UMTRR May, 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.
Special thanks to David Carnell for his many contributions to this edition.


033 00 180, $19.25
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Combination Plug and Sliding (Youngstown) Door, Western Pacific.

Boxcar red with yellow lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and large "WP" with slogan "The Western Way" on right.
Reporting Marks: WP 35729.
Approximate Time Period: 1965 to 1977.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We know that a picture of this exact car, in a very weathered state, is found on Page 35 of the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to WP Freight and Passenger Equipment. This car is part of a second group of rebuilt cars in the series 35701-35750 that were rebuilt from the WP 20821 series 40 foot PS-1 box cars. These cars kept their conventional draft gear on rebuild. They were equipped with a centered 9 foot Youngstown sliding door and an offset to the left 6 foot plug door. The photo in the MSCG shows the car in May 1976 and it still has its roofwalk. The MTL text follows that of the MSCG and the cars were disposed of in 1977. The ends, sills, ladders and brake wheels all appear to match the photo. Only the doors appear to be different. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's check the April 1970 Official Railroad Equipment Register (ORER) for a sample listing of the series. The description was "Box, All Steel" with AAR Classification XM. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 54 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening also 15 feet and capacity 4845 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. All fifty cars were in service as of that date. The nine foot sliding door is a bit of a "door thing" as the MTL model has an eight foot door; usually not something I get that uptight over. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The last ORER I have before the disposal of the group by the WP is the April 1976 edition and there were 47 cars listed then. MTL notes that the group was sold to the Yreka Western, a California shortline that has also had MTL cars. In fact, Kadee Micro-Trains did YW cars of this type in December 1978 and September 1986 (catalog 33040). I checked the April 1981 ORER and there they are, keeping the same road numbers 35701 to 35750 that they had under the Western Pacific. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

045 00 320, $16.45
50 Foot Steel Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Canadian National.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname in center (English on one side "Canadian" and French on the other side "Canadien"). Includes simulated crane body load.
Reporting Marks: CN 54201.
Approximate Time Period: 1974 to 1998.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Let me start by explaining MTL's comment about this car being in Maintenance of Way service. The Canadian National generally numbers its revenue service cars in six digit groups, and the flat cars are in the 600000's. Maintenance of way cars are numbered outside of the revenue service groups. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But other than that, I was looking at a complete strikeout-- no photo references, checks with some of my Canadian readers not resulting in anything, and even a check on Ian Cranstone's excellent "Canadian Freight Cars" site yielding nothing. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The key word here is WAS looking at a complete strikeout, though! We are honored to have commentary from Ian Cranstone himself for this car, in response to an e-mail from me. Start quote: © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The CN MoW roster is beyond complex, as in many cases the cars are one-of examples. I have been accumulating information from many sources for the last decade, and still have large holes to fill -- I have been buying slides from a collection taken during the 1960s and 1970s, and often found examples of cars that did not appear in my 1978, 1980s and 1999 CN computer listings. The CN Lines SIG had made a deal to borrow the old handwritten MoW ledger from CN at one point, only to discover that it had gone missing. A real pity, as it would have resolved a lot of questions. I have added some groups of MoW cars to the web listing, but only groups of cars constructed new for that service such as ballast hoppers, air dumps, rail carriers, etc. -- the rest is simply too complex and incomplete at this time.

The block of low 54000s is a mish-mash of assorted flat cars, and the group that the 54201 belongs to (54200-54234, which are all listed as Work Flat-Engineering), is a variety of cars dating from 1918 through 1958.

The history on the 54201 is rather lengthy -- it was originally constructed as a flat car by Marine Industries in the 663700-663799 or 663900-663999 series in August 1958 (actually, assuming that CN's built month date in the records is accurate, that would make it from the 663900-663929 group). In 1962 it was rebuilt with bulkheads and renumbered into the 655201-655288 series, renumbered 656120 in 1965, and renumbered to 603008 in 1966-67 (this last renumbering was part of a system-wide freight car renumbering undertaken in the mid- to late-1960s). I presume that it lost its bulkheads when renumbered to 54201 in August 1974, and the car was removed from the roster in July 1998.

The car itself would be similar but not identical to the Micro Trains model, being a Canadian interpretation of the standard riveted 52 foot 6 inch flatcar.

End quote. And there you have it, a definitive look at the car that MTL chose for this month. And how about that ATP being quite better than Approximate as well! Many thanks to Ian for his guest appearance here in these bytes.

