UMTRR July, 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:

031 00 360, $18.25
Reporting Marks: BM 77405.

50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, Boston and Maine.
Blue with black door and side sill. White lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white McGuiness (intertwined "B" and "M") herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1956 to mid-1970's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun "Northern New England Color Guide" includes a photo of one of the one thousand cars in the Boston and Maine 77000 series, which was built in 1956 by Pullman-Standard to their 50 foot PS-1 design. Micro-Trains offers the car in its as delivered scheme. The large logo was designed by Herbert Matter, Yale professor and counsel to B&M's Patrick McGuiness. At the time, there were still plenty of forty foot boxcars in the "Minuteman" scheme, so, yes, they can be run in the same train without an alert being issued by the Prototype Police. The photo on Page 29 of the Color Guide shows the 77019 on June 20, 1956 not long after being placed in service by the B&M. That black Youngstown door should be nine feet wide on the MTL model, and it's eight feet, so we have a bit of a "door thing" here, but a scale foot on a fifty-footer is not all that glaring to me-- your mileage may vary. Fallen Flags has a Jim Sands photo circa 1966 of the exact B&M 77405 that MTL modeled, with enough rust on both sides of the door to make for an interesting weathering project. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1959 is as close as I can get to the '56 build year, and there are already two missing from the original one thousand, yikes! The dimensions for this group described simply as "Box, Steel" are as follows: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 51 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 9 feet as already noted, capacity 4840 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The 998 cars in this group counted for about 23 percent of the B&M's boxcar fleet at the time, and about one-sixth of all of the Boston and Maine's revenue service equipment. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Guide notes that several small sets of cars were pulled out of the main series, specially equipped, and given much lower numbers, for example, 40 to 42 for three cars carrying nitre cake in 1964. (That's a chemical compound, NaHSo4, or Sodium Bisulfate, with multiple industrial uses. At least that's what one Material Safety Data Sheet says. Where's Wikipedia when you need it?) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the January 1964 there were still 990 cars in the main series, and 941 cars in April 1970, at which point they constituted a bit less than a quarter of the entire B&M fleet. Five years after that, there were 901 cars in the main group out of a total of 3779 for the Register entry of April 1975. You've got to be thinking roofwalk removal by this time, however, which is why I call the end of the ATP for the early 1970's. In addition, Fallen Flags shows 77000 series cars with the smaller B&M herald, although there is also 77519 still in the as delivered paint--well, what's left of it-- and with the roofwalk in place as of 1978 and an even more beat up 77548 as of February 1979. Take the roofwalk off and you may be able to tack on another ten years or so, with 43 cars still around as of October 1986. There is a roofwalkless 77611 caught in February 1980 with lots of rust spots dotting the original paint scheme. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

048 00 120, $22.05
Reporting Marks: CN 163553.

50 Foot Steel Gondola, Straight Sides, Drop Ends, Canadian National.
Freight car red (brown) with white lettering including roadname (English one side, French one side) and reporting marks on left. "Wet noodle" herald on right. Includes simulated pulpwood load.
Approximate Time Period: 1973 or early 1980's (consolidated stencils) to early 1990's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Bob Kertcher checked the Morning Sun Color Guide to the CN, Volume 2, and found on Page 64 the exact CN 163553 that MTL has released. Well, maybe not the exact CN 163553, as it's a 13 panel gondola and the MTL 048 series is of a 14 panel gondola. Originally built in May 1937, the car was converted to concentrate service in 1973 and renumbered, which is what gives us the start of the Approximate Time Period. Unless you count the consolidated stencils which would push that start out into the mid-1980s. A little bit of Easy Lift Off will handle removal of those black and white boxes if need be. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The July 1974 ORER shows the series of 70 cars described as "Gondola, Steel, Fixed Sides and Ends, Wood Floor, Not Equipped with Folding Stake Brackets" with an AAR Classification of GBS and the following dimensions: inside length 48 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet, outside length 53 feet 6 inches, extreme height 6 feet 10 inches, capacity 1382 cubic feet or 165,000 pounds. Skipping a bunch of ORERs, we find the series down to a single car in July 1992. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If the car was designated for lead-zinc ore concentrate service, what's with the pulpwood load? Bob says that "a pulpwood load is not unreasonable for this model. CN frequently used gondolas to transport pulpwood from western Manitoba to the Abitibi pulp and paper mill at Pine Falls in eastern Manitoba during the 1970s and 1980s and from several photos I’ve seen this practice seems to have been widespread on CN." And besides, how does one do a lead-zinc ore concentrate load anyway? Well, if it's possible, we might yet see that from behind the red and yellow sign... meanwhile, thanks for the lookup, Bob. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

