Sunday, July 29, 2012

“Shake ’n’ Take” KCS rebuilt box car--conclusion


With the model work about completed (except for application of the etched metal running board), as described in Part 2 of this series (here is a link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/07/shake-n-take-kcs-rebuilt-box-car-part-2.html ), I proceeded to painting.
     I washed the model gently, with a few drops of dishwashing liquid in lots of water, and dried it outdoors in the sunshine. This removes any fingerprint oils accumulated during model work. Once it was dry, I used drafting tape to mask the roof. (What is called “masking tape” has a much stronger adhesive than drafting tape, and that degree of adhesion is undesirable for some uses–so I usually use drafting tape.) I then airbrushed the body with Floquil Boxcar Red, with my old Badger airbrush. It’s a single-action, external-mix, utterly basic airbrush, which I use for this kind of overall painting job. I also have and do use a nice double-action Thayer & Chandler brush, but normally only for weathering.
     As I was about to airbrush the model, I was reminded of a friend who asked, at the time I lived in Pittsburgh, if I could give him a couple of tips on airbrushing, since he was trying to learn. I immediately said, “Here’s my two rules for successful airbrushing. First, after use, clean the airbrush carefully. Two, clean the airbrush really thoroughly.”
     That may sound like the answer to a different question, but here’s why I put it that way. I think paint application can be learned fairly quickly with a little practice, but keeping the airbrush clean is essential no matter what you’re doing. And in fact that’s one thing I like about my old Badger brush–it’s very easy to clean.
     As soon as the paint had dried somewhat, I removed the tape. Once painting is done, further adhesion time by your tape mask does you no favors. Then let the model dry thoroughly. Since the roof at this point was still unpainted black plastic, I could rest the model on the roof in the sunshine to get it really dry. I follow the old adage, “If you can still smell solvent when you sniff the model, it isn’t dry yet.” I then added a light coat of Floquil Gloss for decaling.
     The “Shake ’n’ Take” kit included a nice set of Kansas City Southern decals. These were originally created by Erich Kote of Digital Fox and were available from 5th Avenue Car shops. A suitable decal set is available from Jerry Glow (at: http://home.comcast.net/~jerryglow/decals/full.html ; scroll down to KCS). It’s also possible that a usable set can be purchased from Oddballs Decals (http://mopac1.tripod.com/oddballs3.htm#KCS ), although I can’t find the decal set number on the site. So to order, you should contact Tom Stolte, owner of Oddballs, at: <mopac12@gmail.com>, and clarify the status.
     The lettering is fairly simple. Here is a car drawing, done originally by Jeff Koeller for Mainline Modeler. With permission, it was included in the kit directions (the complete directions are available on Google Docs at this link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz_ctrHrDz4wenUyOEphUE9ndDg/edit ).


     Then the last bit of modeling was to install Kadee #58 couplers and the Accurail kit trucks, with Reboxx 0.088-inch wheelsets, as I normally do with freight cars. Then I attached the etched-metal running board with model airplane canopy cement, and painted it black. An overall coat of Floquil Flat protected the lettering.
     Finally, I applied my usual acrylic-wash weathering, to reflect a car in service for four years (from the rebuilding time of 1949 to my modeling year of 1953). It is also just inside the reweigh time span for this car, which would be 48 months. A clinic handout, from the joint presentation on weathering techniques by Richard Hendrickson and me, is available at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/10/weathering-clinic-handout.html . And with all that completed, I added a small square of colored paper as a route card on the door.
     Here are two views of the completed model, on my layout at the town of Ballard. I think the second one shows detail a bit better.


