UMTRR September, 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.


025 00 680, $16.25
Reporting Marks: WCCL 25324.
50 Foot Steel Exterior Post Boxcar, Single Door, Wisconsin Central / Wisconsin Chicago Link Ltd.

Maroon with mostly white dimensional data and yellow lettering including herald on left and roadname (Wisconsin Central) on right. White on gray overprint reporting marks. Yellow simulated reflective ("conspicuity") stripes along bottom sill.
Approximate Time Period: Early 2000's to the present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Not to be confused with other boxcar releases for this now "fallen flag," this is the first x-post type single sliding door car for the Wisconsin Central done by Micro-Trains. The previous three x-post cars were plug door versions; I had to check. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This might be a good time to review the history of the road, so quoting from my own review of the MTL 27200 boxcar release from September 2002: The "first" Wisconsin Central existed from around 1871 to around 1908. The first date is when the initial WC line from Menasha to Stevens Point opened; the second is when the WC was leased by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Saint Marie Railroad, popularly known as the Soo Line. I use "about" for both dates because the first line was, obviously, constructed prior to its 1871 opening; and because the lease didn't really obliterate the WC as a corporate entity. That didn't occur until 1960 with the three-way merger of the WC, the Soo Line and the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic into the "new" Soo Line, controlled by the Canadian Pacific. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The "second" Wisconsin Central began service on October 1987 with the sale of the Lake States Transportation Division of the Soo Line to a consortium led by railroad industry veterans. From that point, service was emphasized, and growth was steady, but the prospects for a regional line in the shadow of Class I giants was uncertain. So the line was put up for sale and the Canadian National bought it through its Grand Trunk subsidiary in 2001. I don't think the irony of the situation should be lost here... a piece of railroad once owned by the CP became a vital link for archrival CN!

What I didn't mention back in 2002 was the number of subsidiaries that the WC ended up with, and two of these figure into our story. The Sault St. Marie Bridge Company is the first of these with reporting marks SSAM; in January 1997 this WC unit purchased, for $85 million, 220 route miles of track from the Union Pacific called the "Duck Creek North" lines. The key line was from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Ishpeming, Michigan. According to the Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "Freight shipments over the Lines consist of materials for the paper industry and high volumes of iron ore used in steel-making which are shipped from the Marquette ore range to Escanaba, Michigan for trans-shipment to vessels. SSAM will continue such operations in the future." The SSAM was already 100 years old when the WC acquired it from the Canadian Pacific in 1987; it was the owner and operator of the bridge between Sault St. Marie, Michigan and Sault St. Marie, Ontario, which first opened for rail traffic in January, 1888. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The second subsidiary is the one for which this car is lettered, or should I say relettered, the Wisconsin Chicago Link Limited. According to some Surface Transportation Board documents I found (ain't the web great?) the WCCL was formed to lease about two miles of line within the Chicago Terminal District from the former Pittsburgh Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company. The what? Why, that's the "Panhandle Line" of the former Pennsylvania Railroad! That line went to the Norfolk Southern as part of the split of Conrail. The part that the WC wanted for its Wisconsin Chicago Link was out of service at the time the lease was being negotiated; WC would have reopened it and granted trackage rights to both NS and CSX. But the lease transaction was delayed and in December 1999 the Wisconsin Central filed to sell to the WCCL its own "Forest Park Line" between Forest Park and Franklin Park, both still in Chicagoland. The reason for all of this was connections with other lines in Chicago-- or at least that's what it looked like to me. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Several cars from the series WCCL 25200 to 25442 are pictured on the Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery including the 25346, 25349, and 25438. Just as depicted on the MTL model, the cars are pretty clean and neatly lettered, except for that almost sticker-like overlay of the new reporting marks. The caption notes that the series is in fact a reletter of cars originally stenciled for the SSAM! The builder is shown as FMC for this group. All of the photos were taken in 2004 and 2005 in Ontario, seemingly underscoring the Canadian National's ownership of the Wisconsin Central and its subsidiaries. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Checking the Official Railway Equipment Registers (ORERs) it appears that the transition between the SSAM and the WCCL occurred between January 2000, where the 25200 to 25442 are still shown in the roster of the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Company, and January 2002, when they've moved to the Wisconsin Chicago Link Limited. The cars were in a single entry under the SSAM but split into several groups under the WCCL. The inside length is 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 2 inches, outside length 57 feet 3 inches with one exception at 58 feet, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, door opening 10 feet, gross rail weight 220,000 pounds, and capacity 5377 cubic feet. That last data point tells us that the MTL model, based on an FMC 5077 cubic foot car, is not an exact match for the prototype. The 240 cars in the series is a good chunk of the 1666 total cars rostered for the WCCL at the time. There are 232 cars shown in the January 2006 ORER. In addition, I personally sighted a car from this group in Fairport, New York on the CSX Albany to Buffalo main line in late August, 2007, and can personally confirm the "to present" Approximate Time Period. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