065 00 620, $16.45
Reporting Marks: NP 255.

39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Northern Pacific (Company Service).
Orange with black lettering including reporting marks on left.
Approximate Time Period: 1969 through 1970's at least.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

So, although there isn't a release of the Scale Test Car this month, there still is a release of a scale test car this month. How's that? Well, the prototype car was converted from your basic tank car to a scale test car. Just add the appropriate amount of weight. Lots of weight. I didn't have to look far to find the prototype: both a photo and the caption utilized by MTL for its car copy are on Page 109 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Northern Pacific. The photo is from 1976 and the author of the MSCG says that the car was converted from UTLX 66497, a 10,000 gallon insulated tank car, in March 1969 based on the shop date. The MTL body style is not an exact match for the car, principal differences being the lack of a full walkway on the prototype and a somewhat larger dome on the model, but it's not all that bad. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I already know that ORERs are not going to be useful here so I didn't look. During my business trip around the Burlington Northern Santa Fe back in the year 2000, I recall seeing a number of company service cars still lettered as they were for their predecessors, so that Approximate Time Period could stretch out even farther than I'm estimating. A quick check of a few online sites didn't reveal any pictures beyond what's in the MSCG. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

085 00 021 and 085 00 022, $17.80 each
Reporting Marks: NYC 850268 and NYC 850276.
33 Foot Panel Side Hopper, New York Central.

Freight car red (brown) with white lettering including large reporting marks in center and small New York Central System oval herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: early 1940's to early 1950's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

NYC follower and long time UMTRR Gang Member Brian Hilgenberg has this contribution to the cause on these cars, for which many thanks: "According to the 1954 NYC classification book, 100 cars were converted to panel sides at the Beech Grove shops in 1936. They were lot 645-H, in series 850300-850399. The MTL models however, are painted in the boxcar red scheme used after February 1941. The classification book further states that the cars were rebuilt to flat sides in 1951. The January 1952 ORER shows series 850210-850399 with 97 cars; 87 with 1880 cubic foot capacity (flat sides) and 10 with 1980 cubic foot capacity (panel sides). This would give you an ATP of 1941-1951." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Within that ATP is the January 1943 ORER and the vital statistics for this group: inside length 30 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 5 inches, outside length 31 feet 11 inches, extreme height 11 feet 5 inches, capacity 1980 cubic feet as Brian mentions or 110,000 pounds. There were 188 cars in the group, and another 98 with the same dimensions numbered NYC 851200 to 851299. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It's the larger of those two series that we're interested in since it contains the two road numbers that MTL modeled. Fortunately, George Elwood's Fallen Flags website has the complete 1950 NYC Classification Book available online, and from there we can see (Page H-38) that the group NYC 850210 to 850299, Lot 641-H, got the same treatment as the 645-H which is the other half of this group. The cars to make up the 850200s were drawn from twelve (!) different previous lots ranging from 378-H to 413-H and, as MTL says in its car copy, were equipped with the panel sides in 1936 in Beech Grove. It's noted on the same page that the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie series numbered 37000 to 37418 were also equipped with panel sides-- 1419 cars! Can you say "Runner Pack"? There are other series with panel side rebuilds on other pages of the 1950 Classification Book. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