After "press time" of the subscriber edition of the UMTRR, I heard from Gang Member Bob Kercher: "It occurred to me that since essentially every recent CN and CP Micro-Trains release has appeared in their respective Morning Sun Color Guides that CN 54201 might be lurking somewhere within CN Volume 1, and as it turns out it is. The photograph (middle photo, page 104), taken in Ottawa, Ontario on 12 December 1988, is of a CN 30 ton crane but coupled to it is 54201. It is painted in CN boxcar red with white lettering with the French side showing. Visible car data includes Lt. Wt. 57700, a length of 49 feet 0 inches and a service date of August 1974 which matches Ian Cranstone’s date for bulkhead removal perfectly. The length initially surprised me but I believe that the bulkheads would have reduced the inside length by about 3 feet. Apparently they didn’t change the length when they were removed." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

085 00 010, $17.80
33 Foot Panel Side Open Hopper, 2 Bay, Flat Ends, Wabash.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "WABASH" across car. Simulated coal load included.
Reporting Marks: WAB 37065.
Approximate Time Period: 1955 to mid 1960's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, here is Body Style Number 105, and it's certainly an unusual one at that. There were a number of mostly Eastern roads that had panel side hoppers, but it's the specific Wabash version that is the basis for the new MTL model. And it just so happens that there is a Rail Model Journal article on the Wabash's fleet, which was among the largest anywhere. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Stan Rydarowicz describes in the February 2005 issue of RMJ how to kit-convert an HO Scale version of this car, which is different from the USRA-based hopper issued by Accurail in HO. (A point that we may come back to in subsequent MTL releases.) Rydarowicz includes a briefing on the car's history with the Wabash and beyond. I'll quote a key sentence: "The Wabash rebuilt the cars from conventional hoppers during the 1933-1951 time period." The cars numbered 37000 to 37199, which includes the modeled number 37065, was constructed in 1948. They originally came with 18 inch roadname lettering which changed to 33 inch high lettering in April 1955. That's why the Approximate Time Period starts as late as it does. You won't see that for most of the other releases on this body style. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1955 is just before this painting change but does provide some vital statistics: inside length 33 feet, inside width 9 feet 7 inches, outside length 34 feet, extreme outside width 10 feet 7 inches, extreme height 10 feet 10 inches, capacity 2120 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. Several of the built groups are merged to yield the series 37000 to 37799 which was 766 cars at the time. In the January 1964 ORER there were still 294 of these cars in service, but apparently none of them were repainted after the Wabash went into the Norfolk and Western later that year. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Rydarowicz notes some other details of interest about these cars. First, the brake wheel end of some of them have an unusual corrugated panel. Second, most of the Wabash panel side hoppers rode on Andrews trucks, many of which came from older hoppers. There's a company photo of the 37000 accompanying the RMJ article. It was from the group 37000 to 37071 rebuilt in January 1948. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Just before "press time" I had a chance to check out one of these cars in person. The panel indentations aren't repeated on the interior of the car-- that would have been quite the exercise in molding, so I can understand that compromise. The coal load that covers that compromise is very nice. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

114 00 060, $16.75
40 Foot "Modern" Skeleton Log Car with Uprights.

Black body, no paint, no lettering. Simulated log load (#6) included.
Reporting Marks: None.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.

Although not specifically related to this particular car-- how much can even I write about a group of cars with no paint and no lettering and across which the only difference is the log load?-- I would like to recommend a video to you that I've had in my accumulation for a number of years and have only sat down to watch at this writing. It's called "End of the Line" and it's an 18 minute film made with great affection by the Rayonier Corporation in 1962 to commemorate the replacement of steam locomotives with diesels on its Gray's Harbor Line. Shots of typical log cars abound as do excellent views of the Rayonier operation's Mallets (2-6-6-2s!) and Mikados. I note that some of the logs on these cars really are huge as are some of the castings offered by MTL on previous releases of the various body styles in both N and Z. There is quite the variety of diameters of logs too, as several types of trees were harvested from the company's timberland. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

"End of the Line" is for me a remarkable production considering the generally unemotional manner in which corporations treated, and treat, the March of Progress and it's well worth digging up. My copy is part of a budget three DVD set called "America's Railroads: The Steam Train Legacy." A quick search showed that it appears to be available from the usual outlets. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

121 00 040, $12.95
Scale Test Car, St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt).

