UMTRR July, 2009 || Edited From Subscriber Edition
©2009 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, Runner Packs, most Special Editions such as the Presidential Series and the Z Scale State Cars are available exclusively in the e-mail subscription edition of the UMTRR.

© 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


020 00 816, $22.95
Reporting Marks: WP 21091.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, Western Pacific.

Brown with black roof and ends. Aluminum lettering including reporting marks on left. Black and aluminum square "Feather River Route" herald on right.
Approximate Time Period: 1951 (build date) to late 1970's.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

The series of boxcars numbered 20821 to 21400 represented more than ten percent of the entire revenue roster of the Western Pacific Railroad Company in the January 1953 Official Railway Equipment Register. These cars were just "Box, Steel" and had dimensions of 40 foot 6 inch inside length, 10 foot 6 inch inside height, 41 feet 10 inch outside length, 15 foot extreme height, a 7 foot door opening (which we'll come back to), and capacity of 3903 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There were 578 cars in this group. Another five occupied the numbers 20801 to 20820, the "first twenty" numbers that MTL comments on as not being in mineral red with black roof and aluminum lettering... but I digress, as usual. Speaking of digression, it's noted on the "WPlist" YahooGroup by WP historian Garth Groff that the black on the ends, roof and even underframe of the cars MTL chose to model isn't paint, it's car cement. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Upon seeing this release, my "note to self" was to reference-- believe it or not-- the Kadee HO cars website. I knew that they had previously done this car, and if they had, I knew it was also a good match to the Micro-Trains 20000/020 body style as well. Sure enough, the prototype is a PS-1 boxcar, from an earlier production run. Well, there is the door... yes, there is a "door thing" of a relatively minor nature as the real WP cars had seven foot doors versus the six foot door on the MTL model. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

We'll move swiftly through the Equipment Registers from here: 505 in January 1964, 302 in April 1970, and just 50 in April 1975, at which point you'd need to be thinking about roofwalk removal anyway. You'd also need to consider whether the as-delivered paint scheme had lasted this long, or had been replaced. In 1955 there was a scheme of boxcar red with yellow lettering, roadname and reporting marks on left and block lettering slogan "Feather River Route". And the 1960 paint scheme was of boxcar red with yellow lettering including very large "WP" and slogan "The Western Way." So might I be a bit too liberal with the ATP even going out to the late 1960s for those reasons? Well, has a shot of the very WP 21091-- complete with roofwalk!-- as of August 1978. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

024 00 341 and 024 00 342, $21.50 each
Reporting Marks: CN 428717 and CN 428999.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, No Roofwalk, Half Height Ladders, Canadian/Canadien National.

Brown with mostly white lettering including roadname (English one side, French one side) and reporting marks on left. Yellow stylized wheat sheaf device left of door. Green and white "maple leaf" herald with "Serves All Canada" slogan on right. Simulated grain doors included (decorated but not installed); simulated wood door with the 341 release and simulated paper door with the 342 release.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's to late 1990's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

