Friday, December 21, 2018

More Flat Cars - RI Rebuilt Flat Car

One of the few Sunshine kits I have is an ATSF Rebuilt Ft L & N flat car kit (#66.2). It's an interesting prototype, because it was originally built as a 50' flat car, and extended to 53'6" by adding a new section in the middle of the car when rebuilt. Another aspect I really like is that the early ATSF flat cars had fishbelly center and side sills.

The Rock Island performed a similar modification with their USRA clone 43' flat cars, that they later lengthened by adding a 10'6" section to the middle of the car. Since the Red Caboose kit is a USRA clone flat car, I wondered how hard it would be to do the same?

Well, it's a bit more work than might be expected. Pete gave me two extras he had, and I started experimenting. One issue is that on the extended cars, the wood decking extends beyond the car sides. On the Red Caboose kit, the deck is part of the (nearly) one-piece body. For some reason that I've never figured out, there is a section in the middle of the deck that is a separate piece.

Because of the design of the model, though, it meant I'd need to remove the deck and essentially turn two of the cars into flat kits to reassemble and build a new deck. Here's a quick test run:

The top is an unmodified car, and the IC parts are both from the same model that I cut up. It's hard to see that the IC car is 10'6" longer than the PM car, but it is. There's a vertical rivet line where the crossbearer is on the original car, and I cut just outside that line (after measuring with a caliper) to get the right length. The rivet lines will be shaved off and two splice plates will need to be added.

To get this far, I started by cutting off the ends. Then I scored along the seam between the steel side and the wood deck, and then a deeper score on the inside so I could snap off the deck. It will probably be easier to use a couple of kits, since the stake pockets won't be installed already, but I think it's definitely a viable project. I don't have any info on the underframe design, etc., yet so I'll need to do some research before progressing, but I like the idea and the two splice plates where the extra section was added will make for a unique car. Additional cars were rebuilt from 46' flat cars and 7'6" additional sections. I don't have a photo yet, but it's possible that they could be similar other than the location of the splice plates.

If you can find one, Sunshine produced the car as kit #45.9, but this looks like it will be a relatively easy and worthwhile kitbash. Perhaps that's how the masters for the kit were made?

By the way - the ATSF kit I have (#66.2) has bulkheads. I don't need the bulkhead version, so I'm happy to trade for one of the kits without the bulkhead, or if somebody can use the bulkheads on their own, let me know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

FGEX/BREX/WFEX Reefers continued

So now that I can do the truss rod cars, what about the rest of the fleet? Our Companies expert Bill Welch wrote another article that was released in 2008 by the B&O Modeler, The Keystone Modeler, and the Seaboard-Coast Line Modeler, all online modeling magazines (and all worth reading). This issue is no longer available for free download, but it's available on CD from each of those historical societies. In this article, Bill grouped the cars by the type of underframe they used, and representative models (most of which were Sunshine).

I've already covered the truss rod cars, but the basic process is the same for most of these cars. The decision of which model to use starts first with whether the upper corners of the doors are square (Accurail) or rounded (Intermountain). Overall I prefer the detail of the Intermountain car better, and there's a lot less molded-on detail to scrape off.

Bettendorf Underframe

FGEX 22000-22549
FGEX 11350-13057

Bill used a Sunshine truss rod kit combined with a Bettendorf underframe from a Red Caboose, Sunshine, or Westerfield PFE kit. I don't think I have any pictures of these cars (Bill is not aware of any existing for the first series). There are little more than 200 of these cars in 1948. Car #11655 is pictured in The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (NMRA but out of print) in an unusual paint scheme. It doesn't look like there's an end sill, but the details are hard to make out in the photo. I probably won't worry about this kitbash at this point since it's such a small class.

Fishbelly Underframe

The Accurail kit is modeled after the BREX cars with the fishbelly underframe and is the starting point for the BREX 75000-75999, CX 50050-50249, and FWDX 20001-20100 series of cars. These cars are easy to do, and Bill has an excellent article in Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 1 (Speedwitch Media) on modeling these cars. There are about 1,000 of these cars in 1948, and I'll do one of each by following the article.

It may be a good starting point for some FGEX series, but I don't have photos of any.

