1930's-40's rolling stock

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Toother1321, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Toother1321

    Toother1321 New Member

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    I am really making some progress in the planning phase of my layout right now. Some of you may have seen my previous post about doing a steam era railroad based around pittsburgh, PA. I was wondering if anybody could point me in the direction of some freight cars that would be appropriate for that era and where i could buy them. I'm mostly concerned with hopper and box cars. I'll also need a lot of them and i do enjoy doing scratch building so I am looking for some cars on a budget.

    Thanks
    Steve
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Accurail makes some nice boxcars of various sorts (40 footers, wood, steel, outside braced, etc). There are also 55 ton hoppers (you can use "war emergency" or composite versions during/post-WW2).

    There were lots of 36' boxcars in service as well, but these are harder to find as simple kits. There are resin versions, and (more) expensive RTR versions though.

    For your time period, bear in mind that there were a lot of different versions of the box car as well, since some of the specialized cars we know today had not come along yet. There were box cars with:
    • 5 foot doors
    • 6 foot dors
    • door-and-a-half
    • double doors (common on "automobile" box cars)
    • end doors (see above)
    • lumber doors (small high doors on the ends)
    • drop bottom (flat like gondolas or with "hoppers", like, well - hoppers;))
    • insulated box cars that look somewhat like reefers*
    • express box cars for the head end of passenger trains
    Some were built of steel, some wood. Some with wood sides had steel ends. Full ladders and roof walks were still in place. Brakes may have been a mix, depending on the exact year, as were ribbed back wheels.

    *Billboard reefers were outlawed in 1937.

    Hope that helps. For a great look at circa 1930s to 1950s railroading, check out the work by our very own doctorwayne. I'm sure he'll be along soon to give you some more information... ;)

    Andrew
  3. stripes

    stripes Member

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  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Why did they outlaw the billboards?
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Well, yes, but he did ask for appropriate cars (at least as a start... ;)).

    I believe that the billboard reefers were outlawed after numerous complaints from various shippers who felt they were paying the way for (potentially) a competitor's product to be advertised. Imagine if you are Cadbury, and your chocolate is being shipped in a Hershey's reefer...

    Andrew
  6. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

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  7. stripes

    stripes Member

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    I see a whole consist full of billboard cars in my future!! sign1
    And yes, I model the 40`s era, but hey, laws are made to be broken! EH!
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Seems to me that the free enterprise system should have been allowed to run its course. They didn't need any laws to take care of that.... well, maybe they did, considering that the railroads are to a more or less extent, a monopoly, especially back then.
  9. wjstix

    wjstix Member

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    Long story short, billboard reefers were outlawed (or restricted) at the request of the railroads. Too many times a shipper would request a reefer, and then refuse it when the RR supplied one lettered from a competitor to that company. Then the RR had to go back and get another reefer, losing time and money. The ICC regulation said lettering could only be so high (I think 16"??) so no more 6' lettering - but in return, required that the shippers take the cars the RR delivered if it otherwise met their needs. (There's more to it than that, but that's a thumbnail version. By the way, the peak era of billboard reefers was really the 1890's-1910's anyway.)

    So in the late forties, you would have no billboard reefers, no cars with arch bar trucks or trussrods (in interchange service anyway). Oddly, there would be quite a few woodside cars - probably more than you would have seen in the thirties!! During the depression, RR's used their newest cars first, and let older ones sit, so they often were using steel cars bought in the 20's-30's. (Because of the Depression, they didn't need all the cars they had.)

    In WW2, steel was in short supply and new cars were needed due to the boom in shipping, so boxcars, gondolas, even hoppers were build with woodsides - something that hadn't been done for 20 years or so.
  10. stripes

    stripes Member

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    wjstix, That is interesting history. Thanks
    I still love them and plan on having them on my layout!! bounce7
    Especially because I just bought 12 of them!

    Doubt that anyone would know the difference anyway!!

    David
  11. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

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  12. stripes

    stripes Member

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    Those are nice cars! Torpedo, You know your in trouble when there are video instructions on how to use the site!!
  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    If you can find them, the old Train Miniature steel boxcars are pretty decent starting points for USRA and ARA steel cars. They're now made by Walthers, but I don't know if they're currently available. I also like their model of the Pennsylvania RR X-29 boxcar, and was lucky enough to find 3 of them at the LHS yesterday (Walthers version, new in the box.) As mentioned, the Accurail double and single sheathed boxcars are good, and Red Caboose does a very nice X-29. Proto1000 does a nice version of the 36' Fowler Patent car and Proto2000 offers a 40' Mather stockcar and a Mather boxcar. Both Atlas and Roundhouse have 36' reefers and Tichy and Red Caboose have nice looking 40' wood reefers. I usually find most of my rolling stock on the "used" table at the LHS, or, as was the case with the X-29s, pick up a bargain, as my LHS buys up both estate lots of train stuff and the stock of hobby shops that have gone bankrupt. With a little (or a lot on some) work, you can have some decent rolling stock and a lot of modelling fun for a reasonable cost. Here a pictures of a few cheap cars that I've modified to appear more prototypical. Most of them have also been custom painted and lettered with decal or dry transfers. There are also a couple of not-so-cheap ones included too, as we all need a treat once in a while.

