UMTRR February, 2008 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2008 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:

038 00 470, $23.95
Reporting Marks: NJ 801.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Plug Door, Without Roofwalk, Napierville Junction.

Yellow sides, black ends, aluminum roof. Mostly blue lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left. Red and yellow maple leaf herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1975 to 1990.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

No, that "NJ" doesn't stand for New Jersey... not this time anyway.

The Napierville Junction was a bridge line for all intents and purposes, though it spanned just 29 miles from the Canadian border north of Rouses Point, New York, to connection with the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk (Canadian National) railroads at St. Constant, Québec. The line was chartered in 1888, built by the Pacific Construction Company and then purchased by the Delaware and Hudson on April 9, 1907. The line gave the D&H entry to Montreal via trackage rights on the Grand Trunk and later the Canadian Pacific. The D&H's famous passenger train "The Laurentian" rode NJ rails on its between New York City and Montreal, and Amtrak's "Adirondack" still follows this route. If you're curious, Napierville is a real location about halfway along the line. St. Constant became Delson Junction for the CP interchange and Lacolle for the CN's connection according to the various Official Railway Equipment Registers (ORERs) I have. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The NJ was owned by the D&H, but it wasn't the only Canadian road in that category, nor was it the first. That first line was the Québec, Montreal and Southern, an amalgamation of small lines that formed somewhat of a wishbone shape somewhat centered around Sorel, north of Montreal. The QM&S was an attempt to gain a larger direct share of the pulpwood traffic coming down from Québec and stayed under the control of the D&H until purchased by the Canadian National in 1929. The NJ stayed in under D&H ownership until the D&H itself was purchased by the Canadian Pacific in 1991, taking the little railroad along with it. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As a Canadian subsidiary, the road did have its own locomotive roster, including a pair of RS-2 diesels numbered 4050 and 4051 built in 1950 by ALCo's subsidiary Montreal Locomotive Works and lettered for the NJ. What's a bit more surprising is the NJ's small contingent of freight cars that was extant for a short Approximate Time Period. Among these is the 801, one of just ten RBL type "refrigerator" boxcars on the roster, supplementing 20 small covered hoppers that were already in service. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The 801 to 805 differed a bit in dimensions from the 806 to 810, and the first set had a description that is so detailed and long that even I won't quote it directly. Suffice to say it had a Pullman Cushion Underframe, DF-2 belt rails and combination steel and wood floor. The inside length was 50 feet 1 inch, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 9 feet 4 inches, outside length 60 feet 5 inches (bring out the extended couplers), extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 10 feet 6 inches, and capacity 4454 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. If you saw these cars in the United States or perhaps on international service, you should have: a disclaimer for the entire NJ listing yells at you in all capital letters: "Their use in Canadian Service is prohibited under Canada customs regulations." (I left out the all caps.) © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Although the NJ continued to have its own listing in the ORER until at least October 1991, the 801 through 805 were not in that entry. The last book I have them in is the July 1989 edition with three of the five cars remaining. The NJ reporting mark was moved to the Canadian Pacific registration in the July 1992 ORER even as the Delaware and Hudson continued to have its own Equipment Register placement. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David Carnell added that there is a nice photo of NJ 801 on pg. 19 of the Canadian Railways Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Volume 1: Ontario and East, Regionals and Shortlines by John Riddell published by Morning Sun. "The MTL car is a good match to the actual car," David reports. The guide states that the cars were built by Pullman-Standard in June 1961 and were in service for the NJ from January 1975 to July 1990. The stencil left of the door reads "WHEN EMPTY RETURN TO MILWAUKEE RR MILWAUKEE WISC." David added that the MTL car copy came from the general information on the Napierville Junction in the Morning Sun book. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

071 00 080, $28.40
Reporting Marks: ARR 18519.
89 Foot TOFC Flat Car, Alaska Railroad.