FGEX 10400-10639, a much earlier design, is said to be a near copy, if not identical, to cars built for ART and URTX. Westerfield has a kit of this prototype, although fewer than 40 exist in my era. I'll probably eventually pick up a kit.

PRR R7-style Underframe

To start with, the PRR provided their R7 reefers to the fleet. Westerfield produces a number of kits with different roofs for FGEX and NX.

In addition, there were cars rebuilt on the R7 underframe using the '1926' FGEX body. It looks like a kitbash using the Intermountain body should work for these. Bill suggests a Sunshine 1927 body kit and a Westerfield X25 underframe and end (to harvest the end sill). Some of these cars (FDEX 9001-9049) were double-deck and had eight hinges on the doors instead of the normal six. Another photo in Focus on Freight Cars Volume 8: Refrigerator Cars 3 (Speedwitch Media) shows NX 7095 was one of these rebuilds as well.

There are more than 600 of each of these in 1948, so I'll probably do both.

The "Company Underframe"

These cars were built for the consortium (rather than for the contributing roads), and share an underframe. Where they differ is in the side sill. This is a kitbash using the Accurail body with a scratchbuilt or Tichy underframe. The Keystone Modeler #84 covers this project. The Accurail model can be used to model cars with no side sill, or a 4" or 6" side sill. Alternatively, shortening the Intermountain model and squaring the corners at the top of the doors can be used.

The cars with an 8" side sill are 6" taller. The Intermountain kit can be used for these, but must be backdated (the model itself is the 1926 prototype after they were rebuilt).

Rebuilt cars with any of these side sill variations can be modeled with the Intermountain car. For those with a side sill of less than 8" the sill needs to be replaced, and the car shortened by 6". The corners of the door may need to be squared if using the Intermountain model, based on the photos you use.

There are a number of pictures in Steam Era Freight Cars Reference Manual Volume Three: Refrigerator Cars (Speedwitch Media) of these cars. They include a cars with no side sill, 6" sills, and the taller 1926 design with 8" side sills.

There were also war emergency versions built, with either plywood or tongue in groove sides. These cars have steel ends, and later cars of this design were all steel. Sunshine produced models of all of these cars, and for now I'll need to keep my eye out for those until I can figure out how to kitbash them.

FGEX Consortium Cars I'm Modeling (non-truss rod underframes)

BREX 75535 - Accurail.
BREX 75055 - Accurail with outside metal wood roof and wood hatch platforms.
CX 50127 - Intermountain with outside metal wood roof and wood hatch platforms.
FGEX 32490 - Accurail with no side sill.
FGEX 43509 - Westerfield R7.
FGEX 51207 - Intermountain with squared corners on the doors and placard board removed.
FGEX 59425 - Intermountain.
FWDX 20083 - Accurail.
NX 7095 - Intermountain with Westerfield X25 underframe and end sill.
WFEX 72169 - Intermountain with 6" side sill.



The prototype photos I'm using are from:
  • Focus on Freight Cars Volume Eight: Refrigerator Cars 3
  • The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (NMRA)
  • Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 1
  • Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 2
  • Refrigerator Car Color Guide (Morning Sun Books)
  • Steam Era Freight Car Reference Manual Volume 3: Refrigerator Cars
All published by Speedwitch Media except where noted.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

FGEX/BREX/WFEX Truss Rod Reefers

Because the New Haven is part of the FGEX Consortium, also known as "Our Companies." I've been compiling a list of the most important prototypes and how I might go about modeling them. Sunshine released models but they are hard to find and not cheap when you do, so I was excited when it was announced that there would be Resin Car Works minikits for the FGEX truss-rod reefers as a free gift for the Chicagoland RPM, but then it turned out that I wasn't able to make it to the show.

When the minikit was made available at Resin Car Works, I picked up two immediately. The RCW kit along with an article by Bill Welch in Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume 2 (Speedwitch Media), provides enough information on how to go about modeling more variations of the truss rod cars using Accurail or Intermountain models as a base.

Available Models

As noted, Sunshine released resin kits for pretty much all of these prototypes. These are hard to find, but fortunately there are two injection-molded models available that can be used to model many of the classes. In this post I'll cover the truss-rod models I'll be building, and cover additional variations in a future post. For the moment I haven't determined how I'll go about modeling the cars with steel ends, or all-steel cars built during and after WWII. These posts will focus on the cars with wood ends.

