UMTRR March, 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 Canadian Province & Territory cars are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.

N SCALE NEW RELEASES:

020 00 746, $15.70
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, Atlanta and West Point.

Aluminum with black ends, door and ladder end of side. Black lettering including reporting marks on left and "The West Point Route" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: A&WP 37302.
Approximate Time Period: 1941 (build date) to early 1960's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Ah, what fun, a small line that doesn't appear very frequently from model railroad manufacturers. Strictly speaking, this isn't the first car Micro-Trains has done that's lettered for the A&WP. That honor goes to a Family Lines exterior-post boxcar with A&WP sublettering from January 1984, catalog 25200 and rather pricey in the aftermarket too by the way. But that's only Strictly Speaking. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"The West Point Route" really did go to West Point, Georgia, 87 track miles from Atlanta in a southwesterly direction, where connection was made with the Western Railway of Alabama for Montgomery, another 88 miles out, and Selma, 225 miles from Atlanta. At the Atlanta end was the Georgia Railroad which linked to Macon and Augusta. The three lines were operated together, were also collectively known as "The West Point Route" (just to make it confusing), and listed together in the October 1946 edition of the Official Guide of the Railways, complete with a map on which Alabama and Georgia look awfully wide compared to other states! In the timetables in that edition, four trains in each direction were run from Atlanta to Montgomery, two of which were the Crescent and the Piedmont Limited. If those sound like Southern Railway trains, you're right. The Southern took them from Washington to Atlanta, where they went on the West Point Route, and then the Louisville and Nashville to New Orleans. (Let's not leave out the Pennsylvania from New York to Washington.) This was interesting considering that two rivals to the Southern, the Atlantic Coast Line and the Louisville and Nashville, actually controlled the entire West Point Route (all three railroads). Time for the Crescent westbound was two hours Atlanta to West Point with just one scheduled stop; the Piedmont Limited made more stops and took two hours twenty-five minutes. Trains 31 and 32 were the real locals and required three hours twenty-five minutes to travel the length of the A&WP. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

According to a table on the Steam Era Freight Cars Web site, the Atlanta and West Point received forty boxcars from Pullman-Standard as their lot 5685. The cars were built to the 1937 AAR design (no, not the PS-1 that is the MTL model, I know) with Miner brake wheels, Apex Tri-Lock running boards and "W" ends. The aluminum and black paint scheme is called out also. The series was numbered 37300 to 37339. The line went back to Pullman-Standard for 25 more cars of the same design in 1945, numbered 37500 to 37524. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the January 1945 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER), the three lines are listed together as well, with the A&WP getting top billing and the largest type size. But it's the A&WP bringing up the rear of the actual car listings, with just 474 cars total of which 229 are boxcars. (The rest were 42 flat cars and the remainder hoppers or "coal cars" as stated.) The inside length of the 37000 to 37339 was 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet even, outside length 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3714 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. With the second order from Pullman not quite yet on the property, these were the A&WP's only all steel boxcars at the time; the other 189 were "Box, Steel Frame," and we know what that means. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

All 40 cars were present and accounted for in the July 1950 ORER, 37 remained in January 1955 and again in January 1959. By that time the A&WP had actual PS-1s on the property including a set of 33 cars delivered in 1956 which also sported aluminum paint and black lettering, an example of which is on the Fallen Flags site. Based on information on the Kadee website, though, PS-1s were repainted in as basic a paint job as was possible, boxcar red with reporting marks only. Kadee has an example with a 1964 repaint date and the October 1999 Rail Model Journal shows A&WP 37619 in boxcar red as of September 1965. So is that certain enough to call the ATP of the 37032 and its sister cars at that point? Maybe, and I'll go with early 1960's with my fingers crossed. For the record, the series was out of the ORER by the April 1970 edition anyway, so a few more years in aluminum may indeed be feasible. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

038 00 400, $17.80
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, No Roofwalk, Soo Line.

Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "SOO LINE" across car. Yellow "DF" designation on door.
Reporting Marks: SOO LINE 176816.
Approximate Time Period: early or mid 1970's (1976 service date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Call this a follow-up release of sorts-- if 27 years is an acceptable span for a follow-up release, that is!-- to the catalog number 32110 of March 1980. That car, Soo Line 15579, was a plug door boxcar with a roofwalk. This one is painted similarly. But I already can tell, since I own the earlier release, that the white paint is bolder and more opaque on this new release, and of course it doesn't have a roofwalk either. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That may not have always been the case on the prototype. MTL gives February 1964 as the build date and running boards were still being applied to most new cars. It would figure that my closest ORER is January 1964, but surprisingly the listing is contained in that volume. The group of 24 cars with even numbers only, 176800 to 176848, was then classified as "XML" with description "Box, Damage Free" and a notation of insulation and nailable steel floors. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

From there we'll jump close to the service date of 1976, April 1976 to be specific. This time the AAR Classification is "XLI" with the description "Box, Insulated, Damage Free, Nailable Steel Floor, Even Numbers, 25K." The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet, inside height 9 feet 9 inches, outside length 54 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet and capacity 4431 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Note the impact on the inside measurements made by the insulation; the width and height numbers are smaller than for uninsulated cars. There were 23 cars in the group at this point in three groups: 17 in the main series with 50 tons capacity, 3 in a subset with 55 tons capacity and 3 more with 50 tons capacity and forklift pallets, platforms or skids or tote-bins considered part of the car. (All that in only three cars?) The 176816 looks like part of the main series. It's of course possible that the roofwalks were pulled before this 1976 service date so your Approximate Time Period may vary. The series was down to 18 pieces, all but one were 110,000 pounds capacity, as of April 1981. But just one car remained as of October 1986. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My usual search points did not turn up any photos of this car series; it is a pretty small group though. Similar SOO LINE cars are painted in a similar way. The Soo Line Historical Society does a nice job of untangling the various paint schemes; for example, these insulated boxcars were in fact in brown while RBL boxcars, technically classified as refrigerators, were in white. Note that its compendium shows a 1973 repaint with the word "Insulated" in yellow and just below the "DF" instead of below that funky symbol for bulkheads. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 220, $24.40
3 Bay ACF Center Flow® Covered Hopper, Trough Hatches, Pennsylvania Railroad.

Gray with mostly black lettering including large reporting marks on left and plain keystone on right.
Reporting Marks: PRR 260716.
Approximate Time Period: 1965 (build date) to mid-1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I wonder if the folks at Morning Sun Books had any idea how much the concept of a Color Guide to a specific railroad would catch on when they released the first of what's become nearly fifty of these books, the Color Guide to the Pennsylvania Railroad by Sweetland and Yanosey, back in 1992. That book, long out of print, is not up to the standards of the later MSCG volumes, but it's invaluable in researching rolling stock of the "P" Company. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Case in point: Page 65 shows a photo of PRR 260744, from the same series as the 260716 that MTL presents this month. The "look and feel" of these H45As is captured by Micro-Trains, but as was pointed out on the 'net, both the H45s and the H45As had a high brake wheel, unlike the MTL body style, or any other N Scale center flow model that I can think of for that matter. The ends are a bit different too, with slope sheet bracing that reminds me of a non Center Flow type covered hopper. MTL says these were built in 1965 by American Car and Foundry, which I confirmed using Rob's Pennsy Page. The group 260706 to 260725 was delivered in April with three continuous hatches and gravity/pneumatic outlets according to Rob, and 260726 to 260775 came in July with three elongated hatches and gravity/pneumatic outlets. This subset comprised seventy of the total 415 cars built by AC&F for the Pennsy in that year. They came in the "final" and most simple paint scheme; just reporting marks and plain keystone. Interestingly, the H45A's were in a number sequence lower than the H45's. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I'll grab the April 1970 ORER, with these cars already under the Penn Central, for a sample set of dimensions: inside length 53 feet 3 inches, outside length 57 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, capacity 4600 cubic feet or 190,000 pounds. There were 68 cars left out of the original seventy at that point. In the inaugural listing for Conrail, April 1976, there were 46 still in the Pennsy reporting marks. But just three were left in the October 1986 ORER. My suspicion is that except for ACI Labels, for a while, and then consolidated stencils, the decoration didn't change much from the "as delivered" format. The MSCG portrait of sister car 206744 is from 1979 as an additional data point there. Rob's Pennsy Page has an undated shot of an ex-Pennsy H45 as Conrail 888294, in brown with white lettering, and guess what, it's still got the high brake wheel. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

101 00 060, $26.85
40 Foot "Hy-Cube" Box Car, Smooth Sides, Sliding Door, Southern Pacific.

