UMTRR August, 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:

085 00 030, $18.60
Reporting Marks: NH 121300.
33 Foot Panel Side Open Hopper, 2 Bay, Flat Ends, New Haven.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname across car. Simulated coal load included.
Approximate Time Period: 1933 (rebuild date) to no later than the early 1950's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We start off with a third release in the panel side hopper series that is at once a plain old hopper and a one of a kind. Naturally, any connection with the holding of the N Scale Collector's Convention in Hartford, Connecticut and the release of a New Haven car (not to mention the Boston and Maine boxcar last month!) is purely coincidental. Right? Right... © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I knew that I wasn't going to find a picture of this particular car in the Morning Sun Color Guide (MSCG) to the New Haven, but I was happily surprised to find its story. I don't think I'm violating "fair use" with this quote from the narrative at the beginning of the book (Page 7): "The New Haven received 1500 two-bay, USRA design open top hoppers in 1918 (120000 - 121499). The order was produced by four car builders... One car, #121300, was rebuilt with Union Metal Products panel sides at New Haven's Readville Shops in 1933, otherwise, the series maintained its as-built appearance throughout its service life... The number of 120000s began to decrease dramatically at the end of World War II... By 1955, there was no entry in the ORER." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

That's almost enough for an entry on this car, but just for fun, let's try to locate the end of the ATP for this particular car. That may not be easy; there is no exception for the 121300 from the rest of the 120000 series in the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for July 1935, although there certainly should be. The main series has the following dimensions: inside length 30 feet 5 inches, inside height 9 feet 5 1/2 inches, outside length 31 feet 11 1/2 inches, extreme height 10 feet 8 inches, capacity 1880 cubic feet or what looks like 80,000 pounds (bad image of that page). There were 1481 cars in that listing, 1473 in the January 1940 ORER, and 1437 in January 1945. Just 193 were left in the January 1953 ORER and, just as reported in the MSCG, none in the January 1955 Register. Through it all, no exception for the 121300; oh well. The increased capacity, which was one of the purposes for the panel sides, may have meant that someone got a little more coal than expected when that car was delivered. The NH should not have been shorted, though, if the proper weight was computed, and please see "scale test car" on that one to ensure that the line's scales were working properly. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The paint scheme on the car, assuming it aligns with the photo of later car 116121 that does appear in the MSCG to the New Haven, should be pretty good. It does appear to match the Accurail HO Scale version of the car. At least one prototype photo of the 121300 is extant; the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Society's "New Haven Railroad Forum" cites the publication "Rolling Stock of New England Volume 2," Page 25, for a February 1933 photo as well as the back cover of the NHRHTS's own magazine "Shoreliner" from Fall 1977. I can't tell from the citation whether these are the same or different photos. Speaking of photos, though, I did trip over the "Railroad History Archive" of the University of Connecticut which contains more than 400 images of New Haven steam and electric locomotives. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 250, $28.75
Reporting Marks: C&O 607190.
3 Bay ACF Center Flow Covered Hopper, Long Hatches, C&O/Chessie System.

Yellow with dark blue sill and trucks. Mostly dark blue lettering including reporting marks on left, "Ches-C" herald in center and "Chessie System" roadname on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1981 (build date) to early 1990's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

