a lot of N Scale layouts! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Also a Hmm: The L252 code refers to cars with capacities of between 3000 and 4000 cubic feet. I think, therefore, that the ORER has it wrong. The L253 code refers to cars with capacities of 4000 to 5000 cubic feet. I can't confirm the hatch type of the prototype for the 886029 but I do note that the next series, which looks identical in all other respects, has does have round hatches. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Moving forward, in the July 1974 ORER they've changed the AAR Code-- I guess I was right about that-- and there remain 74 cars in the series with a slight adjustment to 196,000 pounds capacity. The coming of Conrail in April 1976 included 68 of these cars still in NYC paint. But just 23 are left in April 1981. I wouldn't be surprised if they were repainted into a Conrail scheme, and if they did, it looks like they may have kept the original New York Central numbers, as there are 20 in a group CR 886000 to 886096. How about that? The January 1985 Register shows just three cars in the NYC series but 52 in the CR series. Another hmm... that doesn't add up. Penn Central numbers, anyone? Yes, in fact there was also a PC 886000 to 886096. Fascinating! And potential follow on releases... anyone taking notes out in Talent? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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

021 00 407, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Nevada 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 (Mountain bluebird) and state flower (Sagebrush) on right.
Reporting Marks: NV 1864.
Forty-third release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Nevada is from the Spanish word meaning "snowcapped." You might also know that Las Vegas is Spanish for "The Meadows." But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The geology of much of the state is, well, is it too much of a stretch to say "difficult?" "Forbidding?" Beautiful, yes, but arid enough that some rivers don't reach a drainage basin, but just dry up. It's not surprising that Native Americans like the Goshute, Mojave, Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe had the area to themselves for centuries. Spain and then Mexico nominally held the territory as part of "Alta California," but mostly because no one else claimed it or physically contested the claim that did exist. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The modern history of the Silver State really doesn't begin until the middle of the 19th Century. The first white man to enter the territory was not until 1826 by some accounts, and John C. Fremont was the first European explorer to see Lake Tahoe in 1833 or 1834. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, migrations across Nevada exploded, but few stayed in what was called the "Great Basin". Just before this, the United States acquired the area from Mexico as part of the settlement of the Mexican War. All but the southern tip of the state was initially part of the Utah Territory and among the first permanent settlers were Mormons who came over from Salt Lake. Then gold was found in 1859 in the territory and plenty of fortune hunters followed. They didn't want to be part of Utah and set up their own territorial government, quickly supplanted by an official one. The coming of the Civil War led to a rush to admit another state, and Nevada (without Utah) was brought into the Union despite not having sufficient population, on October 31, 1864 without that southern tip of the state which was still part of New Mexico! That bit of land wasn't added until 1866 as was some territory from Utah. I can't think of another example of where a state had territory added to it after it was admitted; subtracted, yes (Virginia losing West Virginia, also during the Civil War), but not additions after the fact. A bit of trivia: the Nevada State Constitution was telegraphed from Carson City to Washington, the longest telegram ever sent and a message that cost three thousand dollars. In 1864 dollars. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Now, what about Las Vegas? OK, well, it was back in 1829 that an abundance of artesian spring water was found in the area, which enabled refilling of travel all the rest of the way across California. The place was no more than a wide spot in the Old Spanish Trail and then site of a Mormon mission for a while. The post office was "Los Vegas" when first established to avoid confusion with the town of the same name in New Mexico. The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad arrived and a depot was built in 1906. By 1911 it was a town of 3,000, which was a lot for Nevada. Gambling bounced between legal and illegal-- er, at least technically speaking-- until 1931 when the "wide open gambling" law was enacted. Ten years later, the El Rancho Vegas was opened, the first property on the Las Vegas Strip. You probably know the rest. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I suppose I dwell on Vegas because it and the surrounding area are probably the only glimpse that visitors to the state get, besides flying over the vast empty space that is. It was the site of my first setting foot also, but not the last. Rosemary and I have also been to Lake Tahoe and Reno, and I've been way over on the other side of the state, Wendover, on the Utah border. It's in Wendover that you really get an idea of how vast and empty the state still is outside of its population centers. U.S. Route 50 across the state is called "The Loneliest Road in America," and for good reason! © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Nevadans include author Sarah Hopkins Winnemucca, actors Abby Dalton, Ben Alexander, and Hobart Cavenaugh, first lady Pat Nixon, politicians Paul Laxalt and Harry Reid, and tennis great Andre Agassi. And let's not forget "Vegas Vic," the 48 foot tall waving cowboy who greets visitors to Las Vegas. Remember, what happens there stays there, at least for the duration of the current advertising campaign. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No releases this month.

