UMTRR October, 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, Passenger Cars, Runner Packs, 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.

© 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


034 00 340, $18.55
Reporting Marks: WP 3004.
50 Foot Double Door Boxcar, Western Pacific.

Brown with silver lettering including reporting marks on left. Silver and black "Feather River Route" herald on left. Large silver feather device with yellow "DF" on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1954 to late 1960's or early 1970's, see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

In a borrow that's the reverse of the typical, I can quote myself from the commentary on the Z Scale release of this car from June 2008, and that's just what I'll do first.

The Fallen Flags site has a 1969 Jim Sands photo of WP 3086 in Marshalltown, Iowa... wait, that's not one of the road numbers in the prototype series. No, it's not, but the car shows evidence of recent renumbering and otherwise matches the paint scheme on the Micro-Trains model. Well, except for the dirt, of which there is plenty, nearly obscuring the herald, reporting marks and the silver feather. Had this car been cleaned since it was placed in service? Maybe not. There is also a black and yellow stencil on the car reading "When empty, return to C&O RR, Grand Rapids, Mich." strongly suggesting captive and/or pool service. Moving up to 1978, per David Carnell there's a photo of WP 35092-- yes, another renumbering-- from October of that year in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the WP. The car was found in Salt Lake City, looking very worn and weathered and with roofwalk removed and ladders cut down.

OK, so we have the other side of life for at least one of these cars, but let's take a look through the Equipment Registers for when the cars had the numbers MTL is using. The series 3001 to 3010 showed in the January 1955 ORER with AAR Classification "XME" and description "Box, Steel" with inside length 50 feet 5 inches, inside width 9 feet, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 51 feet 10 inches, extreme height 15 feet, door opening... wait, seven feet six inches? Yes, as the end note indicates: "Cars... are equipped with DF Loaders and have auxiliary side doors permanently closed leaving available door opening 7 feet 6 inches wide." OK, so that second door is just a decoration, interesting. Anyway, the capacity was 4770 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds.

These birds of a feather were pretty rare: while the same ten remained in the January 1959 ORER, there were just four left in the January 1964 Register, numbered (fortunately for us) 3004 to 3009. And the series is gone from the April 1970 ORER, though there are four cars numbered 3084 to 3089 which would include the road number of the car in the Jim Sands 1969 photo. A quick patchover of the number and the application of plenty of weathering would allow the modeler to extend the ATP to at least the early 1970's.

056 00 390, $15.60
Reporting Marks: B&O 726134.
33 Foot 2 Bay Open Hopper, Rib Sides, Flat Ends, Baltimore and Ohio.

Black with white lettering including roadname and road number on left and round "13 States" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1948 through 1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We turn to long time UMTRR Gang Member Brian Devries, who provided information to MTL on this release including the Approximate Time Period, for a guest commentary on this car. Start quote:

Although the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway was incorporated on March 10, 1887, its roots began more than a decade earlier. The first rail was laid in 1873 coming south out of Rochester New York under the charter of the Rochester and State Line Railroad and it took five years to the Pennsylvania state line. By the end of the decade, the railroad was broke and it was sold and turned over to a new company, the Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad, on February 15, 1881. The R&P formed several construction companies for the extension of the line into Pennsylvania. Some two and a half years later, the line reached its southern terminus near Punxsutawney, PA. Also completed by that time was a line from Buffalo to a connection with the original line at Ashford, New York. By 1885, the R&P, too, was financially exhausted and the company was sold on October 16, 1885 and split into the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad (all property in New York state) and the Pittsburgh and State Line Railroad (all property in Pennsylvania). It took another seventeen months before the two were officially merged into the BR&P Railway.

The BR&P was known as a coal road. Some evidence to this was the purchase, between 1907 and 1914, of some 6,250 steel 50-ton hopper cars to augment its existing fleet. By 1918, the BR&P was ready to add some more steel hoppers. At this time the United States Railway Administration was having a profound influence on the industry in developing standardized designs for railway cars and locomotives. Under these guidelines, the BR&P ordered 800 new hopper cars - splitting the purchase between Pressed Steel in McKee's Rocks, Pennsylvania for 500 cars (BR&P 55000-55499) and Pullman for another 300 cars (BR&P 55500-55799).