Accurail 4800/4900

While the Accurail models have molded on parts, the styrene used is fairly soft and it's pretty easy to scrape them off. It helps that the sides are separate pieces. Although the 4900-series says it's the earlier version, the pictures look identical and I'm not sure of the differences between the two models. I have the 4800-series for these cars.
  • The roof is a flexible steel roof that was applied later, along with molded-on hatch rests. I remove the hatch rests and the corner grabs.
  • The BREX prototype for these cars doesn't have an end sill, just corner poling pockets. These are removed for the truss-rod cars, but may be left for other prototypes.
  • There are corner braces at the top and bottom of the model. The bottom braces were unique to the BREX cars and are removed for most of the variations (including all of the truss-rod cars). Many cars have additional corner braces added using thin styrene and a couple of rivets.
  • The model has a removable brake step, a slot must be filled for cars that don't have one.
  • The roof hatches also removable, some cars may use different hatches.
  • The sides have a molded-on steel plate under the door. Not all cars had this, requiring it to be removed and new boards scribed.
  • The floor is separate.
The RCW mini-kit uses a modified Accurail body, but replaces the floor and underframe with one from a Tichy reefer underframe.

Intermountain 42700

The Intermountain model is based on a postwar rebuild of the company-built cars from 1927/8. The model features separately applied detail parts, with one unfortunate exception.
The model is based on cars with an 8" side sill. For the truss-rod cars (and many other variations) this is removed.
  • The car is 6" taller than the Accurail model.
  • The model features rounded corners at the top of the door, which is a key variation from the Accurail car.
  • The floor is part of the car body, with a removable roof instead. The floor is the same design as the Tichy one used in the RCW mini-kit, except it has small channels angled toward the corners. The way this is molded it's basically impossible to remove them without a lot of work. I believe these were added in the postwar rebuilds, so are inaccurate for most of the prototypes. The best I was able to do is remove the two flanges. Having said that, they a minor detail and are invisible when the car is on the layout.
  • I've seen other modelers complain about the roof. It doesn't overhang enough, and the carlines (ribs) should have a thin "base" like the Accurail one. The shortcomings on the ribs are less noticeable than the lack of overhang, but scratchbuilding a replacement is also a bit involved. I haven't decided if I will replace it on any of my models. Having said that, it's a separate part, replacing it is easy, either for a replacement, or to model earlier cars with a wood roof.
  • The only major complaint I have (for using this as a kitbash) is the large placard board that is molded on to the left of the car. This needs to be removed for any car that wasn't part of the postwar rebuild. For the cars that need it, it looks fine.
  • The castings of the door stops, door latches (a separate part) and the long steel bracing on the side of the car are very well cast and better than the Accurail car.
  • The separate detail parts include the FGEX consortium's unique hatch rests, but you also have the correct ladders and the mounting points are small holes that can more easily be filled than the slot left by the brake step in the Accurail car.
  • There are steel plates that were added in the rebuildings above and below the door. One or both of these need to be removed and new boards scribed for some of the prototypes.
Intermountain has not run these cars in a while, and the last I checked they didn't have enough orders to justify a new run. I've been able to dig up two undecorated kits, otherwise I'll be modifying RTR models. I think that if they offered the original postwar paint scheme applied when they were rebuilt might help. Regardless, I'd recommend letting Intermountain know you're interested in these models (especially undecorated kits) and maybe there will be enough interest for another run.

Now that I've been working on this project, I much prefer the Intermountain car, and it's easy to modify for any of the earlier cars as well. It would be even better if the placard boards were not molded onto the Intermountain car. It would be nice if the steel plates above and below the door were not present as well, but they would be too thin to be a detail part, so I understand why they are there (considering the prototype). Those minor quibbles aside, the only real shortcoming in the car for my purposes, is the roof, and it's not horrendous, just not as good as it could have been.

Truss Rod Reefers

In the PRMv2 article, Bill provides a chart that shows in 1948 truss rod cars comprised about 11% of the FGEX fleet, 10% of the BREX fleet, and a whopping 41% of the WFEX fleet, or about 21% of the combined fleet. By 1953 these numbers dwindled considerably, comprising less than 3% of the total fleet.


