UMTRR February, 2007 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2007 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 most Micro-Trains locomotives, most Special Editions such as the U.S. Navy Sets and the "Twelve Days of Christmas" cars are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.


045 00 310, $15.65
50 Foot Steel Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Lehigh Valley.

Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Simulated ship engine load included.
Reporting Marks: LV 10038.
Approximate Time Period: 1950 (build date) to late 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I think there's a typo in the MTL car copy for this one, specifically, "By 1985 nearly all had been upgraded from 140000 lbs. to 154000 lbs. load capacity." In 1985 there were practically zero Lehigh Valley cars left on earth in commercial service; in fact, the October 1986 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) shows precisely one car left with "LV" reporting marks under the Conrail listing, and it's a boxcar. So when were these cars upgraded from 140,000 to 154,000 pounds? Ah, I love a challenge, well, as long as it's not too hard. (Insert smilie here.) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

First stop is the Morning Sun Color Guide to the CNJ and LV, page 74. Author Craig Bossler himself provided the August 1977 photo of the actual LV 10038 and, of course, the caption. From it we learn that the series 10000 to 10049 was built in 1950 to a design similar to that of the Pennsylvania Railroad's F30A and F30D classes. The relationship to the Pennsy isn't surprising considering that the PRR effectively owned, though at arm's length, the Lehigh Valley. There is a sort of funky hardware device on the 10038 on the car, but I can't count that as a nitpick. However, on the prototype, the brake wheel is a vertical staff affair mounted on the end of the car, unlike where MTL mounts it on the side of its flat cars. The paint job looks right on for the MTL car, though, except for a tenuously placed ACI label. Bossler also includes a photo of a beat up discolored LV 10004 with a lousy reporting marks restencil job circa 1984, which at least helps us a bit with the Approximate Time Period. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These cars must have come on line too late for the July 1950 ORER so it's off to the next volume in the UMTRR Accumulation, the July 1953 edition. Therein we find the 10000 to 10049 series with inside length of 49 feet 5 inches, outside length of 51 feet 1 inch, and extreme height of 6 feet 5 inches, dimensions a bit smaller than the MTL model. The capacity is 140,000 pounds at this point and all 50 cars are in place, by far the largest group of flats on the Valley. In fact, there were only four other flat cars on the roster. There were still 50 cars in service in January 1964, and they were still of 140,000 pounds capacity. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, maybe we won't find the answer to that trivia question. All the way to the April 1981 ORER and the absorption of the LV into Conrail, the capacity of the flat cars remains at 70 tons. The series is down to 23 cars after being at 49 cars from 1970 through 1976 at least, so perhaps some of these cars were repainted into Conrail colors (still freight car red and white!) and upgraded to 154,000 pounds at that point. Yes, I could be convinced of that, seems plausible to me. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's not overlook the new load included with the new flat car. MTL calls it a ship engine which led to some 'net discussion as to what kind of ship engine it might be. It would be a bit of a nod to a former locomotive manufacturer if it should be a Fairbanks-Morse. They tried their opposed-piston engines in diesels, but that didn't work out; however, in ships they worked just fine and F-M remains in business as a unit of EnPro Industries (and the website is in place, where they mention the development of the Train Master!). The load isn't very detailed so at best it's an approximation; but why do I think that we'll see some upgraded versions of the item atop N Scale flat cars in near future editions of "Photo Fun"? © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

111 00 101 and 111 00 102, $39.95 each
89 Foot Tri-Level Enclosed Auto Rack, TTX (Trailer Train) / Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Yellow flat car and racking; white roof on racking. Black and white lettering on flat car including reporting marks on left and TTX logo on right. Blue, white and green BNSF "circle cross" herald on both left and right ends of rack sides.
Reporting Marks: ETTX 908400 (the 101) and ETTX 908425 (the 102).
Approximate Time Period: Late 1990's to Present.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

If you need any evidence that the mixture of different railroad's racks set atop TTX's flat cars approaches randomness, take a look at the listing of a few cars around the road numbers of these MTL releases as found on Fallen Flags:
ETTX 908368, 2003, Grand Trunk Western rack
ETTX 908385, 2003, Norfolk Southern rack
ETTX 908388, 2004, Burlington Northern rack