My first response to this car was, "What?" A CN boxcar with the wheat sheaf device seen with later paint schemes, but with the old maple leaf that was replaced in 1960 with the "wet noodle"? And on a car that has had its running boards removed? With the maple leaf herald still intact? © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Ian Cranstone's "Canadian Freight Cars" site does show a series numbered 428700 to 428999, listed in ORERs from October 1980 to October 1997, with 300 cars from various builders that were previously numbered in the range 522500 to 538999 and originally built from 1947 to 1954. Since it's a variety of car series, I won't check the ORERs this time, but I would expect that these cars were not PS-1s so details will differ versus the MTL models. We do know that the CN had light density branch lines for which 40 foot boxcars were required for grain service-- anyone recall the "Manitoba" boxcar for example? That would have been the last of the series of paint schemes for these cars. But maple leaves? © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited. had a 1989 image of CN 421032 with no roofwalk, shortened ladders and the maple leaf paint scheme, so it's true that there were maple leaf cars around at the end of the Eighties. The photographer noted that the car may have been out of interchange service by then, but considering how big the CN is, that still afforded plenty of latitude. But the maple leaf and the wheat sheaf? You'd have to prove it to me... © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And the blog "Trackside Treasure" does prove it to me, with a shot of CN 428806 in the scheme that MTL depicts. How about that? According to the blog's author, "It was cheaper and easier for the railways to repair boxcars to use on lightweight branchlines than to upgrade the branchline infrastructure: roadbed, ties and rails to support heavier covered hopper cars." It's also stated that the wheat sheaf denoted government-sponsored rehabilitation of the boxcars, and of course it didn't matter what paint scheme they were in. The fixup was expected to extend the service life by five years. To make the model cars more realistic, there should be some sort of weathering on most everything except the wheat sheaf logo and the consolidated stencils. Perhaps the reporting marks could be made to look as if they were cleaned up. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Grain doors such as those included with these cars are of historical interest as well and I could see these being utilized by modelers of Approximate Time Periods that precede covered hoppers. An oversimplification of their use on the prototype: install grain door, fill boxcar with grain up to the level of the grain door, close the main sliding door, move car to destination, open main door, dismantle grain door, grain falls out, hopefully into an appropriate waiting container. Both wood and paper grain doors were used so it's a good idea for MTL to have offered one of each. This would make a nice aftermarket part as well. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

094 00 300, $29.25
Reporting Marks: SOYX 98045.
Three Bay Center Flow Covered Hopper, Minnesota Soybean Processors.

Gray with mostly black lettering including reporting marks on left. Multicolor corporate logo on right.
Approximate Time Period: 2004 to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Minnesota Soybean Processors is a throwback of sorts to the "Farmer's Co-Op" of earlier days. Its mission statement sounds rather corporate: "To provide the maximum value-added return to our investors by combining the latest soybean processing technologies with proven management." But the investors are largely limited to farmers in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. "MnSP is a farmer owned, new generation, value-added, closed cooperative, which will take soybeans to the next level of value. This proposed project will process 100,000 bushels of soybeans per day. We are currently selling membership to farmers interested in moving to the next step beyond just growing the crop." Farmers invest in the "closed cooperative" by buying exactly one common stock share for 250 dollars, allotting that farmer one and only one vote, followed by Equity Stock at two dollars per bushel of soybeans that they plan to deliver to the plant. MnSP was formally organized in 1999 though discussion of a farmer-owned soybean plant preceded that by at least a year. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited. has, at this writing, 32 photos of SOYX covered hoppers, all from the 98000s series. All but the last three appear to be the prototype from which the MTL model is drawn. However, that prototype car is a Trinity design three bay covered hopper which is really not that close to the ACF version of the Center Flow car that MTL actually used. A quick check of Equipment Registers shows the group SOYX 98001 to 98185 in the October 2004 issue, outside length 61 feet 5 inches, extreme height 15 feet 6 inches and capacity 5461 cubic feet. MnSP is shown as the owner and shipper of its roster of 200 cars, a little bit unusual considering how many covered hoppers out there are leased. Home points at the time were "none", reflected in the assortment of locations in which the cars were photographed from Illinois to California. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

130 00 030, $30.65
Reporting Marks: CNW 11119.
Bay Window Caboose, Windowless Sides, without Battery Box, Chicago and North Western.