The Resin Car Works mini-kit is a kitbash project with a few resin parts provided. The key resin parts to me are the end sill and hatch rests, but it provides the underframe pieces and a few other parts. You provide the Accurail 4800-series reefer body.

This covers the two most numerous FGEX classes in my era: 14000-14998 and 20000-31999.

One other class in 1948 has only 10 fewer cars than the 14000-14998 series (and 2 more by 1953); the 181000-18899-series. This class has longer, angled queenposts, and is 5" taller, but otherwise looks quite similar.

I'd like to build FGEX 18176 using the RCW kit plus long queenposts because the picture in PRM has some interesting repairs on the car. If this had the rounded doors it would be easy to do with the Intermountain kit because the Accurail kit is too short. Instead I'll try to square the corners on the doors on the Intermountain model.

Bill Welch told me he used an O-scale Grandt Line queenpost connected to an HO scale queenpost to make the patterns for the Sunshine kits with long queenposts. That will be an important process for this and a couple of other prototypes. I've also got some of the Tichy queenposts to see what the difference is between those and the Grandt Line ones.

These three classes comprise 85% of the FGEX truss rod classes in 1948.


In PRMv2 are two pictures of BREX 78556, and on the next page, #78207. These are truss rod reefers with long queenposts, with a similar design to the FGEX cars. The second most numerous class, the 76800-77204 series) has a noticably different arrangement at the corner on the side, and presumably the end sill (which I don't have a picture of). So the 78200-78699 series is a better match to the RCW kit. I'll do #78207 since the photo is c1946/7 rather than the earlier c1941/2.

There are a few other noticeable differences between the BREX car and the FGEX cars. First, it has the original peaked wood roof, rather than later one modeled by the Accurail and Intermountain models. In an article in Prototype Railroad Modeling, Volume 1 (Speedwitch Media), Bill shows how he has built these roofs on an Accurail car after removing the original roof.

There are three corner braces instead of the one on the FGEX car (the Accurail Model has two, but the lower one is removed for the truss rod cars as it is in the wrong place and the wrong shape). It also has rounded corners on the doors, which I believe indicate that it has been rebuilt.

Modifying the Intermountain Model
It is the rounded corners that make the Intermountain model a good starting point, but using the Intermountain model requires that you remove the side sills and shorten the car by 6".

In a post online, somebody had described that they shortened a boxcar by 6" using a table saw. I thought Chris would jump at the idea of cutting up one of my freight cars with a table saw, but he balked. Dick suggested it would only take a few minutes with 60-grit sandpaper and took one home. He was right.

Also, on the first car I modified, I used a razor saw to remove the side sill. On the rest of them I found it much easier to use a scalpel with a #12 blade. Note that this is a different shape than a #12 X-acto blade.

If you've never used a scalpel before, the blades are quite thin and flexible, but very sharp. The flexibility reminds you to not push too hard, and let the blade do the work. I also have a disposable blade remover that not only removes the blade from a scalpel handle, but is a sharps container to safely dispose of the blades once it's full.

Anyway, this is the Accurail side against the Intermountain car. There's actually a bit more of a difference, it's tough to get a good angle, but there's a 6" difference between the two. The oxide red at the bottom of the Intermountain car is the side sill, which will be removed for many of these cars.

As I noted, I shorten the Intermountain car by sanding it with 60-grit sandpaper, a sanding tool, and a mill file. It's easy to measure this using a caliper, but you have to remove the side sill from the Intermountain car first. I start by setting my caliper height for the Accurail side. I then drag it along the side of the car with one jaw under the car, and the other jaw lightly marks the top of the car. It's not really digging into the plastic, just enough so I can see the line.

Another method I used which is probably a bit less precise but works well enough, especially if you're not removing the side sill, is to set a mechanical pencil to the depth of the cut (6") then slide the end of the pencil along the top of the car side so that it marks it with the side of the lead.

Here it is after it's sanded down. The roof sits on a ledge inside the car, so I put it back on so you can more easily see how much the car has been shortened.

Here it is next to an Accurail car. I haven't removed the side sill from the Accurail car yet. For the cars with the wood roof, I'll need to move the ladder attachment points down because these will be under the fascia.

For #78207 I needed to shorten the sides, but create a peaked end. So I sanded it at an angle to leave as much of the end as possible. It's just tall enough that when you add the fascia for the peaked roof, it covers any gap.

