UMTRR December, 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.

N SCALE NEW RELEASES:

045 00 350, $16.95
Reporting Marks: ACL 77409.
50 Foot Flat Car, Fishbelly Sides, Atlantic Coast Line.

Black with white lettering including reporting marks left of center. Simulated "tarp covered load" included.
Approximate Time Period: Decade of the 1950's; or early 1950's to early 1980's, see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for January 1945 shows the Atlantic Coast Line series 77000 to 77471 as "Flat, All Steel." That's important since the ACL also had a number of pulpwood cars, log cars and skeleton flat cars. We just want, er, a flat flat car. And that's what we have here. The inside length (such as it is on a flat car) was 53 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 3 inches, and capacity 100,000 pounds. There were 472 cars in the series, the full complement, also important as the ACL did a fair amount of rebuilding of plain old flat cars into log cars, skeleton flats and pulpwood cars. What is also somewhat important is that the MTL car, like many done on this body style, is a bit too short across the body and a bit too long from coupler face to coupler face. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Walthers' Proto 2000 line in HO Scale includes a depiction of two ACL flat cars from this series. It's normally rather dangerous (and always lazy) to evaluate one model using another one as a baseline, but since Proto 2000 cars are usually pretty accurate and generally don't have "foobie" roadnames, I think we're OK. And the notable difference between models is the brake wheel placement, on the side for MTL, on the end, and on a brake staff for the P2K car. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Which turns out to be correct since that HO flat car led me to the June 1999 issue of Rail Model Journal and part one of Richard Hendrickson's review of the P2K flat cars, which includes coverage of those allocated to the Atlantic Coast Line. Yes, that's allocated, by the War Production Board. World War II was being waged in 1943 and these were technically "war emergency" flat cars of the AAR 50 ton design. The cars numbered 77000 to 77099 were built by Greenville Steel Car Company and the rest came from Pullman-Standard. When originally painted, a tiny (as in "dimensional data" size) roadname was placed below the reporting marks, as shown in the RMJ piece by a builder's photo of the 77000. Later, the lettering used by MTL was utilized, as in a circa February 1965 photo of ACL 77181 illustrates. The RPI website gives the early fifties as the switch to gothic lettering for the ACL so that's as good as anything I have to estimate the start of the Approximate Time Period. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 1964 ORER shows a total of 462 cars remaining overall between road numbers 77000 and 77471, but there are several groups and several more exceptions. The main series of 277 cars were just flat flat cars, but 50 were equipped for piggyback service, 12 more had "fixtures for handling lumber," one carried brick and was not suitable for general service, one was an "exception" with a 70 ton capacity, and finally 121 -- including the 77409-- were fitted with bulkheads for gypsum board service. Though there were gypsum board carriers in the previous ORER I have, from January 1959, but the 77409 isn't among them. So the "strictly speaking" ATP is the decade of the 1950's, but you'll need to lose the 1973 service date that MTL painted on the car. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And then the usual fun with cars merged into the Seaboard Coast Line starts. As I've complained about before, the SCL kept the road number series in place for the ACL but dropped the quantity of cars. I thought I had them this time in the April 1970 book, as the gypsum board carriers would have to have been listed in the end notes, but, rats! Foiled again, as the 77409 is no longer among them, nor is it in what would have been its renumbered form, SCL 677409. Assuming that the car did remain in service until its 1973 service date, then, we have the ATP at least to there. Some of the cars lettered for the ACL stayed in the Equipment Register until 1985 and I'm therefore © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

046 00 270, $19.85
Reporting Marks: WAB 11615.
50 Foot Steel Gondola, Fishbelly Sides, Drop Ends, Wabash.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left, large roadname in center and "Follow the Flag" slogan and herald on right. Simulated crushed metal load included.
Approximate Time Period: early 1960's to early 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