Yellow sides and ends, dark green roof, gray underframe, black details and trucks. Mostly black lettering including large reporting marks top of bay window and large road number bottom of bay window. Red, white and black herald on left. Red, white and blue American flag on right.
Approximate Time Period: early 1980's to present.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Photos of the real CNW 11119 on span the time period 1995 to 2008 and were all taken in the general vicinity of O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Most images were made in Elk Grove Village, with a couple out in Des Plaines. There are enough views to provide a listing of the major areas in which the MTL rendition, being based on a Southern Pacific prototype, is a stand in of some degree to the prototype. (Again, the degree to which this is an acceptable compromise is up to the individual N Scaler.) The windows on the side of the bay are somewhat more square on the real car and the windows on the ends of the bay are larger than the models and also have rounded corners. There are end ladders and a vent pipe on the roof. On later photos, there appears to be a light of some sort mounted at the peak of the end of the roof. I'm not sure that the swing-motion trucks are a match. Perhaps most importantly, the windows were plated over so the sides are not as smooth as if the windows weren't there to begin with. The paint scheme looks good, as per usual. The frame really does look gray, not black, in the prototype photos. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It's probably reasonable to call out "to present" for the ATP since it appears that the Union Pacific is still utilizing this caboose for some purpose. Yard-based jobs do occasionally make use of a "former" caboose as a "shoving platform" or some other function in local service (your local railroad's term may vary). The earliest photo at RRPictureArchives being from 1995, we know we can go back at least that far. However, that's the year that the C&NW was swallowed by the Union Pacific, so it's clear that we can go backwards a bit more from there. has similar cars in road numbers close to the 11119 and with the same paint scheme going back as far as 1982. The paint on 1114 as of March 1982 looks fresh and clean. Contrast this with the very faded yellow on the 11119 in 2008 as seen on RRPictureArchives to see the ravages of time first hand. But note that the loss of color isn't nearly so bad on the better protected ends of the car. Simulating that wear pattern could be interesting. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.


027 00 010, $25.30
Reporting Marks: ATSF 151923.
50 Foot Steel Exterior Post Boxcar, Plug Door, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Red sides, black ends, aluminum roof. Mostly white lettering including reporting marks on left and large circle cross herald on right. Yellow and white "Super Shock Control" slogan on left.
Approximate Time Period: mid 1970's to early 1990's at least.
Previous Releases (as catalog 25010): Road Number 151900, September 1983; Road Number 151951, also September 1983.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

You've got to go back more than twenty-five years for the first run of this Micro-Trains car, and you've got to go pretty far into the book "Santa Fe Freight in Color Volume 1", also called "the Priest book" around here, to find photos of the prototype series. It's on Page 146 of the book that we see ATSF 151917, a Santa Fe class Bx-182, as lensed in 1977 in its original paint scheme. The match between prototype and model is pretty good in terms of body style. One quibble is that the MTL's car has a more peaked roof than the real car. The rib count is right and the ends are close as well. It's noted with respect to the prototype that its ACI Label was placed "almost out of the acceptable scanning area" to the left of the plug door. It should have been on the lower half of the car, to the right of the door. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The lack of a listing for these cars in the ORER for April 1976 makes me wonder whether the 1975 build date quoted in the Priest book isn't right, and the "New 3-77" stencil on the original run of the Micro-Trains car and the photo of the 151917 is actually more accurate. Be that as it may, the April 1981 ORER does have the car. In fact, there are two adjoining series, numbered 151900 to 151999 and from 152000 to 152099. Dimensionally they are the same: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet 11 inches, outside length 59 feet 1 inch, extreme height 15 feet 3 inches, door opening 12 feet, capacity 5151 cubic feet or 187,000 pounds. The two series are also described the same except for the lading carried. Both are called "Box, Shock Control, Roller Bearing, Plug Door, Lading Anchors, 50K". The first group is shown as being for copper and the second for paper. The first group is of all 100 possible cars while the second comes in with 97 in that issue of the Equipment Register. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Priest book shows a modified red and white paint scheme with just the words "Shock Control" (no more "Super" in yellow) and Helvetica font reporting marks, in a photo of ATSF 151904 from 1987. Then there's a picture of ATSF 152002 in brown with small circle cross and small "Q" herald as of 1993. So we know that cars from the series lasted at least until then, but we're not sure about the original paint scheme remaining on them. I think it's safe to call the ATP into "at least" the nineties given the general number of large circle cross cars I continued to see at that point. The ORER for July 1992 will have to do here, and it shows plenty of cars in both groups. The 151900 to 151999 has a total of 93 in place from the original 100, repurposed to fiberboard loading, while the 152000 to 152099 series has 93 cars still carrying paper. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

079 00 020, $23.85
Reporting Marks: NP 39630.
50 Foot Steel Round Roof Boxcar, Double Doors, Northern Pacific.