Light gray including details and couplers. Black lettering including reporting marks on left.
Reporting Marks: SSW 99203.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's through at least 2003.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, I had no idea I would hit a direct match to the prototype for this car, but searching on "'scale test car' + 'Cotton Belt'" got me right there, "there" being not one but two photos of SSW 99203 on the Espee Modelers' Home Page and a confirmation that it was still in service as late as 2003 on the Union Pacific. Richard Percy, webmaster of that site, reports that the car was among those listed in the Southern Pacific's final Employee Timetable, April 14, 1996. Special instructions for the 99203 are listed in the Employee Timetable of 1987. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The photos are undated and show a pretty dirty looking car, perhaps looking more silver than the "light smoke gray" that was the official color of the SP's, and we presume, the SSW's, maintenance of way equipment after about 1958. David Carnell confirmed this for us via e-mail with SP experts Tony Thompson and Lee Gatreaux that light smoke gray it is. Although if there was aluminum paint left over, the MOW cars might have been decorated with that too. Meanwhile, are those bullet holes on the right side of the car, above the wheels? I hope not, though that would not have a material effect on the calibration of the car. A similar car painted for the Southern Pacific is shown in a 1972 photo, which might make for another MTL release although it is not an exact match. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As a general comment for the more exacting, Richard Percy provides us with a hint, that unfortunately requires a lot more research material than I have, on his scale test car page: "If you would like or intend to run a Scale Test Car on your layout; then to be accurate, consult an Employee Timetable for the year/era for types present and their operating conditions." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


106 00 010, $15.15
50 Foot Steel 14 Panel Steel Gondola with Low Cover, New Haven.

Oxide red (including cover) with white lettering including roadname and road number on left and "N over H" herald on right.
Road Number: 62008 (will be "NH 62008" in website listings).
Approximate Time Period: 1959 (build date) to early 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog number 106010): Road Number 62005, September 1998.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Two photos of the short series of covered gondolas owned by the New Haven appear in the Morning Sun Color Guide to that line. First, on Page 37, is an August 1971 photo of the 62006 in the road's namesake city. It looks quite rusty and dirty. Such it is with gondolas, though. Next, on Page 38, is a 1962 shot of the 62004 on the Pennsylvania in Columbus, Ohio. It looks a lot cleaner; well, it should. In this shot, the three section cover looks more like alumnium than the red oxide that MTL used. However, the shot of the 62006 has the cover looking more like red oxide. Perhaps they're both right. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The MSCG notes that there were fifteen cars in the group, built by Bethlehem Steel in 1959, rated at 70 tons, and equipped with Evans DF loaders. Note that ball and bar mark on the car to the right of the roadname which indicates this. It's also noted that the cars were assigned to a large brass foundry in Waterbury, Connecticut. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My January 1959 ORER just misses so we'll have to settle for the January 1964 Register. The description is a bit unusual: "Gondola, All Steel, Fixed Ends, Wood and Steel Floor." The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 1 inch, inside height 4 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 6 inches, extreme height 9 feet 5 inches, and capacity 2180 cubic feet 140,000 pounds. The cover and DF Loaders are footnoted as is an advisory to add 2 inches to the inside height when the covers are installed. The April 1970 ORER showed all 15 of these cars in the Penn Central listing, and per the April 1976 Register, eight of them got into Conrail and one survived at least to the April 1984 book. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

116 00 010, $19.45
Troop Sleeper Car.

Pullman green with black roof. Yellow lettering including "Pullman" across top, "Troop Sleeper" across bottom, and road number on bottom left and bottom right. Comes with simulated windows, diaphragms and interiors.
Road Number: 9148.
Approximate Time Period: 1943 through about 1950.
Previous Releases: Road Numbers 9010, 9153 and 9426, May 2003; Road Numbers 9082 and 9340, July 2003; 9536 and 9027, May 2005.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