It's apparently a shorter ATP than I thought for this car; in fact, it doesn't appear to begin until the Wabash's life as an independent railroad is nearly over. There are several different series of gondolas listed under the Wabash from 1945 onward (caution, they're often described as "coal" cars but with the familiar gondola classifications of "GB" and "GBS") but there aren't any with the number 11615 until the January 1964 ORER. MTL notes in its car copy that the car was built in 1944 and serviced in 1964; perhaps there was a repainting and renumbering to go with the servicing task. A potential previous number series would be 12500 to 12599 which were in the January 1945 ORER and had an inside length of 52 feet 6 inches. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

However, if these were rebuilds, the 12500s couldn't have been the only series utilized as the new series is of 300 cars. The January 1964 ORER shows the group numbered from 11300 to 11799, described as "Gondola, All Steel, Fixed Ends." (Er, the MTL model has drop ends.) The inside length was 52 feet 6 inches, inside height 3 feet 6 inches, outside length 54 feet 7 inches, extreme height 7 feet 5 inches, and capacity 1755 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. There were 306 cars in service at the time. Not long after on October 16, 1964, the Wabash was leased by the Norfolk and Western. The Wabash wasn't officially merged into the N&W-- oops, make that the Norfolk Southern-- until November 1991. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In the April 1970 ORER, there were 130 cars in the main Wabash series 11300 to 11999 under the N&W listing with the 140,000 pounds capacity, plus six more with 150,000 pounds capacity and one that had been converted to a container car. The count was all the way down to a total of 11 cars in the April 1974 Equipment Register. It's possible that these were flipped to Norfolk and Western cars. But some gondolas in other series apparently never were: witness road number 12254, still in Wabash paint with consolidated stencils (!) in 1983 as seen on the Fallen Flags website. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

059 00 506, $25.70
Reporting Marks: ART 27092.
40 Foot Steel Ice Refrigerator Car with Preco Fan, American Refrigerator Transit Company.

Yellow sides, brown ends, roof and lower sill. Black lettering including reporting marks on left and company name on right. Red, white and blue shield on left. Red, white and blue Wabash "Follow the Flag" and red and white Missouri Pacific "buzzsaw" herald flanking company name.
Approximate Time Period: early 1950's through the 1960's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The American Refrigerator Transit Company, like many other lessors of the time, was a joint venture of United States railroads. This time, it was two lines once controlled by Jay Gould, the Missouri Pacific and the Wabash. The company was formed in 1881 and was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. There are a number of photos of American Refrigerator Transit Company cars, including in the Morning Sun Refrigerator Car Color Guide which devotes an eight page section to the company. ART was a pioneer in steel sided refrigerator cars with their first being delivered in 1936. The reporting marks "ARMN" under the Union Pacific registration are a legacy of the company. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for July 1950 shows the series 26900 to 27099 described as "Refrigerator" with AAR Classification RS and the following dimensions: inside length 33 feet 2 3/4 inches, inside height 8 feet 3 inches, outside length 41 feet 10 inches, ice capacity 263 cubic feet or between 10,000 and 11,000 pounds based on the type of ice, and total capacity 1988 cubic feet or 80,000 pounds. End notes indicate permanent floor racks, 80,000 pounds capacity journals, half-stage icing grates and air circulating fans. This set of dimensions and end notes is identical to the adjacent series on both sides, namely 26000 to 26299 and 27100 to 27999, both of which have available photos. Could we extrapolate to the series in which we are interested in terms of an evaluation against the prototype? © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Yes, we can, according to an article on the ART refrigerator cars in the July 2000 issue of Rail Model Journal. Author Stan Rydarowicz notes that the three sets of cars I've referenced "were all basically the same car." The main point of my interest about this is what's on the cars for which we do have photos, and that's the horizontal "belt rail" strip of rivets across the center of the car from left to right. Rydarowicz states that this enabled the use of four panels per side instead of ten, and although it's often been said that this enabled meat rails to be added to the car, this isn't the case. And what also isn't the case is the existence of this particular variety of car in N Scale, including from Micro-Trains; before the "foobie" calls start, let me hasten to point out that at least one other manufacturer has had no problem at all putting paint schemes on reefers without regard to whether those schemes belong on cars with horizontal rib rows. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While the cars in the prototype series were built in 1948, the scheme selected by MTL with the Wabash and MP heralds on the right dates to 1950. The typical rule was for the Wabash herald to be at the "A" end and the MP buzzsaw to be at the "B" end. This would normally have the heralds reversed on the opposite sides of the car, i.e. Wabash/MP on one side and MP/Wabash on the other. I checked with Micro-Trains and that's not the way they did this painting, but in the RMJ piece it's also noted that there were exceptions to the usual. Circa 1961, the color heralds were dropped in favor of less expensive black-only versions, and starting in 1964, the Norfolk and Western absorbed the Wabash and so the flag herald was replaced with the N&W's "half moon" herald (which I prefer to call the "hamburger"). © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Closing out the ORER lookups, it appears that this series was itself closed out in the mid 1970's; there are 43 cars in April 1975 and zero in April 1976. In fact, the once mighty fleet of ART cars was down to only a bit over 200 cars, most of which did not have ART reporting marks. I do seem to remember ART reefers in full color in Jersey City in the late 1960's, so it's possible that the ATP could stretch to the end of that decade. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