Blue with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and "Alaska Train" in center. Simulated large steel I-beam load included.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1990s to mid-2000s.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The "Alaska Rails" website includes among its varied information a table of flat cars in service for the Alaska Railroad as of 1988. From there we learn that the series 18511 to 18520 was built in 1968 and were ARCX cars. ARCX is the reporting mark given to the Alaska Rail Car Company, and when owned by that firm these cars were numbered 5011 to 5020 and had demountable tri-level auto racks as described in the April 1970 ORER. The Alaska Rail Car Company was in the ORERs as late as the October 1991 issue; it's not in the July 1992 edition. It was aligned with the Alaska Hydro-Train Company which provided container and roll-on/roll-off railcar barge service between Seattle and Whittier, Alaska. Alaska Hydro-Train was part of the Crowley Maritime empire, an interesting story in itself (but too far of a detour, even for me). There is a photo of ARCX 5012 circa 1989 with a load of Chevrolet vehicles-- Suburbans, perhaps?-- along with a variety of anecdotes about the shipment of automobiles to Alaska. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The flat cars moved, without their racks, to the Alaska Railroad no later than the October 1996 Equipment Register which gives us the start of the Approximate Time Period. When owned by the Alaska Railroad, the cars were used in intrastate and interstate service, which meant that they could be ferried to the "lower 48" and seen on other lines. But the "40 year rule" with respect to interchange service kicks in some time this year, so by now they may be relegated to service only on ARR lines. A note on "Alaska Rails" suggests just that and that they are used in ARR company service. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Nine of the ten cars were still showing as of the January 2006 ORER, in the group 18512 to 18520. They have a inside length of 89 feet 6 inches, outside length of 93 feet 8 inches, and a Gross Rail Weight of 220,000 pounds. Flat cars for intermodal service were certainly in evidence, including 43 Three Unit Articulated TOFC flat cars, four more Three Unit Articulated TOFC/COFC and 20 80 foot container flat cars. But open hoppers remained the single largest category though, with 157 53 foot cars comprising about two-fifths of the ARR's roster. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Both the Alaska Rails website and RailcarPhotos.net have ARR flat cars pictured in the last couple of years, in yellow with conspicuity stripes, that appear to be 89 footers. Also seen there are flat cars in blue with white lettering like the MTL model is painted, the ARR 17008 and ARR 17012 for example, but they are 60 foot flat cars. If only we could combine them... we'd have something. But I did not come across photos of these specific cars as Micro-Trains painted them. With only nine or ten cars to pick from in service for the most (literally) isolated United States railroad, I can't say I'm surprised. However, I think that while in service for Alaska Hydro-Train, the cars were also painted this way so it may have just been a case of eliminating the "Hydro-Train" from the lettering.

073 00 090, $16.80
Reporting Marks: IC 31920.
40 Foot Steel Box Car, Single Youngstown Door, Illinois Central.

Boxcar red with mostly white lettering including large roadname, small slogan "Main Line of Mid-America" and reporting marks on left. Large "split rail" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (repaint date given by MTL) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Normally, basic boxcar red cars are not going to earn my top "attractive" rating, but this time I'll make an exception. The large split rail herald doesn't look bad even in white, so perhaps this car shouldn't have an inferiority complex versus its brighter orange, black and white brethren. OK, I guess I've been writing this column too long if I am assigning potential psychological issues to freight cars... © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Anyway, the ORER for April 1970 shows the series 30500 to 31999 consisting of 965 cars with an inside length of 40 feet 6 inches, inside width of 9 feet 4 inches, inside height of 10 feet 4 inches, outside length of 44 feet 4 inches, extreme height of 14 feet 11 inches, door opening of 6 feet, and capacity of 3863 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. These dimensions are close to but not exactly those of the MTL body style. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Well, precisely what kind of a boxcar was it? Well, the previous two series of IC boxcars were the AAR 50-Ton Type with 4/4 Dreadnaught ends and six foot seven panel Superior doors, according to Ed Hawkins' articles in the October 1999 and January 2000 issues of Rail Model Journal. Both of those groups were built by the Illinois Central and were of the same 10 foot 4 inside height as the series that has the 31920. But, via the Branchline Trains website, we find that the series with the 31920 had 4/3/1 improved Dreadnaught ends. No, I'm not sure I could tell the difference at ten paces either. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1976 listing for the Illinois Central Gulf, which was formed in 1972, showed just 53 cars left of what was once a 1500 car series. I stopped looking after that, but recall that some of these cars were later rebuilt and redecorated into Illinois Central Gulf paint with new road numbers. We're still looking at a fairly short ATP here, though. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ken Harstine has a photo of the IC 200177 from a different series posted on his website "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America." Though the number series isn't the same, the decoration looks quite close. Both Ken and George Elwood's Fallen Flags site show the same paint scheme as it looks on a 40 foot double door boxcar. That roadname is pretty squeezed into two lines. This paint scheme definitely co-existed with the previous version which had the larger slogan in script, as represented by Micro-Trains release back in 1991 (Catalog 20056, Road Number 22377). In fact, I came across a photo of a "Main Line of Mid-America" boxcar in its original paint but without its roofwalk. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David Carnell found a photo of the exact IC 31920 on Page 40 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the IC/GM&O by James Kinkaid. "The car is a very good match to the actual car. The Superior door is correct for this car as is the removal of the roofwalks," David reports. "The paint scheme is a good match as well, although the ACI label is missing on the MTL car."