After a two year hiatus from other than Special Editions, this body style is back with just a single number reprint bringing the release count to eight. The Winter 2001 issue of "Classic Trains" provides excellent coverage of the railroads' role in the Second World War, and a staggering statistic on Page 40: Over 90 percent of the freight, 90 percent of passengers, and 97 percent of military personnel moved by rail during the war. In 1943, more than ten million personnel were carried on special troop trains; that's in addition to civilian traffic that quadrupled from 1940 to 1944. There were simply not enough passenger cars available to hold everyone that needed to get somewhere, and no new ones were forthcoming. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Defense Plant Corporation contracted with Pullman-Standard to build 2400 troop sleepers to alleviate the shortage of seats and berths for the military. The first set was numbered 7000 to 8199 and was constructed from October 1943 to March 1944, and the second set was numbered 8300 to 8499 and 9000 to 9999 and built from October 1945 to May 1946. These were based on the AAR design for a 50 foot 6 inch interior length boxcar. They rode on Allied Full Cushion trucks which made them usable in all passenger cars at the time. And while not as comfortable as conventional passenger trains, the Pullman Company committed publicly to provide the same level of service to America's fighting force as they would to its riders on any of its other equipment, including nightly bedding changes. These cars bore the name "Pullman," and the company made sure that it deserved that decoration. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although thoroughly deployed while in service, they still were hardly "well used" especially compared to the old, tired equipment that the railroads had to hang onto from before the war. There were all sorts of jobs given to the second hand equipment, some of which have already been captured by MTL in railroad-decorated releases. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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

021 00 413, $19.85
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Montana State Car.

Aluminum sides, black roof, ends, sills and door hardware; blue and black primary lettering including reporting marks, state name and outline map on left. Four color process graphics including state flag, state bird (western meadowlark) and state flower (bitterroot) on right.
Reporting Marks: MT 1889.
Forty-ninth release in the States of the Union series.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"Montana has a spell on me," wrote John Steinbeck in his book "Travels with Charley." "If Montana had a seacoast or if I could live away from the sea, I would instantly move there and petition for admission. Of all the states it is my favorite and my love." Strong words indeed from one of America's most famous authors. It is far harder for me to select a favorite state, but Montana is certainly my favorite Saturday Stayover. The one time I've been there was back in August 1996 when I traveled down along the Clark Fork on Montana Highway 200. I could have gone clear across the state on it, but I did venture as far as Missoula from the state's western border. Along the way was Thompson Falls, which has the Montana Rail Link as its front yard and a cafe where I met someone who had met Mr. Steinbeck and had even met Charley. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Montana's own official state travel website has a section devoted to its First Nations, a feature I don't think I've seen before. The Blackfeet were called that given the color of their moccasins. The name "Apsaalooke," meaning "children of the large beaked bird," was misinterpreted as "Crow". "As the First Americans," Professor Henri Mann (NAS Montana State) writes, "we created the first tourism bureaus. We love this beautiful earth, in all its mystique and we are honored to share it with others. We have been playing good hosts for the past 500 years." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Among the first to whom the First Americans played good hosts were Lewis and Clark, who crossed the territory in both directions in 1805 and 1806. Fort Benton was founded on the Missouri River as the "head of navigation" in 1847 though the first steamboat would not visit until thirteen years later. Two years after that, gold was found and speculators arrived. In 1864 the area officially became Montana Territory. Just eight years later, Yellowstone National Park was created. In 1876 perhaps the most famous of all Native American battles, the one at Little Big Horn, took place. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Railroads played a key role in the development of the area. The Utah and Northern arrived in 1880 but in 1883 the Northern Pacific was completed across the territory, opening up millions of acres to settlers. That same year the smelting works of the Anaconda Copper operation were established. It would be a driving force in the economy and would virtually shut down the state in 1903. But I'm getting ahead of myself; on 8 November 1889 Montana was admitted to the Union as the 41st State. The Great Northern was completed across Montana in 1893 and the Milwaukee Road followed in 1909. In 1910 Glacier National Park was established, providing a slogan for the Great Northern for many years. The Northern Pacific already had claim to "Yellowstone Park Route." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The first radio station in Montana, KDYS Great Falls, began broadcasting in 1922 and the first television station, KOOK-TV Billings, signed on in 1953. I don't usually associate Montana with earthquakes, but there were twice significant ones, in 1935 and 1959. Copper, which dominated the economy of the state for decades, began to fade in the 1970s and 1980s, oil remained stronger. But tourism became a key industry, helped along by the 1993 film "A River Runs Through It." I can vouch for the beauty of the state portrayed in that film, first hand. But in 1996 when I visited, the effects of forest fires were also very apparent. In the mountains above the Clark Fork, there was still smoldering where woods once were. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I'm not sure that the independent spirit of Montanans is best represented by native son Evel Kneivel, but he is from Butte. Other famous people from the state include actors Gary Cooper, Martha Raye, George Montgomery and Myrna Loy, journalist and TV anchor Chet Huntley, author Dorothy Baker, filmmaker David Lynch (hey, that explains the title "Twin Peaks"!) and the first woman elected to Congress, in 1917, Jeannette Rankin. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No releases this month.


