Saturday, March 25, 2023

Modeling in O scale, Part 3

I’ve exposed my clandestine interest in O scale, especially freight cars, in a couple of previous posts. When I lived in Pittsburgh, PA I could run this equipment on my late friend Larry Kline’s layout, but now I am going to be reduced to a display case. The preceding post on this topic is here:

In the first previous post, I showed two of my O scale models, an Athearn metal box car (originally owned by Paul Shimada) and a styrene PFE steel reefer from InterMountain. Another Athearn metal model that I like is a 50-foot automobile car (defined by the AAR as a box car with double doors, regardless of the cargo it carried) This one is decorated for the St. Louis Southwestern, or Cotton Belt, in the famous “Blue Streak” paint scheme. Cars like this often operated in automobile or auto parts service in the train with the same name, the “Blue Streak Merchandise,” from St. Louis to California.

Next I will mention a two-compartment American Car & Foundry tank car I have, a W.A. Drake model, that was factory painted and lettered as SHPX 83. This car was included in the 1956 tank car tariff, though with slightly different capacities of the two compartments, compared to what is lettered on the model. Note the single ladder, aligned with one of the domes, at the right end of the dome walkway. It’s the same on both sides.

This model came without trucks or couplers, so I had to add those. So far this model hasn’t been weathered, though cars like this got pretty dirty in service. I may get around to weathering it one of these days.

Another model I really enjoy owning is another contribution from my good friend Larry Kline (he built it for me). It represents a PFE rebuild of Class R-40-4, and like all those rebuilds, numbered into the 71,000 series. There was also a much larger group of Class R-40-4 cars built new by PFE, in a different number series. There were 510 cars in this rebuilt class, numbered variously from  71253 to 71953, with additional rebuilt Class R-40-2 cars mixed in that number series. It is modeled with the 1942 paint scheme. 

Finally, I do have a locomotive (essential in the days I could run on Larry’s O-scale layout!). I managed to find a Pacific Fast Mail SP Class C-9 Consolidation, SP 2579, for sale, painted and set up for sound. 

Southern Pacific and subsidiaries bought 225 engines in this class, so the model represents one of the largest SP steam classes, and many C-9s lasted to the end of steam. Here is a shot of my model, obviously unweathered  but a delight to operate. And yes, the red trim is prototypical.

With the equipment I’ve shown so far, I can mount a pretty good train, and I have really enjoyed the times I was able to operate these cars and locomotive together. I have already started installing my O-scale display case (saved from Pittsburgh), so that some of these attractive models can be seen in the layout room.

Tony Thompson

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