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Rolling Stock appropriate for era?

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Rolling Stock appropriate for era?
Posted by gdelmoro on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:21 PM

Hi all, I'm trying to find out what freight rolling stock is appropriate for the Steam - Diesel transition. My layout is basically a short line with access to a large city, and about 4 Industries (Lumber mill, Lumber yard, a Car Ferry service that links to the Western pacific, a freight terminal and two passanger stops). The passenger cars are easier to date but its Freight cars I need a resource for.

Gary

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Posted by Bundy74 on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:37 PM

Try any one of the links below.  You can search by date on some of them.

http://www.steamerafreightcars.com/

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/Search/SearchPhotos.aspx

http://photos.greatrails.net/search/

Some of these will have photos of yards and trains, which will give you a good idea of the mix.  If you have a parent road or a road you interchange with you can search for cars under their reporting marks too.

Assuming a no-later-than date of 1955, you'll see a combo of wood and steel cars, 40' and 50' boxcars, few covered hoppers, and a wide range of other cars.  

Modeling whatever I can make out of that stash of kits that takes up half my apartment's spare bedroom.

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 6:54 PM

Lumber would be boxcars and flat cars, freight house would be boxcars

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 11:38 PM

gdelmoro

Hi all, I'm trying to find out what freight rolling stock is appropriate for the Steam - Diesel transition...but its Freight cars I need a resource for.

 

There is a list of every freight car in interchange for any quarter of any year during that time.  It is called the "Official Railway Equipment Register".

 

Ed

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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:10 AM

sone 

7j43k
There is a list of every freight car in interchange for any quarter of any year during that time.  It is called the "Official Railway Equipment Register".  

Westerfield Models  http://www.westerfieldmodels.com/9101.html   has some Official Equipment Registers on CD.  The oldest is from 1885 and the latest 1965.    Go to their secure store to find them.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:51 AM

One thing you'll notice looking at transition era freight trains is the difference in car sizes. You could have a 50', 10-1/2' high boxcar coupled to a 38' 8-1/2' high reefer. Although the 40' by 8-1/2' steel boxcar became standard for new construction in the late thirties, in the 1950's you could still find quite a few 40' by 8-1/2' boxcars - some all steel, some with single-sheathed or double-sheathed wood sides.

One thing to keep in mind is you not only need to learn about what types of cars are appropriate, you need to know which paint schemes are appropriate. A boxcar built in 1942 would be fine on your layout - unless it's decorated for Penn Central or Burlington Northern!

Stix
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Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:07 AM

Gary,

One of the things you may want to consider are the built and re-weigh dates on the cars you do acquire.  They should fall within the end date for the era you choose.    I suppose that that date could be a bit later for a short line than with a major, maybe an extra 8 - 10 years?  Not only do you want to avoid car bodies that didn't yet exist, you can have old bodies that have been refurbed and repainted with dates beyond your established range.  If you acquire a pre-lettered car that has dates that are incompatible with the bodies or are beyond the end of your era, you may be subject to two issues: the sharp eyes of RR-minded folks admiring your pike, or the labors you'll have to go through to re-letter them.  That's a factor of just how exact (anal?) you are with such things.

And one thing to keep in mind on your research: King Solomon said that "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body."  I'm discovering too late how true that is!  I wonder if anyone has ever discussed in these forums the "down-side" of research and how to recognize when it's time to wind it up . . . 

John

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 11:14 AM

I can be as good at research at anyone! 

The remarks about King Solomon above are exactly on target.

You can look at the Built or Repaint/Shop dates on every single freight car you pick up.  You can determine the end of the steam era on your railroad, real or imagined and set a month and year in time as your final cutoff date for steam operations.

However, what happens, or at least what happened for me personally, is only heartache.

Excepting the plethora of Pacific Fruit Express Reefers, the number of TRUE 100% steam era freight cars available on the market is NOT whatever you think it is.  In MANY cases, the 40' boxcars readily available from Kadee or elsewhere represent repainted cars that do NOT belong behind steam, even if you are modeling Colorado & Southern during fall of 1962 (the last gasp of mainline, Class 1 railroad, steam operation in America, with only one 2-8-0 still running.)

Those beautiful Rutland PS-1 green and yellow boxcars date from 1957, after most railroads had abandoned steam.  The Blue and Black B&M boxcars, from 1956.  The hot yellow Kadee ACY boxcar is a 1964 repaint of an earlier freight car red boxcar, and was limited to very few yellow repaints (perhaps only ACY 745).  The red GB&W Kadee 40' boxcar is a 1968 repaint, and on and on it goes.  The vast majority of Kadee 50' boxcars do not belong behind steam at all, are 1957 and later boxcars.

