Friday, November 12, 2021

Why add a freight car to a fleet?

 Reading this title, many would say, “Oh, yeah. And why not? . . .” But I have around 750 freight cars in my active roster, so there are obviously no particular shortages. Or are there? 

At this point, my freight fleet being what it is, I do tend to add cars only for quite specific reasons. Maybe a model becomes available for a prototype I haven’t modeled, or one of my older cars really deserves replacement. But there is one other reason, too. 

From time to time, I scan through my “pairs list,” to see if there are any visible needs. (The “Pairs List” has been described in prior posts, such as: , and was developed somewhat further in a later post, which is at this link: .)

Recently, such a browse through the pairs list drew my attention to my fish cannery, in the layout town of Santa Rosalia. I would like additional inbound loads of vegetable oil, used for canning sardines. Much of the traffic from the cannery is outbound loads of canned food, as you see below with a divider-equipped box car spotted for loading. That’s the depot roof in the foreground.

But more variety of inbound tank cars of appropriate ownership would be welcome. One of the oils widely used for packing canned fish is soybean oil. Upon this thought, a faint bell rang in my memory, that I had a tank car kit for a car that would fit that load. I have for years maintained a written kit inventory (originally created to be carried on hobby shop visits, minimizing duplicate purchases), and sure enough, there it was, a Proto2000 tank car kit lettered for A.E. Staley.

This is a long-lived company, founded by the A.E. Staley of the name, in Decatur, Illinois. (Incidentally, Mr. Staley also founded a professional football team in 1919, called the “Decatur Staleys.” Not long afterward, they moved to Chicago under the direction of their coach, George Halas, and became the Chicago Bears.) This company originally specialized in corn starch, but broadened into a variety of corn and soybean products.

I built the kit per directions, so no description of that process is needed, except I substituted brass wire for the plastic handbrake shaft provided in the kit. Prior to weathering, the 8000-gallon car is shown below. It’s reassuring to know that this is a paint scheme documented for Proto2000 production by Richard Hendrickson.

With the car approaching operational status, it was time to make up a waybill. One of the ones that I created is shown below, with typical added marks characteristic of many prototype waybills, as I have shown in a number of prior posts.

Next I applied my usual acrylic wash weathering to this model (for a fairly detailed discussion and description of my methods, please see either of the two “Reference pages” linked at the top right of this post). Here’s the car, satisfactorily weathered, and with the waybill shown above as authority, being spotted at the cannery by Ten-wheeler 2344.

This car makes a nice addition to my tank car fleet, and of course likewise shrinks my kit stash by one. That’s how it’s done: one car at a time. And the original goal is met too: switching at the cannery gains some variety.

Tony Thompson

No comments:

Post a Comment