092 00 231 and 092 00 232, $22.35 each
Reporting Marks: NP 75023 and NP 75052.
2 Bay Center Flow Covered Hopper, Northern Pacific.

Gray with black lettering including reporting marks on left and large roadname center right.
Approximate Time Period: 1967 (build date) to mid-1980's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The Northern Pacific used the large black lettering on their covered hoppers from 1965 to 1969. Smack in the middle of that time period was the delivery of the NP series 75000 to 75099, one hundred Center Flow covered hoppers built by American Car and Foundry. There are photos of both numbers MTL selected on Page 58 of the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Northern Pacific, both taken after the NP was folded into the Burlington Northern. Their paint color is described as "very light gray-- almost an off-white". These shorter Center Flow cars were used to transport denser material. Cement comes to mind first, and the photos of the real 75023 and 75052 show plenty of residue that could have been from that haulage. The MSCG also notes that bentonite, a fine clay was a cargo carried as well. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1970, with the Burlington Northern already the owner of these cars, shows the full complement of 100 cars in service. The inside length was 34 feet 9 inches, outside length 39 feet 11 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, and capacity 2970 cubic feet or 205,000 pounds. Eighty-one cars remained in '81-- April 1981, that is, and 34 in October 1986 but they were all gone before the July 1987 ORER. I suspect this was more a repaint into BN than a retirement as the cars would have been just twenty years old or half the allowable service life. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

For those of you who add ACI labels to your N Scale rolling stock, the two photos indicate that placement was not consistent. On the 75023, the label is to the left of the "P" in "Pacific" and on the 75052 it's between the first "I" and the "F". Also on that car when photographed in 1986 the consolidated stencils straddle the second "I". Aesthetically pleasing, probably not, but it gets the job done. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

110 00 120, $29.65
Reporting Marks: ATSF 98615.
54 Foot General Service Tank Car, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Black with gray vertical band on right. Mostly white lettering including large roadname and reporting marks on left.
Approximate Time Period: 1980 (build date) to present.
First regular run release; however, was also commissioned as a Special Run by Joint Line N Scale in 2003, NSC Numbers 03-101 to 03-104 (individual cars) and 03-105 (set) with Road Numbers 98602, 98626, 98660, 98668.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Here's that rare bird: a tank car with railroad reporting marks. Even rarer: It's listed in the Official Railway Equipment Register, though just barely. And even rarer than that: It's a relatively new car. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David Carnell references for us Page 95 of "Santa Fe Railway Rolling Stock Reference Series Volume 5: Santa Fe Tank Cars" by Richard H. Hendrickson and Richard W. Pelouze. There's a black and white photo of the prototype ATSF 98615 there and David notes that the model is pretty close with the major exception being manway details. The gray band denoting assignment to diesel fuel service is correct. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for April 1981 shows the start of this fleet which was built in 1980 by Trinity Industries, with 50 cars listed in the series 98600 to 98699 and the note that this is a "Change from Previous Issue". Unfortunately, just the number series and quantity is given-- no dimensional data-- but that's better than the usual "nothing". In the January 1985 ORER we do better: all 150 cars in the group 98600 to 98749, of which 99 have 193,000 pounds capacity, 1 has 192,000 pounds capacity and the last fifty numbers in the group have 190,000 pounds capacity. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