Excepting the refrigerator cars, most steam era freight cars were brown, black, or occasionally silver (tank cars). 

Most Intermountain ATSF stock cars are post-steam era rebuilds and repaints.  Only the early ones belong behind steam.  Many Intermountain ATSF reefers represent post-steam era repaints.

People like myself, born during 1968, tend to prefer more modern freight cars including the colorful boxcars of the 1960's and 1970's.  It can be difficult to rationalize putting any of them behind a steam engine, or even early diesels (a lot of Alco road switchers were already going to scrap by the mid-1960's).

It's my railroad, and I run what I want to run on it.  Unfortunately, that means most of my freight cars are averaging 1 decade or more too new as compared to the factual last dates of operation of my steam power in real life.

Respectfully submitted,

John Mock

P.S. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been in a store and picked up an interesting new freight car, contemplated buying it, and then put it down realizing that it was just way way too new for "transition era" modeling, at any stretch.

One of the reasons I sold so much plastic recently was the realization that virtually my entire freight car roster was so implausibly modern as compared to my steam power (Rock Island 2-8-2's scrapped during February, 1953, and T&P steam, scrapped by 1952) that my trains were somewhat of a "joke".

 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 11:41 AM

True transition era modeling means no, zero at all, of the following (all of which includes stuff I personally would love to have on my layout, and most of which is now gone):

Santa Fe bright red "Shock Control" or otherwise boxcars, no red cars at all.  No Santa Fe diesels beyond black and silver zebra stripe paint scheme.  No Rock Island blue freight equipment of any kind.  No Illinois Central orange boxcars or freight cars of any kind.  No big SP/SSW/Cotton Belt "billboard" large lettering style cars of any kind.  No UP Yellow "We Can Handle It" or newer boxcars.  No Western Pacific orange and silver boxcars (WP steam gone very early).  No Rio Grande "Aspen Gold" and Silver boxcars (other than narrow gauge, they are generally from 1964)...

True, authentic transition era freight rosters involved saying no to far more things than saying yes.  In the end I have found that depressing and just chosen to enjoy my steam and pull what I want to pull behind it.

Still, I feel guilty running the plain brown Cotton Belt 60' auto parts boxcar (new date of 1971) behind a steam engine scrapped during 1953, as if I'm committing some kind of unpardonable sin, almost.  Likewise the beautiful Genesis Illinois Central orange autorack from 1966...The only thing keeping a few freight cars around is that my son likes them.  Otherwise, they'd be gone and still might go.

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, March 17, 2017 11:58 AM

PRR8259
No Western Pacific orange and silver boxcars (WP steam gone very early).

The first batch of these cars were delivered in November of 1951. Steam on the WP lasted until at least 1953. But examples of that WP boxcar were also certainly interchanged to the SP, where steam was regularly in service until 1956 … and a few stragglers beyond.

 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:00 PM

As a matter of fact, we tend to hold up as a "higher standard" those folks whose layouts appear in the various magazines.  I can pick up any magazine, and for most featured layouts, start picking out the freight cars that simply do not belong behind the owner's steam power.

So I think perhaps I researched too much for too long, and can tell you the end is not necessarily happiness and contentment.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:02 PM

cuyama
 
PRR8259
No Western Pacific orange and silver boxcars (WP steam gone very early).

 

The first batch of these cars were delivered in November of 1951. Steam on the WP lasted until at least 1953. But examples of that WP boxcar were also certainly interchanged to the SP, where steam was regularly in service until 1956 … and a few stragglers beyond.

 

You better check your WP facts.  Most were delivered brown with black ends.  There is a one page website that goes through ALL WP box car paint schemes, if you search for it.  There were NO orange 40' boxcars during the steam era, excepting one or two single experimental paint scheme PS-1 boxcars, numbered 1952 and/or 1953 (and often produced and sold in large numbers in model train form).  But that one, or at most two, car lot was not at all the norm.

During 1955 they received fifty 50' PS-1 boxcars in the famous orange with silver feather scheme.  However, it is important to remember that they had quite literally thousands of ordinary brown PS-1 boxcars, so seeing those orange/silver feather cars would have been...rare.

Also, just because some steam lasted into 1953, well...much WP steam never operated past 1950.  The magnificent Challengers were done early because diesel power was ideally suited to their Nevada desert terrain.  The 2-8-8-2's lasted a little bit longer because they were ideally suited to the speeds and geometry of the Feather River Canyon.