No releases this month.


510 00 160, Magne-Matic Coupler Only, $22.45.
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Canadian National.

Boxcar red (including the trucks and couplers) with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "wet noodle" CN herald on right. Yellow stripes at bottom of door.
Reporting Marks: CNA 419587.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1980s to early 2000s.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is an updated "reprint" from the N Scale release of this car (Catalog 25560, June 2003).]

As we've stated before in these bytes, one way in which the Canadian, or Canadien, National could get around the need to be bilingual with its freight car lettering would be to not bother to paint the roadname on the car at all! (Which reminds me-- how did the Canadian Pacific get around this?) The CNA reporting mark designates CN cars built in the United States. An example of this given on the "CNCyclopedia" website is "old RailBox cars now owned by CN." Yep, that's what this one is, in fact. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars roster shows the series 419549 to 419599 as coming over to the CN in 1985 from former RBOX series 40250 to 40749, built by Berwick Forge and Fabricating. The MTL 25000 body style is a model of an FMC car so it won't be an exact match to the prototype. Ian shows these cars as still in service, confirmed, but barely via the January 2002 ORER with just 25 cars spread across the number series 419000 to 419603. The vital stats from that issue: inside length 50 feet 7 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 58 feet 1 inch, extreme height 15 feet 5 inches, door opening 9 feet, gross rail weight 220,000 pounds. And indeed, we're not "to present" on the ATP as the cars are not listed in the January 2006 Register. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I think we can safely assume that MTL owns the Canadian Rail Car Pictorial series. So does Anthony Hunter who points out that the very car CNA 419587 is in "Volume Four A: 50' - 52' - 60' - 86' Canadian National Boxcars - Part 2", by Richard Yaremko. "Yes, that really is the title, last month's CN release was from Volume 4" writes Anthony. "The paint is identical to the Micro-Trains release. The photo date in the book is June 29, 1985" he added to us here at UMTRR HQ. If you don't have that volume, George Elwood's Fallen Flags site can get you to a photo of sister car CN 419072 taken in June 1999. I'm pleased to see that the yellow stripes on the door have made it down to Z Scale; those add a bit of color to an otherwise very boxcar red car. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

