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Reflectors on RR cars

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Reflectors on RR cars
Posted by JDawg on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:44 AM

I model the 50's, and many of the freight cars I have are detailed with these little white dashes along the bottom of the car. I always assumed these were intended to be a representation of a reflector strip. Is this the case? Or am I wrong in that assumption? The reason I ask is I am thinking of adding some small pieces of reflective tape on such cars, but I want to be semi prototypical.  

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 9:55 AM

I believe in the 1950's the dots or dashes you'd see on cars were a type of paint with reflective qualities, rather than the more modern reflective "conspicuity" strips. The dashes on the lower part of the cars were intended to be about the height of an automobile's headlights, so a driver would see the white stripes in the dark at a crossing that didn't have gates or flashing warning lights.

Stix
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 11:51 AM

JDawg
I model the 50's, and many of the freight cars I have are detailed with these little white dashes along the bottom of the car.

Looking at GN cars it appears that some were painted with stripes or dots at the bottom of the sides, but it was largely a GN thing. Most other railroads did not do that

If they did, in the 1950's the would most likely just be paint.  The reflectorized tape stripes weren't required until the 1980's-1990's or so.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 1:19 PM

I have no idea of when it started but 1950s sounds early to me for some reason.

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Posted by azrail on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 2:35 PM

Reflective tape like Scotchlite came into use in the late 50s. Santa Fe started using the circle-cross reflectors in 1959-when they introduced the large circle logo on boxcars.

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Posted by BN7150 on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 7:14 PM

Including the 60's and 70's.

DrW
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Posted by DrW on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:16 PM

BN7150

 

 

I am a bit puzzled by the black strips on the yellow car. Are they prototypical? Black is not reflecting anything.

JW

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:23 PM

DrW
I am a bit puzzled by the black strips on the yellow car.

Those are probably unprototypical 'tabs' that secure the body to the floor.

 

Good luck, Ed

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:43 PM

gmpullman
 
DrW
I am a bit puzzled by the black strips on the yellow car.

 

Those are probably unprototypical 'tabs' that secure the body to the floor.

 

Good luck, Ed

 

I can see "rivet heads'' in those black marks.

It is a Athearn car. The body color is Gold and is CB&Q #17786 and came in a three car Special Edition pack.

I can not say if that gold car #17786 came in a single car box.

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Posted by dti406 on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:48 PM

gmpullman

 

 
DrW
I am a bit puzzled by the black strips on the yellow car.

 

Those are probably unprototypical 'tabs' that secure the body to the floor.

 

Good luck, Ed

 

Whoever did that car screwed up, here is the one I did!

Rick Jesionowski

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

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Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 9:19 PM

Rick, now that looks to be an excellent job.

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Posted by BN7150 on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 9:29 PM

This model is one of Athearn Special Edition #2314 3-car set sold in 1997.

The following photo and description are taken from page 47 of the photo book "CB&Q Color Guide to Freight and Pasenger Equipment" by Michael J. Spoor. (Click the image to enlarge)

These cars may have left the shops with the roofwalk removed. 1966 is subtle.

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Posted by JDawg on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 11:21 PM

So suffice to say it was reflective, regardless of the material used? I thought that the 50's seemed early for reflective anything on a RR but I could find no other reason for the dashes.

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow is a Mystery.

But today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present. 

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, August 4, 2022 1:56 PM

DrW

Black is not reflecting anything.

 

You'd be surprised. Note the reflective ScotchLite nose and side logos on this CP tribute unit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/133078587@N08/49563943661

That's black under normal light conditions:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/k8dti/52164468754/

 

DrW
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Posted by DrW on Thursday, August 4, 2022 3:29 PM

cv_acr

 

 
DrW

Black is not reflecting anything.

 

 

 

You'd be surprised. Note the reflective ScotchLite nose and side logos on this CP tribute unit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/133078587@N08/49563943661

That's black under normal light conditions:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/k8dti/52164468754/

 

 

 

Thanks for the pics. I am indeed surprised. Still, I do not think that a railroad would go to this degree of sophistication at the end of the 1950s.

JW

 

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Posted by ndbprr on Saturday, August 6, 2022 9:08 AM

More importantly if it started in 1959 it would have taken considedrable time for all cars to have tape applied so the answer to the original posters question is to apply tape to a few cars only if he is modeling 1959.

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, August 6, 2022 9:45 AM

Plus it seems linke a CB&Q and successors thing in those eras.  Other railroads won't adopt it to much, much later.  Plus those reflectors wouldn't be applied until the cars were repainted, all the "legacy" cars that were built in the 30's and 40's wouldn't have the reflectors.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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