085 00 050, $19.60
Reporting Marks: SL-SF 87422.
33 Foot 2 Bay Steel Panel Side Hopper, Frisco Lines (St. Louis-San Francisco).

Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and small "Frisco Lines" herald on right. Simulated coal load included.
Approximate Time Period: early 1940's (though 1935 service / conversion date given by MTL) to mid 1950s, see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

My first thought upon seeing the image of this car is, wow, that's an old version of the herald. You might recall my mentioning in previous columns that the logo is meant to suggest a stretched raccoon skin, thus the nomenclature "coonskin herald." The "Frisco Lines" appeared inside that coonskin approximately 1926 and the "Lines" remained until about 1947 according to the RPI website. So, relatively speaking, it's not "that" old. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Accurail makes this body style in HO, and a trip to their website showed a photo of their Frisco version and the caption "Built 23/42". Does that mean built in 1923 and in service until 1942? Well, the ORER for April 1928 shows the series 87000 to 87499 of 500 cars, described as "Coal, Self Clearing Hopper, All Steel" with an inside length of 30 feet 6 inches, inside height of 7 feet 5 inches, outside length of 30 feet 6 3/8 inches, extreme height of 10 feet 8 1/4 inches, and capacity 1880 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. Before I go on, let me mention that I don't get a difference between inside and outside lengths of only three-eighths of an inch either. Also, the preceding series, 86000 to 86999, has the same dimensions so we could be looking at another thousand cars. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We go next to the July 1935 Register, where just two exceptions calling out panel sides are listed inside the enlarged series 86000 to 89499. Hmm, that's 2988 to 2! The cars noted are the 87605 and 88784... no match there. And it's just the same two in the January 1940 ORER. What? OK, how about the January 1943 book? Ah, that's better, 560 panel side hoppers shown as a subseries including the 87422. That increased to 1577 cars in the January 1945 book, outnumbering the 1393 cars in the main series and implying quite the rebuilding program going on in wartime. The vast majority of these panel side cars were of 1974 cubic foot capacity. Ten of these cars also had a wood roof added. Now that would be something unusual to model. A sample number of that set is 86160; have at it! There was also a group of 30 cars with a roof classified as "LO"-- covered hoppers. Their inside length was reduced to just 21 feet 10 inches. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the July 1950 ORER, there were 2543 panel side hoppers in the group and they took over the main series 86000 to 89499. Just 251 cars without panel sides remained and they became the exceptions. Those ten with wood roof were still there as were the conversions to covered hoppers. The count of panel side hoppers rose again to 2614 in the January 1953 ORER but by then the "Lines" was gone from the "Frisco" herald. Certainly some examples painted as MTL did their model could still have existed, though. The decline in this group's numbers started to show in January 1955 with 2409 in service. And then the end came quickly with the entire series out of the January 1959 Register. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Two issues of Mainline Modeler have articles that may be of value here: April 1987's edition has an article by Bob Hundman titled "Rock Island/Frisco Hopper, A Panel Side Rebuild" and John Nehrich contributed "Panel Side Hopper Cars - Principally for Rebuilding" to the January 1990 issue. Neither issue is in the UMTRR Research Accumulation, however. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

108 00 181 and 108 00 182, $20.75 each
Reporting Marks: SP 481087 and SP 481089.
100 Ton 3 Bay Steel Hoppers, Southern Pacific.