A seeming discrepancy with respect to the model versus the prototype may have led to the discovery of a large and long lived Oops on my part. May have, that is! The MTL car copy describes this car as an American Car and Foundry model with 4600 cubic foot capacity. My body style table shows these models as being of the larger CF4650. This sent me off to my Rail Model Journal accumulation for Jim Eager's review of the 4600s, which were owned and operated by more than 35 railroads including, of course, the Chessie System. More than 15,000 of these cars were built between 1965 and 1981 in several variations. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And therein I ran right into a headbanging contradiction: The April and May 1994 issues of RMJ note that the Micro-Trains model is of the CF4600. But the review of the 4650s in August 1994 includes a photo of the MTL Cotton Belt release (94010, May 1994) with the caption that "Micro-Trains has done the CF4650 in a variety of paint schemes..." Hey, it can't be both-- which is it? Before going on, I should explain that the difference, besides the fifty cubic feet, is that the 4600s were built within the Plate B clearance specifications whereas the 4650s were built to the larger Plate C specs. This makes the 4600s look longer than their 53 foot 6 inch inside length; the 4650s are of 49 feet 9 inch inside length. The May 1994 RMJ piece on the 4600s also notes that the 4600s have seven side panels while the 4650s have six; but the MTL cars don't have weld lines on the sides representing these panels. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So now what? Well, there is an answer: deploying my N Scale Ruler, it seems that the MTL models do more closely follow the 4650 specs. Whether a difference of interior length of three feet nine inches is an issue is up to the reader; but the photos of the real C&O/Chessie hoppers do look longer than the MTL car to my eyes. And the body style table on the UMTRR website is in fact correct. Phew. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Be that as it may, let's go to the ORER for April 1984 where three and a half years after being built by AC&F, 449 of the original 450 cars in the series 607000 to 607449 were in service. The inside length was 53 feet 3 inches as noted, inside width was 10 feet 5 inches, outside length was 58 feet 1 inch, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and capacity, well, 4600 cubic feet, of course! or 199,000 pounds. These cars, primarily for grain service, were called "boxcar killers" for that trade, and one can see why. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These cars went over to CSXT reporting marks, if not a full repaint, relatively quickly. The October 1996 ORER shows just 36 cars of the original 450 lettered for the C&O. They did not go straight to the same numbers either, as that series with CSXT markings is empty. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Sister car C&O 607199 is on Fallen Flags, as it appeared in April 1987. The underframe including the hoppers is also dark blue whereas it's yellow on the MTL car. Shots of the 607001, 607018, 607107, 607237 (in 1993 and really looking pretty worn) and 607447 are also on Fallen Flags and also show blue underframes. There is a photo of the exact C&O 607190 in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Chessie System (Page 41), and it is also blue from the sills down. Time to figure out what paint matches the Enchantment Blue that Micro-Trains used on this car. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 260, $25.20
Reporting Marks: GN 170039.
3 Bay ACF Center Flow Covered Hopper, Long Hatches, Great Northern.

Sky blue with white lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and outline goat herald on right. Simulated reflectors along sill.
Approximate Time Period: 1968 (build date) to early 1990's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Although the Great Northern was absorbed into the Burlington Northern in 1970, this exact car made it to at least 1987 since Fallen Flags has a shot of it, with some restenciling and a fair amount of what looks like peeling paint. Unlike the C&O/Chessie System car reviewed above, there is no ambiguity on precisely what Center Flow this one is, as evidenced by the "Plate C" symbol next to the road number. It's a CF4650, for sure, totally. To be in 1987, one should add the ACI Label and consolidated stencils, by the way. Sister car 170059, also in 1987, is out on Fallen Flags as well. So is a pretty looking 170260 and 170275, as lensed in near three-quarter view from trackside in 1970. There is also a representative photo of the series in the MSCG to the Great Northern, from which MTL procured its car copy. How's this for a nitpick: The prototype cars had 13 supports for the roofwalk, representing one of the earlier productions of the CF4650, whereas the MTL model is of a later production with nine supports per side for the roofwalk. Yeah, I hadn't noticed it either until I read about this in the Rail Model Journal articles cited in the C&O Center Flow commentary above. I wouldn't expect regular appearances of a "support thing" here, though... © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Back when the BN was new and Great Northern cars were not yet covered in Cascade Green, the April 1970 ORER showed 299 of the possible 300 cars in the series 170000 to 170299. The inside length was 49 feet 9 inches, inside width 10 feet 7 inches, outside length 54 feet 6 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, capacity 4650 cubic feet or 198,000 pounds. We already know from the photos that some of these cars were around in 1987, 143 in July's ORER to be exact. But just four remained five years later in the July 1992 ORER. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

105 00 141 and 105 00 142, $23.40 each
Reporting Marks: DRGW 56454 (the 041) and DRGW 56453 (the 042).
50 Foot 14 Panel Steel Gondola, Rio Grande (D&RGW) Heritage Scheme.