The end sill on the Intermountain cars is a close match for the truss-rod cars, but not exact. It will need the four bolts where the truss rods attach, and a small angle that rests on top of the end sill. It also looks slightly short. I ordered a few extra sets of the resin parts from RCW and shaved off the end sill too.


There are several excellent detail pictures of WFEX 63189 in RMPv2. Other than the short straight queenposts, it's a very close match to the BREX car with the wood roof.

For WFEX 60688, pictured in the same publication, it has the new roof and long angled queenposts, along with AB brakes. WFEX 61583 also has the same configuration, although the brake system isn't visible in the picture.

WFEX 62057 has the new roof, long angled queenposts, but the square corners on the door. This would be a good candidate for the RCW kit.

In The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (NMRA, but out of print) WFEX 62663 is a good match for a shortened Intermountain car with the short queenposts, while WFEX 61583 has the long queenposts, new roof, and rounded corners on the doors.

Note that the WFEX cars are all listed in a single series in the ORER, some with the long queenposts, some short, and depending on the era, replacement roofs, rounded corners on the doors, and AB brakes. So you can really only go by the available photos to know what features a car in this series has.


So for the truss rod cars I'm modeling:
BREX 78207- Intermountain, shortened with a wood roof and long queenposts.
FGEX 14409 - Accurail/RCW mini-kit(short queenposts).
FGEX 18176 - Intermountain with squared door corners and long queenposts (including the repairs in the photo in PRMv1).
WFEX 60688 - Intermountain, shortened with long queenposts and AB Brakes.
WFEX 62570 - Accurail/RCW mini-kit with replacement long queenposts.
WFEX 63189 - Intermountain, shortened with a wood roof and short queenposts.


So the molded on details have been removed and the car bodies modified. I need to drill and install grab irons, and wait for additional parts to arrive. More to come!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Weathering experiments

I got a Vallejo weathering kit for yellow and gray models, and wanted to try it out. I haven't really weathered any freight cars, so I used the body of a Red Caboose reefer that I was planning on stripping anyway.

I weathered one side heavier than the other, and pretty much just followed their directions, and I wasn't working from any photographs. Mostly this is to understand their process, and use it as a foundation for other approaches.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the first attempt. Because these are acrylic washes, there's a bit of the rounded edges in a few places since the color pools there. So I'll want to address that.

I also added some Pan Pastels afterwards to see how that would alter the weathering:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Flat Cars - General Information

There are many times where I can't really devote the time to go down and work on the layout, but I can work in small chunks of time while working on something else at my desk. Often this is a combination of working on models and research (and writing an occasional blog post). A common catalyst is the acquisition or announcement of a new model. 

One such group on my bookcase/desk is flat cars. The F30A that I posted recently was one such model/experiment. Instead of waiting to find a(n affordable) Sunshine model, I figured I'd see how hard it was to modify the underframe of the Bowser model. That was a result of getting the Owl Mountain Models SP F-50 and Espee Models SP F-70 flat car kits.

Once I start looking at a class of cars, I tend to look at what I might need. There are two general directions I work from in determining a roster.

Plastic Flat Car Models

The first option is to look at the available models, starting with the easiest ones - RTR plastic, as well as some that are available only as kits. In this case there are a number of good options, and resources (such as Richard Hendrickson's Railmodel Journal articles, Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, and the knowledge of the Steam Era Freight Car modelers in general.

41' Flat Car (Tichy/Ertl)

Based on an NC&StL Prototype, it's also close to DL&W, SP&S, SSW, CN, CP and NYC with 12 stake pockets. Ertl produced an RTR car based on the same prototype. I have no idea whether there are differences between the models. Ted Culotta wrote an article about modeling these cars in Prototype Railroad Modeling Volume Four (available from Speedwitch Media).

 The version that's sold as a Low Side Gondola can be built without the gondola sides and resembles AC&Y, C&O, and D&RGW cars with 10 stake pockets
I'm also working on using it as a basis for NH 36' flat cars.

AAR 50-ton 53'6" Flat Car (Proto 2000/Walthers)

This is a very accurate model, and as far as I know all of the roads released are prototypical. In my case I'm starting with ACL, C&NW,  C&O, CGW, CIL, CRR, D&RGW, I-GN, ITC, L&N, M&StL, NKP, NP, RI, SOO, UP, and WM. EJ&E would be another good choice due to the number rostered. Ted also has an article about these cars in Railroad Prototype Modeling Volume Four.