Brown with yellow, white and black lettering including reporting marks, "Hydra-Cushion For Fragile Freight" slogan and "DF Loader" device on left and large roadname on right. Black and white consolidated stencils on right. White and black Excess Height banner at top of ends. Brown trucks and couplers.
Reporting Marks: SP 659031.
Approximate Time Period: 1965 (service date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

One expression that shows up occasionally on Internet model railroads is "foobie." That is loosely defined as a car that does not accurately represent the prototype. The selective pejorativeness with which the term is used at times borders on the polarizing, so I'm not a big fan of the word. (Or should I say "word.") In fact, given the compromises needed for any and every 1:160 model, it would not be completely inaccurate to say that all N Scale equipment is "foobies" to one extent or another. It also would not be completely fair, either. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But then we have the Southern Pacific, circa the late 1960's, which managed to pull off what I would call a real life "foobie." While the Northern Pacific and Burlington and the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe purchased Hy-Cube boxcars for appliance service, the Espee merely modified standard 40 foot boxcars. It may look like a brand new excess height, no running board car, but no-- it's a "foobie!" So says Lee Gautreaux on his Espee Page: "These cars were rebuilt from existing 40 foot box cars by having their roofs raised and larger, taller doors applied." Two photos, of SP 659006 and 659046, illustrate the point. (The 659046 is also on Fallen Flags.) There is a row of rivets horizontally along the top of the sides to show where the surgery was done on the car. And there's also a decided peak to the roof, which was probably retained from the "donor" boxcar. No, these aren't on the MTL model. What is captured well is the large Southern Pacific roadname and "Hydra-Cushion" slogan high up on the sides of the car. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970 shows a bunch of different series which altogether run from 659000 to 659052. These vary somewhat in dimensions, so I'll take the specific car MTL modeled which is in the largest subgroup 659008 to 659047. (This is the subgroup mentioned in MTL's car copy also.) The description was "Box, All Steel 'Hydra-Cushion' Underframe, DF Loaders" with an AAR Classification XM and Car Type Code B109. The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 12 feet 4 inches, outside length 45 feet 2 inches, extreme height 15 feet 11 inches, door opening 10 feet 6 inches wide by 11 feet 9 inches high, capacity 4713 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. The 37 cars in this group plus 24 other cars in this major series plus more numbered 659100 to 659111 make for a pretty sizable fleet of these cars, relatively speaking. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As painted, the MTL model includes the instructions "When empty return to agent PC RR, Evansville, Indiana" which should put the strictly speaking Approximate Time Period after 1968. But the double panel consolidated stencils bring that stricter ATP to past 1974. A total of 35 cars including 20 in the 659008 to 659047 group were extant in April 1981 so we know we're OK with the stencils, although I'd expect the "PC RR" would have been replaced with "Conrail." If these cars were still being routed to Evansville, that is. However, just eight cars are left by January 1985 none of which are numbered in the group in which we're most interested. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

109 00 060, $21.55
Heavyweight Depressed Center Flat Car, Commonwealth Trucks, Canadian Pacific.