054 00 160, $21.50
Reporting Marks: NOKL 725035.
61 Foot Bulkhead Flat Car, Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad.

Green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks in center. Simulated pipe load included.
Approximate Time Period: late 1990's to present.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

That green sure looks like the Burlington Northern's "Cascade Green" to me... but we'll come back to that.

For a five mile shortline, this road sure has a lot of freight cars. How many? How about over thirty thousand listed in the January 2006 ORER?!? So you've probably seen any number of the Northwestern Oklahoma's cars in trains all over the country. We have a clue as to why at the end of the listing: "Reports... should be sent to First Union Rail Corporation." Who are they? Let's check their website: "We are one of the largest finance and operating lessors of rail transportation equipment in North America. As a subsidiary of Wachovia Corporation, one of the largest banking institutions in the United States, we have successfully combined the financial strength and expertise of our parent with one of the industry's largest privately owned fleets, experienced transportation professionals, and the flexibility of an operating company." You might have seen their "FURX" lettered locomotives also. The First Union Rail website shows examples of the equipment that they lease and manage, albeit in much neater paint than one is likely to see along a nearby main line. And for those of you in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, yes, this First Union did grow out of the First Union National Bank that was headquartered in Charlotte. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A long way from Charlotte is Woodward, Oklahoma, the headquarters and location of the Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad. The town is about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City and once played host to the Santa Fe's line between Wichita, Kansas and Amarillo, Texas, now part of the BNSF, and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas or Katy's meandering line up from Texas through western Oklahoma to Keyes in the Oklahoma panhandle. The NOKL operates a small piece of that former Katy line, visible just west of downtown Woodward on the Google Maps satellite view. (And let the record show that this is the first time I've used that resource for the UMTRR.) The NOKL has a modest website and the photo gallery there shows a large pipe load coming into town, perhaps making the pipe load included by MTL particularly appropriate. (Or not, since those prototype pipes came in on standard flat cars.) The NOKL has a sharp looking bright red SW1200 complete with American flag decal on the hood; number 7312 is right up to date with reflective stripes on the sill. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Back to the bulkhead flatcar: the aforementioned January 2006 ORER shows 50 cars in the main series 725000 to 725089 with the following dimensions: inside length 61 feet 1 inch, inside height 11 feet 2 inches, outside length 70 feet 6 inches (get out those extended draft gear trucks), extreme height 14 feet 9 inches, and gross rail weight 263,000 pounds. In addition to the main series, there are several subgroups containing another 19 cars, plus 17 cars with shorter bulkheads yielding an inside length of just 5 feet 10 inches. Proceeding in reverse from there, the earliest ORER in which I saw these cars was July 1998 where there were 51 cars in the group. The number fluctuated, though, for example in January 2000 there were just 31 cars in the group. MTL says that the car was built in April 1975 so the NOKL wasn't its original owner. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Sister car NOKL 725041, as found on in August 2006, is also in a pretty worn out Cascade Green paint. That would have misled me to believe that the cars came from the Burlington Northern, but guess what? A 2006 photo of NOKL 725004 shows that it still had a herald for the Ashley, Drew and Northern, a shortline that once operated in Arkansas. That's not saying that the original owner wasn't the BN-- they had their share of this type of car. While I'm here, I'll point out that the MTL body style differs in details from the prototype. The most obvious delta is the use of some additional steel channels attached to the sides, below the stake pockets. Also, some of the bulkheads on the prototype series are steel on the inside, as is the MTL model, while others are wood lined. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I should also note that not all of these cars are green; for example, the NOKL 725012 and 725018 have been painted brown with modern block lettering in white. This is typical of fleets that were purchased second hand; a look at several photo reference sites will show quite the mixture of repaints, partial repaints, and restencils. For example, UMTRR Gang Member Joe Shaw has on his site an NOKL restencil of a covered hopper that still advertises the Mexican company "Logimex" (!) as well as a brand new five unit double stack "Dynastack" car. And yes, this is modern railroading! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