I could add more, but you get the idea. You're probably aware that racks also have "reporting marks" of a sort. On the BNSF racks they're easier to find than usual. The 908400 flat carries 31986 and the 908425 flat has rack 31992 installed. (Look on the lower left of the rack, below the herald.) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So, while digging around the vast listing of Trailer Train and TTX photos that are on the Fallen Flags site, I came across three different varieties of decoration, including the paint scheme we're interested in on TTGX 154730-- which I know is nowhere near the road numbers MTL produced-- as of 2004. There's also an image of ETTX 711049 as of 2004 available in the same scheme, and ETTX 711080 with just one herald, on the left. Mixed in are contemporaneous shots of cars with the brown rack sporting a brown and white BNSF herald. And yes, the "swoosh" has arrived on autoracks. I'm still not that excited given that it means the demise of the venerable circle cross herald. The net of it is that there are enough different versions to keep MTL, and you, busy for a while. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER lookups are not usually anything to write home about with autoracks, so we'll just sample from the January 2006 edition which also happens to nicely align with a rebuild date of July 2005 printed on the racks (on the right near the herald, and I needed my glasses plus a magnifier to read it!). Note that this date does give a smaller "strictly speaking" ATP than I have above. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The two cars MTL did are part of the larger group ETTX 908369 to 908443, which has a headache-inducing set of subseries that vary mostly on widths and extreme heights at the extreme widths. The non-varying statistics are the usual: 89 foot 4 inch inside length, 93 feet 8 inch outside length, extreme height of 18 feet 11 inches or 19 feet, gross rail weight of 179,000 pounds, of which a lot is the car and rack itself, not the payload. By the way, the ETTX listings clearly carry the use of subseries to a high art, as it stretches from the bottom of Page 559 to the middle of Page 610, which I think is longer than Winnie the Pooh was stuck in the entry passage to his home. (Reference to the animated Disney adaptation.) Would that those breathtakingly long divisions corresponded to the different railroads who owned the racks which were atop the cars, but that's not verifiable and besides, the railroads wouldn't be listed anyway. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

121 00 020, $14.55
Scale Test Car, Norfolk Southern.

Black (including brake wheel and walkway handrail). White lettering including reporting marks on left and NS herald on top of car.
Reporting Marks: NS 982562.
Approximate Time Period: early 1990's to present.

My UMTRR Gang Members Joe Shaw and Robb Fisher come through once again with an assist to a whole set of photos on the site of the real NS 982562-- in Joisey, no less! Deepwater, New Jersey, in the southern part of my native state, is the home of a sizable chemical operation and, no doubt, a track scale. Most of the photos in the group are from there, and they show in large views this diminutive car. There are more grab irons on the prototype than on the model-- how's that for nitpicking-- and for more realism, get out your 0000000000 brush and paint them white.

Those of you who might doubt that Company Service equipment lasts a long time please take note of the build date on this car. With the latest photo taken just last month, this car is about to celebrate its eightieth birthday! Yes, that's right, it was built in February 1927! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Yet another photo of the car in Phillipsburg, New Jersey in 2006 was captioned by John C. Durant as having been assigned to him from July 1984 to June 1986 and again from June 1999 to February 2001. It's called out as the former Conrail CR 80058 and you bet I'd love to find out which predecessor(s) contributed it to Conrail. (Hmm, I think the Central of New Jersey had these... yep, I checked.) This also gives us an ATP in this NS scheme from sometime beyond the breakup of Conrail to now. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Oh, and one other thing... in two action shots, the car is not the last one on the train. Which leads to the question, where can you put this car if there's no caboose to couple just behind it? Answer: just in front of the last car of the train. It looks way out of place in the Phillipsburg photo between two large covered hoppers and the smaller diameter wheels of the car really show in that context. What about that "Haul on rear end of train" warning on the top of the car? Well, in this cabooseless era, it does in fact go just in front of the last car of the train, which used to be the caboose. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

113 00 730, $20.95
Disconnect Logging Trucks with Log Load.