You can stretch that 1951 date Brian gave just a bit more, as a few of the panel side cars are still around in the January 1953 ORER, but there is just one in the January 1955 Register. So "early 1950's" it is. I should also mention that the Wabash prototype Micro-Trains used for this model wouldn't be an exact match for the New York Central's fleet, but for such a distinctive car type, close enough will probably be close enough for most folks. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

100 00 290, $23.05
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 13501.
36 Foot Steel Side Caboose, End Cupola, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

Silver with black reporting marks in center. Red, white and black "Burlington Route" herald below cupola.
Approximate Time Period: 1959 (repaint date) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

One of the cars I remember from my younger days as a junior (and sometimes unauthorized!) participant in the HO Scale "Irwin Lines" of my dad is the Tyco steel caboose painted in the silver and red of the Burlington Route. No, it wasn't really close to the real CB&Q 12568, in fact, I'm not sure there even was a CB&Q caboose numbered 12568, but I didn't care; I thought it was cool. Reactions such as mine still do sell a lot of model railroad equipment regardless of their prototype fidelity. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Some thirty plus years later, another caboose in the Burlington Route is here (there have been other models, of course) for consideration for my, and your, accumulation. The number on the MTL model corresponds to one of twenty-five NE-10 waycars-- what the "Q" called cabooses. Those were built in 1930 and were the road's first in steel. Originally painted mineral red, they were switched to maintenance of way orange in the early 1950's. Some stayed that way until the Burlington Northern merger, but others were to receive a much more striking scheme adopted in 1954 and inspired by the Zephyr series of passenger trains that were the main calling card of the Burlington Route. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q shows two examples of the silver painted NE-10: the 13502 as of 1970, complete with ACI label; and the 13510 as of May 30, 1959. There are enough significant differences between model and prototype to rate the MTL model, which is based on a Texas and Pacific prototype, as not more than a "stand in," but as is typical, there isn't any other commercially available N Scale model to which I can point you for exact correspondence either. For the record, the real CB&Q NE-10 waycars had four windows per side, all to the long side of the cupola, a cupola with a different window arrangement including much smaller windows, and something kind of unusual in a "shelf" or "ledge" below the side window on the cupola. Perhaps something on which the conductor may rest his elbow while leaning out the window to check the train ahead? © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ah, but then there is the real CB&Q 13501 on display in Galesburg, Illinois and lensed by Jim Sands in 2002, as shown on Fallen Flags. As preserved, this car only has three windows on the long side of the cupola, and CB&Q lettering that appears to match what MTL used. Could be that an enterprising N Scaler sent in photos of the 13501 for a model, despite the compromises that would be required. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David Carnell has a copy of the book "Burlington Northern Cabooses 1970-1995" by Robert C. DelGrasso, where it's noted that all 25 of the NE-10s were repainted into the BN's Cascade Green and White and were numbered BN 11445 to 11469. They were all off the roster by January 1984. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

053 00 050, $26.30
Reporting Marks: MILW 63042.
60 Foot Thrall® Centerbeam Flat Car, Milwaukee Road.

Yellow with black lettering including roadname across top of centerbeam.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's to early 2000's (1985 and later as part of Soo Line).
Previous Releases (as catalog number 53050): Road Number 63056, January 1996; Road Number 63035, September 2002.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The April 1981 edition of the ORER shows the series 63000 to 63099, of 99 cars, with an unusual description: "Flat, Permanent Bulkheads, Tie Downs, A Frame Down Center (Lumber), Truck Centers 52 Feet." I think this roundabout way of saying "Centerbeam" may have been because of the relative newness of the body style. In fact, according to an article by D. Scott Chatfield in the January 1996 issue of Rail Model Journal, Thrall built its first Centerbeams in 1969, and just nine for the BN, but didn't build more until 1977, and this MILW group was among that cycle. Anyway, the dimensions of the real thing line up well with the MTL model, as you'd expect for what is a pretty specific prototype base. To wit: 60 foot 8 inch inside length, 68 foot outside length, 15 feet 6 inch extreme height. Chatfield noted in his piece that technically, the MTL model is based on the later version built for Trailer Train and the Burlington Northern, but by very small differences: pulling eyes in the corner posts and centered key slots. There's a photo of sister car 63098 on Page 121 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Milwaukee, Volume 2. There is a de-roadnamed MILW 63011 as of May 1988 on Fallen Flags, as well as MILW 63071 as of July 2000-- but that latter one is not in yellow, but in what looks like primer gray. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Soo Line picked up this group of cars when it purchased what was left of the Milwaukee in 1985, and the October 1996 ORER shows 97 cars with MILW reporting marks on the roster. Note also that the "A Frame" stuff was changed to the description "Centerbeam." The Soo didn't rush to repaint these. There were still 86 in July 1992 and 70 in October 1996, where, interestingly, the description has been truncated to just "Flat" but still with the "FBC" AAR Classification indicative of bulkhead type cars. In the January 2002 Register there are still 68 cars in the Soo roster with MILW reporting marks. No guarantees on how well the yellow paint has held up though. Probably none too well. But by the October 2004 Register these cars are gone, so the ATP which was "to present" with the previous MTL release is now only "early 2000s" or maybe earlier than that given the gray painted example on Fallen Flags. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