     Would you like to do this project? Although it’s no longer possible to obtain a 2006 “Shake ’n’ Take” kit, you can acquire all the major parts. You would need an Accurail 40-foot AAR box car kit (any 3500-series car; they offer it undecorated) and a fishbelly USRA underframe, which you can buy separately as part 105. In my first post in this series, I gave contact information for purchase of the resin side sills from Chad Boas. Lastly, as mentioned, decals are available from Jerry Glow.
     Before closing, I should mention that a second article about modeling this car was published by Railroad Model Craftsman, by Mont Switzer (April 2009, pages 89 to 93). Mont’s approach is much the same as Greg’s (as cited in the first two installments on the KCS model in this blog), except for using a Branchline box car body instead of Accurail. This provides slightly more accurate ends and has separate ladders and end detail. Some may find it a more satisfying approach.
     This project probably doesn’t meet Greg Martin’s original criterion of a “weekend project,” but it is a fairly simple and straightforward modeling job, and results in an interesting freight car. I enjoyed it, especially as enhanced by Chad Boas’s excellent side sill castings. And thanks again, Greg, for your idea, and all your work in bringing “Shake ’n’ Take” to reality.
Tony Thompson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

“Shake ’n’ Take” KCS rebuilt box car--Part 2

When I last described this project, the underframe and brake gear changes had been made, and the body interior braced to have parallel sides. I also trimmed off the “tabs” of the side sill, as indicated in that first post: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/07/shake-n-take-2006-project-kcs-rebuilt.html . Incidentally, I found it easier to slice them off with a razor saw, rather than trying to cut or file them away.
     My next step was to attach the weight. I prefer to keep car weights away from potential use of screws to attach trucks or couplers. With full-carlength weights like those provided by Accurail, I simply hacksaw them in half, file smooth, and glue them piggyback. For dissimilar materials like the styrene car floor and the steel weight pieces, I like to use model airplane canopy cement.


     The Chad Boas side sills, described in the first post, are lovely parts, with excellent detail. They are just a little too thick to fit between the Accurail underframe and body used for this project, so I gently sanded the backs of them, using an old glass plate as a flat surface under the sandpaper:


    Once that was done, the sills were placed alongside the Accurail floor assembly and cemented in place with CA. The nice fit of the sill details to the car body is shown pretty well here. To repeat, use of these sills is the major departure I’ve made from Greg Martin’s clear and detailed “Shake ’n’ Take” directions (a link to a PDF of the directions on Google Docs was provided in the first post, cited above).


     With the body assembled, I next added sill steps, using A-Line Style A steps. Greg’s directions depict the use of a support block, similar to a method I also use (see: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/12/modeling-project-m-box-car.html ). These are needed to assist in getting the steps as close to the front surface of the sills as possible (the prototype steps were mounted directly on the side sill.)
     My next step was body detailing. Greg’s directions show nicely his method of replacing ladder rungs with 0.010-inch styrene rod, but he didn’t show how the replacement of bracket grab iron rungs worked. I decided to try the method with the grabs, carefully carving off the cast rungs but saving the brackets, then applying the 0.010-inch rod.
     I added a Universal brake wheel (left over from a pack of Kato covered hoppers), but if I were applying a new one, there is none better than the Kadee part. On the other hand, I like etched metal running boards better than the Kadee injection molded part, so I will use a Plano walk (the running board locating holes in the body were filled with the pins from the kit running board). I also used some of the 0.010-inch styrene rod in the “Shake ’n’ Take” kit to add a retainer line to the B end. Here is the car ready for the paint shop. The roof will be masked while the body is painted boxcar red, so the running board is not yet applied.


You can see the 0.010-inch styrene grab iron rungs and retainer line. The A-Line steps are also visible on both sides. The trucks are temporary.
     I think I will stop here, since the painting and lettering call for a somewhat different discussion, and let this post complete the modeling part of the project.
Tony Thompson