Black with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left. Multicolor "Main Line Through the Rockies" herald incorporating speed lettering roadname on right. Yellow vertical visibility stripes at bottom of sides. Simulated stone load included.
Approximate Time Period: the present.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The Speed Lettering lives, for perhaps one final turn.

Those yellow stripes, technically "conspicuity decals," are the giveaway. Mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration as part of their "Reflectorization of Rail Freight Rolling Stock" directive. The ruling reveals an interesting statistic: "Approximately 23% of all highway-rail grade crossing accidents involve motor vehicles running into trains occupying grade crossings." Yes, the train didn't hit the car; the car hit the train. "Almost 80% of these [accidents] occur during nighttime conditions (dawn, dusk, and darkness)," the FRA continued, and involve a highway vehicle striking a train after the first two units of the consist. These statistics suggest that a contributing factor to many RIT accidents is the difficulty motorists have in seeing a train consist at a crossing in time to stop their vehicles before reaching the crossing, particularly during periods of limited visibility, such as dawn, dusk, darkness, or during adverse weather conditions." Be sure to check out FRA Docket Number FRA-1999-6689 for more... well, maybe not. Anyway, the presence of the conspicuity decals are the clue that these Rio Grande gondolas are in fact from the present day. Though clearly under the ownership of the Union Pacific, I wouldn't call out that line; instead, I'll call these Rio Grande "Heritage Scheme" cars. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These gondolas aren't brand new, though. According to the Rio Grande Historical and Technical Society website, the series 56425 to 56474 was built in early 1979 by International Car for general service. So let's go to a representative ORER for the dimensions; April 1984 should do. The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 6 inches, inside height 4 feet 6 inches, outside length 56 feet 11 inches, extreme height 8 feet 2 inches, and capacity 2244 cubic feet or 196,000 pounds. We get another dimensional data point with the description, "Gondola, Truck Centers 43 feet 5 inches." All 50 cars were in service at the time. The latest ORER I have, January 2006, shows a total of 31 cars left, 26 in the main series plus three subsets with differing AAR Type Codes. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And these gondolas were not, perhaps obviously, painted this way at first either. For example, Fallen Flags has the 56442 also in 2006 with a colorful coat of graffiti, and the 56443 in 2004 with reporting marks and lots of white unauthorized scribbling. RRPictureArchives.net has other examples from the group in much less appealing paint. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But RRPictureArchives.net also has the exact 56454 as lensed in Fort Worth, Texas in May, 2006 by Neil Stutzman. The reporting marks are in the Union Pacific font and the herald on the right side is a throwback to the independent days of the Rio Grande. Both the Rio Grande herald and the conspicuity decals look more orange in the prototype photo than the model photo, but it's hard to tell without seeing the actual MTL release. The prototype gondola is a 14 panel (13 rib) type but I suspect it is larger than the MTL 105 body style. There's a Union Pacific type car class that I can't quite read, it's G-something-something, perhaps G-110-13 denoting a 55 ton gondola. If you want to get really nitpicky, there need to be more conspicuity decals at the very ends of the car, 48 inch long ones to be exact. This creates the "picket fence" look that these safety devices form when affixed to cars. There's at least one example from one other group of gondolas with the famous speed lettering. From a different series, there is D&RGW 56108 with the "Main Line" herald in the center of the car, found on RailcarPhotos.com. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Despite the price, at least partially driven by the stone load and partially by the extra colors in the herald and the stripes, I'll give this virtual two-pack a pick to click for the month. Maybe one cannot get (or afford) a Union Pacific Heritage Locomotive, but by that reckoning a "heritage gondola" is more within reach. You've been cautioned... © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

121 00 050, $12.95
Reporting Marks: CR 80044.
Scale Test Car, Conrail.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on right.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1990's (at latest) to present, see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