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Posted by maxman on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:02 PM

gdelmoro
I'm trying to find out what freight rolling stock is appropriate for the Steam - Diesel transition.

When is the "steam-diesel transition"?  Or more importantly, which year of this transition are you interested in?  Is it the year that the first diesel appeared on your prototype railroad, or the year when the last steam engine dropped its fire for the last time?  Note that whichever of these years you choose will not be the same for other prototypes since they all did not have the same beginning and ending transition dates.

Once you figure that out, then as others suggested you can get a copy of the ORER for that year.  Any car listed would be appropriate for you, and any car not listed would be inappropriate.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:09 PM

The ORER only gives car numbers.  It does NOT tell you what paint scheme the car wore.  Many commercially available freight cars, available rtr, represent later era "repaints" and "rebuilds" of those earlier cars.

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:09 PM

PRR8259
You better check your WP facts.

Well, one of us should.

http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/other_cars/wp_cars/wp_number/020801-021400.htm

 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:16 PM

The scheme worn by the vast majority of WP boxcars, until the rebuilts and few upgraded cars of 1955-6, was the dark brown with Feather River Route herald.

The link you provided includes photos of numerous repainted cars.  They were not factory new in the early 50's in those schemes.

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:19 PM

PRR8259
The link you provided includes photos of numerous repainted cars.  They were not factory new in the early 50's in those schemes.

Read the text. Bottom line, there were colorful WP boxcars in silver and orange in the early and mid 1950s and they prototypically were pulled behind the last of WP's steam until 1953 and SP steam until 1956.

PRR8259
The scheme worn by the vast majority of WP boxcars,

That's not what you said in your earlier post -- you categorically denied silver and orange WP appearing behind steam.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:22 PM

From Kadee's Website: 

The yellow-orange lettering of the feather on the brown boxcar side is a 1956 repaint.

The yellow lettering on brown boxcar (The Western Way) is a 1958 repaint.

Steam in much of the country was dead by 1956, so I don't know what else to say.

There was only EVER one or two Orange 40' WP boxcars.  It's quite well documented elsewhere, including TLC books.

The 50' rebuilds...were one or two lots of 50 cars or so done in 1955 or 56.

Most nearly all WP boxcars were freight car red/brown during the steam era, excepting those few 50' rebuilds, and the one or two orange cars (and there may have been 50 silver 40' cars).  They had thousands of boxcars, mostly brown.

John

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, March 17, 2017 12:29 PM

PRR8259
During 1955 they received fifty 50' PS-1 boxcars in the famous orange with silver feather scheme. 

So there were silver and orange cars beginning in 1951 (text from website I posted). And you acknowledge even more cars in 1955. And steam lasted on WP's major connection SP through 1956. Sounds like Adam and Jamie would classify your myth of no colorful WP boxcars ever appearing behind steam as "Busted".

But do carry on.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Friday, March 17, 2017 4:54 PM

Oh, the humanity!  Don't you find the nits to be less annoying than the nitpickers?

I have a tremendous advantage.  Since I saw all of my freight fleet with my own Mark One Mod Zero eyeballs I KNOW the numbers are valid and the paint schemes accurate.  About 90% of the latter are black with white stenciling, just the way they appear on my layout.  (Can't say lettering.  There are no 'letters' in Japanese.)  As for the few that aren't, I know what colors were used, and why.

Modeling a single month and a national monopoly also helps.  My JNR data will provide in-service and end-of-service dates at a glance.  If the car is too early for my time frame I add the 'Tomi Maru' insignia above the reporting marks and consign it to my freelance coal hauler, possibly with modifications the prototype never heard of.

Then, too, I'm not one to let absolute fidelity to prototype straitjacket my modeling fun.  That's why I model in Universe #13, Alfred E. Neumann - "What, me worry?"

A last thought.  Beware of absolutes, like 'always, never, not before/after...' in debating.  All it takes is a single contrary example to invalidate the argument.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - more or less)

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Posted by olson185 on Friday, March 17, 2017 9:32 PM

wjstix

One thing you'll notice looking at transition era freight trains is the difference in car sizes. You could have a 50', 10-1/2' high boxcar coupled to a 38' 8-1/2' high reefer. Although the 40' by 8-1/2' steel boxcar became standard for new construction in the late thirties, in the 1950's you could still find quite a few 40' by 8-1/2' boxcars - some all steel, some with single-sheathed or double-sheathed wood sides.