Boxcar red with black roof. White lettering including reporting marks on left and semicircle roadname on right. Simulated wood load included. Doors are not included; car is a model of one that carried green veneer.
Approximate Time Period: early 1970's.
Previous Release (as catalog 79010): Road Number 39610, December 1999.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

There is absolutely no question that this is "not a reprint"! For one thing, I shouldn't describe it as "double door"-- and neither should have MTL in their car copy for that matter. "Double door opening" would be more correct, for this car's prototype didn't have any doors at all! © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Morning Sun Color Guide to the NP, Page 51, has a picture that tells the story. NP 39538 from the same series of round roof boxcars was caught in 1973 with a load of green veneer and, yes, without doors. Green veneer isn't much use to anyone until it's dried veneer, after which it's used for, among other purposes, the top and bottom layers of plywood. The "wood load" supplied by Micro-Trains fairly well approximates the load pictured, although the timbers that support the load (and keep it from falling out of the car!) need to reach all the way to the top of the inside of the car. It does look like the 39538 is rolling on at least one coil-elliptic truck as supplied by MTL for the model; I just can't quite make out the other one. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

These cars were leased from the A.A. Morrison Company, which supplied the NP with these round roof cars originally from the Norfolk and Western and the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton. The "lessor" scheme is used, with the arched roadname and reporting marks in reversed positions from the Northern Pacific standard. The MSCG has the early 1960's as the start of the leasing period and has a photo of sister car NP 39582-- with its doors-- as of April 1962 in Columbus, Ohio. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The ORER for January 1964 might be a bit early for the doors to be removed from these cars, but let's check it anyway. The series 39610 to 39759 was described as "Box, Steel, Staggered Doors" and had the following dimensions: inside length 50 feet 6 inches, inside height 10 feet, outside length 51 feet 8 inches, extreme height 14 feet 7 inches, door opening 14 feet 6 inches, capacity 4629 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. There would be a bit of a "door thing" here-- 16 feet on the MTL model and 1 1/2 feet less than that on the prototype, if there were any doors that is. That's not called out in the '64 Register so I think that they are all still in place on all 149 cars. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Next stop, the Burlington Northern entry in the April 1970 ORER, and wow, we're down to only 18 cars in the series with no mention of removed doors. Moving quickly to the next edition in the Research Accumulation, we find just one car in the vicinity with "doors removed (green veneer)" and it's the NP 39025, which not only isn't either the road number MTL used or the one pictured in the MSCG, but it's not even a 50 foot boxcar. There are only two cars remaining in the series with which we are concerned, namely, the 39649 and 39656, both of which appear to be in service with their doors. So what we conclude here is that we have a very interesting car, but with a very short Approximate Time Period. © 2009 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.


503 00 061 and 503 00 062, $21.20 each
Reporting Marks: CB&Q 34236 and CB&Q 34238.
40 Foot Steel Boxcar, Single Youngstown Door, No Roofwalk with Short Ladders, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

Cascade green ("Burlington Northern" green) with white lettering including "Burlington" roadname and reporting marks on left. Split table dimensional data on left. Simulated reflective panels along bottom sill.
Approximate Time Period: 1969 (service/repaint date) to early 1980's.
NOTE: This item (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

[The following is largely reprinted from the May 2009 coverage of the N Scale release of this car.]