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My erroneous model photo

It’s impressive how often sharp eyes will find any errors one may make in modeling. My friend Arved Grass certainly has such a pair of eyes, and he caught me. One of my reefer models, PFE 6352, was shown being loaded with wine in barrels in the post on “Wine as an industrial commodity” (here’s a link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/02/wine-as-industrial-commodity.html ). What did Arved catch? The paint scheme was wrong. I’ve now corrected that post (more on that in a minute), so let me explain.
     First, what was wrong with the original photo? In PFE’s paint scheme from 1946 to 1951, which was the first with both railroad emblems on both sides of the car, the SP emblem was always nearest the door, on both sides of the car, and the UP emblem was nearer the car end. It’s convenient for model manufacturers, of course, because the two car sides are identical, unlike the period 1922–1946 and the time after 1951, when the two sides were not identical. In 1922–1946, each railroad’s emblem was on one side only; after 1951, with dual emblems, the SP emblem was toward the “B” end of the car on each side. But my model is wrong, because it has the 1946-1950 paint scheme, but with the SP emblem reversed in location.
     Though reluctant to dredge it up all over again, I suppose I should exhibit the blunder one more time. If nothing else, it may serve as a cautionary tale to anyone applying lettering to a PFE model. Here ’tis.


      How did this happen? I decaled this upgraded Athearn car years before I wrote my parts of the PFE book, and long before I entirely understood PFE paint scheme eras. So the error is mine. Little by little, older cars on my layout are being replaced by better, newer models, but this one, having open ice hatches, hasn’t.
     But this same photo was used in my article on waybills in Railroad Model Craftsman (December 2009, pages 71 to 77), and in this photo in that article, the paint scheme is correct. What’s going on? Simple. In preparing that article, I realized the model paint scheme was wrong, and the simplest and fastest fix was just to correct the emblems in the photo, using Adobe Photoshop: I cut and pasted them into the right places, meanwhile correcting the oversize SP emblem from that particular old Microscale decal set. So here is the published version of the photo:


     It’s worth pointing out that neither of these photos has been used to say anything about PFE paint schemes; they were used to illustrate loading wine barrels into refrigerator cars. But of course all the modeling ought to be correct. I have replaced the offending photo in the “Wine” post cited above, and added a link to this post you are reading to explain why it has been changed.
    Part of the irony of all this, of course, is that PFE paint schemes are laid out very thoroughly in the PFE book, of which I was principal author (Pacific Fruit Express, 2nd edition, by Thompson, Church and Jones, Signature Press, 2000). The scheme under discussion is on page 185, and all the schemes are given a quite complete summary on page 418. But as I said, this model was completed well before the book. Because of its attractive feature of open ice hatches, I will likely correct the emblems on this model, rather than replace the car, but it will nevertheless be restricted to “mainline” service. (I discussed that distinction between less-accurate or less-well-detailed “mainline,” versus “all service” freight cars, in an earlier post, at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2010/12/upgrading-old-models-3.html .)
     I guess the only lesson I can draw from this problem is urge the modeler of today to take account of all the knowledge that’s out there. And of course admonish myself once more to double-check photos of older models before posting.
Tony Thompson

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thomas Industries tank cars--update

Upon posting my prior commentary about Thomas Industries HO scale tank cars, which were sold under the name Thomas Trains (here is a link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/07/thomas-industries-ho-scale-tank-cars.html ), I promptly received a reminder from a friend of another Thomas car that I own, and that I often include in my slides for operations clinics at conventions. My friend was surprised I had not included this car in the previous post. So here it is.
     It is what Thomas called a 702 body, an insulated car with a high-pressure valve bonnet and “dome” platform (the valve bonnet is not an expansion dome). Here is the car, lettered for chlorine service, which I acquired years ago in derelict condition and cleaned up. Note that the valve bonnet is scale size, unlike the familiar Athearn “chemical” car, which is produced with a valve bonnet approximately double scale size. (I’ve discussed that topic previously, including corrective measures, and if you’re interested, you can view the post here: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2010/12/upgrading-old-models-2.html .)