During the 1920's, there was much talk of combining the railroads in the northeast United States into perhaps five strong companies, with the Interstate Commerce Commission's blessing. The BR&P was in play and was of interest to the Delaware & Hudson and the Baltimore & Ohio. Before any such plans could be executed, the Van Sweringen brothers (who had control of the Nickel Plate and Chesapeake & Ohio) bought the stock of the BR&P in 1928. Continued interest by the B&O, however, and the B&O's ownership of the Wheeling and Lake Erie that the Van Sweringens wanted led to somewhat of a swap with the B&O. In February 1930, the ICC approved the sale of the BR&P under the Consolidation of Railroads Act and the B&O took over operations on January 1, 1932.

BR&P car 55134 was outshopped from McKee's Rocks in November 1918 and became B&O 726134 sometime after the B&O took over operations. The cars were classed N-17B in order to follow B&O's own USRA cars (N-17) and those acquired from Bertha Coal (N-17A). Strangely, the B&O's acquisition of additional USRA cars from the Buffalo & Susquehanna, in the same time frame, led to the latter cars being classed N-26 and N-26A rather than N-17C, etc.

By 1948, the B&O car shops in Keyser, WV had been set up in a production line format, working hopper cars through a six-spot production sequence from tear-down to completely re-built and re-stenciled cars - ten cars a day with a 500 man work force. This particular car was re-built at Keyser (shop letters KY) in late August 1948 - nearly 30 years of age and, now, with a new lease on life.

End quote. Thanks, Brian! I'll just add a little ORER information: the series 726000 to 726798 as shown in the July 1950 Register is comprised of 782 cars with inside length of 30 feet 6 inches, inside width of 9 feet 6 inches, outside length of 31 feet 11 inches, extreme height of 10 feet 8 inches, and capacity of 1880 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. Those specs are a bit smaller than the MTL body style. In January 1959 the series was down to 684 cars and in January 1964 stood at just 214. Only 23 remained as of the April 1970 ORER and by then the B&O's paint scheme had changed several times, leading to the somewhat shorter ATP than actual service life. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

101 00 080, $26.85
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 19864.
40 Foot "Hy-Cube" Box Car, Smooth Sides, Sliding Door, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

Red with aluminum roof. White lettering including "Burlington" roadname and reporting marks on left. Black and white rectangular "Burlington Route" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (build date given by MTL) through 1980's.
NOTE: This release has been sold out and discontinued.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the CB&Q, page 64, has this exact car, and since I had suggested some time ago that this was a possible release on this body style, I knew where to look for the prototype photo. (Pause for self-pat on back.) I'll note right here that the lack of the black and white "Excess Height Car" band at the top of each end is, in fact, authentic. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The series 19840 to 19874 was actually the second of two built for the "Q" by Pullman-Standard, in this case with movable bulkheads. The first series was 19825 to 19839, also built in 1967, and instead had Evans DF-2 loaders and a diagonal line denoting that on each door. (Something to consider for another release?) One modification to consider for these cars when body mounting the couplers would be to get a good bit outboard of the frame in order to simulate the "Hydraulic Cushioning" or more properly the hydroframe cushion underframe. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The April 1970 ORER is as near as I can get to the 1967 build date, and by that time the CB&Q has already gone into the Burlington Northern. No worries, though, as the series of 35 is all there with CB&Q reporting marks in the BN listing. At the time, the exceeding of Plate C dimensions was still unusual enough to rate a double dagger notation next to the road numbers. The cars were simply described as "Box, All Steel" with AAR Classification "XL" and these dimensions: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 6 inches, inside height 12 feet 9 inches, outside length 48 feet 4 inches, extreme height 16 feet 10 inches, door opening 10 feet wide by 12 feet 4 inches high, and capacity 4730 cubic feet or 150,000 pounds. The other series of Hy-Cubes differs from this one only by a larger cubic capacity at 4900 and lower weight capacity at 148,000 pounds. That's a lot of appliances in either case. An end note specifies the movable bulkheads contained inside this car which occupy some of the interior. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