No paint, no lettering.
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

So, just for giggles, I typed "Hercules Logging Bunks" into my usual Search Engine and it returned only four matches, three of which were descriptions of this very car including the term as MTL does in its car copy. The fourth entry was a description of disconnect logging trucks in 1:20.3 scale, better known as one of the proportions of G Gauge, offered by Ozark Miniatures. In a size that is many times larger than N, one can actually model the wood parts in wood. And the frame really is wood, as is the pedestal for the actual Logging Bunk, though the "cradle" in which the logs would be placed. This model comes with link and pin couplers, which may have been more correct with respect to the prototype but seems downright impractical for 1:160 size. (And questionable given the original claim to fame of MTL-- operating N Scale magnetic couplers!) The shipping weight of the kits is a formidable two pounds, by the way, probably sufficient to stay on the 1:20.3 track even without a log. (And given the size, it can probably haul a good sized chunk of firewood-- now, there's a practical application for an outdoor G Gauge line!) All of this discourse isn't meant as a shot at Micro-Trains; after all, there is such a thing as Manufacturing Limitations-- but it would be fascinating to see someone do up a couple of these logging trucks as if they really were made of wood and metal. Someone other than me, that is. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Counting the Disconnect Log Car train set, this brings to six the number of uniquely loaded "cars" in the series from MTL. At "press time" that set was still available. This single car comes with a modest price increase, the previous run was at $19.95 MSRP. It's my understanding that the labor involved in getting those brass chains around those logs is nontrivial. Certainly it would be much worse than that if you were as ham-fisted as I am, but I know first hand that the MTL factory staff is as good at this small parts stuff as I am terrible. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


038 00 180, $20.60
50 Foot Box Car, Plug Door, Without Roofwalk, Chicago & North Western.

Yellow sides, black ends, aluminum roof. Mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white "Employee Owned" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: CNW 32931.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's or 1979 (reweigh date) through 1980's at least, see text.
Previous Release: Road Number 32950, July 1989.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Micro-Trains mentions that the "Employee Owned" herald for the C&NW was introduced in 1973, so it's possible to ignore the start of the "strictly speaking" Approximate Time Period given by the reweigh date of June 1979 printed on the car, and reach back at least to the July 1974 ORER. There we find the series 32900 to 33049 with a description of "Refrigerator, Steel, Cushion Underframe, Compartmentized" and the AAR Class RBL. The inside length was 50 feet 1 inch, inside height 9 feet 11 inches, outside length 57 feet 8 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 10 feet, and capacity 4450 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. The exception is the rule this time: while there are only 49 cars in the main series, there are 88 cars in a subseries which adds "Flat Lift Truck Pallets or Platforms or Skids"-- which I guess would make it the main series, right? Well, not in the ORER. Anyway, the numbers 32900 clear out to 32958 are in this second group, which includes both this reprint road number 32391 and the original run's 32950. See, a two for one special. The last eight cars in this series, 33042 to 33049, add heater hangers to the mix. And "Note 1" applies to all cars informing us that these cars are actually owned by North American Car Corporation. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The end of the "strictly speaking" ATP would be whenever you think that yellow dot on black "U-1" wheel stencil would have been removed. It was no longer required after December 1978, and yes, that is before June 1979! Hmm, you end the ATP before you start it?!? Never mind. Let's look in the October 1986 Register, then. Oh, no, there's a mish mash of different series of cars with various weight capacities, which are either just "Refrigerator" or the same with some additional information, but no mention of fork lift anything. The total works out to 113 cars and both the 32931 and the 32950 are just plain "Refrigerator" with AAR Class RB, no L any more. Moving on to the October 1996 book and the CNW's inclusion in the Union Pacific listing, we find a similar mess, totaling 93 cars and perhaps no longer including this month's reprint road number. We can get to the turn of the century-- barely-- with a total of 11 cars in the January 2000 Register including that first MTL run road number 32950. I'd definitely lose the U-1 stencil at this point, though. A little Easy Lift Off will help there. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Wait, hold the presses here on that ATP. A photo of CNW 32932 on Fallen Flags from 1984 shows that U-1 stencil intact. Also note that the herald is to the right of the "Hydraulic Cushion..." legend; on the prototype it's to avoid a "thingy" (technical term) on the car body. I guess this would be the proper time to mention that the prototype is different than the model, most noticeably on the side ladders which are not full height. But oops, the CNW 32936 as caught in 2002 has a somewhat different paint scheme, looks a lot more orange, and from the rust pattern almost looks like it once had full ladders. I'm quite doubtful that the "new" paint scheme was all that new in 2002. The "Employee Owned" herald was gone from the C&NW starting around 1976 according to the RPI website-- well, maybe that's too conservative. Especially if the reweigh date was after that... again, an ATP that ends before it starts? Somehow, I don't think so. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