David notes that all 150 cars went into the Burlington Northern Santa Fe merger and were assigned number series BNSF 880147 to 880296. As of the January 2007 Equipment Register, 66 cars are still in the ATSF reporting marks, and that's close enough to rate a "to Present" ATP from me. Another 79 are in the BNSF series and sport the BNSF "swoosh" logo. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

A June 2007 photo of ATSF 98617 on RailcarPhotos.com illustrates two things: first, the gray band denoting diesel fuel doesn't seem to have held up that well; second, the current modeler can add conspicuity stripes and the Tank Qualification Stencil to at least one of these cars. There's a nice shot of ATSF 98718 when almost new also on RailcarPhotos.com and it illustrates that the cars were Santa Fe class Tk-S. You can also find photos of the cars in their BNSF paint on that site. Brooklyn Locomotive Works has commissioned an MTL Special Run in that "swoosh" and as of this writing that three-pack and single cars are still available. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE REPRINTS:

047 00 290, $20.25
Reporting Marks: PFE 52220.
40 Foot Wood Refrigerator Car, Fishbelly Underframe, Pacific Fruit Express/Western Pacific.

Orange sides, brown roof, ends and lower sill, black ladders, grab irons and door details. Black lettering including "Pacific Fruit Express" and reporting marks on left. Black and white Western Pacific "Feather River Route" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: late 1920's to early 1950's.
Previous Release (as catalog 47290): Road Number 52626, September 1987.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

We're used to finding photo references for many of the cars that Micro-Trains releases. But how about a film reference? © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There's a seven minute black and white film in the archives of Syracuse University that shows the New York Central Railroad's Dewitt Yard, in the Syracuse vicinity, as it was in the 1930's. This would be mostly of interest to NYC fans, to be sure, or perhaps those who want to learn how a hump yard was operated in the days before mechanical retarders (one word: yikes). However, about eight seconds into the video, there is in the foreground a blurry image of a wood refrigerator car with what can be seen as the Western Pacific "Feather" herald. While we cannot pinpoint the exact road number or anything other than the car being a wood refrigerator with the WP herald, it's remarkable that such a car would have been captured at all. In all there were 2775 Pacific Fruit Express refrigerator cars with the WP herald, but that was still a small proportion of the overall PFE fleet. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Here's some information posted by Garth Groff on the "wplist" YahooGroup. The Western Pacific actually owned the refrigerator cars, not the Pacific Fruit Express. That's because the WP planned to have its own independent "Western Refrigerator Express" at first before joining the PFE as a junior partner. The PFE maintained the cars on WP's behalf and so they have the typical paint and lettering. That paint wasn't orange until around 1929; it was yellow before that. Starting around 1952, WP reconditioned 889 cars of its fleet for continued service and renumbered them into the series 55000-55899, ending the Approximate Time Period for this release. Those were scrapped around 1960. The WP quit the PFE entirely in 1967, switching to Fruit Growers Express. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