072 00 230, $36.60
Reporting Marks: CP 521135.
89 Foot COFC (Container on Flat Car) Flat Car, CP Rail.

Red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname (CP Rail) on right. Includes two 40 foot containers, one green and one white.
Approximate Time Period: 1975 (build date) to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

It's "Welcome back" to this particular body style, after quite the long absence! There has certainly been a clamor for more of these cars from some of the online subset of N Scalers. I have gotten out of the habit of just parroting previous releases in the text of my commentary (hopefully I have something more interesting to say now!) but I think it's worth noting that there have been only three prior releases of the Container on Flat Car (COFC) variation on the MTL 89 foot flat car. Caution though, it's a bit murky. The 72020, in Trailer Train paint with reporting marks TTAX 972216, was issued in July 1992 and then again in June 1995-- how's that again? Well, the initial run of the 72020, numbered 72020-4 to be exact, came with four silver unlettered 20 foot containers, and might I add that it's the only time that 20 foot containers were included with an MTL car. The 1995 release was the flat car only. The 72223 was another Trailer Train brown flat car, TTAX 972210, this time with a NOL (Neptune Orient Lines) 40 foot container, released in March 1992. Finally, there was a Detroit, Toledo and Ironton flat car in red with white lettering combined with a Sea-Land container, as catalog number 72213 in May 1992. With the exception of the 72020 without containers release, these runs are old enough to be pictured in "Micro-Trains: A Color History Volume 2." Now that's pretty old! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Okay, let's have a look at this first new release in fifteen years, then. Hmm, I think MTL might have gone to Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" site, as the information he presents is what's in the car copy. The series CP 521050 to 521249 was built in 1975 by Hawker-Siddeley's Trenton (Nova Scotia) Works, are equipped to handle four 20 foot containers or two 40 foot containers and have end of car cushioning. Ian shows these cars as still in service. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No, wait, maybe MTL got its car copy from the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Canadian Pacific, page 101, which has a photo of the exact 521135 as captured in London, Ontario in 1977. A couple of pretty significant discrepancies here: first, the length of the prototype flat is 81 feet, not 89; second, the prototype car was "deckless". CP did and does have full 89 foot long container flats per Ian Cranstone's, but also rosters some 700 flats built to the shorter dimension.

Let's get close to the build date in the ORER: The April 1976 edition shows the series with AAR Classification "LF" and the description, "Flat, Steel, Special Bolsters for Overhead Loading of 4-20' or 2-40' Containers". This specific detail bolsters, if you will, the concept of the flats being deckless. The inside length is 81 feet 2 inches, outside length 86 feet 7 inches, and extreme height 7 feet 5 inches. The capacity was rated at 201,000 pounds. Jumping all the way to the January 2006 ORER, we find that 187 of the original 200 cars built in the series are in fact still in service. To further validate the "to present" ATP, there is a December 2006 image by Eric Larson of the 521084 from the same series available for your viewing on The car side looks kind of bent! With the exception of the new conspicuity stripes, it looks much the same as it did when built some thirty two years ago. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

110 00 100, $29.85
Reporting Marks: SP 700.
56 Foot General Service Tank Car, Southern Pacific (Fuel Tender Paint Scheme).