105 00 510, $16.90
50 Foot Steel 15 Panel Gondola, Rock Island.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left and small herald in center. Simulated quarry load included.
Reporting Marks: RI 3091.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1960's (1967 paint date given by MTL) to about 1980.
Previous Release: Road Number 3958, July 1989.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

It's not that often that a reprint's exact road number is found in a Morning Sun Color Guide, but here's an example. The MSCG to the Rock Island, Page 74, has RI 3091 as lensed in Blue Island, Illinois in September 1968. The 15 panels, fixed ends and wood floor are all in place, and the paint scheme looks good. The MSCG caption notes that these cars could be loaded "nearly full with sand or gravel." Or a quarry load, I suppose, as MTL offers with this release. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While MTL calls out a more specific 50 car order from Pullman-Standard in its car copy, the MSCG shows the larger series from 3000 to 3399, delivered in 1958. The paint scheme is from 1967, though, so we'll start in April 1970 where the group shows an interesting inconsistency. Well, maybe. The description is "Gondola, Steel Sides, Steel Floor, Fixed Ends." Steel floor? Wait, isn't that supposed to be a wood floor? Yes, the circle with the W in it denotes that, and it's on the prototype RI 3091 in the 1968 photo as well as the MTL model. Could there have been a changeover between 1968 and 1970? I suppose so. Anyway, the inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 57 feet, extreme height 7 feet 1 inch, and capacity 1745 cubic feet. The main series of 369 cars including the 3091 had a weight capacity of 140,000 pounds and 18 exceptions had a 154,000 pound capacity. Two others, the 3151 and 3333, were assigned to container loading "as is"-- whatever that means. It's kind of hard to fathom that in this listing the Rock Island had north of 27 thousand pieces of freight equipment, and ten years later the entire railroad would be gone. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"The Rock" was still hanging in there in April 1976, though, and just to wrap things up, there were 352 cars in the main series with 140,000 pounds capacity, 18 with 154,000 pounds capacity, and three more carrying containers. The next ORER I have is from 1981, and the Rock Island was no more by that time. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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

021 00 410, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Pennsylvania 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 (Ruffled Grouse) and state flower (Mountain Laurel) on right.
Reporting Marks: PA 1787.
Forty-sixth release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, refuse to use the pen!" goes one line of the song "But, Mr. Adams" from one of my all time favorite stage plays and films, "1776." The verse is a reference to Ben Franklin's decline of the offer to write the Declaration of Independence. Franklin is most closely associated with Pennsylvania, but he wouldn't make my native list since he was from Boston. This all links together with my first official setting foot in the Keystone State: it was 1974, it was in Philadelphia via Amtrak train from New Jersey, and we visited Independence Hall, among other historic sites. My first comment: "It looks just like the movie!" The movie "1776," of course. And yes, it does look like the movie set, although I think I had that backwards. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If the Swedes had been able to hold onto their claim on the area surrounding Tinicum Island, we might be writing about a much larger state of Delaware than about Pennsylvania. But that didn't happen, and the Dutch takeover of New Sweden didn't last long either, with the British tossing both of its rivals out of the area for good by 1674. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