Freight car red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname in center. Simulated coal load included.
Approximate Time Period: 1977 (build date given by MTL) to mid-1990s.
NOTE: This item (both road numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

We start this commentary with some information from David Carnell: "A picture of SP 481087 is found on Page 70 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the SP by James Kinkaid. The MTL hopper is a good match with the same number of panels and the same panel layout and SP did paint the trucks mineral brown. The markings are a good match except MTL didn't include the ACI label above the lubrication markings. The photo shows the car one month after it was built so it's in pretty pristine condition. The American Car and Foundry lot number is 11-09114. The car is a class H-100-34 and the number series is 481000 - 481149." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

If you don't have that volume, have a look at Lee Gautreaux's SP Freight Cars Page for several photos of sister cars, all lensed between 1985 and 1989. Lee notes that these were common in sand, gravel and aggregates service. He also relates that "As a tragic side note, thirty-eight of these cars (along with thirty-one D&RGW open hoppers) were destroyed in a tragic accident in San Bernardino, CA in May 1989 where a unit trona train got out of control coming down Cajon Pass and jumped the tracks into a residential neighborhood." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 shows the series 481000 to 481149 with all 150 cars, AAR Classification HT and description merely "Hopper". The inside length was 45 feet, outside length 48 feet 8 inches, extreme height 12 feet 4 inches and capacity 3433 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. In the October 1991 Register there were 105 cars remaining, reflecting the San Bernardino wreck noted above. But there were just seven cars remaining in the October 1996 ORER so that's where I stopped looking. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

020 00 150, $18.50
Reporting Marks: PHD 1309.
40 Foot PS-1 Steel Boxcar, Single Superior Door, Port Huron and Detroit.

Dark blue with narrow red and white stripe in center (including on door). White lettering including large "PH | D" (separated with red stripe) on left. White slogan "St. Clair Blue Water Route", roadname and reporting marks on right.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1960's (1966 rebuild date given by MTL) to early 1970's.
Previous Releases: Catalog Number 20318, Road Number 1307, in Superior and Youngstown ("Wide" and "Narrow") door versions, March 1974; Catalog Number 20150, Road Number 1305, Superior Door Only, August 2000.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

[Note: This commentary is largely a "reprint" from the August 2000 UMTRR.]

Ah, another shortline to describe. What fun! The Port Huron and Detroit did run in at least one of its namesake towns-- Port Huron, Michigan, but it didn't quite make it all the way to Detroit. Instead, it ran from Port Huron along the St. Clair River-- which is the one that connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair-- southbound, down to Marine City, a distance of about 19 miles. (Lake St. Clair is that little one between Great Lakes Huron and Erie.) The line's slogan, "St. Clair Blue Water Route," makes sense given the geographic location. Connections were made at Port Huron with the Grand Trunk Western and the Chesapeake and Ohio, both of which were on their way over to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada through the 1891-built St. Clair Tunnel, the first rail tunnel connecting the two countries. (There has since been a second tunnel built to accommodate today's larger rolling stock.) The PH&D was chartered in 1917 and was purchased by CSX in 1984, which fully absorbed it in 1989. Power at one time included two Alco S-2 switchers numbered 60 and 62. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The PH&D was one of the early shortlines to get into the "age of color" with these sharp looking dark blue boxcars. In January of 1964, according to our handy-dandy ORER, the line operated two series of box cars, 1001 to 1277 and 1278 to 1400, for a total of 400 cars. The two series differed in car height and therefore cubic foot capacity but otherwise were generally the same at 40 foot 6 inside length and with seven foot doors-- which, yes, does give us a minor "door thing" quibble. The other vital statistics: 10 foot 6 inch inside height, 40 foot 8 inch outside length, 15 feet extreme height, capacity 3903 cubic feet or 120,000 pounds. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

An interesting note: based on the ORER entry declaring that bills for repairs should go to the U.S. Railway Equipment Company, Chicago, Illinois and that the home shop for these cars was in Blue Island, not Port Huron, I'd say that these were leased cars, not owned by the PH&D. Ken Harstine has an August 1964 image of PHD 1016 showing, among other things, the familiar USRE "outline of the USA" emblem... directly underneath the ladder. I think we can forgive MTL for not reproducing that. MTL does call out 1966 as the rebuild date but based on the ORER I think it's earlier. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Speaking of ORERs, the April 1970 book shows the same lineup and the same 400 cars. However, the July 1974 book shows... nothing! Freight cars owned, none, and thus endeth the ATP. Later, the line would get 400 different box cars, this time the "Railbox" type from another lessor, as part of the Incentive Per Diem madness of the 1980's. But that's another story... and perhaps, someday, another MTL release.