I've guessed on when Conrail repainted one of its predecessor railroad's Scale Test Cars into this plain black and white scheme. Nothing against that plain scheme, since most scale test cars weren't exactly heavy on the fancy decoration. Actually, this may be the second Conrail black and white scheme. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But I can tell you that on RRPicturearchives.net there are two photos of the actual CR 80044. First is a Jonathan Ferraro shot in Buffalo, New York on the numerically nice date of 9/9/97. Second is a shot of the 80044 at Mingo Junction, Ohio by Michael Rujak in April 2006. Finally, on Fallen Flags there is a superb closeup of the car on Fallen Flags as caught in March 1998 in Reading, Pennsylvania at the Master Scale. The body style looks good compared to the MTL model. Micro-Trains did consolidate the dimensional data information that appears below the warning "Do Not Flat Shift or Hump" onto one line, and you'll want to paint the grab irons white for a better match to the real thing. There is also a placard hanging from the side opposite the brake wheel on the prototype. (That placard may read, "Do not make repairs to this car unless directed by scale inspector," at least it does on sister car CR 80002. All in Capital Letters, by the way.) The close up on Fallen Flags shows a built date for the car of 1952, looks like June to me. That's relatively late for a scale test car, assuming that's an accurate date. Morning Sun Color Guides I own for predecessors CNJ, Lehigh Valley, the Erie, Lackawanna (DL&W) and Reading all show scale test cars built well before that. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The 2006 shot clearly shows another set of reporting marks in the more familiar CR font coming through the black paint. This causes me to set the Approximate Time Period based on the actual dated photo evidence, although I'm not sure anyone could quibble with a few years earlier than "mid-1990s". Based on other photos on Fallen Flags, there are inconsistencies in the paint scheme used on other of Conrail's scale test cars of this type, so please don't assume you can just renumber the 80044 if you want more than one in your fleet. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

031 00 200, $16.25
Reporting Marks: SP 652253.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Door, Southern Pacific.

Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname on right. Black and yellow "DF" device on left. Boxcar red trucks and couplers.
Approximate Time Period: 1960 (build date) to early 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog number 31200): Road Number 652270, January 1990.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

David Carnell helps out on this reprint with some information from his Research Accumulation. He tells us that this car is an SP Class B-50-44 50 foot boxcar with Evans DF loaders. This car is part of series 651874 to 652373 built from March to May 1958 by the SP Equipment Company at the Sacramento Shops. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Photos and a description of the features of the cars can be found in Tony Thompson's "Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Volume 4: Box Cars" in Chapter 14, "The First Specially-equipped Box Cars," Pages 359-393. This chapter contains extensive photos of the various load restraining devices applied to these cars. A table on Page 393 verifies the information that MTL reports on the disposition of these cars; that is, there were only 24 cars remaining in 1981. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David further reports that a photo of sister car 652231 is found on Page 17 of the MSCG to the Southern Pacific, Volume 1. "The MTL body is a good match," David says, "except that the SP built cars had a straight sill instead of a fishbelly sill." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER from January 1964 will do for a first lookup. The series David cites above is listed as "Box, All Steel, DF Loaders" with an inside length of 50 feet 6 inches, inside width of 9 feet 2 inches, inside height of 10 feet 6 inches, outside length of 51 feet 10 inches, extreme height of 15 feet 1 inch, door opening of 8 feet, and capacity of 4895 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. In the April 1970 this group had 453 cars in the main series plus 21 more with partial lining over the belt rails which decreased inside width (to 9 feet 1 inch) and cubic capacity (to 4867 cubic feet). In addition, some individual numbers of the main series had fork lift pallets which were to be considered part of the car. By April 1981, as MTL points out, there was not much left: 24 cars in the main series and just one with "partial lining". By this time you'd need to be thinking about roofwalk removal as well, so that ATP end in the early 1980's could be a stretch. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

036 00 030, $19.20
Reporting Marks: UP 169180.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Plug Door, Union Pacific.

Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left, and "Ship and Travel the Automated Railway" slogan on right. Red, white and blue shield herald on right. Boxcar red trucks and couplers.
Approximate Time Period: 1970 (rebuild date) to early 1980's, but see text.
Previous Releases (as catalog number 36030/36084): Road Number 169170, February 1974; Road Number 169157, May 1974; Road Number 169150, July 1990; Road Number 169175, August 1994.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The July 1974 shows an interesting mix of 50 foot boxcars in this general number series for the Union Pacific. The MTL car copy discusses a series of 800 cars, but you need to consolidate four groups together to reach that number. All of these groups, starting at UP 168800 and ending at UP 169799, have identical dimensional data, with the exception of the outside length. Yes, I know that's more than 800 possible cars! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, two of the groups, 168800 to 168945 and 169165 to 169218, are listed as "Box, Steel, Cushion Underframe, Plug Doors, Side Wall Lading Anchors" with AAR Classification XM, AAR Car Type Code B209 (Unequipped boxcar with length 49 feet 8 inches to less than 59 feet 8 inches with doors larger than 10 feet), and outside length of 57 feet 4 inches. That second group is where the 169180, this month's reprint, resided, as well as two of MTL's previous numbers, 169170 and 169175. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

But there are two other groups, 168946 to 169164 and 169219 to 169799, which are the same description except for the Cushion Underframe and have an outside length of 54 feet 5 inches. The MTL-used numbers 169150 and 169157 are in this group. The rest of the dimensions across the four sets of cars are the same: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 16 feet, capacity 4987 cubic feet and either 151,000 or 152,000 pounds. The total number of cars is, let's see, 144 plus 218 plus 53 plus 573, that's 988 cars. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It gets better. The first photos I came across on the 'net were on Fallen Flags, and they are also a mixture-- of paint schemes! The 168820 is in the yellow "We Can Handle It" decoration and was caught in March 1985. The 168977 was in the paint scheme MTL chose, brown-- OK, "synthetic red"-- with white and the shield herald, and was captured in July 1977. There are two images from August 1985 of the 169177 in the yellow "We Can Handle It" scheme, and one shot of the 169187 from February 1992, in a quite beat up looking "Automated Railway" scheme. And finally on Fallen Flags we have the 169675 in the brown "We Can Handle It" scheme. David Carnell reports that a photo of UP 169461 is on Page 11 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Union Pacific, Volume 2, from which MTL apparently got the car copy. Lastly, on "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America" there is a somewhat blurry shot from April 1976 of the 169288 in the paint scheme MTL did-- except for no "UP" reporting marks! I should mention that some of these cars are class B-70-6 and some are B-70-7. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

All of those photos, and despite the different paint schemes, they all tell us one thing: the MTL model is a "stand in". None of the cars have roofwalks, they all have cut down ladders, and the plug doors are not the same as used on the 036 body style. There is also the diagonal row of rivets angling toward the plug doors from bottom to top on each side of the plug doors. As long as I'm counting rivets, the prototype cars did have riveted sides whereas the MTL car has welded sides. And finally, a cushion underframe car usually has extended draft gear trucks. Yes, I'm complaining, but I also know that there's nothing close to the real Union Pacific car in N Scale at the moment, either. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ATP is a conservative guess given that the paint scheme MTL used, the "Automated Railway" and the two "We Can Handle It" motifs all appear to have co-existed. For the record, this group of cars which were rebuilt circa 1970 from UP forty foot boxcars, were down to a total of 181 cars in January 1985 and just 32 in July 1989, all the while keeping the mix of with and without Cushion Underframes. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES:
These releases are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.


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


Z SCALE NEW RELEASES:

507 00 380, $20.45
Reporting Marks: BN 745461.
50 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, Burlington Northern / Western Fruit Express.