William Penn became proprietor of "Penn's Woods" in early 1681 as payment of a 16,000 pound debt owed by King Charles II of Great Britain. It was to include the land between the 39th and 42nd degrees of north latitude and from the Delaware River westward for five degrees of longitude. Penn sought the area as a refuge for his Friends, or, more properly, the Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. One of four "states" that is really a Commonwealth, the laws of the land were notably tolerant and included the "Great Law" a humanitarian code that guaranteed liberty of conscience. Also interesting in this vein is that though William Penn was granted all the land in Pennsylvania by the King, he and his heirs chose not to grant or settle any part of it without first buying the claims of Indians who lived there, a task not completely accomplished until 1789. This included tribes such as the Delaware, Erie, and Black and White Minqua, also known as the Honniasont and Susquehanna. As tolerant as this was, and as free as religions were, the colony still included slaves. But the Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While Pennsylvania played a pivotal role in the American Revolution-- they don't call it Independence Hall for nothing!-- the constitution that the Commonwealth adopted, calling for a Supreme Executive Council instead of a Governor, upset many patriots but lasted until 1789. Constitutionalists who were gradually gaining influence in Pennsylvania helped get the Commonwealth into the United States just behind Delaware on December 12, 1787. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Industry grew and strong agriculture co-existed in Pennsylvania for the first half of the 19th Century. For example, the Cambria Works were the largest mills in the country. The state became a major battleground of the Civil War for a short time, culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg which was one of the most bitterly fought contests in military history. Progressive changes to the constitution occurred several times but it wasn't all forward progress: free African-Americans had been disenfranchised in one change in 1837. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There are lots of famous Pennsylvanians. I'd have a list just from Philadelphia: actor and comedian Bill Cosby, sculptor and inventor of the mobile Alexander Calder, singer Mario Lanza, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and actor W.C. Fields who famously said, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia". Others from the Commonwealth include actor James Stewart, dancer Gene Kelly, band leaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey and Fred Waring, psychologist B.F. Skinner, president James Buchanan, auto executive Lee Iacocca, financier Andrew Mellon, painter Andrew Wyeth, and authors Gertrude Stein and Louisa May Alcott. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No releases this month.


New Release:
30 Foot Log Car with chains and load.

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

Please see the commentary in the January 2007 UMTRR. Other than the load, this is the same car.


506 00 100, $23.90
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Seaboard Air Line.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks and "Route of the Silver Meteor" slogan on right. Red and white "heart" herald on left.
Road Number: 10198 (will be "SAL 10198" in website listing).
Approximate Time Period: mid-1940's to mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[Note: This commentary is largely a reprint from the N Scale release of this car (034 00 330, January 2006).]

According to the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to the Seaboard, two hundred boxcars in the series 10000 to 10199 were built in 1938 by Pullman-Standard. These cars had two somewhat unusual features that immediately form a delta to the MTL release. First the door opening was just 12 feet 6 inches even though these are double door cars-- which makes for an unusual "reverse door thing" to the 16 feet door opening on this model car (typically MTL doors are smaller than they should be). Second, the prototype cars had flat ends. Now that is different on double door fifty footers; I'm sure that there are other examples but none come to mind. A photo of the car on Page 62 is dated April 1962 and shows a February 1960 reweigh date, so we know we're good for then. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And since we are in that timeframe, let's check the January 1964 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER). The group stands at 186 cars with AAR Designation "XM" (plain boxcar), description "Box, Staggered Doors" and the following key dimensions: inside length 50 feet even, inside height 10 feet 1 inch, outside length 51 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches, door opening the previously mentioned 12 feet 6 inches, and capacity 4629 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. All in all, it's a "smallish" 50 footer, so to speak. The April 1970 listing for the successor Seaboard Coast Line shows the series still extent but with no car count as was the SCL's practice: the renumber series 810000 to 810199 contained just two cars. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although the Seaboard's use of slogans promoting their trains began in 1937, it wasn't until 1944 that "The Route of the Silver Meteor" was used, so this is not the as delivered paint scheme. In fact, the MSCG notes that 10000 to 10199 were first painted with the earlier "Route of the Robert E. Lee" slogan. My guess is that the "Silver Meteor" decoration was the second and last, based on the relative slowness with which the SCL did anything beyond restenciling. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

520 00 110, $18.85
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Canadian Pacific.