All of the WP/PFE refrigerator cars were wood sheathed and had wood ends, not steel (thus deflating as "foobies" numerous other modeling depictions in multiple scales), and were clones of the R-30-12 or R-30-13 design, later rebuilt to R-30-9 specifications. Dick Harley, also on "wplist," gives 1938 to 1940 as the rebuild period to cars with taller bodies, which might correspond with the rebuild date of April 1939 that MTL gives. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Westerfield model of the R-30-13 shows individual grab irons instead of ladders on the sides and ends, and a "double beam Bettendorf" underframe which is probably better represented by MTL's use of the fishbelly than the non-fishbelly underframe that is its other possible choice for the 047 series. However, David Carnell notes that a photo of sister car 52273 in the book "Pacific Fruit Express" by Thompson, Church and Jones (the authoritative book on the PFE, I might add) shows ladders, not grab irons, although the ladders go clear to the roof and wrap over it. So some potentially conflicting detail data there, and let's not forget that both cases could be correct across a fleet. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Speaking of detail, Micro-Trains also corrected an apparent error on the original run, which had the feather in the herald in red. Not so, according to the WP experts. This time the herald is in black and white only, technically making it a "not a reprint" by my reckoning. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Let's grab one example ORER. The January 1940 Register entry for the Pacific Fruit Express shows the series 50001 to 52775 in two groups slightly differing on several dimensions. We'll try to combine this: inside length was just over 33 feet 2 inches, inside width around 8 feet 2 inches, inside height 7 feet (don't forget all that ice and insulation holding down those dimensions), outside length 41 feet 8 or 9 inches, extreme height either 14 feet 7 inches or 15 feet 2 inches, capacity for lading (not ice) at 1918 or 1998 cubic feet or 70,000 pounds, and capacity for ice of at least 10,000 pounds depending on whether it was crushed, chunked or coarse. There were a total of 2682 cars across this series, and an end note sorts out which cars were larger or smaller. The 52220 was in the "larger" group with the taller bodies, the result of the rebuilding that began in 1938. From an N Scale point of view it would be rather difficult to make the distinction, but an extra 80 cubic feet of capacity means a lot of lettuce... or whatever fruit or vegetable you're shipping. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

065 00 560, $19.80
Reporting Marks: CN 990986.
39 Foot Single Dome Tank Car, Canadian National.

Red with mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left.
Approximate Time Period: late 1970's (1978 service date given by MTL) at least, see text.
Previous Release (as catalog 65560): Road Number 990984, October 2002.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

When the Z Scale version of this car was released back in March 2002 and the N Scale version followed that October, my research on the real thing turned up a goose egg, zip, zero, nada. A check with MTL at the time revealed that what they had was just a couple of prototype photos. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

As it turns out, at least some of those prototype photos received by MTL were from long-time subscriber Martin Landry, who captured sister car CN 990710 in Cornwall, Ontario in 1999. At first glance, this car looked to me like the classic "chemical tank car" marketed variously in N Scale and HO by Atlas and AHM. There's a full four-sided platform on the prototype which makes it different from the MTL model. I also think that the real thing could have a somewhat smaller diameter than the 65000 body style. But the overall effect is good, and I can say without a doubt that the fire engine red is right on! Also keep in mind that this was a sister car, not the exact prototype MTL chose to model. (That probably means that more than one person sent in photos.) © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of points on the CN from which diesel fuel can be loaded into these company service cars. I know from personal observation that not far north of Montreal there are refineries. There's a five mile spur off the Levis division that serves an Ultramar refinery, and the CN runs an "Ultratrain" unit train daily for that site. In fact, several Internet sources show that there are 21 refineries in Canada, although only 18 of them manufacture gasoline and other distillates. The plants are sprinkled throughout the country from Newfoundland to British Columbia. One estimate from Statistics Canada pegs diesel fuel as constituting 22 percent of the total output of these refineries. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We can tag the start of the ATP for this car pretty accurately to the introduction of the U-1 yellow and black stencil in 1978. These were "wheel inspection dots" that were required on all cars that had 33 inch wheels. If the car had a white dot on a black background, inspection showed that the wheels were of the "U-1" type and replacement was required. If the car had a yellow dot, the wheels were OK. All U-1s were supposed to be replaced by December 1978 so the dots were dropped after that. As a point of reference, the CN 990710 caught by Martin doesn't have it. Tank cars require fairly frequent inspection but that doesn't necessarily mean they are repainted. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Since my original reviews, at least one CN tank car image has surfaced on the net, but it's not close to the MTL model: CN 990716 is an orange painted and hastily stenciled company service car that is formerly from Canadian General Transportation (CGTX). It was caught in 2006 in Capreol, Ontario; two shots are posted on the Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery and another on RRPictureArchives.net. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



N SCALE RUNNER PACKS
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:

501 00 191 and 501 00 192, $32.85 each
Reporting Marks: UP 9147 and UP 9149.
40 Foot Box Car, Double Superior Doors, Union Pacific "Challenger" scheme.