Yellow with mostly black lettering including reporting marks and roadname on left, large BN herald and "Western Fruit Express" legend on right.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1970's (1976 service date given by MTL) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Western Fruit Express was an affiliate of the Great Northern Railroad-- all those goat heralds were a rather large clue-- but was also closely affiliated with Fruit Growers Express, which helps to explain why I saw so many of those goat heralds while growing up on the east coast. The WFE, FGE and the Burlington Refrigerator Express all shared officers and offices in Washington, DC and operated their equipment more or less as a pool, directing cars where they were needed during varying harvest seasons. Burlington Northern picked up the WFE name and operation and although it shifted some refrigerator class cars to BN reporting marks-- like this one-- it kept the Western Fruit Express name. In case you're wondering, by the way, some of WFE's wood side refrigerator cars did make it into BN logos. Looks kind of strange, if you ask me. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While the Western Fruit Express was around for quite a while, having been founded in 1923, this car wasn't painted this way for nearly as long. I didn't pick up this road number in the April 1970 ORER, not surprising since the BN had just been formed, but it wasn't in the July 1974 or April 1975 Registers either. In the April 1976 ORER, though, the BN entry consolidates all of its Refrigerator Equipment under all reporting marks into a separate listing. And among those-- finally-- is the series BN 745450 to 745499, with 43 cars in the main series and a single exception including pallets. The cars are given AAR Classification RBL and described as "Refrigerator, Movable Bulkheads, 50K" with these dimensions: inside length 50 feet even, inside width 9 feet 5 inches, inside height 9 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet 2 inches wide by 8 feet 11 inches high, and capacity 4520 cubic feet or 137,000 pounds. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By the April 1981 Register the BN had changed its mind and the Refrigerator Equipment was back among the overall car listings. The series had been split into 29 cars still with the movable bulkheads and 19 cars without, including the 745461. Not that this would be evident from the outside! The capacity of these cars was raised to 141,000 pounds and all 48 of these cars were being called "Refrigerator, Bunkerless." Only three years later, in April 1984, the group was down to 15 cars with bunkers and nine without, nine months later in January 1986 it was thirteen and four, eighteen months after that in October 1986 there was just a single group of twelve cars without bulkheads, and nine months after that in July 1987 just one car was shown. Yes, I do have all of those ORERs in the Research Accumulation. I must be nuts. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, all that data is nice, but a photo would be good too. We can get close on Fallen Flags with similar car BN 745029 in an undated photo taken at North Little Rock, Arkansas, which shows a paint scheme very much like what MTL used on this car. Note that there's no roofwalk and short ladders; I'd expect the prototype 745461 to also have those features, while the Micro-Trains car has a roofwalk and full height ladders. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

515 00 150, $21.30
Road Number: 242 (will be "MENA 242" in website listings)
40 Foot Double Sheathed Wood Boxcar, Single Door, Vertical Brake Staff, Menasha Wooden Ware.

Green with yellow / red shadowed lettering including company name and location and road number on left, and "Pails Tubs Kegs Barrels Fiber Boxes" on right.
Approximate Time Period: early 1900's (the decade) to late 1920's, but see text.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