I was kind of wondering when Micro-Trains would get around to this car! The use of the transition cascade green but with the Burlington roadname anticipated the merger of the CB&Q with the other "Hill Lines" into the Burlington Northern. It's quite a contrast to the bright red that graced earlier Burlington Route equipment. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

An image of the exact car is on Ken Harstine's "Boxcars and Freight Cars of North America" site as of August 1972, and just to add interest, it's being used for grain service. The paper "grain door" visible in the door opening is the evidence. That door would be installed part way up the door opening, grain would be dumped in and the car door closed. At the destination, the main door would be opened, the grain door pulled down, and the grain would pour out. Well, most of it, anyway. Brooms and other basic devices would need to be used to get the rest of the grain out of the car. This was a very common practice during the time prior to the emergence of the grain hopper, but I believe it had become fairly unusual by 1972. Could be that this car was in service on a branch line with rail too light to handle those big covered hoppers. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Counting rivets? Well, we should, as the prototype car had riveted sides whereas the MTL model has welded sides. These probably came from of the numerous groups of the "Q"s XM-32 boxcars (each built group had a different subclass). Those cars weren't PS-1s; building of the XM-32s began in 1940 at the CB&Q's own Havelock shops. Moving along, the ends don't look too bad, the sills are not exactly the same, and I can't tell about the roof. The real 34236 did have a six foot door, hurray, no "door thing" here. As usual, the painting looks good. The end reporting marks are even in two lines on the model as on the prototype. The split table dimensional data just below the side reporting marks sort of took after the Canadian National, but didn't become common practice on the Burlington Northern. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for April 1970 has the CB&Q 34236 in the Burlington Northern listing as part of the rather large series 29000 to 37799. That group had 4605 cars in the main series, plus ten with roof hatches and 33 more designated for that dreaded "tankage loading"-- yecch. (I'm surprised that those 33 had AAR Class "XP"-- did that stand for Xtra Putrid in this case?) Not to worry, the car MTL picked is not in either subseries. Let's run down the vital statistics: inside length 40 feet 6 inches, inside width 9 feet 2 inches, inside height 10 feet 6 inches, outside length 44 feet 3 inches, extreme height 15 feet 1 inch, door opening 6 feet, capacity 3898 cubic feet or 100,000 pounds. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Forty foot cars were falling out of favor in the seventies, and that shows in the April 1976 ORER where the main series has dropped off by almost seventy percent to 1451 cars, to which we add cars set aside for tankage loading (bleah), cars for hide loading (worse), battery loading, fishmeal loading and sodium formate loading. What? A salt of formic acid. "Sodium formate chemically reduces other components by donating an electron or electrons," says Er, thanks. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

By April 1981, there are just 145 cars left in the slightly shortened main series 29010 to 37758, plus 10 for tankage, two for hides and one for batteries. I think that's enough of a Big Drop as Kieran used to say, to call the Approximate Time Period, but just for the record, the ORER for April 1984 shows a mere four cars left in the series. It's possible that some of these cars went over to the Burlington Northern proper. However, I noted in my review of the N Scale Runner Pack #5, the four BN 40 foot boxcars, that they lasted until about the early 1980's as well. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

505 00 240, $34.65
Reporting Marks: ATSF 10001.
50 Foot Single Door Boxcar, Santa Fe (AT&SF).

Red with black roof, ends, ladders and details. Black and white lettering including reporting marks and "early" circle cross herald on left. Large "DF with Shock Control" slogan in white and "Floating Underframe Gives Freight A Smoother Roll" in black, both across car.
Approximate Time Period: late 1950's (1958 rebuild date given by MTL) through late 1970's (1979 repaint date given by reference data).
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