MTL notes in its description that these cars were somewhat short-lived, and the ORER data bears this out: the series is down from all 35 in April 1970 to 15 in July 1974 to 7 in April 1976. Three of the cars did last through the 1980's and the 19871 is shown as late as October 1996. However, a 1976 photo of CB&Q 19836 from the other series of Hy-Cubes illustrates that the bright red paint got pretty dark and dirty, so weather appropriately. I don't think these cars were ever repainted to BN colors, and I wonder whether they ever received the "Excess Height" band either. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

111 00 121 and 111 00 122, $38.80 each
Reporting Marks: TTGX 922134 and TTGX 992239.
89 Foot Tri-Level Enclosed Auto Rack, TTX (Trailer Train) / Ferromex.

Yellow flat car and racking; white roof on racking. Black and white lettering on flat car including reporting marks on left and TTX logo on right. Black lettering on racking and black roadname left of center of racking.
Approximate Time Period: the present.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

This just in... well, relatively speaking: In February 2008, TTX announced the expansion of its railcar pool with the addition of Mexican railway Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V. (Ferromex). Ferromex became the first new owner of TTX in 43 years. "Its addition to the TTX family is expected to enhance the utilization of energy efficient rail transportation for international movements," according to the press release. It's become somewhat commonplace for me to see Ferromex lettered autoracks on freight trains passing near UMTRR HQ, so the Approximate Time Period certainly includes Right Now. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ferromex itself began operations in February 1998 as part of the privatization of Mexican railroads. It is 26 percent owned by Union Pacific and 74 percent owned by Grupo Mexico, the largest mining operation in that country. Ferromex reaches from five points on the United States border down as far as Mexico City. It purchased but could not merge Ferrosur following antitrust objections from Kansas City Southern (via its Mexican subsidiary, formerly TFM). Though not necessarily on these particular MTL models, the reporting marks for Ferromex are "FXE"-- they can't end with "X" since that's reserved for private owners. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Another argument for placing the ATP in The Present is that the two road numbers don't show up in the TTX listing in the ORER of January 2006, the most recent Register available to me. (I'll have a newer ORER in November, but additional leads to inexpensive Equipment Registers would be most appreciated.) Road numbers in the general area show typical dimensions: inside length is 89 feet 4 inches, outside length 93 feet 10 inches, and extreme height 19 feet, with capacity 67,000 pounds. However, as was noted with the CSX Transportation auto rack releases in June 2007, the "TTGX" reporting mark is defined in TTX's own list of definitions as, in fact, "flat cars equipped with fully enclosed bi-level auto racks furnished by the railroads, equipped with end of car cushioning." Bi-level is not tri-level, but with that fully enclosed racking, it's really pretty hard to tell. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What is most likely a sister car to the two MTL offers is TTGX 992345, captured in August 2007 and posted to the website No real complaints about fidelity other than the Bi-or-tri-level Thing (does this join "Door Thing" in these bytes?). A September 2007 photo of TTGX 992618 shows the Ferromex racking to have reporting marks TINX 5325, signifying that the railroad leases the racks, in this case from Trinity Industries Leasing. Photos on Fallen Flags of other cars in the TTGX 992xxx series once again illustrate that the placement of specific railroad's racks on TTX flat cars is most likely nothing but a random exercise, although there are certainly fewer railroads from which to choose than there were when auto racks were first mounted to 89 foot flat cars. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


021 00 190, $17.80
Reporting Marks: LOVX 990.
40 Foot Plug Door Boxcar, American Colloid Company.