     The paint scheme, of blue and maroon, appears to match a deteriorated AC&F color print I have (more on that in a moment). Moreover, the lessee, Columbia Southern, is an interesting topic too. The company had its origins in two companies. One was the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (which would become PPG Industries in 1968). In 1899 PPG formed a subsidiary to manufacture soda ash (soda ash is a raw material in glassmaking). It was called Columbia Chemical Company, of Barberton, Ohio, and for some years PPG operated it as a separate division. It owned tank cars, and continued to produce alkali products as well as chlorine. (The process used was electrolysis of sodium chloride, in the form of brine, producing chlorine and sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda.) Below is an AC&F photo (courtesy Richard Hendrickson) of one of their tank cars, built in 1942, with reporting marks PPGX.



     Another thread in the story was Southern Alkali Corporation, of Corpus Christi, Texas, makers of chlorine. They apparently used the electrolysis process also, and thus also produced caustic soda. They too owned tank cars, reporting marks SACX, as with this one built in 1940:


     Southern Alkali was formed around 1930 as a joint property of PPG and American Cyanamid and Chemical Corporation. Around 1949 it was acquired entirely by PPG, which then combined Southern Alkali with Columbia Chemical to form Columbia-Southern. (Eventually it would become part of the Chemicals Division of PPG.) The large chlorine plant of Columbia-Southern at Lake Charles, Louisiana was part of PPG’s status as the second largest producer of chlorine in the U.S. (behind Dow Chemical).
     What is interesting is that the combined company, Columbia Southern, continued to use the Southern Alkali reporting marks, SACX, but with lettering and color scheme like the PPGX cars, with a large side stripe. Here is that deteriorated color print I mentioned, in which much of the dye is badly faded to brown. Obviously one cannot trust the color, but the overall appearance is pretty clear, and does seem to support the factory paint on the Thomas HO scale tank car.


     What proportions of the Columbia Southern car fleet were owned cars (SACX) and what proportion were leased from General American (GATX), I don’t know. But the Thomas model tank car appears to be a good representation of a Columbia Southern chlorine tank car.
Tony Thompson

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thomas Industries HO scale tank cars

I get questions occasionally about older models, usually those with some prototype accuracy which remains desirable today. One manufacturer in this category is Thomas Industries, selling models as “Thomas Trains.” Their tank cars were formed sheet steel, with cast white metal underframes, tank ends, and domes. Smaller parts were all metal. I am told that they offered undecorated cars, though all models, ads, and printed materials I have seen only show decorated cars.
     Thomas Industries was founded in New Jersey by Jim Thomas in the late 1940s (Jim was a founding partner, with John Tyler among others, of Mantua Metal Manufacturing). Originally the company built O scale models. In 1951 Thomas acquired Scale-Craft and Company, a maker of O scale rolling stock, and the entire company moved to a new facility in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The O scale freight cars were produced until 1964, when the dies were damaged in a fire (Jim Thomas had died in 1959 and the company was in other hands thereafter). What proportion of their line was HO scale, I haven’t been able to determine.
     To give some idea of their product range in the early 1950s, I reproduce below both sides of a flyer which was in one of the Thomas kits I have. Clearly the 701 model was a conventional single-dome tank car, the 702 body an insulated car with a dome platform, and the 706 body a six-dome insulated car. There was also a three-dome car but I’ve never seen one. (You can click on this to enlarge it.)


The letter with each model designation indicated the lettering. For example, the 701 tank car for Magnolia was M-701.
     For collectors, it may be of interest to show some kit boxes. I have two for Thomas cars, a somewhat yellow one for a Magnolia car, which I think may be a later box, and the other for one of the Roma six-dome wine cars.


The interior of the Magnolia box is interesting because it is a kind of “presentation” of the tank, showing only the dome, tank + underframe, and trucks (earlier kits did not include trucks). All the other parts are in a plastic bag underneath, except the wire handrails which are loose. Not sure I’ll build this one, so maybe I will sell it.


    The kit I’m going to describe is a six-dome Roma car (kit R-706). I showed my in-service model of this car, posed at the winery in my town of Ballard, in a prior post about wine as an industrial commodity for modelers (here’s a link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/02/wine-as-industrial-commodity.html ). I have also acquired a couple of unbuilt kits of this car.
     The six-dome kit parts are shown below. As I got it, this kit had no handrails, but these are easy to fabricate from wire. I am not showing all domes nor all screws and washers.