511 00 050, $23.75
50 Foot Exterior Post Boxcar, Plug Door, Great Northern.

Sky blue with aluminum roof. White lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left and outline goat herald on right.
Reporting Marks: GN 138706.
Approximate Time Period: 1968 (build date given by MTL) to late 1990's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[Note: This commentary borrows from the coverage of the three-pack N Scale Reprint (catalog 27072) from August 2001. One of those three cars was also GN 138706.]

This attractive scheme was the last in the series for Rocky's road, having been the product of a top to bottom image change for the GN begun in 1967. I still haven't quite figured out why the road would bother to do such a thing, considering that the merger talks that would result in the Burlington Northern were well under way. Perhaps this was a contingency plan of some sort, or an admission that the formation of the BN was still going to be a ways off. The deep blue was a nod to the typical color of the sky in the territory in which the Great Northern operated (unless we're talking Seattle). Rocky the antelope (not a mountain goat!) became a more modernish-icon looking in place of the cartoon-like character that he was in the 1950's. More than three decades later, I think the scheme still holds up well. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And good thing, for as we already know, the Burlington Northern tended to take its time repainting cars from its predecessor lines. Considering the 1968 built date of these cars, it would probably not surprise you to know that the original series of 150, numbered 138700 to 138849 in the April 1970 ORER, had only dropped to 140 by April 1976 under the BN listing. Of those, 27 had lost their Car-Pak loaders and been demoted to AAR Designation "XM" from the more specific "XL," but they were still there. The vital statistics: inside length 50 feet 8 inches, outside length 57 feet 10 inches, door opening 10 feet, capacity 5,266 cubic feet and 143,000 pounds. A healthy 126 cars were active in April 1981 and 99 in July 1987; we don't see the last of these cars until sometime after 1996! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There's a circa-1992 photo of GN 138742 on Fallen Flags. Rib counters, or should I say exterior post counters, will note that the MTL model is one short on either side of the door versus the prototype, and end noters will observe that the real GN car had what looks like 4/4 Dreadnaught ends, if I have my terminology correct. The roof design looks OK based on a shot of "lucky" 138777 on the same site. Fallen Flags also has shots of a very washed out looking GN 138739 from July 1995 and GN 138717 from 1972 which shows quite the extended draft gear. Whether this all adds up to a "stand in" is up to the reader, although I'll wager that some of the 1:220 craftsmen out there will quickly modify copies of the MTL car to yield a more accurate model. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

525 00 120, $15.70
40 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Penn Central.

Jade green with brown simulated wood floor. White lettering including reporting marks in center.
Reporting Marks: PC 702655.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's to late 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Let's remove a doubt I had right off the bat: yes, the Penn Central did have forty foot flat cars, and they were numbered in this series, specifically PC 702640 to 702757. Well, at least one car, anyway, in the July 1970. The "inside length" is right at 40 feet, inside width 10 feet, outside length 43 feet 3 inches, extreme height 3 feet 5 inches, and capacity 100,000 pounds. The description was "Flat, Steel Underframe" so I really like that simulated wood floor on the model. The count of the series had gone up to a whopping six in the July 1974 ORER plus two more in an adjacent series. The cars not only survived into the formation of Conrail but more than ten years afterward, with the last mention I found being three cars left in January 1989. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is a diagram of the Pennsy's FM class direct from the archives posted on the Fallen Flags website. The build date was way back in 1907, which would have put these cars way out of the time limit for interstate commerce. Unless, of course, they were rebuilt, which may have happened multiple times. (You know, like the hammer that has had the handle changed twice and the head three times, but otherwise it's the same hammer.) But not so fast on that, George: MTL's car copy has it being built in Maybrook, New York in 1951, which could have actually made the car an ex-New Haven piece of rolling stock in their series 17500 to 17699, which were of forty foot length also. I think that it's just a typo in the next statement in the car copy. Make that "July 1971" not "July 1961" for the service date. A quick look back at the July 1970 ORER did show a generous 192 40 foot flat cars still in New Haven paint. Note to Micro-Trains: Check Page 42 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the New Haven. I know you have it! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

531 00 061 and 531 00 062, $19.45 each
Two Bay PS-2 Steel Covered Hopper, Southern Pacific.