054 00 110, $21.70
Reporting Marks: MRL 62023.
61 Foot Bulkhead Flat Car, Montana Rail Link.

Dark blue with white lettering including reporting marks on right. Simulated pipe load included.
Approximate Time Period: 1994 to present.
Previous Release (as catalog number 54110): Road Number 62020, May 2000.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

David Carnell tells us that these cars have an interesting history, as captured in the book "Montana Rail Link Locomotives and Rolling Stock 2000" by Robert C. Del Grasso and Richard Yaremko. The MRL purchased these Thrall-built ex-Milwaukee Road cars in 1994 from the Canadian Pacific (which had them in the Soo Line roster), from the MILW series 62050 to 62149. (Note to MTL: Another possible roadname for this body style!) The twenty-four cars were originally designated for wallboard service but were flipped to log loading using removable bunks, four per car. The MRL book includes drawings and dimensions as well as a photo of sister car 62014. The use of a small "Flying W" herald on the right bulkhead is noted. It wasn't on the original run and I don't think it's on this reprint either. An example of how the car might look hauling logs can be found on RRPictureArchives.net, although the MRL 61023 that is pictured with four log bunks and a full load of logs is not exactly the same type of bulkhead flat. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The October 1996 ORER shows, well, too many subsets for my taste, but the overall group 62001 to 62024 in ten different subsets based on capacity. The overall dimensions are the same: inside length 56 feet 8 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 65 feet 10 inches, extreme height 14 feet 8 inches. Those dimensions don't quite line up with the MTL body style; I suspect that the real cars were a bit longer. All 24 cars were in place as of that ORER. They're all there in January 2000 as well, the year that MTL did the first run of this car. In the January 2006 Register, these cars are consolidated into a larger series 61000 to 62024, which does not make a lot of sense since the 24 cars we're interested in are of a different inside and outside length and thus a different volume capacity. As such, the same 24 cars are called out in two subseries. Ah, the fun of research. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
Releases not listed here are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.

021 00 414, $19.85
Reporting Marks: DE 1787.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Delaware 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 (Blue Hen Chicken) and state flower (Peach Blossom) on right.
Fiftieth and final release in the States of the Union series.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