     The kit directions are simple and straightforward, showing that the kit is not complex to assemble. The exploded drawing shows clearly what to do (trucks are not included).


Here is the text, setting out the steps in assembly.


     Some years ago I picked up a Thomas wine car at a swap meet, which had been built at some point, but was damaged, with three domes missing. A friend in Pittsburgh simply made a mold of a dome, and cast me a whole bunch of them, enough to cover any reasonable need. And now that Owl Mountain Models makes an excellent elbow vent of the kind used on these cars, we can equip such domes with proper hardware. Here is a link to Owl Mountain’s web page about these parts (scroll down to see them): http://owlmtmodels.com/. The Thomas parts I received look like this:


The original domes have a pin which locates in the hole atop the tank, but the replacement domes are glued flat onto the car. You will note that the car needs a number of repairs and upgrades, obviously a future project, but I kind of like the real rust on the tank, and will leave that as it is.
     One inquiry I received was from a modeler interested in building one of these cars in another scale than HO. To help with that, I measured the kit parts.
     Here are some dimensions.
Underframe: length, 39' 10"; width, 9' 6"; trucks, center to center, 29' 6"
Tank: diameter, 6' 9"; length of cylindrical part, 35' 10"
Domes: diameter, 3' 3"; minimum height of cylindrical part, 18"
Center to center spacing of domes in car middle: 6'
Walkways: side, 11" wide; dome, 8" wide
      The Thomas Trains tank cars do show up at auctions and swap meets, and of course in on-line sales (though then you can’t be as sure of condition). They make up into pretty good models if not already built, and if built, can readily be upgraded to fill gaps in the available tank car models we have.
Tony Thompson

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

“Shake ’n’ Take” 2006 project: KCS rebuilt box car

The “Shake ’n’ Take” project at the Prototype Rails meeting in Cocoa Beach, Florida in January, 2006 was a rebuilt 40-foot Kansas City Southern box car. These cars were rebuilt by KCS in 1949 from USRA 40-ton double-sheathed box cars, with 1950s steel sides, roofs and ends. Accordingly, they had the usual kind of underframe of USRA rebuilds, with inset side sills supporting the wider body of the newer carbody design.
     The number series for these KCS cars was 15500–15599. The cars were an original allocation from the USRA, built by Keith Car & Manufacturing Company (per the standard reference on USRA freight cars, James E. Lane’s article in the R&LHS publication, Railroad History, No. 128, Spring 1973). In 1940, there were still 95 cars on the roster. In 1949, the 92 remaining cars were rebuilt as described, and retained their original car numbers. By 1953, when I model, all 92 rebuilds remained on the roster.
     The background on modeling this car can be found in an article by Greg Martin in the Railroad Model Craftsman issue for March 2009 (“KCS post-war, rebuilt 40-foot box car,” pages 52–56), with additional information from Joe Pennington’s modeling article in Mainline Modeler, April 1992. The directions that came with the kit for this “Shake ’n’ Take” project are also available on Google Docs, with Greg Martin’s permission. Here is the link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz_ctrHrDz4wenUyOEphUE9ndDg/edit .
     Below is a photo of one of the prototype rebuilt cars (George Sisk photo, Charles Winters collection, courtesy Rob Evans). Though not a good copy, it shows the main features.