Gray with red "wings" at ends. Mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname across car.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1970's.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued. Well, I don't really have to do any research at all on this car. Why? Well, Richard Percy has a entire page including several prototype photos on this very car available on his "Espee Modelers Archive". Richard cites a short history of the SP 700 in print in the "1988 SP Motive Power Annual" as well. In short, it was an experiment that the Southern Pacific tried with fuel tenders which wasn't repeated. Richard Percy noted that perhaps the SP could get about the same prices on fuel anywhere on its system, so hauling around extra fuel to leverage lower costs wasn't feasible. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What's left? (The ORER is of no value here.) Well, comparing the MTL model to the prototype, I suppose. I would not expect a perfect match, but I think the alignment is pretty good this time. I note a difference in the shape and size of the saddles that hold the tank in place, and there could be some quibbles with the hardware at the top of the tank. David Carnell told me that the only major difference he sees is the mounting of the brake wheel. "On the actual car the brakewheel is mounted to a stand that comes off the end sill. All in all, the look and feel is there. On the MTL car, the brakewheel is mounted to the tank body," he notes. And so is the excellent quality decorating job, which must have given the paint job at the red and yellow sign several fits. The sharp paint scheme, one of the best I've ever seen on a tank car, will bring out those who just like colorful cars in addition to Espee modelers within the Approximate Time Period. You've been cautioned. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

113 00 530, $16.75
Reporting Marks: None.
30 Foot Log Car, No Roadname.

Black with no paint and no lettering. Simulated log load included.
Approximate Time Period: Most of the 20th Century.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Please see previous reviews of this body style.


070 00 050, $17.55
51 Foot Mechanical Refrigerator, Plug Door, Rib Side, Northern Pacific.

Aluminum with black lettering including reporting marks and equipment description on left and slogan "Scenic Route of the Vista Dome North Coast Limited" on right. Red, white and black "monad" herald on right. Red and yellow "LD" (Load Dividers) device on door.
Reporting Marks: NPM 588.
Approximate Time Period: 1964 (build date) to early 1970's.
Previous Releases (as catalog number 70050): A six-pack with road numbers 560, 583, 594, 607, 609 and 620, January 1990; Road Number 563, September 1991; a two-pack with road numbers 551 and 632, October 1993; Road Number 720, August 1995.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The exact car NPM 588 is pictured in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the NP, page 97. It's pictured on July 26, 1964, the month it was built, at Alliance, Nebraska. Hey, I've been to Alliance! Although it wasn't in 1964. Anyway, the lettering looks good, and it's indeed an exterior post mechanical refrigerator. But, er, it's a 57 foot model, not a 51 foot car, part of the first group placed in service by the Northern Pacific. The MSCG notes that these cars were meant to haul tonnage in both directions: frozen food or perishables from the Northwest to the East, and East Coast perishables back to the Northwest. Pacific Car and Foundry built these cars based on a joint design they did with Pacific Fruit Express. The door PC&F used on these cars does differ somewhat from the MTL model. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We miss with the January 1964 ORER, so I have to go to the April 1970 Register, where the Northern Pacific is already part of the Burlington Northern. There we find 69 cars of a possible 70 in the series NPM 551 to 620, with inside length of 50 feet 9 inches, inside width of 9 feet, inside height of 8 feet 11 inches, outside length of 63 feet 8 inches, extreme height of 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 9 feet wide by 8 feet 8 inches high, and capacity of 4025 cubic feet or 136,000 pounds. Note that the large difference between interior and exterior dimensions is, as usual, due to the insulation and in this case, the space required for the mechanical refrigeration unit. End notes announce the inclusion of pallets considered part of car as well as load dividers and a 20 inch cushion underframe. Yes, the extended draft gear trucks should be considered for this car. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What would usually follow this initial citation of a predecessor road's cars in the initial Burlington Northern listing is a rundown of a series that gradually declines over the years but remains in the original lettering. Not this time: the life of the entire group of NPM refrigerator cars has come to a screeching halt no later than the July 1974 ORER which is the next one in the UMTRR Research Accumulation. I could not find a matching series under successor reporting marks, say "BNFE", so for the moment the disposition of the group remains a mystery to me. Certainly the ATP is a fairly short one as painted, lasting less than a decade. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 060, $24.75
Reporting Marks: CSXT 254238.
3 Bay ACF Center Flow Covered Hopper, Long Hatches, CSX Transportation.