Gray with red side sills; also red along top of sides and ends. Yellow lettering including road name and reporting marks on left. Red and yellow "Challenger Merchandise Service" lettering on right. Yellow lettering on doors.
Approximate Time Period: 1939 to 1952.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

While you're waiting for those Union Pacific passenger cars to arrive, perhaps some express boxcars would be in order? Not completely, as the prototypes for two of the four passenger cars MTL is soon to release (dome and baggage) arrived on the property after these cars were repainted into Armour Yellow in 1952; but I won't tell anyone if you won't. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the Union Pacific features two photos of cars from this series, occupying Page 43 of the book. There's an action shot of the UP 9146 with a sister car, being pulled by a steam locomotive. A color shot probably taken before World War II-- how's that for Really Rare! There is also a publicity photo of a "Challenger" car being loaded in Portland, Oregon. I note that the door lettering "Over Night Freight" is easy to see, as if to reinforce the point. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And the point is that these cars were originally placed in service for a series of less than carload service trains called-- you guessed it-- "Challenger Merchandise Service." Destinations on the system for these trains included Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Omaha, Kansas City, and North Platte-- though not all on the same train. The first one hundred cars were built in 1939 and thirty more followed in late 1940 and early 1941. But then, with the coming of Wartime, the service was discontinued in 1942 and the cars reassigned to passenger train service. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The January 1940 ORER shows the series 9100 to 9199 described as "U.P. Box, Steel, Staggered Doors, Z-Bar" (note that the "U.P." does refer to the reporting marks, which were numerous during this time). The inside length was 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 8 feet 7 inches, outside length 41 feet 9 inches, extreme height 13 feet 2 inches, door opening 12 feet, and capacity 3180 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. The MTL car is a little taller than the prototype, I would think, but the doors should be close since the Z Scale double door body style appears to use two six foot doors (whereas the N Scale version of this car had a "door thing" as it uses two eight foot doors). The January 1945 Equipment Register notes the conversion of the 99 remaining cars in the group to passenger service "having high speed trucks, steel wheels, steam and signal lines and AB brakes with A-2-A quick service valve." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

There's been some conversation on the Z_Scale YahooGroup about the price point for these cars, and it's been correctly pointed out that the complexity of the paint scheme is a driver of the higher than usual MSRP. In fact, this is one of the most ambitious 1:220 cars yet from the folks in Talent. I can't imagine how much "fun" was had getting the printing on the doors! © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

503 00 041 and 503 00 042, $22.60 each
Reporting Marks: ROCK 57605 and ROCK 57607.
40 Foot Box Car, Single Youngstown Door, No Roofwalk, Short Ladders, The Rock (Rock Island).

Blue with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left. White roadname "The Rock" on left; large black and white "R" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1970's to around 1980.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

Well, we do try for Continuous Improvement around here at UMTRR HQ. When the most recent N Scale run of this particular car was done, the Morning Sun Color Guide to the Rock Island wasn't yet "in the house", and now it is. So I can turn to the photo of ROCK 57607 on Page 40 and report based on it. It's somewhat unusual for a boxcar of any type rebuilt in 1975 to retain a six foot door, but this one did. Specifically, it was among a group of cars from the series 21000 to 22999 redone by United States Railroad Equipment Company and painted into "Bankruptcy Blue." © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