Black with white lettering including roadname on left and reporting marks in center. Simulated marine engine block load included.
Reporting Marks: CP 309927.
Approximate Time Period: 1930 (well, maybe) to early 1980's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The build date was 1930, and given the relatively plain lettering, I'm tempted to call the start of the ATP there, although I probably shouldn't. But the ORER for July 1935, as close as I can get right now to the build date, sure does show this car, one of a quintet numbered 309925 to 309929. If only the ORER told us how the cars were painted! Well, basic white on black is not likely to draw out a purist as much as an anachronistic CP Rail car. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's stick with that July 1935 ORER for the vital statistics: inside length 52 feet 8 inches, outside length 54 feet 5 inches, low height 2 feet 8 inches, capacity 269,000 pounds. Note BB gives the length of the depressed platform at 22 feet 7 inches. These dimensions are a bit shorter than the MTL model, but it's an okay fit in my opinion. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's something interesting. Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars site gives 1983 as the end of the ATP. And in fact the group appears in the April 1981 ORER but not the January 1995 book. So how is it that there is a photo of the very CP 309927 in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Canadian Pacific, page 93, dated June 1993? Well, a car can still be in captive service on its own line even if it's no longer in interchange service, meaning no listing in the ORER. And if you're talking the Canadian Pacific, captive service its own line would still be a lot of track. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's something better. Sister car CP 309926 has been preserved, and how often can you say that about a depressed center flat car? It's at the museum in St Constant, Québec and there's a photo of it in the Canadian Freight Car Gallery. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

034 00 210, $15.35
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Door, Spokane, Portland and Seattle.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks and "football" herald on left and arched with straight line roadname on right.
Reporting Marks: SP&S 14397.
Approximate Time Period: 1957 (build date) to early 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog number 34210): Road Number 14339, March 1994.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the SP&S, page 44, has two photos of representative cars from the 500 car series to which the 14397 belonged. The 14395 and 14487 both belonged to the group 14000 to 14499, built by parent Great Northern at its shops in St. Cloud. For the rivet counters, there are rivets to count, specifically a diagonal row on each side of the double doors. Well, come to think of it, the MTL car is a welded side PS-1 and the SP&S cars were riveted side so I guess there are a lot of rivets to count. Anyway, the cars were the basic double door of Great Northern design and came with 15 foot door openings-- oops, that's a "door thing" too isn't it. Maybe I'd better quit while I'm behind. The photos are from 1973 and 1974, giving us an Approximate Time Period out at least that far from the build date of July 1957, with the original paint scheme as depicted by Micro-Trains. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for July 1959 shows the cars listed as just "Box, Steel" with AAR Classification XM. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 52 feet 6 inches, extreme height 14 feet 11 inches, door opening 15 feet as noted (an 8 + 7 foot combination), and capacity of 4948 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Out of the original 500 cars there were 499 shown. There were still 477 cars in service as of the initial Burlington Northern listing of April 1970, 153 in April 1976 and 67 in April 1981. I suspect that more than a few were repainted into BN paint with the requisite roofwalk removal as well. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

One more peek at the MSCG to the SP&S yields a photo of the 14211, from the series but with a variant paint scheme of the large "SP&S" on the right instead of the full road name. That would be an interesting follow up release. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And a final note: the original run of this car was part of the "virtual four back" of March 1994. Micro-Trains did a car for each of the components of the Burlington Northern that month, but didn't shrinkwrap the quartet as they did in later years. As I recall, shrinkwrapped or not, the cars were quick sellouts. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

045 00 020, $15.30
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Norfolk and Western.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname in center. Simulated industrial air conditioner unit included.
Reporting Marks: NW 202536.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's.
Previous Releases (as catalog number 45020): Road Number 202544, March 1977; Road Number 202542, February 1995.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