Beige with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left. Dark blue CSX herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's to present.
Previous Release (as catalog number 94060): Road Number 254227, October 1995.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The July 1987 issue is the first ORER in which I have CSX Transportation, but there are not yet any cars with the CSXT reporting marks. Boy, does that change by July 1989. And included in that CSXT listing is the group of center flow cars numbered 253877 to 254267. Just to make life more interesting for this reviewer, the main group and the several subgroups differ considerably inside that number series, with some cars being 4750 cubic foot cars of 60 foot outside length, some being 4707 cubic foot cars of 54 foot 9 inch outside length, and still others being 4650 cubic foot cars of 54 foot 7 inch outside length remaining inside Plate C dimensions. Which one is the 254238, and for that matter, the other road number that MTL did, the 254227? From this listing, we can't tell, as the individual numbers listed don't include either of the specific numbers. However, numbers around the two in question, such as 254223, 254226, 254233, 254236 and 254241, all come up as 4650s, so it seems reasonable to conclude that this is the mostly likely place to fit the 254238 and the 254227. That would be a good thing since the CF4650 is what MTL modeled. The description of the main series includes "continuous hatches" although the subsets don't. More ambiguity... It's been noted on several mailing lists that CSX, and the Seaboard System before it, didn't do a good job of segregating various covered hoppers, and this series is proof of that. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Micro-Trains gives January 1994 as the repaint date for this particular road number, a fact probably gleaned from a hard copy data source, so let's jump to the next ORER I have after that, January 1996. Ah, that's better: both the 254238 and the 254227 are in the individual number listing of the CF4650s in that messy mixup of 4650s, 4707s and 4750s. I suppose I could give a few more vital statistics: extreme width 10 feet 8 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches, capacity 199,000 pounds. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Continuing the two for one special here, in the January 2006 ORER the original MTL number 254227 survives but the reprint number from this month, 254238, is skipped in the individual number listing. Under my rules, though, that's enough to give an Approximate Time Period of "to present" since there are clearly example CF4650s still in service with CSXT reporting marks and this does appear to be the current version of the paint scheme. We can probably "ease up" (if you don't mind my borrowing the CSX safety slogan) on the start of the ATP as well, going back a bit from the specific 1994 repaint date of this one road number. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And speaking of no evidence... from photos in Rail Model Journal to photos on line, it appears that CSX logo on the prototype car is black, not the dark blue which MTL used. While it's hard to prove the absence of something, all of the images I saw of CSX center flows in this paint scheme have the logo in black to match the rest of the lettering. Time didn't permit my looking at all 1,980 (!) photos of covered hoppers on the site, but I think I got a representative sample, and I particularly focused on cars in the prototype series that we're covering here. Joe D'Amato of MTL noted online that the files at the factory include a description sent in by a contributor indicating a dark blue logo. Perhaps there was a short lived experiment with blue? There has been a previous MTL example of a CSXT "prototype" becoming a model, and that would be the 50 foot gondola in blue and yellow (105 00 120, July 2005) which was described as a "dead on match for a publicity shot of the real CSXT 497107." Notes I posted to more scholarly groups discussing modern freight cars were not responded to at "press time." © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I should also note that among the photos are a large assortment of cars in CSXT restencils over Chessie System and Seaboard System cars, and also that there are some pretty sad looking rusty and dirty cars on the roster. It is almost heartbreaking to see a CSXT center flow with grime, cargo remains on the sides, and the obvious effects of weathering, not to mention graffiti, but with brand new conspicuity stripes. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I do need to comment on one item in the MTL car copy: their parenthetical comment that "By this time the railroads were not allowed to paint their own freight cars." What? I have a feeling this is just a mangled quote from some source. Perhaps they meant that "The component railroads of CSX were not allowed to repaint freight cars into their own schemes" i.e. no more Chessie, B&O, Family Lines, Clinchfield, etc. Or maybe CSX had outsourced that particular painting effort to outside contractors. Suffice to say that CSXT is in fact still painting cars in-house as far as we know. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These releases are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.