AAR 70-ton 53'6" Flat Car (Intermountain)

Another very accurate model, although the laser cut wood deck is too thick and tends to delaminate. I'm experimenting with removing it and using a styrene board-by-board replacement. The War Emergency ones are visually identical, the only apparent difference is that some of the crossties are wood. 

Again, I believe all of the released models are prototypical roads, but the NH is a must have for me, of course, and NYC rostered 1,000 of them! The ERIE and CRP are the other ones I'll definitely roster. PM had 350 as well.

NH/NYC Depressed Center Flat Car (Eastern Car Works)

Although this kit isn't produced anymore, they are easy to find, and it's an interesting prototype. More importantly for me, it's an accurate model of an NH prototype.

The body of the model is a very good replica of the cast body of the prototype. The details themselves are a bit course due to the injection-molding technology of the time, but it's easy to turn it into a nice looking model. The deck itself is beautifully rendered.

In addition, a second class of NH depressed center flat cars (they designated them "transformer cars") is nearly identical, only needing to extend the deck at either end. I need to get a picture of Chris' (award-winning) ECW flat car.

(Chris obliged in the comments. Here it is!)

NP Flat Car (Central Valley Model Works)

This is a series of flat cars rebuilt from boxcar underframes. It's a unique looking prototype.

PRR F30A (Bowser)

The Bowser kit is pretty accurate, but needs a few modifications like the addition of poling pockets and the work I did on the underframe. Speedwitch Media has decals available for this kit.

SP F-50 class Flat Cars (Owl Mountain Models)

This is a series of kits, I went with the F-50-10/12 model as it was probably the most numerous in my era. Available only as a kit, but it's a fun one to build. I'm building an SP F-50-12, and might build a T&NO F-50-8 as well. (Jason Hill has a series of posts on building this kit: Part I, II, III and a fantastic overview of SP Flat Cars. Tony Thompson did a quick write-up about assembling the kit too.)

SP F-70 series Flat Car (Red Caboose/Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society)

(I couldn't find a picture of this kit that I could use).
Another series of kits, sometimes available RTR, the F-70-6/7 is good for most of my era, and the similar F-70-10 would sneak into the 1953/4 sessions if I wanted to.'

UP GSC 42' Flat Car (Exactrail)

Recently produced by Exactrail, these are an accurate rendition of a 1951 UP prototype.

USRA 42' Flat Car (Red Caboose/Intermountain)

This is actually a model of the NYC and subsidiary cars, and PM and W&LE are close matches as well. This is a clone of the USRA design with minor differences.

To actually model the USRA prototype Richard Hendrickson noted that stake pockets #2, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 11 need to be moved to evenly space them across the side. In this configuration the CNW was the largest owner, and I may add additional roads once I verify their rosters in my era.

Other Plastic Flat Car Models

Of course, there have been many other plastic (and metal) models released over the years. Normally I look primarily at models that have separately applied detail parts. But flat cars have so few grab irons, they are among the easiest to clean up. A few others that I might look into:

  • The Atlas Pulpwood flat car is based General Steel Casting car built for the ACL in 1951. I believe GM&O, IC, L&N, and TN&O all had similar cars built by 1953. I don't recall seeing any photos, nor hearing of any pulpwood movements on the New Haven, though. So it's not a must-have for me.
  • MDC has a 30' flat car that is similar to a Milwaukee car, and also the PRR F22. This is a very heavy duty flat car. The F&C resin kit is probably a better model at this point. 
  • Walthers has a GSC 53'6" Cast Steel Flat Car model in their Gold Line/Mainline series (depending on when it was packaged). These are simple kits, with molded on details. They were built starting in 1951 for the GM&O, with more built for ATSF and MKT in 1952. It was a long-lived car, with additional deliveries in 1955 and through 1969, many with bulkheads or equipped for TOFC service. From what I understand it's an accurate car, and is probably worth upgrading, especially if you model the late '50s through the '70s at least. 