Orange with aluminum roof. Black lettering including reporting marks on left. Red, white and black "Panther" logo with legend "Thank You For Your Order" and company name on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1969 (rebuild or service date on car) to mid-1970s.
Previous Release (as catalog number 21190): Road Number 9116, March 1992.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Our two cats would probably make things quite miserable for us were it not for bentonite clay, the mineral on which the American Colloid Company was founded in 1924. Bentonite has a number of disparate uses, but perhaps the one with which you're most familiar should never be too far from your feline. Yep, cat litter. Bentonite is also used for "drilling mud" in oil and gas exploration, sand casting, cement, adhesives, and mud packs for facials. The amount of bentonite coating grains of sand affects the ability to make castles out of it. Wikipedia contains a fairly complex further description of the various types and uses of the material. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

So we know what bentonite is, but what's a "colloid"? That would be a mixture of one substance evenly within another; Jell-O being an example of gelatin dispersed in water. One source online seems to imply that it's a made up word from the Greek "kolloid" meaning glue-like. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

At any rate, the mining and distribution of bentonite clay by American Colloid eventually branched out to multiple uses and a multinational company which took the name AMCOL International in 1955, but obviously with the American Colloid Company name still in use, in fact to the present day as noted on the company's website. The product was once sold under the name "Volclay" referring to its volcanic clay origins, a name you might have seen on other freight cars both real and model. (My dad instantly recalled the Athearn HO plug door boxcar for example, in blue with white lettering, that's part of his accumulation.) © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This release qualifies for the UMTRR Designation of "Not a Reprint" owing to its aluminum painted roof; the roof was orange on the 1992 release. The road number 990 for this second run is a good bit off the 9116 of the first offering as well. However, the April 1970 ORER lists both the series 900 to 999 and the series 9100 to 9199 as being identical cars, at least in terms of their dimensions. Kind of a different two for one special there. Both series are described, as many plug door boxcars are, as "Refrigerator, All Steel" with the AAR Classification "RB" for Refrigerator, Bunkerless. They had the following dimensions: inside length 40 feet, inside width 8 feet 4 inches, inside height 7 feet 11 inches, outside length 44 feet 8 inches, extreme height 13 feet 8 inches, door opening 8 feet wide by 7 feet 6 inches high, and capacity 2638 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. Both series also were "equipped with plug doors and fork lift truck pallets, platforms or skids, which are considered part of car". The 100 cars in the 900 series and the 100 cars in the 9000 series each comprised almost a third of the total fleet for American Colloid at the time. They were listed as owner and shipper for these cars and home points from Alabama to Wyoming were specified. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The July 1974 Register shows a major decline in these groups of cars, with the 900 series down to 74 cars and the 9100s regrouped as 9100 to 9122 with only 9 cars remaining. Looks like MTL selected a road number with a longer Approximate Time Period this time! But not that much longer, as both groups of cars are delisted completely in the April 1976 ORER. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER dimensions suggest to me that the 021 body style isn't an exact match for this car. While I could not locate a photo of the car, a description on the RPI site reinforces this position: "This car has a long history - originally USRA wood box cars owned by the DT&I, rebuilt to all steel (I think in the '30's - note the characteristic USRA rebuild four steel panels per side of the door), and rebuilt again in '57 to a plug door car. (More or less, this car was the basis for the odd Train-Miniature plug door box car/reefer.)" © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

I did find a shot of LOVX 7107 on circa 1974 (and with the roofwalk and full ladders, by the way). The paint scheme is similar but not exactly the same, the key difference being the placement of a different "Thank you for your order" device, and on the left side of the car. It looks far less like paint than like a banner than has been fastened on, and there are visible spaces between the bottom of the banner and the car side. A prototype semi-good decal job, perhaps? Should have used more Solvaset or Micro Set! © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

108 00 100, $17.75
Reporting Marks: UP 18121.
100 Ton 3 Bay Open Hopper, Union Pacific.