One thing to keep in mind is you not only need to learn about what types of cars are appropriate, you need to know which paint schemes are appropriate. A boxcar built in 1942 would be fine on your layout - unless it's decorated for Penn Central or Burlington Northern!

To Newcomers: "...unless it's decorated for Penn Central or Burlington Northern!", or any other railroad co. (or paint scheme) that didn't exist yet.

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Posted by olson185 on Friday, March 17, 2017 9:58 PM

Attuvian

Gary,

One of the things you may want to consider are the built and re-weigh dates on the cars you do acquire.  They should fall within the end date for the era you choose.    ...  Not only do you want to avoid car bodies that didn't yet exist, you can have old bodies that have been refurbed and repainted with dates beyond your established range.  If you acquire a pre-lettered car that has dates that are incompatible with the bodies or are beyond the end of your era, you may be subject to two issues: the sharp eyes of RR-minded folks admiring your pike, or the labors you'll have to go through to re-letter them.  That's a factor of just how exact (anal?) you are with such things. ....

John

I've yet come across any article that addresses identification of rolling stock by era/decade/whatever in order to avoid the more obvious anachronisms.  So far I'm finding most "new" (NEW) and "built" (BLT) dates are given (painted) as the same. 

One of the things I'd like to be able to do, however, is to know some of the more obvious "tells" that would indicate if a later BLT date indicates a newer design or simply a more recently built car of an older design.

ACY
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Posted by ACY on Friday, March 17, 2017 10:48 PM

I've yet come across any article that addresses identification of rolling stock by era/decade/whatever in order to avoid the more obvious anachronisms.  So far I'm finding most "new" (NEW) and "built" (BLT) dates are given (painted) as the same.

 

[/quote]

I've seen a few articles that discuss the subject in general terms, but it's much too broad to cover comprehensively in less than several volumes. Jeff Wilson's Kalmbach book on freight cars of the late steam era is pretty good, as are some of Ted Culotta's books available from Speedwitch. 

Tom

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Posted by gdelmoro on Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:11 AM

Well, its clear although I've been a Model Railroader since I was 6 and into scale Model Railroading for about 40 years... I have a lot to learn!  Now to achieve the balance between absolute accuracy and enjoyment. Wish me luck Indifferent

Gary

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Posted by gdelmoro on Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:13 AM

MAXMAN I'm looking to stay between 1940 & 1960

Gary

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:24 AM

tomikawaTT

Oh, the humanity!  Don't you find the nits to be less annoying than the nitpickers? 

LOL

I love the smell of argument in the morning.  Laugh

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:04 AM

Duplicate post

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:21 AM

ACY
I've seen a few articles that discuss the subject in general terms, but it's much too broad to cover comprehensively in less than several volumes. Jeff Wilson's Kalmbach book on freight cars of the late steam era is pretty good, as are some of Ted Culotta;s books available from Speedwitch.  Tom Add Quote to your Post

Although there is no overall comprehensive source it is possible, with a lot of work,  to find a lot of such information about some individual railroads in books and on the internet. 

This site is one of them  http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/  It is the site linked in the discussion of the WP cars in this thread.. There is some info on more than 70 railroads.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:18 AM

ACY
So far I'm finding most "new" (NEW) and "built" (BLT) dates are given (painted) as the same.  

Today many, but not all, the model  manufactures are endevoring to have the paint schemes on the correct cars and the dates match the paint schemes.    

In the "good old days" many of the models  had a mix of the features of two or more car builders products.  The paint schemes were usually based on photographs, but sometimes the car they were applied to had only a superfical resemblance to the prototype and there was little concern about the dates.  

Ultimately you only have to please yourself.  Very few people will notice as long as you stay away from glaring inconsistancies (for example  a tri-level autorack on a railroad set in 1950). 

Many years ago I was a member of a club that would sometimes set a time period and for that session only allow models from that time period on the layout.  I brought a couple WP 80" auto parts cars in their origional paint scheme and was told they were too new. They apologized latter after confirming that my contention that the cars had been in service for at over a year  as of the end date of the session. 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by olson185 on Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:20 PM

7j43k
gdelmoro

Hi all, I'm trying to find out what freight rolling stock is appropriate for the Steam - Diesel transition...but its Freight cars I need a resource for.

There is a list of every freight car in interchange for any quarter of any year during that time.  It is called the "Official Railway Equipment Register".

Ed

As far as I have found, digital scans of the Register are available up to 1917 and search term indicies only are avail. after that year.  There are also a smattering of copies being sold on eBay for about $50-100.

Is there a source I'm not finding?

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