046 00 030, $19.15 Reporting Marks: CB&Q 82182.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (Burlington Route).

Red with white lettering including reporting marks on left and large "Burlington" roadname on right. Black, white and red rectangle "Burlington Route" herald on right. Simulated scrap iron load included.
Approximate Time Period: about 1959 to mid-1970's.
Previous Releases (as Catalog 46030): Road Number 82044, February 1977; Road Number 82188, March 2003.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

When the previous release of this car was issued in March 2003, I somewhat lamented the inclusion of a build date of 1972, out of line given that the CB&Q went into the Burlington Northern two years prior to that. Based on the car copy for this reprint and what I can see of the dimensional data on the images I have available, I believe that error's been corrected. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

MTL gives the build date as 1955 and the service date as 1959. At that point the prototype was probably painted into what I consider one of the most attractive and well known schemes of what I call the "era of color"-- the Chinese Red and white of the Burlington Route. It would be hard to miss the boxcars and gondolas in bright red with that billboard sized roadname, and let's not forget the sharp red, gray and white paint that adorned classic diesels like the GP-30. This decoration was adopted in 1958 according to information on the RPI website, and lasted at least somewhat into the Burlington Northern era which began in 1970, thanks to the slow pace at which repainting took place. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1959 (Westerfield CD-ROM) shows the series 82000 to 82199, of 200 cars, described as "Gondola, Steel, Drop Ends, Steel Floor" with AAR Classification "GB." The inside length is 52 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet 1 inch, extreme height 7 feet 4 inches, and capacity 1,745 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. Ditto in the January 1964 Register. The MTL 46000 body style scales out to about a 50 foot inside length and a 58 foot length over the couplers, partly on account of the medium extended coupler being used on the brake wheel end. (So on tight radii, the car next to the gon doesn't smack into the side mounted brake wheel. Prototypical, no, a practical compromise, yes.) In April 1970 under Burlington Northern, the series is at 97 cars, and in April 1976 it's at just 8 pieces numbered from 82040 to 82188. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q has... no, not the Chinese Red version, but a 1970 shot of similar car CB&Q 82615 in the original mineral red paint with plain white lettering. A potential future release? Well, perhaps if a less beat up example is available to get the lettering from! There are other illustrations of the 1959-era scheme on other gondolas pictured in the MSCG. Online, a 1979 (!) photo of CB&Q 81395, a car from the adjacent series, is on Ken Harstine's "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America." When caught, the 81395 was carrying a somewhat randomly stacked load of logs, another idea for you besides the "scrap metal" that MTL supplies with this reprint.



N SCALE RUNNER PACKS: These releases are covered exclusively in the subscriber edition of the UMTRR.


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:

506 00 221 and 506 00 222, $25.15 each
Reporting Marks: GM&O 50108 and GM&O 50116.
50 Foot Steel Boxcar, Double Youngstown Doors, Gulf, Mobile and Ohio.

Green with mostly white lettering including reporting marks and "DF" device on left. Semicircle roadname and "winged" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (refurbish date) to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item (both road numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

I must admit that I've never seen a GM&O paint scheme with both the semicircle roadname and the winged herald on the same side of the car. Not to worry, though; it's legitimate. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Fallen Flags has two official AC&F photos of the 9047, the donor series for these cars, and the shot is of a car in basic boxcar red with white lettering-- but still a car I don't recall ever seeing in N Scale and certainly not in Z Scale. Interesting, but not what we want. For that we go to the Morning Sun Color Guide to the IC/GM&O, page 93. A February 1968 photo of the real GM&O 50116 is shown there. We can read nearly all of the lettering including the rather large instructions (all in caps) "When empty return via reverse route to GM&O RR, Laurel, Miss." to the left of the door, and over on the right side near the ladder, "Keep off roof, no running board." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Hey, wait a minute...