Brown ("synthetic red") with yellow lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname in center. Brown trucks and couplers. Simulated coal load included.
Approximate Time Period: 1962 (build date given by MTL) through late 1980's.
Previous Release (as catalog number 108100): Road Number 18122, February 2003.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The late Bethlehem Steel Corporation built a lot of 12 panel 3 bay hoppers for the Union Pacific, starting with this series which was given UP class H-90-1. There's a listing of these in the July 1996 Rail Model Journal, and photos of cars from later UP series that were also built by Bethlehem in the September 1996 RMJ. The paint scheme looks accurate to me though I can't compare detail to detail from the MTL website scan. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, back in the January 1964 ORER, we have the Union Pacific series 17950 to 18199, of 250 cars that had an inside length of 45 feet, outside length of 48 feet 1 inch, extreme height of 11 feet 1 inch and capacity of 180,000 pounds. Yes, that's 90 tons, not the 100 that's in the MTL 108 body style description-- a "tonnage thing" perhaps? Well, not really, since by April 1976 the capacity is at 100 tons, although the collection is down to 236 pieces. By October 1986 that's dropped to 97 cars total and in the October 1991 Register it looks like there's just one left. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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

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


523 00 051 and 523 00 052, $17.90 each
Reporting Marks: MILW 81087 and MILW 81119.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Steel Straight Sides, Drop Ends, Milwaukee Road.

Yellow with black lettering including reporting marks on left, roadname across side and small tilted rectangle herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: mid-1970s to early 1990's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is largely reprinted from the commentary on the N Scale release of this car in November 2004.]

The ORER for April 1976 shows the series 81000 to 81194 with AAR Classification "GB" and description "Gondola, Steel, Fixed End, Lading Tie Anchors." Fixed end? Uh-oh, the 523 body style is a drop end. But the other steel gons that MTL produces don't have straight sides, so pick your poison, I guess. The prototype dimensions: inside length 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 4 feet 6 inches, outside length 57 feet 1 inch, extreme height from rail 8 feet 8 inches. Capacity was 2244 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds. There were all 195 possible cars in the group at that time. There's a pretty beat up looking MILW 81119 captured as of May 1988 on the Fallen Flags site (note that George Elwood has the Milwaukee under "M" for, well, Milwaukee). In the July 1992 ORER listing for the Soo Line there were 141 cars remaining in the main Milwaukee road series and two cars carrying coke containers, the 81086 and 81097. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It looks like these cars may have ended up under ownership of First Union Rail, which is better known for its "FURX" diesels than a relatively scattered collection of freight equipment stenciled with sixteen different reporting marks. One of these marks is "GROX" and as of the January 1996 ORER there were 142 cars numbered 81000 to 81193. By January 2002 that was down to just 17, a rounding error among First Union's total roster of nearly 15,000 pieces of rolling stock. Based on what I've seen with respect to the repainting of former Milwaukee cars, you'd do fine just with a lot of weathering of the paint scheme provided by MTL along with fairly sloppily stenciled reporting marks. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

535 00 200, $24.15
Road Number: 1984 (will be "PE 1984" in website listings).
30 Foot Steel Caboose, Center Cupola, Pacific Electric.

Brown including details, trucks and couplers; yellow ends. White lettering including roadname and road number across center.
Approximate Time Period: 1955 to mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Once known as "The World's Greatest Electric Railway System," at its peak the Pacific Electric operated more than 1000 miles of track in the greater Los Angeles area, and made more than 2700 trips daily. The PE once reached as far north as San Bernadino, as far west as Chatsworth, as far south as Newport Beach and as far east as Redlands. But the love affair with the automobile did them in-- with some help from the "General Motors Conspiracy" some contend (and on which the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is loosely based)-- and the PE was, over the course of four decades, replaced by busses and by freeways. The last run of the famous "red cars" took place on the Long Beach in 1961, the first line that the PE built back in 1902. Ironically, at the lowest point of the PE operation some trolleys could only manage a speed of 13 miles per hour on some routes, which is about the same as the average speed on Los Angeles area freeways today. The Southern Pacific owned the Pacific Electric even as its passenger routes were being abandoned and dismantled. What was left after 1961 was operated as freight only and then absorbed into the SP in 1965. Much of the PE fleet was scrapped-- I note a sad image of red cars literally stacked atop each other following cessation of service-- but some cars from the range of the line's history are alive, well and operating at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