This is a one of a kind car with a one of a kind paint scheme. As soon as I saw it in what is commonly called "the Priest book" among Santa Fe fans (Full title: "Santa Fe Freight in Color... the Series, Volume One - Boxcars" and now you know why it's abbreviated), I fired a note off to MTL: "How could you not model this car?" That was back in 2002, and in May of that year, N Scalers received the results. Now it's the Z Scalers turn. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Santa Fe did have other cars that were similarly constructed and similarly painted, to be sure. But road number 10001 was the only one in the Santa Fe classification Bx-77, and the first ATSF box car to receive the famous "Shock Control" draft gear. It was rebuilt from a Bx-66 fifty foot boxcar and served as the prototype. In 1958 and 1959, Santa Fe built its series of Bx-76 cars from the ground up with Shock Control installed. Those Bx-76 cars received similar paint schemes, but again, car number 10001 was different: it had the older style circle cross herald with a serif font. This makes it unlike the later cars which got the circle cross herald with "Santa Fe" in the Cooper Black font that we're more familiar with today. In addition, the word "with" in the phrase "DF...with...Shock Control" is painted on a panel attached to the single sliding door on the Bx-76 series, instead of directly on the door as on this Bx-77. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Turning to the ORER of January 1959 we find car 10001 in its own series, as you'd expect. Interestingly, it's described as "Auto, DF Loader," AAR class XML (and so are the other Bx-77 Shock Control cars built after the 10001). Key dimensions are as follows: inside length, 50 feet 6 inches, outside length 53 feet 7 inches, 8 foot door opening, 100,000 pound capacity. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Despite its one of a kind status, the car not only lasted at least into the mid-1980's, but the paint scheme apparently lasted into 1979. That's the date given in the Priest book for its having been shopped and repainted. At that point it was done up in a plainer all-red scheme, but retained a large circle cross and a "Shock Control" slogan. As you'd imagine the roofwalk was removed and the ladders were cut down. The Priest book includes a photo of the car taken in December 1986. However, it was apparently off the roster by 1989. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

550 00 060, $28.20.
Smoothside 6-6-4 Sleeper Car, Pennsylvania Railroad.

Tuscan sides and ends, black roof (not tuscan as shown in July Micro-News). Gold pinstriping across car. Gold lettering including roadname with wide letter spacing across top and car name "Catawissa Rapids" at bottom center.
Approximate Time Period: 1949 (build date) through late 1960's at least.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Fred Klein is a long time UMTRR Gang Member and has a website describing the prototypes of many N Scale passenger cars including smoothside sleepers like this month's release. Since prototypes don't change regardless of the scale of the model, we can borrow Fred's notes for MTL's Z Scale depiction of one of the "Rapids" sleepers of the Pennsylvania Railroad. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The Pennsy had a number of sleepers of this "10/6" type-- meaning ten roomettes and six double bedrooms. But they were not all exactly the same design. Pullman-Standard built the first of a total of thirty-five cars to their 4129 plan and the remainder to their 410 plan. These became PRR Classes PS106A and PS106. In 1950, American Car and Foundry built ten more "Rapids" cars to Pullman plan 9008. The key spotting difference among the cars is the window arrangement. Fred cites pages 94 and 95 of the book "Some Classic Trains" for photos of the P-S and AC&F cars. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The "Catawissa Rapids" was among the second group of cars built by Pullman and has irregular window spacing. From "Rob's Pennsy Page" website we can view equipment diagrams of the prototype sleepers and conclude that the MTL model is not precisely the same. The real sleepers had different window configurations on the "bedroom side" and "passageway side" so both would need to be correct for a match. There were a fair number of plan choices for these cars available-- look at the Pennsy itself, which had three different plans utilized all by themselves. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Fred Klein notes that the 1949 Broadway Limited was one train in which these cars ran. A photo of the "Catawissa Rapids" dated March 1968 can be found in the Morning Sun Color Guide to the PRR, Volume 2. That certainly helps us with the other end of the Approximate Time Period as it's just a year before the Penn Central merger. I'll add the "at least" since at "press time" I hadn't determined the eventual disposition of the Rapids sleepers. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

550 00 070, $26.60.
Smoothside 6-6-4 Sleeper Car, Southern Pacific.

Silver with red band. Silver roadname inside red band. Small "winged circle" device and reporting marks (SP 9155) at bottom center.
Approximate Time Period: 1958 to 1962 (for this car specifically).
NOTE: This release has been sold out and discontinued.