In this photo, it appears that the roof is black and the ends are the same color as the sides. This is how the model was painted in Greg Martin’s article in RMC (cited above).
     I had started this project soon after the 2006 meeting but was not happy with my success in scratchbuilding the side sill details for the car, and, as so often happens, set it aside until a time when motivation might increase sufficiently to overcome this problem. Until recently, that time had not come. I hate to admit it, but this is not the only project in my “project boxes” with this status. (On the other hand, I know that a few other modelers suffer from the same disease.)
     The stimulus to get going again was indirectly the 2012 “Shake ’n’ Take” project at Cocoa Beach, the Southern Pacific Class B-50-12-A cars similarly rebuilt from USRA box cars, though in SP’s case they were 50-ton single-sheathed box cars. There too, the side sill had to be created, and so the stimulating event that happened recently was the announcement by Chad Boas that he was going to make resin castings of this USRA-rebuild side sill, with all details.
     Chad doesn’t really stock these parts, but has the masters and tells me that he will keep these available. Accordingly, it should be possible to order them at any time. His address is 30 N. 30th St., Lafayette, IN 47904, and his e-mail is <chadboas@yahoo.com>. He charged $6 for a pair of the side sills, plus $2 shipping and handling, when I bought mine. They are really nice parts, and would be a great deal of work to duplicate from scratch.
     The overall KCS car project was fully described and illustrated in Greg Martin’s article, cited above, as well as in the “Shake ’n’ Take” kit directions (link above), so I won’t go into detail on most of the project. Instead I will try to indicate what is not shown or not clear in Greg’s description, including of course the use of Chad Boas’s fine side sill castings.
     The basic idea behind this project is to combine the Accurail USRA style underframe (for example, from series 4600 cars) with an Accurail postwar steel box car body (series 3500). That body has slightly the wrong Improved Dreadnaught ends (they are a design from a few years later), but this will be a “main line” model for me, so exact ends aren’t crucial.
     An important first step in using the Accurail car body is to make sure its sides are parallel. As you get them, many of these bodies bow inward quite substantially. Greg’s suggestion at Cocoa Beach was to use two lengths of 0.25-inch styrene tubing, 1.25 inches long, to brace the  body inside and locate the sides properly. Here is a view of my body (which was severely bowed) with the internal braces added.


The body also needs to have the side sill cut to a straight configuration, which means essentially cutting off the projecting “tabs” and narrowing the under-door support to 7 feet, 3 inches. Here, roughly indicated with white lines, is what I mean:


    The next step is to attach the brake gear to the underframe. As Greg’s article clearly showed (and as is visible in the prototype photo above), all three elements of the AB brake hardware are on the same side of the car, the left side. (The convention for the side nomenclature describes what you would see standing between the rails at the B or brake end of the car: to your left is the left side, etc.)
     I mounted the AB parts using their own mounting posts, in holes drilled #43 in the new locations. The vital part of this visually is the transverse reservoir, an unusual but far from unique placement. Brake levers are 1 x 6-inch (scale) styrene strip. I used some of the styrene rod provided in the “Shake ’n’ Take” kit, something Greg Martin swears by for brake piping and rodding, as well as ladder rungs, etc. The rod size used here is 0.015-inch diameter. You can click to enlarge the image.


     In this photo, the underbody-floor piece is merely resting on the car body (the cuts indicated above have not been made yet). The gap of about one-eighth of an inch on either side of the floor, inside the car body edge, will be filled by the new side sills. So to complete this part of the model, the Boas side sills will be attached along either side with CA.
     This is as much as I wanted to present of the project in this post. Addition of side sills and the body detailing is fairly simple. That work, and painting and lettering, will be included in the following segment.
Tony Thompson

Monday, July 9, 2012

Modeling SP’s bulkhead flat cars

In an earlier post, I wrote about the early bulkhead cars SP built in 1949 at its own Los Angeles shop from existing flat cars of Class F-70-6. Here’s a link to that post: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/09/early-sp-bulkhead-flat-car.html . My emphasis in that post was on the HO scale models of the 1949 cars, then being introduced by the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society (SPH&TS). Now I want to carry the subject further.
     I will begin by showing the prototype 1949 bulkhead on the left, and on the right the as-built but unpainted SPH&TS bulkhead, constructed from the kit. Grab irons and ladders had not been added to this model bulkhead, so that the construction arrangement would be as clear as possible. This is the bulkhead style shown in my prior post, with the link above.