That early 1970's start for the ATP may surprise you, but I'm going with that based on the lettering on the previous run of this car. Specifically, while there's a build date of 1940 there are service dates of 1971 and 1972. (BX 1-72 and PGX 12-71, your pick; they are both on the previous run.) However, for me the real clue is the lack of ampersand between the "N" and the "W" in the reporting marks. Based on the introduction date of the runtogether "NW" herald (or perhaps I should write "herald" since it hardly seems like one to me) of 1971, at roughly which point the ampersand was dropped, I'd venture to guess that this was one of the first cars to have the paint scheme. Not like black and white is going to get anyone excited. The N&W was not one for flashy freight car paint schemes anyway, not then, not before, basically not ever. About the most exciting they got was the circle also known as the "hamburger" herald and I can't use it since it was introduced in December 1963 which is after my layout's Approximate Time Period... but I digress. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The car was built in 1940 but as a point of reference there are no flat cars in the 200000's in the January 1945 ORER, or any cars at all in the 200's for that matter. The same is true in the January 1959 ORER and the January 1964 ORER as well; although I can't be certain about all of the ones in between, I think that's a pretty safe bet. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But here's an interesting item: When these cars finally do show up in the numbers MTL did on them, that is the 202536 and the two previous numbers, there are only six total cars in the series! There is a group 202500 to 202544, but just five cars in the main series and one exception with a higher capacity, 110,000 pounds versus 100,000. Here are the rest of the vital statistics: inside length 50 feet, inside width 9 feet 4 inches, outside length 53 feet 3 inches, extreme height 6 feet 8 inches. The exception was 202505 and I don't know what the exact numbers for the other five cars were. Hold the phone: this series was going up in count, not down. There were 19 cars in the main series and three exceptions with higher capacity in the June 1974 book. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And then it gets really interesting in the April 1976 book. The main series expands to 202500 to 202575 and flips to a group with fixed bulkheads. The exceptions become the plain flat cars. None of the numbers MTL has done correspond with that exception listing. So one way or another, you're out of ATP before you're out of the seventies. By the way, the flat cars were equipped with bulkheads to handle loads of automobile bulk steel forgings. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Speaking of loads, I wonder how many of those industrial air conditioner loads supplied by MTL with this reprint will be found on larger N Scale buildings before too long? Certainly that's where I would locate mine, after some finishing. Dirty aluminum would be one appropriate color for this item, with perhaps some black for the simulated fans atop the structure. Don't go too overboard on the weathering though. © 2007 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 00 411, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Oklahoma 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 (Scissor-tailed Flycatcher) and state flower (Mistletoe) on right.
Reporting Marks: OK 1907.
Forty-seventh release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Perhaps you're familiar with the film "Far and Away" which had as its center one of the several great land rushes in what became the 46th state of the union. You might also know that I try to list several of the Native American tribes that inhabited the area before it was settled by Westerners. I think it's safe to say that the two forces are in conflict, but perhaps no more than here. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Tribes such as the Osage, Quapaw, Wichita, Comanche, and Apache were the first known residents of the territory. Once explored by Europeans, it passed variously through French and Spanish hands as part of Louisiana and was part of the United States purchase of the region. It was first attached to Missouri Territory. Native Americans from the east were resettled there, often forcibly: Creek, Cherokee, Chichasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole. In 1819 the United States and Spain set the boundary of the USA at the Red River and the area became part of Arkansas Territory. Forts were built but white settlers were repulsed in favor of the reservations. For example, the Cherokee received seven million acres. They and the plains tribes did not always get along. During the Civil War, many tribes sided with the Confederacy. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The railroads came to the border of the "Indian Territory" and in 1870 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas built into it. Still, settlers were being forcibly ejected. Eventually, though, the "Boomers," people who wanted the Indian Territory opened for settlement and in some cases they had already moved in were homesteading before the land was officially opened. Then there were "Sooners," people who snuck in just before the Land Run started and then popped up and staked their claim on choice land during the actual run, such as that filmed as part of "Far and Away." A fair amount of Congressional lobbying and manipulation took place as did several different land runs. Then oil was discovered in 1901 and Tulsa became known as the "Oil Capital of the World". Other areas of the state were locations for oil booms as well. Seminole was nothing much at all until oil was discovered in 1926, then became the Rock Island Railroad's biggest station in terms of revenue, passing even Chicago and Kansas City. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I didn't know that for a number of years, there were proposals to bring a joint statehood between the Indian Territory and the remainder of Oklahoma settled later. Other bills called for the admission of two separate states. In 1906 the land areas were combined and Oklahoma came into the Union as one state. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Famous Oklahomans include journalist Bill Moyers, baseball greats Johnny Bench and Mickey Mantle, ageless radio reporter Paul Harvey, legendary humorist and storyteller Will Rogers (I've been to the museum!), actors James Garner, Van Heflin, Jennifer Jones, Brad Pitt, Gary Busey and Tony Randall, cartoonist Chester Gould ("Dick Tracy"), writer Ralph Ellison, athlete Jim Thorpe, and singers Patti Page, Woody Guthrie, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Reba McIntyre. Oh, and the group Hanson as well. Weird Al Yankovic fans know that the film "UHF" was largely shot in and around Tulsa. Oklahoma was also the birthplace of the parking meter, the yield sign and the shopping cart. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Another interesting fact about Oklahoma is that its flag, originally red with a star in which was the number "46" for its state number, was changed to blue as a result of the Russian Revolution. Oklahomans objected to the red shade thinking that it associated them with the Communist regime of the Soviet Union; although some other people thought it looked like a scarlet fever warning! The flag that replaced the red flag was the fourteenth different one to fly over the territory. I'll leave it to the reader to name the previous twelve, before the red "46" flag that is. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Richard Fisher, charter UMTRR Gang Member provided a number of articles that helped immensely with the preparation of this commentary, for which many thanks; and also served as quite the host to this columnist on my longest and best trip into the Sooner State. While in Tulsa on business, Richard took me all around his town and perhaps most notably down a section of Old Route 66-- I mean, Really Old 66, barely two lanes wide, off the "new" highway that had replaced the original road maybe fifty or more years ago. Richard noted to me in true Will Rogers like style, "We don't seem to have a problem flying from airports named after people who died in airplane crashes!" In an unrelated item, I also played my first live Texas Hold 'Em there; there are any number of non-monetary tournaments there just about any night of the week. For the record, my first setting foot was a "sneak in" from Dallas on one of those famous Saturday stayovers of a business trip. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE): This month's release is covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.


Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

507 00 370, $26.45
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy / Burlington Refrigerator Express.

Dark green with large yellow stripe, outlined in black, across car. White lettering including slogans "Everywhere West" and "Way of the Zephyrs" on opposite sides of car. Black, white and red rectangle "Burlington Route" herald on right.
Reporting Marks: RBBX 79468.
Approximate Time Period: 1961 (build date) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Lookups of this car under the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad's listing in the ORER will come up dry. That's because the car is registered under the Q's subsidiary company, Burlington Refrigerator Express, or BREX. [To be exact, the CB&Q owned the majority of BREX and the Great Northern owned a minority share. Then again, the GN owned 48% or so of the CB&Q, so they also owned 48% of the CB&Q's share of the BREX... never mind.] The company was affiliated with Fruit Growers Express, and shared both FGE's officers and its Washington, DC office. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

RBBX 79468 was a relative newcomer to the BREX fold. Like many plug door cars, it's classified as an RBL refrigerator car even though it looks just like a box car and it doesn't have any "refrigerator car" appliances like ice bunkers. It shows as part of the series 79450 to 79499 in the January 1964 ORER with the description "Refrigerator," inside length 50 feet even between the linings with bulkheads collapsed, inside width 9 feet 5 inches, inside height 9 feet 2 inches, outside length 55 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, capacity 4333 cubic feet or 137,000 pounds. All 50 were in place in that listing and also in the April 1970 ORER entry. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

However, with the coming of the Burlington Northern, there was a bit of redundancy to be reduced. Both the Great Northern's Western Fruit Express and the BREX were brought into BN, but both were stripped of their rolling stock and essentially dissolved not long after. By 1976, the RBBX series had been moved over to the BN proper, and reporting marks were changed to RBBQ to reflect the shift out of what was technically "private ownership." The series of cars was lost in the transition. Many former Western Fruit Express and BREX cars were renumbered to avoid conflicts with other freight car series; many going to the low 700000's. But there isn't an obvious place I could find in the ORER to which this series went. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q, page 70, has the "insulated boxcar" RBBX 79468-- yep, the exact one!-- as found in March 1963. The caption adds to the facts that the cars had Pullman compartmentizers. There is a small quibble in that the yellow band looks to be higher, that is, closer to the roofline, on the prototype versus the model, but overall, it looks like a pretty good match to the MTL model. MSCG author Michael Spoor notes that by 1966, the colorful paint scheme had been dropped in favor of the more economical green only, so I may be overdoing it just a bit on that Approximate Time Period. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