I thought I was in big trouble with this release, as what I know about Southern Pacific passenger cars would fit into a thimble with room to spare. Fortunately, there's a rundown of the Espee's paint schemes for passenger cars on Richard Percy's "My Espee Modeler's" site. I'll quote Jim Lancaster, who provided the content to Richard, directly here: "In 1950 the streamlined Sunset Limited went into service between Los Angeles and New Orleans. The cars were stainless steel with a red letterboard. This was known as the Sunset color scheme. It lasted until 1958... In 1958 the SP adopted a simplified Sunset color scheme as their standard for all passenger cars." © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

It's the simplified Sunset scheme that's depicted on this car. With some exceptions, this was the SP's paint scheme until the coming of Amtrak in 1971. I didn't locate a photo of the exact SP 9155 MTL chose online, but I've been told that the series for these cars was 9150 to 9165. There is a five part article in Mainline Modeler on painting SP Passenger Cars that ran from April to September 1995 - magazines not in the Research Accumulation. The only hit I got on line referred to the SP 9155 as a 6-6-4 sleeper that was part of the Union Pacific's "City of San Francisco" consist in 1950. I also noted that some of the SP's Pullman-Standard 10-6 sleepers (not any 6-6-4s) were "blunt end" and were used on the end of the train; not exactly observation cars, these! © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

And that's my not a full thimble's worth. UMTRR Special Correspondent David Carnell fills in more. "Since Iím a member of the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society," he writes, "Iíve been able to get copies of the passenger car books they are doing. Theyíve done three volumes with at least two more to come. These books are the ultimate reference for SP passenger equipment. They are each almost 600 pages long filled with color and black & white photos and probably weigh about 10 pounds each.

So let's find out about SP 9155 with David's help. Our reference is "Southern Pacific Passenger Cars, Volume 2: Sleepers & Baggage-Dorms" by the SPH&TS. Information on this car is found in Chapter 7: Pullman-Standard Pre-War Sleeping Car Development and Production, 1939-1942, pages 326 to 333. This car is a 6 Section, 6 Roomette, 4 Double Bedroom (6-6-4) Sleeper (Plan 4099, Diagram 282) and it was built as part of a 119 car order for American car sleepers assigned to service on SP, UP, CNW, CRI&P, SF, Erie, MP, and IC. SP 9155 was part of an 11 car series built for the SP and assigned to the San Francisco Overland Limited. SP 9155 was built May 27, 1942 and named American Rampart and delivered in the Overland two tone gray paint scheme. It was repainted into UP Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray with SP lettering on August 11, 1947. The name was removed and the car number SP 9155 June 2, 1949. We donít have an exact date that the car was repainted in the Sunset Scheme (actually referred to as the Scarlet and Simulated Stainless Steel Scheme). SP simplified the passenger paint scheme in the late 1950ís and chose the Sunset scheme. SP 9155 was rebuilt to an automatic buffet car 10609 in July 1962. That narrows the ATP to about 1958 to 1962. Other 6-6-4 sleepers from this series served the Sunset Limited, the Golden State, and the Lark. Many of these cars in this Sunset scheme lasted until the creation of Amtrak.

David adds a note about blunt end sleepers. "SP had only a handful of actual boat tail observation cars and found them to be too inflexible for regular service. SPís solution was the blunt end sleeper that had a semi-streamlined flat end without a diaphragm and a full rear light package on the roof. This made the cars look like observations but allowed them to be used in mid-train service. SP had PS and Budd 10-6 blunt end sleepers in Golden State, Sunset and City of San Francisco service. No 6-6-4's were delivered or converted to blunt end cars." © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

982 01 181 and 981 01 182, $175.95 each
Road Numbers: 7000 and 7008 (will be "PRR 7000" and "PRR 7008" in website listings).
GP-9 Diesels, Pennsylvania Railroad.