So it ends with a "first in, last out" entry to wrap up the official State Series Special Edition from Micro-Trains as far as we know. (There is still an N Scale Collector members-only release pending later this year, for American Samoa.) Although the viewpoints on this and the other Special Editions are quite polarized, I've enjoyed digging up some history about each of our fifty states, although it probably wouldn't have been as much fun if I hadn't set foot in each one. (Sorry, Canada.) With this milestone for MTL I'm also wrapping up my coverage of all Special Editions for the website version of the UMTRR; you'll have to subscribe from now on for reviews of future SE items. (Although, admittedly, there isn't much of a review I can offer with some of these releases.) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The same Lenni Lenape tribe of Native Americans that I studied as being part of New Jersey's heritage were the dominant people in what is now Delaware in the 1400's and 1500's. Minquas from the Susquehanna Valley attacked the Lenni Lenape villages starting about 1600, and then the Europeans arrived. Henry Hudson sighted the bay and river in 1609 and Captain Samuel Argall named it for Virginia's Governor, Lord De La Warr. The Dutch were first to attempt a settlement in 1631 at what is now Lewes, but were wiped out by Native Americans. The Swedes were next, led by Peter Minuet at Fort Christina, now Wilmington. New Sweden ceded to New York when the British moved in on New Netherlands, but Peter Stuyvesant built another fort and re-established New Netherland, which was then retaken as New Sweden, but then re-retaken by the Dutch. By 1674 the smoke had cleared, and the British were back in control. They handed the area to William Penn. Yes, these names should be familiar to those who've studied the colonial history of New York and Pennsylvania. Even then, Delaware wasn't all that far away. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And good thing, for on July 1 and 2, 1776 an ailing Cesar Rodney made an historic ride from Delaware to Philadelphia to cast the deciding vote in favor of American independence in the Delaware delegation. Without his "yea," the delegation from there was tied one for, one against, and Virginia's motion in favor of independence would have been defeated. And that's why Cesar Rodney is pictured speeding on his horse on the State Quarter. It might not have mattered to the colony anyway; they had already declared independence from Great Britain on June 15! And perhaps that would have made them The First State even if they had not been the first to ratify the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787. They'd had practice, having declared themselves the "Three Lower Counties Upon Delaware" separate from Pennsylvania, back in 1704. In 1792, the official name was changed from Delaware State to the State of Delaware. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ever wonder what the "E.I." in "E.I. duPont" stands for? Well, no, but in case you did, it's for Éleuthére Irénée, the French founder of a gunpowder factory near Wilmington in 1802, the predecessor of the giant chemical corporation that is still closely connected with the state and has made such diverse products there as nitroglycerin and nylons. Transportation was important given Delaware's position between North and South. The Newport and Gap Turnpike opened in 1808, the first toll road in Delaware; the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal opened in 1829, connecting those Bays. And the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad, all one and a half miles of it, opened in 1832 with horse cars and then steam locomotives. Six years later, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore began service. It became part of the mighty Pennsylvania's system. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Delaware was truly a border state during the Civil War: it continued to have slavery but did not join the Confederacy. Most of its residents fought for the North but some fought for the South. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I've had what I think is the most interesting fact about Delaware that I've come across tucked away for a while. And it's all about the Mason-Dixon Line. What do you mean, George, isn't that the famous boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania? Well, yes, that's correct, but it's not complete. Also part of that famous demarcation, which is a series of several lines, is the arc that is part of a circle of points twelve miles distant from New Castle, Delaware. The arc intersects the straight line common thought of as "the" line running along the parallel at 39 degrees 43 minutes north (of the Equator, that is). There is a "wedge" created with respect to these two lines, the area of which was disputed by Delaware and Pennsylvania until 1921! (It did go to Delaware.) The "North Line" running between Maryland and Delaware, which is not truly north-south in direction, was also surveyed as part of the Mason and Dixon work, as evidenced by the Mason-Dixon Monument off Delaware Route 55 in the southwestern corner of the state. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Mason and Dixon were not from Delaware, but others were: actresses Valerie Bertinelli and Elisabeth Shue, Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Manuever that has saved countless choking victims from death, playwright Robert Bird, astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, authors Henry Canby and John Phillips, artist Howard Pyle, George Read, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of course Cesar Rodney. I note that one website calls these folks "Famous Delawareans." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I have crossed into and through Delaware at least a dozen times, probably more. My guess is that the first time was along Interstate 95 going to Washington, DC and I'm not even sure that there was a stop. But the most memorable trip included Lewes, the terminus for the Cape May Ferry. That ferry, besides being a pleasant run across Delaware Bay to the southernmost point of my home state of New Jersey, is also, technically speaking, a part of US Route 9. Indeed, though Route 9 is thought of as "so Joisey" by we natives (yes, I know it runs up to Canada) it actually continues from on from Lewes to its junction with US 13 near Laurel, in Sussex County. As long as I'm running on with semi-useless trivia on Federal Highways, I'll mention that while Interstate 95 runs through Delaware, its predecessor US 1 does not, the only state along the Eastern Seaboard where that's true. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And there you have it. The State Series, like the other Special Edition releases, has been polarizing since Day One, and now that we've reached Car Fifty, I'm certain that some are excited at the prospect of completing the series, others are rejoicing that it's over, still others are inventing wacky replacements, and still others aren't caring too much one way or the other. One thing is for sure: I've learned a lot about my country. I hope you have picked up a few facts along the way as well. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Nn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