Freight car red with white lettering including reporting marks and dimensional data on left and roadname on right. Reporting Marks: CP 276932.
Reporting Marks: CP 276932.
Approximate Time Period: early to mid-1960's, as renumbered.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

This car was released in N Scale back in 2001, ancient history as far as the UMTRR is concerned; but we can do a bit of "reprinting" from that commentary. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's a car with a narrow focus on a single road-- if you can call the Canadian Pacific Railway a "narrow focus." MTL reports that this car retained its Arch Bar trucks as late as the early 1960's. The use of Arch Bar trucks would have restricted this car from interchange service, so to be perfectly prototypical, you'd have to be modeling the CP to use this release. If you're not, then this is another one of those easy relettering candidates. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We'll speak strictly for the ORER lookups here as well, beginning in 1964 around when this car was serviced, repainted and renumbered according to MTL. The series 276900 to 276987 was down to just 31 cars. Not so good news for fidelity: The cars are just 36 feet inside length and 8 inches more for outside length, with just a 5 foot door opening. Extreme height is 13 feet 11 inches and the capacity is 80,000 pounds. Nearby in the CP listing are a couple of series that could have been better choices, although we don't know just from ORER data how closely they might resemble the 35000 series. For example, the group 277000 to 277199 is around 42 feet long, and has a 6 foot door opening, although it's a bit tall at 15 feet extreme height. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This group, which had been serviced in 1962 per MTL, doesn't last much longer; by the April 1970 Register just a single car, road number 277962, remains on the rails. Its trucks may finally have been changed, though, as the outside length had climbed to 40 feet 6 inches. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Now for some incremental information past the 2001 review from the Morning Sun Color Guide to the CP by John Riddell. And, well, the photo of the real CP 276932 shows it is really just a "stand in." The prototype was a Fowler type stock car, of which 230 were in service for CP subsidiary Quebec Central in 1951. The slats are much more narrow and more closely spaced than on the model; the door is completely different and so are the ends. Finally, the caption sourced by MTL for its car copy reads "no white paint or lime disinfectant." The MSCG photo does know arch bar trucks. I would say that you're unlikely to find a Fowler car in Z Scale anytime soon but the small manufacturers in 1:220 have surprised me multiple times so I'm not going there. Meanwhile, there's nothing in the Color Guide that is all that similar to the MTL stock car body style, so I'd suggest that they were doing the best they could with what they had. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

524 00 010, $17.65
60 Foot Flat Car, Trailer Train.

Yellow with brown floor. Black and white lettering including reporting marks on left, "TT" logo right of center and Trailer Train name on right.
Reporting Marks: MTTX 98051.
Approximate Time Period: 1975 (build date given by MTL) to early 1990's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

