Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New book: SP and PFE lettering guide, freight cars

Just published is a new book from the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society (SPH&TS), entitled Southern Pacific Freight Car Painting and Lettering Guide, subtitled “Including PFE,” and is authored by Dick Harley and myself. I was responsible for the 95 pages on SP cars, and Dick Harley not only wrote but did the drawings for the 80 pages on PFE cars. John Signor did the SP drawings and designed the book. It is available (or soon will be) on the SPH&TS web site, which can be found at this link: . Click on “Company Store.”
     The book is a companion volume to the 2013 book by Jeffrey Alan Cauthen and John R. Signor, entitled Southern Pacific Painting and Lettering Guide, also from SPH&TS, subtitled “Locomotives and Passenger Cars.” Though currently out of print, the Society reportedly intends to reprint that volume.
     Shown below is the front of the dust jacket of this book, which is 11 x 8.5 inches in size, bound on the short side.

     As a single example of what is inside the SP section of the book, I show below a page for the gasoline tank cars, painted SP’s depot color, Colonial Yellow, over the entire tank. The drawing shown is for a tank car with circumferential joints in the tank top, and some cars of that type were indeed painted yellow for gasoline service, but the Class O-50-12 car in the photograph has a longitudinally jointed tank. That class was delivered entirely in this yellow scheme.

     I also want to show a representative page from the PFE section, in this case the 1951 change to move the SP emblems toward the B end on both sides of the car.

This is a good example of the refinement of the PFE information, which can be much more fine-grained than is possible for the SP section; many SP car classes had their own specific drawing to suit their physical dimensions, but it would not be practical to show every one, even if all of them were available. Instead, the main features for each era have to be shown as representative drawings for each car body type.
     This guide, which continues to the end of the SP in 1996, and to the end of joint SP and UP ownership of PFE in 1978, is clearly indispensable for any SP modeler, and will be of value to both UP and SP modelers who need information on PFE cars. Those who model other railroad prototypes may not wish to invest in an entire book to letter a few of their models correctly, but will certainly want to locate a friend or acquaintance who has this book for them to consult.
     Dick Harley, John Signor and I are proud of the book, and I’m sure many will greatly enjoy it, and more importantly, will enjoy using it as part of their modeling.
Tony Thompson

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