524 00 020, $15.25
60 Foot Flat Car, Western Pacific.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks (only) on left.
Reporting Marks: WP 2161.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (build date given by MTL) to early 2000's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We start as close as we can get given the current ORER accumulation, the April 1970 edition. It looks like the WP had two consecutive series of 60 foot flat cars, one with 140,000 pounds capacity and one with 160,000 pounds capacity. We're interested in the second one numbered, 2161 to 2175. (The first one would have been 2151 to 2160, ten cars in three subsets.) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The 2161 to 2175 were divided into two groups which share all listed dimensions, namely, inside length 60 feet, inside width 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 65 feet 2 inches, extreme height 4 feet 11 inches, capacity as already mentioned 160,000 pounds. All of these cars also have special cushioning protection devices according to Note PP, and the first six of this group, 2161 to 2166 including the modeled 2162, also have "special tie down devices for handling armored tank vehicles". Hey, wouldn't that have been a cool load to include! Well, maybe on the reprint. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As of the April 1981 ORER all 15 cars were all in service; the January 1985 Register shows 13 of 15 left. Ten are left in WP paint under the Union Pacific listing in July 1989. In the January 1996 UP listing, six cars are left in the 2161 to 2167 subgroup, complete with those special tie down devices, though they've been downgraded to 154,000 pounds capacity by that time. Just one car in the other subgroup remains. And the score is five to one in the January 2000 ORER; I'm a little surprised that they're still around, having been built in 1967. And how about this: just the 2162 is left in the January 2002 Guide. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Some postings on the Yahoogroup "WPList" note that these cars were painted mineral red (although one person has a 1983 photo of WP 2167 in black) and they're shown in "Eager p. 67" which I'm taking to mean the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Western Pacific by Jim Eager, which is not yet in the UMTRR Research Accumulation. I was not surprised that I couldn't find an example photo of this small group of 15 cars online. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

538 00 060, $17.80
40 Foot Skeleton Log Car with Uprights.

Black metal, no paint, no lettering. Includes simulated log load (Load #6).
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: most of the 20th Century.
Please see reviews of previous releases of this car.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

540 00 070, $31.65
Gunderson Husky Stack Car with Containers, CSX Intermodal.

Blue with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "CS Intermodal" name on right. Includes one brown 40 foot container and one green 40 foot container.
Reporting Marks: CSXT 620304.
Approximate Time Period: Early 1990's to the present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"CS Intermodal"? Shouldn't that be "CSX Intermodal"? Or is this "CSI" thing just going too far?

Nope, we're good. The very next car in the series, CSXT 620305, was lensed by Keith Belk in December 2006-- just three months ago!-- and posted on RailcarPhotos.com. (Thanks to Paul Graf for pointing this site out to me.) The car may have started with the lettering "CSX Intermodal" but that "X" was, well, "X"d out. More properly, painted out. So yes, it does say "CS Intermodal." I note that the 620305 is a five-unit articulated car, and in fact Keith provides shots of all five units. The reporting marks appear at least on the B unit, but graffiti mars several other units where the road number could have been. The rest of the lettering is roughly the same across the five units. It could be the lighting on the images but to me the blue appears to be badly faded. Suffice to say, this could be quite the Weathering Challenge if you're up to it. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 2006 ORER shows the group of 29 numbered 620300 to 620329 with an interior length of 48 feet-- that would be 48 feet each-- and a total length of 304 feet 5 inches. The Gross Rail Weight is 802,000 pounds, but don't forget we're talking about five units here, fully loaded. Based on my ORER lookups, these cars arrived on the property sometime between the July 1989 Guide, when they're not listed, and the October 1991 book, when all thirty cars are present. Incidentally, the capacity is listed as 585,000 pounds in that 1991 entry. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What we really need to place the Approximate Time Period a little less, well, Approximately, is the date of the removal of the "X" from the "CSX Intermodal." Good luck with that! I did find the corporate blurb on the CSX Intermodal website -- and note that it still has the "X". I think this falls under "fair use": "CSX Intermodal is the nation's only stand-alone integrated intermodal company serving you from origin to destination with our own truck and terminal operations plus a dedicated domestic container fleet. Connecting more than 75% of the US population, CSXI offers unparalleled access to most major US markets and ports. Our current nationwide network of 48 terminals assures superior reach not only to the US, but into Canada and Mexico as well." Meanwhile, a search on just "CS Intermodal" goes nowhere. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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