     The SPH&TS offered the combined F-70-6 flat car, and the 1949 bulkheads, as a ready-to-run car at one time. Just to show how this looks as a completed car, here is the superb photo taken by Paul Lyons of one of these models. Society members will have seen this photo as part of the promotion for the models.


     In the years after 1949, SP found demand increasing for bulkhead cars, and continued to convert flat cars in its own shops for this use. Originally intended to carry plasterboard, and heavily used for that traffic, the cars also soon found use for a wide variety of other cargoes, including lumber.
     There were minor changes to the design of the bulkheads in the years between 1949 and 1956, but in that year an entirely new bulkhead design was introduced, completely of welded steel except for the vertical face of the bulkhead.
     The SPH&TS has commissioned a kit for the 1956 bulkhead, and this kit is about to be announced. Here again is the prototype car end on the left, and the SPH&TS kit bulkhead, unpainted, on the right. Grabs and ladder are installed. Note the odd-looking angled grab iron at the right edge of the bulkhead, on both prototype and model. (You can click on this to enlarge it.)


     This was followed in 1962 by an SP design which was structurally similar but considerably taller, 8 feet, 6 inches above the car deck, instead of the previous height of 6 feet, 4 inches. (Some 1949 bulkheads were less than 6 feet high.) Not only did SP build this 1962 design in its own shops, but later provided blueprints to Gunderson and others to construct new, not rebuilt, cars with this same bulkhead. Accordingly, it’s an important bulkhead for 1960s and later SP modelers.
     In the same pattern as shown above, I compare below the prototype 1962 bulkhead on the left, and the SPH&TS bulkhead kit, with grabs and ladder, on the right. (Both the 1956 and 1962 model bulkheads shown here were built by me.)


     As I’ve stated above, the SPH&TS is about to introduce kits for both the 1956 and 1962 bulkheads. These are much like the 1949 bulkhead kits which are still available (see link above) in that they comprise styrene parts which are easily glued together and attached to a styrene car deck (they are not designed to be attached to wooden model decks). For modelers of a range of eras, these fine bulkhead kits permit creation of a distinctive Southern Pacific freight car.
Tony Thompson

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Open-car loads: forest products

I mentioned in my description of the BAPM (Bay Area Prototype Modelers) meet, which was held on June 23, that I had been struck by Paul Chandler’s display of fine-looking lumber loads, and an impressive, well-thought-out method of making them (if you’d like to look, here is a link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/06/bapm-bay-area-prototype-modelers-2.html ).
     I stated then that I hoped Paul’s article about the method would be published in the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society magazine Trainline. I guess I should have checked with the magazine before posting, because it was indeed in the process of being published, in the issue then at the printers! That issue (No. 112) has now been delivered to members, and non-members can buy it at hobby shops which carry it, or directly from the Society on its web site: http://www.sphtsstore.org/servlet/the-Trainline-back-issues/s/105/Categories . The latest issue (which is dated Summer 2012) hasn’t been added to the catalog yet, but no doubt it will appear there within a week or so, as soon as the overprint copies arrive at SPH&TS.
     Paul was generous enough to share some of his photos for my use. Here’s a perspective view of one of his loads. You can see the “crayon” markings on the sides of the load.


Here’s a view of two loaded bulkhead flat cars on Paul’s layout. These cars originally had the bulkheads added by SP for plasterboard service, but it was not long before lumber shippers discovered their utility for lumber loads.


These bulkhead cars, with SP’s 1949-design bulkheads, are SPH&TS special run cars in HO scale. You can buy both the cars and the bulkhead kits from the Society at: http://www.sphtsstore.org/servlet/the-Models–Misc/Categories .
     The range of forest product loads that a person may wish to model obviously depends on the region being modeled, and the era. In places far distant from logging territory, railcar loads will be restricted to cut lumber, either rough or finished. The rough lumber was shipped on flat cars, and finished material mostly moved in box cars in the 1950s, but both rough and finished lumber moved on flat cars once packaging of lumber loads became commonplace.
     In the logging territories, however, there can be a full range of loads. I know of no better example than this photograph of the Eugene, Oregon yard in July 1943. It’s an SP photo, and this print was provided by Arnold Menke, though I know other collectors have copies also.