While it doesn't have the roofwalk, it does have the full height ladders so that's a delta to the MTL model. The "Keep Off Roof / No Running Board" warning is actually underneath the ladder, but MTL had to "cheat" and place it to the left of the ladder-- and yes, I am nitpicking. (I still find it amazing that such a warning could be legibly depicted in 1:220!) The side sills are a bit different between prototype and model but that can be remedied fairly easily since the real boxcar has a single straight sill roughly from bolster to bolster. If you can't get to the Color Guide, Ken Harstine's "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America" website has images of ROCK 57635 and ROCK 59531, both from 1978. You'll note the use of a Superior door on those cars, but MTL's use of the Youngstown door is OK on the models since twenty-five percent of the rebuilds were delivered with Youngstowns. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

What can't be improved, continuously or otherwise, is our understanding of what happened to the Rock Island's equipment after the railroad was shut down in 1980. In the April 1976 Register, there are over 25 thousand cars listed under "RI" and "ROCK," and in April 1981's book, there is nothing, nada, zippo. Fortunately, we do have the single citation in the April 1976 ORER for the series ROCK 57413 to 58149, AAR Class XM, the usual "Box, Steel." There were 737 cars in this group, with inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 5 inches, outside length 44 feet 4 inches, extreme height 15 feet 4 inches, door opening, 6 feet, and capacity 3898 cubic feet or 110,000 pounds. The second number on Ken Harstine's site has the same dimensions and is part of the series 59517 to 59549 for another 33 cars; plus there's the group 58600 to 58849 and also the group 58400 to 58599 which were epoxy lined for food service. Suffice to say that Micro-Trains won't run out of reprintable road numbers any time soon. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

531 00 101 and 531 00 102, $19.15 each
Reporting Marks: NYC 883180 and NYC 883227.
PS-2 Two Bay Covered Hopper, New York Central.

Gray with black lettering including reporting marks on left and small oval "New York Central System" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1956 (build date) to mid-1980's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

To be precise, that's a 29 inch by 19 3/8 inch oval herald on the PS-2 covered hopper, well at least on the prototype NYC 883227 as shown in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the New York Central. It and the other car modeled, the 883180, were part of the NYC's Lot 860H numbered 883100 to 883499 and were built by Pullman-Standard in March 1956. The Central did go to P-S for these cars even though they'd previously built covered hoppers at their Despatch Shops. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1959 shows these dimensions: inside length 29 feet 3 inches, outside length 35 feet 3 inches, extreme height 13 feet 3 inches, and capacity 2003 cubic feet or 140,000 pounds. All 400 were in place at the time. In the Penn Central listing of April 1970, there are 373 cars in service, and in the April 1976 listing for Conrail, there are a total of 298. Obviously repainting of these cars was not a priority. (One of my friends says Conrail's priority was actually "ripping up track.") A total of 86 cars remain in the April 1981 Register, and three hang on all the way to the July 1989 book, but we'll call the ATP at the mid 1980's. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

In fact, both this car and one from another Pullman-Standard lot, NYC 882368, are shown in the Color Guide in essentially their original paint, with ACI labels, restenciling of data as needed and, in the case of the 883227, two block consolidated stencils. Note, however, that the car from the other lot has an oval that is only 28 1/4 inches by 19 1/8 inches! © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 120 and 982 01 130, $195.95 each
Road Numbers: 5669 (Southern Pacific) and 3644 (Cotton Belt).
GP-9 Diesels, Southern Pacific and St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt).

"Black Widow" paint scheme of black with red band along sill and silver ends with orange and black stripes; silver and orange and black stripes continue partially along short hood. Silver road number on cab; silver road name on long hood. On SP unit: "Radio Equipped" device on short hood. On SSW unit: "Cotton Belt Route" herald on short hood.
Approximate Time Period: 1956 to 1965 for the SP unit, 1965 to 1978 for the Cotton Belt unit.
NOTE: This item (both roadnames and numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