Reprint:
816 00 010, $23.05
Road Number: 0589.
30 Foot Wood Sheathed Caboose, End Two Window Cupola, Denver and Rio Grande Western.

Brown with white lettering including roadname across top and "speed lettering" Rio Grande herald below cupola. Road number at bottom center.
Approximate Time Period: 1939 to 1968.
Previous Releases (as catalog 15701): Road Number 0585, July 1989; Road Number 0584, November 1990; Road Number 0588, May 1993; Road Number 0587, November 1995.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

MTL notes that these cabeese were built in the early 1900's and that the 0589 was one of just three that had its cupola changed from a one window to a two window version (the others were 0584 and 0587 which have also been done by MTL). The size of the roster that wasn't converted? Well, only another three, actually. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A webpage I found on the Rio Grande's cabeese narrows the start of these cars lives at 1900 exactly. The six cars numbered 0584 to 0589 were built in the company shops on a 26 foot frame. These cars were among nine that survived to the end of Rio Grande narrow gauge freight service in 1968 and five of the six were preserved as of the website update date which appears to be 2006. By the way, master of these pages Benoit Poulin is from France, illustrating the worldwide appeal of the narrow gauge operations of the Rockies. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The start of the Approximate Time Period, however, wouldn't be 1900, but more like 1939 and later when the "speed lettering" herald was introduced. I'm calling the ATP start at that date even though that might be a bit too precise. Poulin also notes that the Rio Grande's three foot gauge cabooses had extensive rework done on them over the years, to the point where even cars in the same class might not look alike, implying that the ATP might in fact be good for a very short window for an exact or close match to the MTL model. I'm not sure anyone can be that exact since there is incomplete information out there, so "your mileage may vary." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Considering that this car is just 30 N Scale feet long to begin with, it's a statement about the diminutive size of narrow gauge that this is called the "long caboose"! The short ones are what we standard gaugers would call "bobbers," and although most of those were built with the familiar four wheel two axle design, the ICC later required full trucks and that's what they received. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

506 00 700, $21.95
Reporting Marks: SP 211206.
50 Foot Boxcar, Double Door, Southern Pacific.

Boxcar red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname on right. Black and white "Southern Pacific Lines" circle herald on left.
Approximate Time Period: 1955 (build date) to about 1971.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Lee Gatreaux's SP Freight Cars Page nails down this car as part of the SP's class B-50-35, numbered 210556 to 211305. They were built from May to August 1955 by the Southern Pacific Equipment Company in Sacramento. According to Lee, "many cars of this class [were] renumbered in 1971 into the SP 202000-202724 series mixed with B-50-36 cars." The B-50-36's were quite similar if not identical; a photo of SP 211572 from that class illustrates the 1955 paint scheme that MTL selected for this car. The Morning Sun Color Guide to the Southern Pacific, Volume 2, has a shot of the exact car MTL modeled. In that book it's noted that the first 250 cars came with double Superior doors, all others but the last with Youngstown doors, and the last car, 211305, with a combination of plug and sliding doors. (Which explains why the ORER calls out the 211305 separately.) © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1959 shows 645 cars described as "Box, All Steel, Staggered Doors" in the main series 210556 to 211304 with the following dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 4 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 51 feet 10 inches, door opening 15 feet (a slight "door thing" here since the MTL model has two eight foot doors), capacity 4940 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There are 16 cars that have equipment for automobile parts and are classified XAP instead of the usual XM, the 211206 not being one of them. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A bit before the 1971 renumbering, the April 1970 ORER shows a merging of groups into a series 210373 to 211304 with 811 cars and two exceptions. It's entirely possible that this or any of the other cars in the group could have been repainted into the simpler SP scheme omitting the round herald, but it might be tough to prove this for the entire collection one way or the other. For example, there's SP 219436 in the 1955 scheme still rolling the rails in 1979 in a Ken Harstine photo on his "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America". © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