    Roundhouse 36' reefer, made into a boxcar with the addition of a door. A few added details, this one has been downgraded to work train service.
    [​IMG]

    Walthers 50' single sheathed automobile car, on the left (I picked up 9 of these, undecorated, for $5.00 each) and at right, a Red Caboose X-29 style car (5 of these at $8.00 apiece :thumb: )
    [​IMG]

    Accurail 40' wood reefer
    [​IMG]

    Accurail 40' 9 panel boxcar
    [​IMG]

    Accurail 40' 9 panel boxcar (with a half-door modification from New England Rail Service added)
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 50' wood express reefer
    [​IMG]

    Red Caboose X-29 boxcar (the Pennsy owned over 30,000 of these, and they were seen all over North America)
    [​IMG]

    Train Miniature (now Walthers) X-29 boxcar
    [​IMG]

    Train Miniature X-28 boxcar (modified X-29)
    [​IMG]

    LifeLike (Proto-no-thousand :rolleyes: ) 36' reefer (a buck on the junk table at the LHS)
    [​IMG]

    Train Miniature USRA double sheathed boxcar (this car was a pretty major rebuild)
    [​IMG]

    Accurail USRA double sheathed boxcar (this car is stock save for a few added details)
    [​IMG]

    Stewart U-channel hopper
    [​IMG]

    Tichy rebuilt USRA single sheathed boxcar
    [​IMG]

    USRA door-and-a-half boxcar (built from a Train Miniature plugdoor boxcar)
    [​IMG]

    ARA 40' steel boxcar (Train Miniature)
    [​IMG]

    Proto1000 36' Fowler Patent boxcar. CNR and CPR owned over 70,000 of these cars, which roamed North America (these cars retail for between $30.00 and $40.00, but I was lucky to pick up 6, bodies only, for two bucks apiece)
    [​IMG]

    Red Caboose 40' reefer
    [​IMG]

    Train Miniature 40' single sheathed boxcar (I changed the ends on this car)
    [​IMG]

    Another Train Miniature 40' plugdoor boxcar (shave off the plugdoor details, cement a new door in place)
    [​IMG]

    Tichy 40' reefer
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 40' wood reefer with steel ends
    [​IMG]

    Milk/fish car from an Athearn 40' reefer (replaced the kit's steel ends and built a new roof with no ice hatches - this is a rebuild of the car pictured above)
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 40' steel reefer (this car was extensively rebuilt to follow an 1939 prototype, but the stock Athearn car is also appropriate for your chosen era)
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 40' steel reefer, mostly stock
    [​IMG]

    Concor (modified) 52' welded gondola ($2.00 off the junk table ;) )
    [​IMG]

    Intermountain refrigerator car
    [​IMG]

    Rebuilt Athearn wood reefer
    [​IMG]

    Intermountain composite drop-bottom gondola
    [​IMG]

    Walthers USRA 42' steel gondola
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 50' steel gondola
    [​IMG]

    Proto2000 52' steel gondola
    [​IMG]

    Athearn chemical tankcar
    [​IMG]

    Athearn standard tankcar - this one has been shortened - the 3-dome car is also appropriate
    [​IMG]

    Intermountain tank car
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 50' flatcar
    [​IMG]

    Walthers 52'6" GSC flatcar
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 34' offset side hopper
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 34' ribbed side hopper
    [​IMG]

    Athearn 34' ribbed side hopper with side panels from Pike Stuff
    [​IMG]

    Accurail panel side hopper
    [​IMG]

    Athearn offset side 4-bay hopper (this one has been shortened to 3 bays)
    [​IMG]

    Stewart offset side 3-bay hoppers
    [​IMG]

    Stewart 55 ton fishbelly hopper
    [​IMG]

    I hope that the photos aren't "too much", but at a 1,000 words per picture, that would've been too much typing for even me!! :rolleyes: :D :D My fingers thank you.;)

    Wayne
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Ahhhh!!! Download h-e-double hockey sticks! I should know better than to try and view one of Wayne's posts over dial-up! ;)

    Andrew
  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Geez!! I keep forgetting that part!!:oops: Sorry. :D

    Wayne
  16. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

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    Yeah, I know to skip them until last when he starts the thread, but if he's in the middle....... :cry::cry::cry::cry:
  17. JimBrown

    JimBrown Me

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    PMFJI, but here's a trick I used to use when I was on dial up.

    If I opened a thread that had a lot of pictures, I would hit the "back" button to get out of it. I would then right click on the link and select "open in a new window". While the thread was loading all the pics in the new window, I would go back to the original window and continue reading other threads. Once the thread in the new window finished loading, I'd go read than (and look at the great pics) and then close that windows once done.

    Have fun!
    ...jim
  18. Toother1321

    Toother1321 New Member

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    Doc,

    Thanks for the reply. I'm really interested most in the hopper cars, however the boxcars will definately help break up the monotony.

    Thanks
    Steve
  19. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    What a coincidence, :rolleyes: I was just thinking about posting a coal train run-by. Actually, it was going to be a possible "last run" for my U-boats, as I may have a buyer. The train is 41 various hoppers, with "live" loads. Total train weight, excluding locos, approximately 328 ounces. Andrew, and others: "DON'T LOOK!!" if I post it.;) :D :D

    Wayne
  20. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

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    Train Minature old reefer

    A view of a few Train Minature reefer cars.. Opps these are small.

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