"Dark Green Locomotive Enamel" (black, basically) with "buff" (off-yellow) lettering including roadname on long hood and road number on cab. Black railings, frame and trucks. White numberboards.
Approximate Time Period: 1955 to early 1970's.
NOTE: This release (both numbers) has been sold out and discontinued.

The PRR EFS17m Class-- we call them GP-9s-- numbered from 7000 to 7269, not counting B units! That's 270 of the unit, more than most railroads had in total diesel power. These locomotives were delivered by Electro-Motive from 1955 to 1959; the two numbers MTL chose were built in '55. A 1966 photo of the 7000 shows that the prototype had dynamic brakes, as the MTL model does. The real one also had the distinctive "train antenna" assembly atop the unit-- come on, you didn't really expect Micro-Trains to provide that, did you? (But it does seem to be an aftermarket opportunity.) The shot of the 7000 plus lots of other GP-9 photos are on the "Fallen Flags" website. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The 7000, as you might have guessed, was the first GP-9 built for the PRR, and it survived into not only Penn Central but into Conrail, where its last assignment was switching the former Central Railroad of New Jersey's shops at Elizabethport. (Which more than likely means I saw it in person.) The diesel then went to NJ Transit when the E'Port shops went to that agency, and later it was donated to the United Railway Historical Society of New Jersey. Restored to its original appearance, it is leased to the Cape May Seashore Lines according to the information I've found online. Head to to see what the 7000 looked like when in the employ of NJ Transit, but be warned, it's not pretty. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The 7008, like its brethren, kept its PRR road number into Penn Central and then into Conrail. The Conrail Cyclopedia reports that all GP-9s were retired by 1999. Thirty of the units were traded in to General Electric as part of the purchase of B40-8s in 1988, but these two weren't among those. Conrail also rebuilt a fair number of GP-9s into GP-10s, but again, I didn't see the 7000 or 7008 in that listing. I'm going to assume for the ATP that Penn Central did repaint or at least restencil the Pennsy paint within a few years of the PC merger. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

Z SCALE REPRINTS: No releases this month.

These releases are covered exclusively in the Subscriber version of the UMTRR.


New Release: 860 00 050, $31.65
Reporting Marks: WP&Y 671.
30 Foot Composite Gondola, White Pass and Yukon.

Brown with white lettering including reporting marks along bottom of entire side. Simulated rock load included.
Approximate Time Period: 1900's to 1980's, but see text.
NOTE: This item has been sold out and discontinued.

Hey, how about a bingo on a narrow gauge car for a change? Hurray, I have one in the form of a prototype photo of the 671 on Bruce Pryor's "Narrow Gauge Pictures from Off The Beaten Path" site. Among the "wood flat cars" we see how easy it is to convert a flat car to a gondola: just add sides. This also explains why the lettering is across the bottom of the car: it's the flat car part! Silly me. © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.

The MTL car is actually a bit "too much" of a gondola to qualify as an exact match; on the real 671, the ends of the "gondola" part were recessed a bit from the ends of the flat car. And the gondola sides are more rough and less straight than on the Micro-Trains car. A second close up photo shows how the sides are attached via the stake pockets on the flat car. Perhaps the worst of it, though, is that the real car had a truss rod underframe and the model does not. The photos were taken in Carcross, Yukon Territory and are, sadly, undated, which doesn't help the attempt to provide an Approximate Time Period. I already know not to check Equipment Registers since the WP&Y was not ever listed in them. The history of the White Pass prior to its becoming strictly a tourist operation ranged from its opening in 1900 (with the "golden spike" being driven at Carcross) to its shutdown in 1982. However, the railroad did acquire narrow gauge rolling stock in the 1940's so that and the 1950's might be a better range estimate. According to a roster I found online, the road number 671 is now being used by an open hopper originally from the East Broad Top, so the ATP would not include "to present." © 2009 George J. Irwin. All rights reserved. Reposting prohibited.