520 00 140, $18.85
Reporting Marks: SOO LINE 29628.
40 Foot Despatch Stock Car, Soo Line.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left.
Approximate Time Period: late 1920's to mid 1960's, but watch the trucks, see text. 
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The April 1928 ORER reveals a relative rarity for the Soo in this series of cars: both odd and even numbers were utilized in the group 29600 to 29999. Most of the line's cars were stenciled only with even numbers; this was true of several roads in the north central part of the United States. The vital statistics reveal some not-unexpected differences between the model, which is based on a New York Central stock car, and the prototype: inside length just 36 feet, inside height 7 feet 8 inches, outside length 37 feet, extreme height 14 feet and 7/8 inch, door opening 5 feet, capacity 2358 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. All 400 cars were present according to the listing. The N Scale version of the 29628 (catalog 35140, reprint of November 2000) has a build date of May 1927, by the way, so that's why I went to my rare hard copy April 1928 Register. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 1940 ORER has the 29000s were the only group of stock cars listed for the Soo, and they're a mixture of single and double deck cars, as noted by MTL. Make that mostly single decks: Note C gives the individual numbers of the cars that have permanent double decks, and it's exactly seven out of the total of 396 listed, 29628 and 29630 not among them. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The July 1950 edition shows the series pretty stable at 395 cars, of which 15 have permanent double decks. In January 1959 there were still 384 copies including two groups of exceptions, one of 15 cars with permanent double decks and another of four more with rooves removed for coke loading! (That's the coal byproduct, not the drink and not the illegal substance, either.) The dropoff of the set started between there and January 1964 when 296 stock cars remained, and accelerated from there, with only 40 cars remaining in the April 1970 ORER. The "see text" part is trading the MTL-supplied Andrews trucks for roller bearing models, in order to keep within ICC rules if you're operating in the later part of the ATP. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

522 00 130, $22.25
Reporting Marks: B&O 363113.
50 Foot Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Baltimore and Ohio/Chessie System.

Black with mostly yellow lettering including reporting marks on left, "Keep Safety Rolling" slogan left of center, "Ches-C" herald right of center, and Chessie System roadname on right. Simulated stone load included.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's or 1981 (repaint date given by MTL) to early 2000's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The ORER for April 1976 pre-dates the 1981 service and repaint date given by MTL, but it doesn't pre-date the 1972 formation of the Chessie System, so depending on your preference for adhering to a reweigh date you might still be OK. The series B&O 363050 to 363149 contained 91 cars and there was a subset with another nine gondolas fitted with double rows of cradles for loose railroad wheels. (Speaking of loads...) For both groups, the dimensions were as follows: inside length 52 feet 5 inches, inside width 9 feet 6 inches, inside height 4 feet 6 inches, outside length 56 feet 11 inches, extreme height 9 feet 5 inches, capacity 2246 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1981 Register shows 90 cars in the main series, eight carrying railroad wheels and one fitted with special metal bins for an unspecified reason-- it's the 363130 so we're OK there. By October 1986 there are subsets by capacity all over the place, but I added it all up to 85 pieces including three still carrying railroad wheels. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