This is MTL's first release for the Pacific Electric in Z Scale and only the second Micro-Trains PE item in total, the other car being the single sheathed boxcar in N Scale (Catalog 28090/28362, April 1974, one of the harder wood boxcars to accumulate). We turn now to UMTRR Special Correspondent David Carnell for the story of the caboose, for which many thanks: © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Pacific Electric caboose 1984 was part of a group of 10 wood cabooses numbered 1976 to 1985 sold to the PE by Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P) in 1950. PE classified these cabooses as C-30-2s, but this classification did not have any relationship to the Southern Pacific cabooses of that class. This caboose is painted in the mineral red and daylight orange paint scheme with san-serif lettering adopted after 1955. These cabooses were built by RF&P in 1918-1919 as part of number series 801 to 845 and 907 to 912. A black and white photo of PE 1983 in the all mineral red paint scheme can be found in Tony Thompson's "Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Vol. 2: Cabooses", Page 167.

Roster information and pictures of the cabooses in their RF&P colors can be found in the article "Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Cabooses, Part 1-Wood Cars" by William E Griffin Jr. in the November/December 1990 issue of "Diesel Era" Magazine (Volume 1/Number 4). The RF&P cabooses have he same center cupola design with two side windows on the cupola and four windows on the car sides. Although the car design is similar, the MTL model is a stand-in since it is steel and the originals are wood. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

535 00 210, $18.95
Road Number: 92813 (will be "RDG 92813" in website listings).
30 Foot Steel Caboose, Center Cupola, Reading.

Caboose Red with black details, trucks and couplers. Yellow handrails on body (not ends). White lettering including roadname and road number across center.
Approximate Time Period: 1931 (build date) through 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

"Take a ride on the Reading" directs one of the cards in the game Monopoly (ahem, the Original version!) and countless employees certainly did on this caboose. One of the better possible matches to the MTL model, the 92813 appears in two photos on page 92 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Reading by Craig Bossler. The window arrangement is correct on both sides and cupola, as it should be with the general design of the "Northeast Caboose" that is the basis for this body style. While many red Reading cabeese sported a brown roof, the 92813 apparently did not, so another point for authenticity there. You'll want to paint the end rails yellow to match the already done side grabs. If you're keeping score, the Reading official class in which the 92813 and nineteen other cabeese like it was NMh; not exactly the classic "Northeast" design, but certainly close enough for most folks, especially in 1:220. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The rather lengthy Approximate Time Period comprehends the switch to a bright yellow and green scheme for cabooses that the Reading made during the 1960's. The photos of the 92813 in the MSCG are from 1969 and show that car with the 92896 which is in the newer paint, proving that the schemes co-existed. I'm assuming that the red cars lasted a bit longer than the 1969 photo although I don't personally recall seeing any in the Port Reading (NJ) yard during the 1970's. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 111 and 982 01 112, $195.95 each
Road Numbers: 6604 and 6607 (will be preceded with "B&O" in website listings).
GP-9 Diesel, Baltimore and Ohio.

Blue, with black and gray bands and delux gold stripes (along black band). Black roof, frame and details. Delux gold (yellow) lettering including roadname in black band on long hood and road number under cab window. B&O "Capitol Dome" herald on nose.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1950's (1955 build date) to mid-1960's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued according to the MTL online pricelist.

This attractive blue and gray paint scheme was used on the B&O's passenger units, and that leads to an issue with the MTL model. The B&O's passenger only units didn't have dynamic brakes and did have "torpedo tube" air reservoirs necessitated by the addition of steam generators. Later, these Geeps were re-geared for freight service when their passenger train assignments were completed. However, they never had dynamic brakes and the torpedo tubes were never removed, either. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Brian DeVries notes that "the 6604 was delivered as B&O 751 and worked, initially, out of Pittsburgh. It was re-numbered 3411 in the spring of 1957. When it was re-geared (to the standard 62:15 freight gearing), it was re-numbered 6604. The 6607 was delivered as B&O 3414 and was renumbered 6607 when it was re-geared for freight service." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