The footpath alongside the ladder track is an interesting detail to model (and notice those handsome high switchstands along the lead). A close-up may help, so let’s look at a larger view. You can click on either image to enlarge it.


Note the logs in gondolas, seen almost end-on at photo center, and the numerous loads of poles (or pilings) on flat cars at right. At left, by contrast, are two flat cars of cut lumber, one carrying very large timbers, the other more conventional building material sizes. There is also a gondola of pretty large cut lumber just to the right of the log car string.
     This photo appears to be the far west end of the yard. If you would like to learn more about the Eugene yard, there is no better source than the book by Ed Austin and Tom Dill, The Southern Pacific in Oregon, page 108b and following, published by Pacific Fast Mail, Edmonds, Washington, in 1987, and often available from used book dealers, on line and otherwise.
     This 1943 photo suggests a wide range of forest products loads which might be appropriate for modeling, if your modeled location is anywhere near logging areas; and even if you are not in such an area, all these loads but the logs can be realistic loads for your cars. And by the way, modelers who have built lumber loads board-by-board will be especially pleased to see those big timbers in a couple of the loads.
Tony Thompson

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Waybills, Part 26: prototype documents

Over the past months, I have received from time to time questions about prototype documents having to do with freight shipments and waybills, or in some cases I’ve been sent examples. This post is to clarify which documents are which, and what they mean.
     The primary document of value to most of us who are interested in operation is the Waybill. This is a contract between shipper and railroad for the carriage of the cargo, provides all routing and billing information, and states specifics about the cargo. Sometime in the 1930s, this became standardized through the auspices of the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Certainly for anyone studying model operations from, say, 1940 to the 1960s, that standard form is essential and was used with few variations of any significance by every railroad in North America. After the mid-1960s, Waybills underwent various changes but did remain standardized.
     Here’s an example of an actual waybill. It was sent to me by Frank Hodina, is dated 1961, and is for a Wabash box car carrying bulk soybeans. It would have been collected by the conductor of the train picking up the box car, and would have traveled with conductor after conductor until it reached its destination.


     But there are other documents out there too, similar to the Waybill in some ways but not the same. The commonest one which people seem to find is the Freight Bill. This document was used to collect freight charges after delivery of the cargo. And whereas the Waybill is prepared by the railroad which picks up the load and sends it on its way, the Freight Bill is normally prepared by the railroad which delivers the cargo. That might be the same railroad, or one at the other end of the country. The Freight Bill format was not standardized and one can find many different shapes, sizes and content in these bills. Here is a 1952 example for a crate of machinery, sent to me by Dave Salamon:


It can be seen at once that this is an entirely different document than a Waybill. I guess it is the fact that its name contains the words “Freight” and “Bill” that people jump to the conclusion that it is a Waybill, but clearly it is something different.
     Lastly, there is a document which is more like a Waybill and in fact acts as a predecessor to a Waybill, but is nevertheless distinctly different, the Bill of Lading. Here’s a Soo Line example provided by Bob Sterner:


This was also a standard document, and like the Waybill, has its reverse entirely covered with very fine print, most of it dense legalese, and like the Waybill, functions as a legal contract. But its format and content are significantly different than a Waybill.
     What can you learn from these? Of course, only the Waybill gives us the core information about freight shipments. But all three of these can provide the distinctive railroad headers for each railroad company, all are certainly collectible, and if you have no other source, they can begin to acquaint you with the content of these freight documents. (Word of warning: typography of one document, such as a Freight Bill, may not be the same as Waybills from the same company.) But for most of us, the Waybill is the one that provides the most and best information, and rightly so, since it is the one that documents the rail movement fully.
Tony Thompson