Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Freight Car Guy, Part 6

I offered a definition, and a broad description, a couple of years ago, of what a “Freight Car Guy” is, and how I came to receive that moniker at a model railroad club (the post is at this link: ). Since that initial post, I have added several more installments on the topic. (They are most easily found, if you wish to do that, by using “freight car guy” as the search term in the search box at right.) 

In continuing posts, I want to discuss further some of the work I have been doing for friends’ layouts, focusing, of course, on freight car problems. Today I’ll talk about a model for a 1956 New England layout.

An example is this PS-1 model, lettered as Seaboard 25250. Seaboard did in fact purchase 500 PS-1 cars in March 1952, numbered 25000–25499. But the “silver” paint scheme with red lettering that is on this model, though prototypical, was in not in fact applied until 1959, to 50 cars from this group that had been given insulated roofs, classified as AAR Class XI, and assigned to package beer service. 

So the model ought not to have a 1959 paint scheme on a 1956 layout. Moreover, it doesn’t actually represent any of the Seaboard cars, because they had 8-foot Youngstown doors, not the 6-foot Superior door that is on the  model shown above. The Pullman photo below shows this (photo courtesy Ed Kaminski).

My first step was to remove the trucks and install “interim truck support blocks,” tape the couplers, and overspray with a light primer, then finish coat with Tamiya “Red Oxide” primer. But what should I be aiming at? I immediately turned to a great reference on the PS-1, Ed Kaminski’s book, Pullman-Standard Freight Cars, 1900–1960 (Signature Press, 2007), which includes an introduction by Richard Hendrickson. I know this book well, as I edited it.

I quickly found a candidate prototype. The book doesn’t have a builder photo of it but does describe an order of PS-1 box cars with 6-foot Superior doors, 1000 cars built for the New York Central in March and April, 1948, numbered 167000–167999. Almost two years ago, Kadee produced this car group in HO scale, but it has long been sold out. Nevertheless, I could decal the model I have to reproduce those cars. Here is Kadee’s own photo of that model.

So I added black ends and roof to my model, easily done by masking the car sides, and I was ready to decal. Here is how it looked at this point, still on blocks. 

I didn’t have a decal set that really fit this car, so had to use elements from a number of stashed decals. Main feature, of course, was a car number in the 167000 range. The car still needs weathering and other details, such as fresh reweigh and repack stencils and route cards, which will happen shortly.

As always, I enjoy a challenge on a freight car matter. Restoring this particular model isn’t essential in the greater scheme of things, but it was interesting and fun to do. 

Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. Sir: yes, I have long thought that kits offered simply for the paint job, but not representing an actual prototype, make an excellent source of cores for kitbashing, since you're not destroying something someone else might need. Regarding that particular car, PS lot 5904, NYC lot 765-B, I believe it should have a welded AAR underframe, and two floor stringers on each side (Wider/Hawkins, RPCYC Vol. 1, table p. 58). Regards, Bob Ellis.