A visit to the Menasha Corporation's website revealed a number of interesting facts, not the least of which is that the company which once made "pails, tubs, kegs, barrels, and fiber boxes" is very much still around. The modern firm manufactures what might be called successors of the wooden ware it once produced: corrugated containers, food service items and "returnable material handling systems," which I just call "totes". Menasha operates more than sixty facilities, mostly in the United States, and is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, just down the road from where it was founded. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The privately held company is very proud of its more than 150 year heritage. There is an extensive history with illustrations out on its website. Let's grab a few highlights of interest. A "pail factory" (no business or trade name, just "pail factory") was established in Menasha, Wisconsin, just south of the city of Appleton, in 1840. It was unprofitable, and was sold by the trio that founded it to another group of three businessmen, and then to Elisha D. Smith in 1852. In the 1860's the Chicago and North Western Railroad built a spur into Menasha at the behest-- and financing-- of local residents, and the expanding factory quickly became the largest woodenware manufacturer in the Midwest. However, expenses rose faster than income and "the pail factory" was thrown into receivership. It would emerge as the Menasha Wooden Ware Company and Elisha Smith would eventually regain control of the firm. Smith was a philanthropist from early on and one of his first gifts was a library for Menasha. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In 1903, Charles, son of Elisha, purchased "oversized circus boxcars" to ship products. We'll see what "oversized" meant in 1903 in a bit. Around World War I, Mowry, Charles' elder son, sought to expand the company into corrugated, which eventually occurred. It remains one of Menasha's key products, whereas the wooden ware for which the company was originally famous declined in popularity over the next few decades and was phased out completely in 1957. Meanwhile, Menasha "expanded upstream," acquiring paper mills, logging interests, and the like. The company name was officially changed to Menasha Corporation in 1962. In 1982 it converted its trucking operations to a common carrier subsidiary, which would be of little interest except for the fact that its trucks were once painted like its boxcars, in green and gold! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And speaking of boxcars, let's get to them. The June 1905 ORER acknowledges their existence, at least, in a tiny back of the book entry: "Cars are marked 'Menasha Wooden Ware Co." and numbered 2 to 250, inclusive even numbers." The October 1919 entry is better, if a lot harder to read-- it's all text. The news is not so great here. The 242 is the highest numbered a group of boxcars with inside length of 50 feet 6 inches, inside width of 8 feet 8 inches, and inside height of 11 feet 4 inches, and capacity of 60,000 pounds. Yes, this is what "oversize" meant then! I can surmise from these dimensions that wooden ware wasn't very heavy, if a boxcar that was over 11 feet tall and 50 feet long was rated to hold 60,000 pounds. Keep in mind that the typical boxcar of that time was topping out at maybe ten feet tall inside. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So, in terms of prototypical fidelity, I'm afraid that we don't have a very good match for the MTL model here... though try finding a 50 foot wood boxcar in Z Scale! I do note that there are other road numbers which have 39 feet 6 inches inside length and may have been better matches for this MTL body style. The April 1928 ORER shows even numbered cars from 230 to 258 in service, still with inside length of 50 feet 6 inches, listed as part of a glorious single run-on sentence in the tradition of William Faulkner and James Joyce, the entire listing is one really long run-on sentence! I'll never complain about tables again... It appears that Menasha's rolling stock fleet had been retired by the publication of the July 1935 ORER. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As for the paint scheme, well, it seems that it's decorating an actual double sheathed wood boxcar at the Green Bay National Railroad Museum-- how about that, a 1:1 boxcar that, well, doesn't seem to match the prototype! Some e-mail spam filters don't like Tripod websites so may I suggest an image search on "Menasha + boxcar" to locate it for a look. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 021 and 982 01 022, $185.95 each
Road Numbers: 4597 and 4598 (will be preceded by "CN" in website listings).
GP-9 Diesel Locomotives, Canadian National.

Black long hood with large white diagonal "sergeant" or "zebra" stripes. Red short hood and cab with black roof. Yellow stripe along base of carbody. Black underframe, trucks and details. White lettering roadname road number on cab and CN "wet noodle" herald on both ends (nose and end of long hood).
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's to early 1980's.
Note: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

It's hard to top the excellence of the decoration of the Northern Pacific paint scheme from last month, but MTL certainly gives it a go with this perhaps equally intricate scheme. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