David Carnell checked out his Research Accumulation on the Southern Pacific and has this report for us, start quote: © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The SP 5669 was part of an order for 94 GP-9s numbered 5626 to 5719, delivered in April 1956 in the "Black Widow" paint scheme as depicted by MTL with the exception of the roadname in a single line. A black and white photo of the 5669 in Tempe, Arizona on a stock car train in the late 1950's, in the as delivered paint scheme with the single line name is found on Page 41 of "Southern Pacific Historic Diesels Volume 7: Electro-Motive GP9 Locomotives" by Joseph A. Strapac. Note that the units came with the full "SP headlight package" with red warning light, dual-beam gyralight and dual-beam headlight which aren't present on the Micro-Trains model. This locomotive was renumbered to 3502 in 1965 so the ATP is from 1956 to 1965. It may have stayed in the Black Widow paint until 1976. It was retired in March 1987, sold to Louisiana and Delta as its 1751, then sent to Oregon as Willamette and Pacific as its 1802 in December 1993, and finally scrapped in 1996 with the frame being sent to Boise Locomotive Works for conversion into a MP1500D in 1998. What's left of 5669 is in service as CMC Corp 101 in Dayton, TX. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Cotton Belt 3644 was part of a group of 6 GP-9s delivered to Cotton Belt in October 1957. These locomotives were originally numbered 820 to 825 and this locomotive was originally numbered 823. They were delivered in the black widow paint scheme with the Cotton Belt Gin Saw herald on the short hood. They had the stacked Cotton Belt name (slightly smaller than what MTL used) and a full SP headlight package. In 1965, SP renumbered the entire fleet of SP, SSW and T&NO locomotives and this is when the 823 became the 8644. Although SP changed over to the scarlet and gray paint scheme in 1958, older locomotives didnąt get repainted until the late 1960s or 1970s. This locomotive was upgraded in May 1978 and renumbered 3813, so the ATP is 1965 to 1978. It may have remained in black widow paint until the upgrade. The locomotive was eventually retired in February 1993 and sold to the Yolo Short Line as its 132. That's 36 years of service. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

End quote and as always, a big Thank You to David for his help. It's interesting that because of the way MTL chose to number the units, they apparently wouldn't appear together in a train. Looks like it's time to get out those decals and change the Cotton Belt unit to 823 if you're modeling before 1965, or the Southern Pacific unit to 3502 if you're depicting 1965 or later. Given that the SP system was extensive, it would be interesting to know whether these units did ever operate together in real life, although I'm sure they will be in 1:220 worlds. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.



Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.


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


HOn3 SCALE (NARROW GAUGE):

855 00 031, $32.90
Reporting Marks: D&RGW 6000.
30 Foot Flat Car, Denver and Rio Grande Western.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks on left.
Approximate Time Period: about 1922 through 1940's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

While these cars were built before the turn of the 20th Century, that's well before 1921, when the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad took over the Denver and Rio Grande, adding the "W" to the Colorado lines of both narrow and standard gauge. However, the D&RG's expansion from Colorado into Utah, which was begun once the state border was reached in 1882, was a separate railroad also called the Denver and Rio Grande Western and leased to the D&RG. That Utah line remains in operation as a part of the Union Pacific, one of the most heavily utilized former narrow gauge routes. Although it's interesting to speculate that these cars could have been lettered "D&RGW" and assigned to the Utah operation, the cars were in fact built for the Denver and Rio Grande in the mid-1880s. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

After a series of goose eggs in my ORER lookups of recent MTL HOn3 releases, I'm pleased to note that the April 1928 Equipment Register shows the series 6000 to 6098 in the D&RGW's narrow gauge listing. There are just 34 cars in the group but we'll take it: inside length 30 feet, inside width 7 feet 5 1/2 inches, outside length also 30 feet (not sure how correct this is!), height to top of platform 3 feet 5 inches, capacity 224 square feet or 40,000 pounds. In its car copy MTL notes that some of these cars lasted into the early 1940's, but they are off the revenue roster by the January 1943 ORER. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Information including that on the San Juan Decals site suggests that the prototype cars used truss rods which I don't see on the MTL model. © 2008 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.