MTL notes that this car series was built in 1937; assuming that's true, these cars would have been pretty large for the time period, and they would have to have been rebuilt at some point as well since the Chessie would have been required to take them out of service by the 1982 repaint date due to their age. And they certainly wouldn't have been operating in 2005 as was sister car B&O 363114, just one number away from what MTL modeled, located on RRPictureArchives.net. The gondola's paint scheme closely matches what MTL did including the "Keep Safety Rolling" device and the cargo restriction callout at the top right of the side. (It reads, "For Loose" and then some short word I can't make out, then "Loading Only".) The paint, and the gondola, are certainly not in pristine condition. But we've all seen worse. There are two easily seen differences between the model and the prototype: there are fixed ends on the prototype and an end mounted brake wheel, whereas the MTL car has drop ends and a side mounted brake wheel. A bit more subtle is the alternating thick and thin rib pattern on the real car, not duplicated on the MTL body style. For the record, a check of the January 2006 ORER showed no cars left from this series, so the June 2005 inclusion of the 363114 in a train in Ora, South Carolina might have been one of the car's final trips. Or it could have been repainted into CSX Transportation garb! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 011 and 982 01 012, $195.95 each
Road Numbers: 373 and 374
GP-9 Diesel Locomotives, Northern Pacific.

Black and yellow body with red stripes. Black underframe, trucks and details. Yellow lettering including roadname on long hood and road number on cab. White, black and red "monad" device on cab above road number. "Radio Equipped" in red and yellow on short hood.
Approximate Time Period: 1958 (as early as 1954 for other road numbers) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The first release in this latest MTL motive power offering is a knockout-- one of the more complex paint schemes on any road switcher type diesel, and one that lasted quite a while, for a major road that has been pretty under-represented in Z Scale. What's not to like? Well, if you're looking for another road, I suppose it will be heartbreaking to strip this one! (But see below for the next three roadnames, to see if there are any that are more suitable for paint removal in your opinion.) And what's with those dynamic brakes? We'll come back to that. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Northern Pacific took delivery of GP-9s beginning with their number 200, and EMD Builders Number 19544, in June 1954. The 373 and 374 were the third to last and second to last of the model delivered to the NP, coming onto the property in September 1958. You might think that the railroad skipped around a little with its number series for these units, but they didn't. There were one hundred and seventy six GP-9s built for the NP! They were delivered in what I've seen called the "canoe" scheme of black, yellow and red. Also remarkable is that this appears to have been the only NP paint scheme in which these units were decorated from the beginning to the end, that end being the Burlington Northern merger of April 1970. The BN had a habit of just restenciling road numbers at first, so if you're keeping score the 373 became the 1952 and the 374 became the 1953. The renumbering was not consecutive but it looks like all NP GP-9s went into the BN 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. The 373 was sold in May 1986 and the 374 was traded into EMD in July 1985. Much of this information comes from a compendium of Northern Pacific data called "The Main Street of the Northwest on the Web". Cited in turn there are the "BN Annuals" by Robert Del Grasso dated 1980 to 1991 and the book "Northern Pacific Color Pictorial Volume Two" by Joseph W. Shine. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Fallen Flags has an image in glorious black and white of the 373 as of 1960 in Minneapolis, leading an unspecified F-series B-Unit and a string of freight cars. Here's the bad news: as of this photo, anyway, the roof details are noticeably different, including but not limited to the dynamic brakes on the MTL model that aren't on the prototype. Some NP units were delivered with dynamic brakes, though the 373 and 374 were not, so I'm not certain why these particular road numbers were selected. It looks like 345 through 350, built in January 1958, were the highest road numbers with this feature if you'd rather renumber. Fallen Flags has a set of photos, but for more extensive coverage of the Geeps, check the thumbnails of photos available for purchase from Jim Frederickson, found on the site of the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association. Speaking of which, they have a volume called "Northern Pacific Diesel Era" by Lorenz P. Schrenk and Robert L. Frey, available right there from their site and recommended to us by NP follower and Z Scale modeling master Robert Ray. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE REPRINTS:
No releases this month.


Z SCALE SPECIAL EDITIONS: No releases this month.


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

865 00 030, $29.85
Reporting Marks: None
30 Foot Log Car with Load.

No paint, no lettering.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Please refer to the coverage of previous log car releases in HOn3 and N Scale for more information.