According to CNLines.ca, the website of the Canadian National Lines Special Interest Group, there were two GP9s each numbered 4597 and 4598. The first of each were built in 1957 but renumbered in the same year to 4215 and 4216. The second 4597 and 4598 were of the sub-type GR-17r, built "in 1957 or 1958". We know from the paint scheme that it's the second pair we're interested in, as the CN runtogether also known as "wet noodle" herald did not debut until 1961. As built, these locomotives were configured to run long hood forward. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These units were rebuilt to GP9RMs in 1982, with the 4597 becoming CN 4008 and the 4598 becoming CN 4007, each of those being the second use of the road number as well. When rebuilt, the Geeps' short hood was lowered or "chopped," the control stand was changed to short-hood forward, and the fuel tanks were reduced in size, all ending the ATP of the models. The 4000 to 4036 group into which these rebuilds went generally kept the black and white stripe paint scheme and were put to use on lower traffic weight-restricted branch lines. Perhaps some of those CN "Manitoba" boxcars would be appropriate behind these units at that point, assuming that MTL makes them, that is! (That boxcar body style is coming to 1:220, as noted below.) The website, shown as last updated in 2006, has the former GP9s in four groups including the 4000 to 4036 above, a second group (4100 to 4143) with larger fuel tanks, a third group of yard switchers (7000 to 7083) still operated long hood forward, and a fourth group equipped for remote control and used as mother units for slugs and slow speed operation. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

About half of the 4597 is visible in a September 1972 photo taken in Burlington, Ontario posted on "Brian's Rail Photography." The 4597 has dynamic brakes but also some roof detail not present on the MTL model-- can't really tell what it is, but I can see it's there. Meanwhile, Fallen Flags has a mixture of paint schemes on or close in road number to the modeled GP-9s. May 1990 finds the 4590 in a version with just the large "CN" on the long hood and there is also the 4594 in the same scheme in 1967 in Niagara Falls, Ontario; but the 4595 and another Geep are in action in Dundas, Ontario in 1980 in the zebra stripes, and the 4601 in 1980 in Niagara Falls is in the MTL-chosen decoration. If there is a tie-breaker, let it be the 4589 in Toronto in May 1988 in the stripes. Perhaps I shouldn't even try to sort this out, knowing that I'm over my head here? And considering that at least one source calls both versions "Post-1961 red and black"? Well, suffice to say that both paint schemes co-existed. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE REPRINTS:

505 00 080, $20.45
Reporting Marks: ACL 35133.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, Atlantic Coast Line.

Black with yellow lettering including reporting marks and "Another Cushioned Load" slogan on left and circle herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1962 (build date given by MTL) through 1970's.
Previous Release (as catalog number 13508/13508-2): Road Number 31598, November 1989.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, this is the first 1:220 reprint in how many months? Wait, let me check... the most recent reprint was in November of last year, so this is the first reprint of 2007 in 1:220. That speaks quite well to the growth of Z as an MTL product line, I think. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to Pullman-Standard has an example of this paint scheme on a sister car, the ACL 35427, which while also an ACL class O-35, was built under a different lot number a year after the 35133. MTL notes this in the car copy. The three-quarter builder's photo view of the 35427 shows a fair amount of end stenciling including "Switch Carefully" and "Set Handbrakes Tight." I don't think it's fair to expect that reduced to Z Scale; it's about half the height of the end markings! There is also a somewhat grainy photo of ACL 35256 posted on Fallen Flags. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1964 shows the series 35000 to 35899, listed as "Box, Cushion Underframe," with AAR Classification XML and these dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 4 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 57 feet 9 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet (a bit of a "door thing" there), and capacity 4923 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. End notes call out the partial DF-2 loaders next to the doors and that two cars in the series (35378 and 35594) also have nylon belting and 56 pallets and are in assigned service. Before leaving this ORER I should note that the first run of this car by Kadee/Micro-Trains carried the number 31598 which was also a 50 foot boxcar but from a series not equipped with cushion underframes. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As longer term readers already know, the Seaboard Coast Line inadvertently induced banging of head against wall by your faithful UMTRR author by dropping the number of cars from its predecessor railroads in its ORER listings. So we know that the ACL series flipped to SCL 635000 to 635899, and we also know from general photographic evidence that the SCL used simple restenciling without changes to the rest of the paint scheme. But we don't know how quickly this occurred. That is, until we get to the Seaboard System registration of January 1985, when we find only 20 cars left in the original Atlantic Coast Line series, and those probably had their roofwalks removed by then anyway. A circa 1980 photo of ACL 35950 on Fallen Flags, while outside the series we're concerned with, illustrates the pulling of the running board. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



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


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):
No releases this month.