No releases this month.


502 00 130, $29.95
Reporting Marks: CP 165181.
40 Foot Boxcar, Plug Door, CP Rail.

Yellow with mostly black lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white Multimark on right. [Multimark is on right on both sides of car.]
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's or late 1980's (see text) to late 1990's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is a reprint from the September 2006 UMTRR coverage of the N Scale release of this car. However, please note that the N Scale release, catalog 74010/074 00 010, did not have a roofwalk while this Z Scale release has a roofwalk.]

There aren't too many cars that I know of that use an italic font for dimensional data, but this is one of them. Yeah, I'm getting to the point of needing assistance to read said dimensional data, but getting older still beats the alternative of not getting older. (Ahem.) If the reweigh date on the original run of this car is accurate- it reads "CP 11 88" this car would have been at the tail end of the time period in which CP Rail used the famous Multimark. But the Multimark, and the yellow for insulated cars, had been in use from the start of the CP Rail time period, so we kind of have a split ATP here. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ian Cranstone's Canadian Freight Cars website has the series 165000 to 165200 showing in Equipment Registers from 1963 to 1998. The 200 cars were built by DOSCO, or Dominion Steel Car, in October 1962 and have those famous underslung alcohol heaters-- we're still waiting for that aftermarket detail part, folks! There were similar cars taking the next 100 numbers built by National Steel Car in 1963. Ian says that 15 of these cars from the two groups were converted to mechanical refrigerators numbered 285600 to 285614. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's grab a sample ORER from July 1989. The two groups Ian shows are combined into one series, 165000 to 165299, of which there were 179 extant at the time. The description was "Box, Steel, Bulkhead, 3 Inch Insulation, Thermostatically Controlled Underslung Alcohol Heaters" and the AAR Designation is XLI. The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 8 feet 9 inches, and inside height 9 feet 2 inches, all somewhat constrained by that insulation. The outside length was 45 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 8 feet, and capacity 3100 cubic feet or 114,000 pounds. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Canadian Freight Car Gallery nails the larger series with a 1997 photo of CP 165282. The plug door is different from that on the MTL model, and there are those trapezoidal channels on the car sides, one to the left of the door, one to the right, that I believe contain equipment related to the temperature controls-- hey, more aftermarket part possibilities! Despite the roofwalk removal, the high ladders are intact, and yes, that dimensional data is indeed in italics. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

527 00 010, $19.65
Reporting Marks: UP 262148.
60 Foot Bulkhead Flat Car, Union Pacific.

Brown ("synthetic red") with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and roadname right of center. Red oxide trucks and couplers. Simulated lumber load included.
Reporting Marks: UP 262148.
Approximate Time Period: late 1990's to present.
Note: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[Note: This commentary is a "reprint" from the December 2006 UMTRR coverage of the N Scale release of this car.]

