Appropriate rolling stock for era ?

Hi --

I am working on modelling two small H0 scale layouts based on the Minnesota Transfer Railway (MTRY) ca 1963.

One of the layouts is an interchange yard, where cars are dropped off by several other railroad lines, including the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, the Chicago & North Western, and a few others - the Milwaukee Road, the Soo line, the other layout is local switching to pick up and drop off freight cars to local industries.

I have aquired a few engines which should be reasonably right for the era I model :

- One Alco S1 (to be repainted for the MTRY)

- One RS-3 in Great Northern colors

- One EMD GP30 in Great Northern colors

- One EMD GP7 in Northern Pacific colors

- One Fairbanks Morse H-16-44 Baby Trainmaster (to repaint for C&NW)

But I was wondering about the freight cars and cabooses I have gathered,

Which of these can be used as is ? Which needs a repaint job to be reasonably credible for a Twin Cities location in 1963 ? And which car types (if any) simply were not available in 1963 ?


40? Great Northern Box Car (Dark Green) 40' Milwaukee Road Box Car (Yellow) 40' Union Pacific Box Car (Red) 40' Union Pacific Box Car (Armor Yellow) 40' Union Pacific Box Car (Armor Yellow) 40' Box Car (Pale White) 40' Box Car (Black) 40' NRT Box Car (Orange) 40' Morell Box Car (Orange) 40' Burlington Box Car (Red) - Post 1963 ??? 40' Box Car (Orange) 40' Wines Box Car (Grey) 40' Dairymens Box Car (White w/Blue text) 40' Box Car (Blue and White) 50' Delson Lumber Co. Box Car (Brown) 50' R F & P Box car (dark blue) 50' Netherlands Overseas Mills Box Car (Blue & Yellow) 50' Chessie System Box Car (Orange) - post 1963 ? 50' Chessie System Box Car (Orange) - post 1963 ? 50' Burlington Box Car (Green) - post 1963 ? 50' "W" Box Car (Orange) 50' Frisco Box Car (Orange)

Tank Cars

40' single dome Tootsie Roll Tank Car (Black) 40' single dome Quaker State Oil Tank Car (White & Green) 40' single dome Hooker Chemicals (Orange) 40' single dome Cities Service (Green) 40' single dome Dupont (Green & Yellow) 40' single dome Hooker (Red) 40' single dome Texaco (Silver) 40' single dome Shell (Orange) 40' single dome Wesson (Blue, White and Green) 40' single dome Kopper Chemicals (Red) 40' single dome Kopper Chemicals (Red) 40' single dome Allied Chemicals (White) 40' single dome Allied Chemicals (White)

Open Hopper Cars

3 Bay CP Rail 70 ton Coal Hopper (Black) 3 Bay DRGW 70 ton Coal Hopper (Black) 3 Bay The Rock Hopper (Light blue) 3 Bay Hopper Car (Orange) 3 Bay Peabody Short Line (Yellow) 3 Bay B & M Open Hopper Car (Dark Blue) 4 Bay Cotton Belt (Dark Red) 4 Bay Burlington (Red) 4 Bay Cheasapeake and Ohio Open Hopper (Dark Green) 4 Bay Reading Open Hopper (Black)

Covered Hopper Cars

2 Bay Jack Frost Covered Hopper (Blue and White) 2 Bay Haliburton Covered Hopper (Red and White) 2 Bay B & M Covered Hopper (Dark blue) 3 Bay Naugatuck Plastics Covered Hopper (White) 3 Bay Wabash Grain Hopper (Black) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #1 (White) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #2 (White) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #3 (White) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #4 (White) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #5 (White) 3 Bay Burlington Grain Hopper #6 (White) 3 Bay Warps Plastics Covered Hopper (Yellow) 4 Bay Sanka Covered Hopper (Red) 4 Bay "Old Dutch Cleanser" Hopper (Yellow) 4 Bay GT Grain Hopper (Blue) 4 Bay Illinois Central Grain Hopper (Orange

Gondolas and Flatcars

50' Union Pacific Gondola w/ pipe load (Armor Yellow) 40' Flatcar (Black) 40' AT&SF Flatcar (Black) 50' Great Northern Flatcar w/load (Green) 50' APL flatvar (yellow) w/2 20' Containers (white)

Smile, Stein

Reply to
Stein R
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Stein R wrote: [...]

Rather than comment on each car, I'll give you a few rules for figuring out what you need to know. Also look at the May Model Railroader, it has a pretty good introductory article on boxcars.

Look for the NEW or BLT date (usually just to the right of the weight data, sometimes to the far right next to the dimensional data.) Any date before 1964 and after the mid-40s would be OK for your layout theme. Pre-war cars in original condition were outlawed for interchange by about 1960. Many were rebuilt, some were assigned to company service.

BLT refers to the construction date. NEW refers to the rebuild or upgrade date (sometimes just a new paint job.)

The weight data should show CAPY., LD. LMT., and LT. WT. If there are only two weight numbers on the car, it's too new.

Another clue is the construction: by the early 60s, wood outside braced boxcars were rare outside of grain branches. Wood refrigerator cars however were still quite common. The occasional composite gondola or hopper also showed up. But about 90% of the cars were steel.

Apart from suitable era, there is also the issue of suitable loads, hence the kinds of cars you would see. For example, plastic pellet cars (covered hoppers, often in colourful liveries) would be plentiful around a plastic manufacturer or petrochemical plant, but not at a team track or freight house. IOW, some of the cars on your list are OK for era, but perhaps not for your location.

If you want the right look for the early 60s, note that most cars were still in "railroad drab" - oxide browns and dull reds, black, and grey were the most common colours. However, many roads had applied large billboard type logos to their cars by then. Great Northern stood out with its experiments with bright red, glacier green, and orange/olive green cars. In the 50s, many roads developed special, quite colourful liveries for specialised services running fixed routes at fixed times. But by the early 60s, many of these cars were relegated to the general freight pool, and might show up anywhere.

As you can see, the history of freight construction and utilisation is quite complex. Investigating rolling stock history can become a hobby in itself, so beware. :-)

Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir

Wolf Kirchmeir wrote in news:t0p4g.4316 $

Excellent advice! On the advice of a friend over here, I have also picked up a copy of "The Model Railroader's Guide to Indu- stries Along the Track" by Jeff Wilson, which seems to be a very good introductory book on the subject of industries along the tracks and freight cars.

*Very* useful advice. Thank you!


Yep, that is what I figured as well. I fully expect to have to repaint (or even retire) some of the cars I have bought, but I have bought cars in lotsk, so I would have enough cars of a reasonable type for mostly realistic traffic in the area and era I am modelling.

The local industries I am planning is a oil tank farm, two grain mills, and three industries that basically can be anything that takes boxcars and maybe the odd tank car or hopper once in a while (have bought three Walthers kits: Heritage Furniture plant, River City Textiles and Arrow- head Ale Brewery - we'll see what I turn them into - depends on what I can dig up in the archieves of the Minnesota Historical Society during my summer vacation).

See any cars on my original list that are obvious no-no's ? The list of cars can also be found at:

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I have been properly warned, but still am too stupid too start running away, so I guess I deserve whatever I get myself into here ... :-)

I have made careful note of your advice. Thank you !

Smile, Stein

Reply to
Stein R

You can try here. The Baby Boomer Freight Cars list.

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