There are quite a few options, actually, and most available RTR. But flat cars varied quite a bit from road to road, and even though there were a few standard flat cars, they certainly don't represent the national fleet. Fortunately, there are lots of resin kits available to fill in some of those spots. Before I get to those, I'll look at the other method I use to determine what's a good starting point for my roster, and that's the prototype data.

In The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (Kline/Culotta from Speedwitch Media) they note that 15 roads account for 3/4 of the national flat car fleet. 
  • SP and T&NO (Owl Mountain, Red Caboose)
  • MILW 
  • NP (P2k, Central Valley)
  • SOU
  • C&NW (P2k, Red Caboose)
  • PRR (Bowser)
  • ACL (P2k)
  • SAL
  • UP (P2k, Exactrail)
  • GN (Red Caboose)
  • ATSF (Intermountain)
  • NYC (Intermountain, Red Caboose)
  • D&RGW (P2k, Tichy)
  • RI
  • L&N (P2k)
  • CB&Q
Of the top 15, the Milwaukee is the only road that doesn't have an accurate plastic or resin model readily available, other than potentially the MDC/F&C F22 model. Since that's a heavy duty flat car, it's not likely that it's the most common one on their roster. Charles Hostetler has a quick post on another series of MILW flat cars.

Resin Flat Car Models

So the next step was to fill in the options from resin kits. These fill in a lot of holes, especially with the more unusual flat cars. In addition to the ones listed below, Norwest Models produced two Canadian prototypes in resin. There were some other resin or part resin models, such as Westrail, Pittsburgh Scale Models, and Protowest, but these are hard to find and have been duplicated by other releases.

Chad Boas

Chad makes quite a number of flat car kits. These are just the major castings, no other materials are provided. But the price is right and the castings are fantastic. Ordering information is available on the Sunshine Kits website.. These are the ones that, as best I can tell, are appropriate for my era.
  • CB&Q 89000-series 53'6" Straight Side Sill flat car
  • CB&Q 94000-series 60' Welded Straight Side Sill flat car
  • CP 310000-311348 series 36' flat car
  • CP 335000-336559 series 42' flat car
  • CP 300000-300499 series 46' flat car
  • GN 65000-series 52' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • GN 65500/60060 TOFC 53'6" Welded Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • GN 66000-series 52' Straight Side Sill flat car
  • GN 67000-series 50' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • GN 69500-series 43' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • L&N 22000-series 46' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • M&StL 23000-series 50' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car (available with straight or extended overhang deck)
  • MP 8000-series 45' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • MP 8100-series 50' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • NH 17500-series TOFC 40' General Steel Casting Frame flat car
  • NW 42900 40' General Steel Casting Frame flat car
  • SEABOARD 47000-series F6 flat car
  • SOUTHERN 51000-series 53'6" Fishbelly Side Sill flat car
  • WP 2400-series 50' Fishbelly Side Sill flat car

Funaro & Camerlengo

Many PRR prototypes, along with a couple of northeastern roads.
  • B&M Well Hole flat car with load.
  • B&O P-11 Fishbelly flat car (available with and without loads)(Chris did a long series of posts on building this car: Part I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X - I think that's all of them in the correct order)
  • PRR F22 Heavy Duty flat car
  • PRR F23 Heavy Duty flat car (same as F22 but with a steel deck)
  • PRR F29 Depressed Center flat car (Excellent writeup by Ted Culotta: Part I, Part II)
  • PRR F33 Well Hole flat car
  • PRR FM flat car (same casting as the B&O P-11) (available with and without loads)
  • PRR FM Container flat car with Container load
  • Rutland 2300/2600 series flat car (available with an without loads)
Speedwitch Media has replacement decals for the F29, F33 and FM flat cars (and containers).

Speedwitch Media

For me, the NH car is a must-have of course.
  • NH 172000-series flat car
  • NP 52' Straight Side Skill flat car (originally from Northern Specific Models)