According to Brian, better matches to the MTL tooling for the B&O would be units 675 to 696, renumbered to 6425 to 6446; and also B&O 6447 to 6570, which were early production units with four roof top fans. These would be painted in the freight scheme-- blue with yellow striping and roadname on the long hood. The B&O's GP-9s ran long hood forward and the horns should be forward of the cab and not on the short hood. But note that the MTL Geeps also have the roof-top stack and ventilator for a vapor type steam generator, which weren't present on the B&O freight units. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Following acquisition by the Chesapeake and Ohio, the B&O changed circa 1964 to plain blue with yellow lettering and large "B&O", and then went on to the bright hues of the Chessie System. I cannot pinpoint the exact dates for the paint change, but I think we can call the ATP at the mid-1960's, plus or minus of course. A photo of the 6604 reached via James Mischke's all time Diesel Roster shows it in blue and gray paint. And there's a shot of the 6606 in Chessie System paint available as well. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


540 00 011 and 540 00 012, $37.65 each.
Reporting Marks: DTTX 56813 and DTTX 56814.
Gunderson Husky Stack Car with Containers, Trailer Train.

Yellow with silver details and mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left and TTX symbol on right. Silver 40 foot container and one red and one white 20 foot containers included.
Approximate Time Period: early 1990's (1992 build date given by MTL) to present.
Previous Releases: Road Number 56811 (as catalog 13001 and 13001-2), June 2004; Road Number 56812 (as catalog 540 00 010 and 540 00 011), February 2005. (The paired catalog numbers for each refer to releases with Magne-Matic and Marklin couplers.)
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Gunderson is a relatively new name to the railroad car business. It and its predecessors have been in business since 1960 and have produced more than 100,000 railcars according to the company's website ( ). But compared to AC&F for example, they're still young'uns. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Husky Stack car is also a relative newcomer to the rails. It was a response to the increasing proportion of trailer and container hauling by North American railroads. The stand-alone car is one of the offerings available in the line. Straight from Gunderson's spec sheet we have the following dimensions: Length over coupler pulling faces, 71 feet 7 1/4 inches; truck centers, 57 feet 5 1/2 inches; well size (that's the "hole" that the containers fit into), 48 feet by 102 3/8 inches; height with two empty containers, 20 feet 2 inches. These are pretty big cars, even singly. But the most amazing statistic-- I'd say almost unbelievable-- is their curve negotiability: just 180 feet uncoupled. That equates to less than a ten inch radius curve in Z Scale. OK, so there's no equivalent of the "0-5-0 Switcher" in the real world, so maybe the "coupled to like car" stat is more appropriate; that's 281 feet which equates to about a 15 1/3 inch radius in 1:220 scale. Still pretty tight. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for October 1996 shows the Trailer Train series DTTX 56775 to 56873 with AAR Classification "FC" and description "Flat". Well, OK, I suppose a little more detail would have been better. The AAR Car Type Code is better: "S312" translates to Stack Car, 48 foot well, single well (or "FC" again), and the load type, which can consist of two 20 foot or one 40, 45 or 48 foot container in the well and one 40, 45 or 48 foot container stacked above. Well, I guess "Flat" is enough of a description, then. The inside length is, as you'd probably guess, 48 feet, the outside length 71 feet 8 inches (notice the round-up from the Gunderson spec) and the capacity is 164,000 pounds. There were 98 cars in the group in October 1996 and from there I jumped right to the January 2002 Register where the same 98 are in place and then to the January 2006 ORER where 95 remain. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Unlike the previous releases, this one comes with decorated 40 foot containers. The image in the Micro-News shows the DTTX 56813 (or the 011) with a white container for Con-Quest and a blue one for Hanjin, and the DTTX 56814 (or the 012) with the same blue Hanjin container accompanied by a red Hamburg-Sud box. This is a nice addition to the release and certainly helps to justify the slightly increased MSRP for the offering. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

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