Gray with mostly red lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname on right.
Reporting Marks: SP 402076 (the 061) and SP 402183 (the 062).
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's (1965 relettering) or 1978 (based on U-1 wheel stencil) to mid-1990's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Ah, that U-1 "yellow dot" wheel stencil, limiting the "strictly speaking" ATP once again. Although, as David Carnell points out, the lettering including the U-1 and consolidated stencils matches a photo of the 402183 from June 1986 found in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the SP, Volume 2, the relettering of these cars from their 1957 as delivered original Texas & New Orleans stenciling took place circa 1965. So ignore, or remove, that stuff over on the far right of the sides and you're good for another twenty plus years. (I recommend "Easy Lift Off" by Polly Scale although there are other equally good choices. But use whatever you choose sparingly.) You might also need to add back the Southern Pacific herald on the left of the car between the second and third ribs for an earlier ATP, as the Kadee HO Scale releases of SP PS-2s done in conjunction with the Amarillo Railroad Museum have that detail as well. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Note that the Espee itself wasn't quite up to date if the U-1 was still in place in 1986, as this denotation that the car was secure from those pesky U-1 wheels could have been removed from the car starting in December 1978. Obviously, not a priority, although it wasn't with other roads either. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's go back to the January 1970 ORER anyway for a look at this series of H-70-16 cars. The specific series numbered 402048-402297 is shown as "Hopper, Covered, All Steel" with an inside length of 29 feet 3 inches, outside length of 35 feet 3 inches, extreme height of 13 feet 2 inches, and capacity of 2003 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds-- which equals 70 (US) tons and gives us the "70" in the SP's class code. There were 246 cars on the roster at that time. Since we know there was at least one left to be photographed in 1986, I jumped out to the October ORER for that year. There were 92 cars in service with capacity raised to 154,000 pounds and description changed to "Covered Hopper, 30 Inch Square Hatches, 2 Compartment." How far can the ATP go from there? It looks like not long after October 1996 where there are just seven cars remaining. Given the SP's penchant for not repainting, I'm not sure I want to know what these cars looked like then. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

981 01 101 and 981 01 102, $175.95 each
GP-35 Locomotive, Rock Island.

Maroon with yellow and maroon nose. Black frame and trucks. White stripe along bottom or body. White lettering including roadname on hood and road number on cab. Red and white herald on front of nose.
Road Numbers: 320 (the 101) and 322 (the 102) (will be prefaced by "RI" in website listings).
Approximate Time Period: late 1960's to 1980.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

It's been quite a long time since I've visited Jeff Prince's "Jeff's Guide to the Rock Island" but thanks to a tip from David Carnell, I'm there. The MTL chosen paint scheme is, by Jeff's reckoning, the "6a" version, which should tell you something about how frequently the Rock Island changed its mind about how to paint its diesels. In fact, the as delivered scheme circa 1965 and applied to the RI's GP-35s numbered 300 to 321 is termed the "5a" or the "maroon dip"; this was just all maroon paint with a herald on the nose, one on the cab and the road number also on the cab, and that's it. Scheme "5b" was applied to units through 333 later in 1965 by EMD and features a large block lettering on the long hood and chevron stripes on the nose, but no herald. And that brings us back to the "6a" which you see on the MTL model, and also on a 1980 photo of the 320 on Jeff's site. Both 320 and 322 wore this scheme, but not all of the '35s did. No, the Rock Island couldn't stick to that scheme either; the "6b" trades the large roadname for the herald back on the cab and the "6c" gives back the herald for the very large slanted roadname. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We're told that when the Rock shut down in 1980, these locos were returned to their lessor Greyhound Corporation. In May 1980 they were moved to the Chicago and North Western's ex-Chicago Great Western Oelwein, Iowa shops pending disposition. The C&NW did not use these locos. David cites Louis A Marre's book "Rock Island Diesel Locomotives 1930-1980." pages 42-43. According to the Rock Island Technical Society site, in 1982 the 322 went to the La Salle and Bureau County in Illinois as their #2 and then to the Chicago Rail Link as their #2. The RITS site gives approximately 1967 as the date for the "6a" diesel scheme as well. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There is one nit I need to pick on these RI units: the real ones did not have dynamic brakes whereas the MTL model does. I did not do a point by point comparison of the prototype to the model other than that; I'll leave that exercise to the reader. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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