Yes, the prototype photo shows that the car no longer has a roofwalk while the MTL models do. I can't say for certain whether the running boards were pulled in 1967 when these cars were refurbished and equipped, but it would have made sense. The good news is that the full ladders remained in place at least on the sides, as did the high placed brake wheel, so it would not be an overwhelming project to pull the roofwalk off the model. MTL doesn't (at least not yet) have a roofwalkless 50 foot double door boxcar in 1:220 (it would correspond to the 037 series in 1:160). © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's check the ORER accumulation: the April 1970 book has the series 50100 to 50124 with these dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening 15 feet (slight "door thing" here) and capacity 4845 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. I'm surprised that the description is simply "Box, All Steel" and there's no mention of the Damage Free loaders or the lading band anchors that were fitted to these cars when they were reworked. The only ORER hint is the upgrade to the AAR Classification XL, "Loader Equipped." Well, perhaps that's enough of a hint. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

My, we have a short ATP for these cars. They're already gone from the Illinois Central Gulf listing in the July 1974 ORER, the next one I have in the Research Accumulation. The GM&O went into the ICG in 1972 so it's possible that the ATP could be even shorter than what I've called out. The ICG took in plenty of XL designated DF boxcars so I'm not going to be able to take a wild guess as to what series these cars might have become, had they been relettered. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

511 00 061 and 511 00 062, $28.15 each
Reporting Marks: CV 50096 and CV 50098.
50 Foot Steel Exterior Post Boxcar, Plug Door, Central Vermont.

White sides, black ends, aluminum roof. Green lettering including roadname and reporting marks on left and Canadian National style "wet noodle" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1974 (build date given by MTL) to at least 2000.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

As if to underscore the MTL car copy that notes that only the last five cars in this series received the white and green paint, we have on Fallen Flags images of the CV 50093, in basic boxcar red with white lettering, and the CV 50099, in the white and green. The 50099 was caught in July 2000 in a nice three quarter view. There are some differences between the prototype and the model; the ends being the first thing that caught my eye. The side sill on the 50099 is dark, almost black, but that might be from 16 years of use, not paint. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Jim Eager's look at some of the Berwick Forge and Fabricating boxcar production in the February 2001 issue of Rail Model Journal includes a mention of this group of cars. Jim notes that these had smooth side panels, ten foot plug doors and 15 inch end of car cushioning. He also says "a handful of cars were painted white with green lettering." But he also states that these cars and identical ones built for CV parent Canadian National (their CNA 404400 to 404579) were all built for newsprint service, so maybe that's not the reason for the special paint on the last five CV cars. Hard to say for sure. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1975 shows the series with the description "Box, Steel Lining, Hardwood Floor, End of Car Cushioning" with these dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 11 feet, outside length 57 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet 4 inches, door opening 10 feet, capacity 5257 cubic feet or 197,000 pounds. All 100 cars are present. Since we have the circa-2000 photo on Fallen Flags I skipped right to the Equipment Register for January of that year where there were 94 cars left with CV reporting marks, part of 216 total boxcars all of AAR Classification XP-- but listed under the Grand Trunk Western. Why? Because the Central Vermont was already a Fallen Flag, having been sold off in 1995 to the then RailTex Corporation and renamed the New England Central. NECR is still around as part of RailAmerica. Meanwhile, the CV set of boxcars was split into several subseries, one of which is numbered 50082 to 50099 with 17 cars as shown in the January 2006 ORER. Are the white ones still white? I can't say for sure, but I can tell you that some of the series have been repainted with the "www.cn.ca" notation, CN herald-- and the Central Vermont roadname and reporting marks! And also conspicuity stripes! See RailcarPhotos.com for a shot of CV 50087 from 2006. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

522 00 151 and 522 00 152, $16.30 each.
Reporting Marks: GTW 146015 and GTW 146021.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Grand Trunk Western.