540 00 060, Magne-Matic Coupler only, $33.55.
Gunderson Husky Stack Car with Containers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Brown with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and circle cross herald on right. Includes one red 40 foot container and one white 40 foot container.
Reporting Marks: BNSF 240497.
Approximate Time Period: late 1990's to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I suppose there are those that are thinking, rats, not the "swoosh" herald. I suppose that will appear on an MTL Husky Stack at some point. The last stand of the venerable circle cross was the one depicted this time around, however, and I guess I'm just one for tradition, even if it is on a double stack car that is not exactly "traditional" at this point. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Talk about turning your back on tradition: the company listed in the January 2006 ORER is not even "Burlington Northern and Santa Fe," but "BNSF Railway Company." When did that happen? Anyway, the 240497 is actually a five unit articulated set of "double stack pack" flat cars, AAR Designation FCA, with inside lengths of 48 feet per unit, a total outside length of 300 feet 10 inches, and gross rail weight of 800,000 pounds with a few exceptions of 801 or 799 thousand. There were a total of 571 sets of these cars in the BNSF series 240300 to 240839. No wonder I'm always seeing them in stack trains that come through here. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We need to go backwards from that date to get a fix on the start of the ATP. So reversing to January 2000, there were 530 sets in the series. We also see that the capacity was 600,000 pounds, meaning that the sets weighed about 200,000 pounds each, or 40,000 pounds per unit, give or take a drawbar. That's not really all that much for a freight car. The July 1998 Register has 520 sets in a slightly smaller series of cars, and that's as far back as I can go since a 1996 ORER in my Research Accumulation predates the official December 1996 merger of the BN and SF operations. (The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation had been created in 1994 and the two railroad holding companies had their "business combination" completed in September 1995. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Since the MTL model is just one-fifth of the five unit set, you might want to know how the rest of the quintet of cars are painted. The Fallen Flags site can help with just that: images of all five parts of BNSF 240653 as caught by Scott Borden in October 2004 are available. The reporting marks and herald are flipped in position on some units and others don't have either item at all. The "swoosh" has not taken over just yet, either. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


530 00 050, Magne-Matic Coupler only, $18.65.
39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Union Pacific.

Black with white lettering including
Reporting Marks: UP 70138.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1950's to at least 2000.
Previous Releases (as catalog 14405/14405-2): Road Number 70117, March 1985 (Marklin) and July 1987 (Magne-Matic); Road Number 70125, June 1990; Road Number 70133, May 1996; Road Number 70136, July 1997.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, I thought I'd be all set with this one by once again borrowing from an N Scale MTL release, specifically the 65180 from July 2002. Until I looked at the road number of this Z Scale reprint and the road numbers that preceded it, that is. The N Scale tankers were numbered in the 69000s, and these are from the 70000s. No match. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Help comes from an unlikely source: a reference to the fuel tender program of the UP. According to a item reposted on, Tenders UPT 5 through UPT 8 were "made from Class O-70-1 tank cars from the 70000-70199 number series... The tank cars were originally built in the 1954-55 timeframe by American Car & Foundry. The cars were modified by Union Tank Car in Muscatine, Iowa. The cars were 51 feet long and had a capacity of 19,167 gallons." © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Speaking of "no match," then. The MTL tank cars represent a 39 foot long tanker. Oh, well. Let's have a look at the January 1959 ORER. The series is shown with some dimensional data, a rarity among tank car listings: inside length 45 feet 9 inches, outside length 49 feet 2 inches, extreme width 10 feet 7 inches, extreme height 14 feet 11 inches, capacity 140,000 pounds. That would align with the O-70-1 designation, the "70" meaning 70 tons. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In April 1976 there were still 191 of these cars in service, and 170 in January 1985. The 151 in the roster in July 1989 were the only tank cars left in interchange service for the UP, with all other tankers having been retired or flipped to company service. There were 129 in October 1996 and 123 in July 1998, though by this time they'd been joined by tank cars from UP-acquired roads, including, believe it or not, the Chicago Great Western! Perhaps even more amazingly, there are still 25 of the original 200 listed in the January 2006 ORER. Could we really be looking at a "To Present" ATP? Well, if they were built in 1954, they'd be past the 40 year service rule for interchanged equipment. © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If their lifespan was that long, then someone should have a photo, and sure enough, Fallen Flags has three, all showing that these cars were a lot larger than what MTL modeled. The "Milton 1-55" stencil is clearly visible on the UP 70080 from February 1997, Milton being an AC&F plant. The paint scheme is black with white lettering in the same general arrangement as on the MTL car. The UP 70017 is looking a bit worse for wear in its photo, and it's got a stencil I can't quite read, but its photo was taken as part of a train in June 2003 in Williams, Arizona, which if I am not mistaken is on the Santa Fe mainline, not near anything Union Pacific at all. What was that about interchange service? © 2006 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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