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Monday, March 23, 2020

Freight car graffiti, Part 9: even more examples

I continue with my ongoing topic, graffiti for post-1980 freight cars, in particular the cars loaned to me by Seth Neumann, from his layout set in 1999 and thus likely to host very many graffiti-marked freight cars.
     In the present post, I address cars owned by Calaveras Cement, a company founded in 1925 in San Andreas, California, which is located in Calaveras County, thus the name. Cement from this plant helped build the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Oroville Dam, the California Aqueduct, and other major projects in the Far West.
     The San Andreas plant was served by the Southern Pacific, on its Kentucky House branch. As the limestone quarries in the San Andreas area began to play out, the company was purchased by Flintkote in 1959. Calaveras was one of many Flintkote subsidiaries sold off in the 1980s, and was eventually bought by Lehigh Hanson. Although the plant at San Andreas was closed in 1982, the Calaveras name remains in use by Lehigh Hanson today.
    For decades, then, a familiar sight in the West has been the cement cars of Calaveras Cement. I show an example of a model below of PLCX 140, a Trinity-built design. For those who enjoy a paint scheme like this, with the large company name along the top of the car, there is good news regarding graffiti. Usually they are painted only near the bottom of the car side where it is easy for the “writer” (as they term themselves) to reach.

For this car, I began on the left side (as viewed from the B or brake end). You see below two graffiti, the one on the left from Microscale set 87-1534 and the other one from T2 decals (visit ). The presence of two or more graffiti is not uncommon.

The other side of the car was lettered with a decal from Dave’s Decals, set 6028 (see them at: ). As these decals are somewhat transparent, it is essential to apply them on a light-colored background without any strongly contrasting lettering items. This area of the car met that criterion.

     Naturally there is not just one of these Calaveras cars modeled in Neumann’s fleet. In addition to PLCX 140, shown above, I can show the graffiti applied to the left side of PLCX 149, chosen from Microscale set 87-1535:

     The other side of PLCX 149 was chosen to have a different appearance, using a decal from Dave’s Decals set 6028:

     Next came weathering. Based on what I have seen on the Calaveras cars, I went with a fair amount of dirt, and a moderate degree of cement staining. To illustrate, I will just show the left side of PLCX 140 (shown before weathering in the second photo from the top of the present post).

     This series of Calaveras cars makes a nice set of variations on the rather plain lettering of many modern cement cars. They have been an interesting additional challenge to my graffiti approach to model freight cars.
Tony Thompson

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