Blue with white lettering including small roadname and reporting marks on left. Canadian National style "GT" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1970's to mid-1980s.
NOTE: This item (both road numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The two road numbers MTL selects this month are the same as the two road numbers they've previously done in N Scale. We can "reprint" and update the August 2003 UMTRR coverage of the second 1:160 release. Please note that the Micro-News has an error in the car copy; it's a cut and paste of the Milwaukee Road boxcar from last month. (You mean I'm not the only one who makes cut and paste oopses?) The copy is correct on the Micro-Trains website for your perusal. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The principal item for the Approximate Time Period this time out is the use of GTW blue. It's certainly after the original 1954 build date and it's also after the circa-1960 adoption of the runtogether "GT" logo, modeled after parent Canadian National-- which replaced the maple leaf herald, also modeled after parent Canadian National. The best hint I could find for the start of the use of blue in place of freight car red was a reference to an Accurail boxcar in HO stating that the blue was a "1970's repaint." I'll have to go with that. There are no consolidated stencils on the car, meaning that technically the ATP should end around the 1974 start date for that detail, but since adding them via decals isn't a big deal, we'll ignore that. It would most likely go toward the bottom of the panel just left of the herald. You are OK with the roller bearing trucks which were required by 1970 for all new and rebuilt cars. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970 shows the series 146100 to 146299 -- note that's not the group MTL gives, but hold on for just a moment. The inside length was 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 55 feet even, inside height 4 feet and extreme height 7 feet 10 inches. Capacity was 1986 cubic feet or 154,000 pounds. Of this set, there were 85 cars with a wooden floor, 109 cars with a nailable steel floor, and six more with a capacity lowered to 135,000 pounds. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the April 1976 ORER, we come to the series that MTL cites, 145700 to 146099. The vital statistics are the same but there are 123 cars with the wood floor and 223 with the nailable steel floor. The series continues into the January 1985 Register with 29 wood and 21 steel floored cars, but that's the last that I found of them. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Daniel Ward's "Grand Trunk Western's Homepage" site is still around, and has some history of the GTW, but the photos of the rather beat up looking gondolas in the GTW Blue are no longer available. Fallen Flags offers a couple of photos of gondolas outside this group, for example a close-up of GTW 145831 showing a service date of June 1972. One painting note I'll offer: the "G" and "T" should be connected across the rib on the gondola. A little dab of paint-- very little!-- should fix that on the MTL model. And if you really want to see a beat up gondola, check out GTW 147172 on RRPictureArchives.net. In a word, Yikes. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 051 and 982 01 052, $185.95 each.
Road Numbers: 5904 and 5911 (will be preceded by "D&RGW" in website tables).
GP-9 Locomotive, Rio Grande (Denver and Rio Grande Western).

Black (including frame and details) with orange lettering including large "Speed Lettering" roadname (small "Rio" large "Grande") on long hood. Road number on cab. Same style road name and zebra stripes on ends. Orange sill stripe. Small "GP9" in black and white on just above sill on short hood side.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's to no later than 1991.

The Rio Grande Historical and Modeling Society website tells us plenty about each of these road numbers. The 5904 was purchased in 1955 and was retired in June 1991 and dispositioned to the National Rail Equipment Corporation, from which it went to the South Orient Railroad in Texas, among other places. The 5911 was also bought in May 1995 but was gone earlier: it was sold to Mid-America Car after being retired in April 1984, and thence to Kyle Railways and then the Austin and Northwestern. It was eventually converted to a slug by the Missouri and North Arkansas. Such disparate dates don't help so much in terms of an overall ATP, but based on the table on the RGH&M site, it looks like all of the Rio Grande's GP9s were off the property by the end of 1991. So we'll go with that in case anyone renumbers these units. Oh, use 5901 to 5954, but not all those numbers. Ah, just go ahead and check the RGH&M website! © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The large speed lettering roadname was adopted by the Rio Grande in 1967, and in 1968 the 24 inch high "Rio" and 60 inch high "Grande" began appearing. The UtahRails.net site notes that 24 units are known to have been painted this way, including GP-9s 5902, 5903, 5904, 5911 and 5954. Hmm, that might limit one's renumbering a bit, but glad to see that MTL selected the accurate numbers out of the group of Geeps. By the way, the rest of the units were a GP7, a GP35, and 13 SD45s. I'm quite surprised that it wasn't more than this list of two dozen that got the large speed lettering. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As if to fully illustrate this, the 5904 in large lettering is followed by another Geep with the older smaller version of the speed lettering in an April 1978 shot taken in Provo, Utah and posted on the Fallen Flags website. There is also a 1969 photo of the 5911 at Montrose, Colorado, but it's still in the small roadname. That could cause me to second guess the ATP; but let's go with "early 1970's" anyway. The shot of the 5911 provides a chance to compare prototype to model: Dynamic brakes, check, GP9 designation at steps near short hood, check, air horn atop cab... well, let's stop there... © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.


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


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

New Release: 860 00 012, $36.45
Reporting Marks: C&S 4517.
30 Foot Gondola, Wood Sided, Colorado and Southern.

Freight car red (brown) with white lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and white circle herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: early 1920's (build date) to late 1930's (1937 service date).
This is the second road number, as announced in January.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Please see the review of the first road number in last month's UMTRR here.