George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" site has several recent photos of sister cars in this series. Specifically, there is UP 262108 at York, Pennsylvania in September 2002 with a load of pipe; UP 262142 without a load, also at York in June 2003; UP 262154, also unloaded at York in January 2003 but with lots of pipe in a fenced yard just behind the car; UP 262179 with a wrapped load of some sort in Nashville in November 2003; and finally the oldest shot from "way back" in March 1999 of UP 262190 in the snow in Framingham, Massachusetts with a load of lumber that actually goes a bit past the tops of the bulkheads-- hey, is that legal? All of these cars look recent to me, down to the plain block lettering on the roadname and reporting marks that doesn't quite look the same as the standard UP font to me. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And recent they are, relatively speaking. I first pick up the series UP 262000 to 262284 in the July 1998 ORER with a main group of 149 cars, a subset of 58 more, another one of 48 cars, a third subgroup of 30 cars, and... well, you get the idea. The Gross Rail Weight and the outside length are the differentiating factors on these groups. The GRW is in the range of 167,000 pounds to 203,000 pounds, and the outside length is either 69 feet 8 inches or 73 feet. The latter would be due to cushion underframes, most likely, and the telltale extended couplers. This fact sent me scrambling back to Fallen Flags to check said couplers: the first three have the shorter draft gear, the 226190 has the extended draft gear and I can't tell on the 262179. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My first thought was if that these were modern cars, uh oh, the model will be too short. Not to worry: the inside length of the group is shown as 62 feet for all but 31 cars which are listed at 61 feet 3 inches. (Uh, make that another differentiating factor.) That fits within the "close enough for me" continuum. Here's the rest of the vital statistics: inside width 10 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet 6 inches, extreme height 14 feet 2 inches. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I'll move straight into the January 2006 ORER, our proxy for "the present" at the present, and note that in the listing all but three of the cars have been moved up to the 73 foot 4 inch exterior length, so break out those extended draft gear trucks, or perhaps have some fun with body mounting couplers outboard of the frame-- way outboard. And perhaps we need to attach an asterisk to that "to present" ATP. (No, wait, that asterisk might be interpreted as having to do with steroids.) There are 281 cars total shown in the group as of that issue. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

No releases this month.

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


New Release:
855 00 011, $29.60
Reporting Marks: C&S 7123.
30 Foot Flat Car, Composite Frame, Colorado and Southern.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left / right ("C&S" on left and road number on right).
Approximate Time Period: late 1930's (reweigh date July 1938).
Note: Micro-Trains has announced that a second road number will be released in October.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

A photograph I happened across while on vacation saves this commentary... let me explain.

While initially announced for August, this car was delayed; I didn't know that at the time and had started research for that issue. And I wasn't happy. Depending on what ORER I was looking in, the road number 7123 was either not coming up at all, or it was coming up as part of a stock car series! For example, there were 107 30 foot stock cars numbered 7015 to 7134 in the July 1935 Equipment Register. There were flat cars, but they were numbered 1069 to 1098, not really anywhere near 7123. MTL did mention that stock cars were converted to flat cars without changing the reporting marks, but I would think that even a narrow gauge line going through a long decline would have had the wherewithal to change its ORER listing! Imagine requesting a stock car for cattle shipments and getting a flat car instead! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The reweigh date of July 1938 was problematic for me also, as the UMTRR Research Accumulation does not include any ORERs between the aforementioned July 1935 issue and the January 1940 edition, by which time the Colorado and Southern was covering only standard gauge equipment in its ORER listing. Five years is usually a reasonable spacing for ORER accumulation, but not this time! © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So I was about to give up-- well, actually, I sent a note to MTL requesting their source for the car-- but while on vacation, some browsing in Northern California hobby stores turned up several books on the C&S. The most important of these was "The C&S High Line Memories and Then Some" by Tom Klinger, which had two photos including the C&S 7125 flat car, both taken in 1938 as that line was being torn up. Hurray. Based on the photos, I'd say we have a good match for the car in the model. And based on a posting to the HOn3 Yahoogroup, we have a good match for 1938; the author says that these cars were not made from stock cars "until after the South Park line had been abandoned." And that was in 1938, which matches the photos in the C&S book. © 2007 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.