No, I could not read the build date on this newest body style from Micro-Trains in Z Scale. (I'm well past the Reading Glasses Precipice.) However, a quick note out to Talent got me the answer, more specifically, November 1975. So we go to the April 1976 ORER for an initial look. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The first stop is the "Definitions of Trailer Train Company's Reporting Marks" where we find that MTTX was used for "60 feet flat cars with stake pockets and lading strap anchors for general service, or 85 feet flat cars with sixteen stake pockets, eight per side, for transporting long pipe." Hmm, I think the first one. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Very well, then, the series MTTX 97563 to 98115, of 251 cars, is described as "Flat, Tsh60c, End of Car Cushioning" with an AAR Classification FMS and AAR Type Code F213 (which is nothing special when translated). The inside length was listed at 59 feet 4 inches, inside width 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 64 feet 10 inches, extreme height 7 feet 8 inches, and capacity 154,000 pounds. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Skipping about ten years to the October 1986 Register, we find that the series has increased in road numbers to 97563 to 98215, but has slipped in quantity to 227 cars. A rare end note states that 90 percent of the load limit may be centered on the middle 14 feet of the car-- bring on the dense stuff! Ten years beyond that, in October 1996, Trailer Train has become TTX, meaning that repaints may have been on the program for the 128 cars still in service at that point. In the January 2006 Register, my proxy for "the present," there are 102 cars in the main series with a Gross Rail Weight of 220,000 pounds, on which the above cited "90 percent load" notation still applies. But there are another 25 cars with much lower Gross Rail Weights, either 140 or 145 thousand pounds. Yeah, that would be a "demotion" I suppose. However, TTX is relatively quick at repainting so I'm not sure you'd find any of these flats done up as delivered. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As evidence of my statement, on Fallen Flags we have MTTX 98076, one of a long line of these cars in fact, in Norfolk, Virginia in 2002 with paintouts to the TTX logo and an interesting load that I can't quite figure out. MTTX 98103 is a little more like it as of 1989; the yellow paint is pretty dirty, but the lettering looks good. There is, however, a bit of a bother with respect to the prototype that I think is a compromise based on MTL's available Z Scale parts: the trucks on the real cars appear to be a fair bit farther toward the center than they are on the model. Overall, though, I like this new car, particularly the nice job they've done on the simulated wood planking. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

531 00 051 and 531 00 052, $20.55 each
Two Bay PS-2 Steel Covered Hopper, Chessie System / Baltimore and Ohio.

Yellow with dark blue lettering including reporting marks on left, large "Ches-C" herald in center and small "Chessie System" roadname at top right.
Reporting Marks: B&O 604112 (the 051) and B&O 604116 (the 052).
Approximate Time Period: 1985 (repaint date given by MTL) to present (though barely).
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

When Micro-Trains says, in their car copy for this virtual two-pack, that this series of cars was repainted "as shopped" they are not kidding. The Fallen Flags site has examples of the pre-Chessie paint on B&O covered hoppers of this type into the 2000's! So there's no doubt that the Ches-C and the Capitol Dome can be run together; well, after MTL releases the Capitol Dome version of the car, that is. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And MTL's comment that "there were variations in how the scheme was applied"? Check. A shot from the collection of UMTRR Gang Member Tom Flagg, also on the Fallen Flags site, illustrates the point. B&O 604291 as caught in December 1974 looks similar, but I think the Ches-C is a bit smaller and lower on the car. The stenciling MTL has in the dotted line box isn't on this one. Rats, I was hoping I'd be able to see what it said. An interesting detail on B&O 604379 is a placard to the right of the herald where once was placed an ACI label. The blue paint is very faded in the image from 2003, but at least we know we're good on the ATP into this century. Ditto on a shot of B&O 604421 from the year 2000. That paint job just didn't seem to hold up as well as the plain old gray and black it replaced-- perhaps that's why there are so many plain gray and black B&O paint jobs showing on Fallen Flags. By the way, a shot of B&O 604212 from 2001 found on the site shows that the split in the ampersand that MTL depicts is right on. And there is no blue paint on the rib, either. Both it and a 2002 view of the same car show the extra stenciling, but I still can't read it. Finally, there is a shot of a quite faded B&O 604379 as of July 2006-- close enough to "The Present"? That's up to you, since we're getting awfully close to that 40 year rule, but I'll take it. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Enough with the photo images, let's hit just one example ORER, the October 1986 edition. Strictly speaking, MTL is right with the series 604100 to 604199, but there are sister series running up to road number 604424, which as seen in both the dimensional data and the photos I've cited, are PS-2 covered hoppers as well. Speaking of data, these had an inside length of 32 feet, outside length of 40 feet 6 inches, extreme height of 14 feet 10 inches, and capacity of 2700 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds, with some exceptions. Some of these cars were used in sand service, at least while in B&O gray paint. A quick check of the ORER for January 2006 shows a few of these cars still around in B&O reporting marks among the entire group, including a lone car from the 604100 to 604199 group. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

NOTE:F-7 Locomotive releases are covered exclusively in the Subscriber Edition of the UMTRR.

No releases this month.

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