Sunshine Models

Although Sunshine is no longer in business after Martin Lofton's passed away in 2013, many of the kits originally released by Sunshine are available from other sources now. However, there isn't a good source for ATSF prototypes other than the 70-ton AAR flat car. Sunshine kits are regularly listed on eBay, but they sell for premium prices. In my case, I have an ATSF Ft-L & N kit that I'm looking forward to building.
  • AAR 53'6" 70-ton flat car for ATSF, CRP, DT&I, ERIE, IHB, NH, NYC and PM (same Prototype as the Intermountain model)
  • USRA or USRA Clone 42' flat car for B&M, CNW, PM, SL-SF, and TC (the same prototype as a modified Red Caboose kit)
  • ATSF Ft-G & M 40' and 44' flat car
  • ATSF FT-I & J 44'6" flat car
  • ATSF Ft-L & N 53'6" flat car (originally 50' flat cars, they were lengthened by inserting a 3'6" section)(released with and without bulkheads)
  • ATSF Ft-O & P 50' flat car (released with and without auto frame loading equipment)
  • B&O P-11 flat car (same prototype as the F&C kit)
  • CB&Q FM-11, 11A flat car
  • CNW 46' flat car
  • MP Pulpwood flat car (the bulkheads were built using Murphy ends from retired boxcars)
  • PRR FM flat car (same prototype as F&C kit)
  • PRR F30A flat car (same prototype as Bowser kit)
  • RI 50' Spliced flat car (these prototypes were made by inserting a 7'6" section to the center of a USRA clone. It appears this can be accomplished by splicing together two Red Caboose kits.
  • SSW 42' flat car (I think this prototype looks similar to the Tichy kit)
  • T&P 42' flat car (I think this prototype looks similar to the Tichy kit)
  • T&P Pulpwood flat car (rebuilt from USRA clone boxcars, using the original Murphy ends for the bulkheads)

I haven't gone through the ORER of each of these roads to see if the available models address the largest classes on those roads. As always, the model roster is dependent upon the available models (or the ones I kitbash or scratchbuilt) which rarely coincides with the actual national roster.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Engine Servicing Pits

Things as always have been a bit hectic lately, and my backlog of posts has been exhausted. Chris and I spent a day working on some modifications to the layout that I'll report on shortly, but in the meantime here's a few pictures experimenting with building the engine servicing pits that I'll need.

Here's a Kent Cochrane photo c1946 that shows the servicing pits. This used to be the inside of an engine house, and you can see the stone foundation for the pillars between the doors and also just beyond the locomotive. I wrote more about the photo when I picked up a different copy of in an earlier post. This one is a second exposure from a slightly different angle.

I looked at a variety of options to build them, including entirely scratchbuilt. But I like the drains in the Peco ones (although I don't know for a fact if there were present here), and thought I might need the stairs too, so I bought a couple of them to see what I could do to modify them to match the brick-lined ones here.

I narrowed the top "flange" of the model and scratched it up with a razor saw to make it look like wood rather than concrete. For the based of the wall I used a piece of .040" x .060" styrene that I roughed up with a mill file to look like cut stone. The brick is Plastruct, and then a piece of .040" x .080" styrene to extend the wood over the brick. I didn't color the brick, but the floor, wood tie, and the stone base were done by stippling Pan Pastels into wet paint as I described here.

I'm' happy with the general results, other than the Plastruct brick looks like little loaves of bread. So I ordered some brick sheet from N-Scale Architect, and started on the first one while I wait for them to arrive.

As you can see, I've only done the floor and the foundation stone. I'll cut  the brick sheet and paint/weather it before installing, and then I'll do the top strip to finish the wood before painting/weathering that. Based on the photos, I don't think I'll be using the steps after all, but I will add the wood bridge across the middle. I have three to build, but they go pretty quick. An added benefit is that the tie plates are already part of the model and will hold the track securely. While they aren't an exact match, if I feel like it I can add additional detail.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Upgrading a Bowser PRR F30A

One evening after I had picked up a Bowser PRR F30A flatcar kit I decided to cut out the missing holes in the cast underframe. This was a process of drilling a bunch of holes, then cutting and filing until they were the right oval shape. It's hard to tell, but I even filed out the holes in the crossbearers.  

It's not precise, and I think I did two too many holes in the small sections where the trucks will be. On the track, of course, the underframe is largely unseen, but the very bottom of the holes can be seen when looking from the side on the layout.

It will take a little more work to finish the model, but this was a good project to just grab and do something on a night where I otherwise might not have done any modeling.

The Sunshine kit has the correct underframe, of course, but they are hard to find and the Bowser kit is not only easy to find, but inexpensive. And it's a pretty accurate model as is, with a few modifications.

More to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Train Length

Like many of us, I'd like to run some long trains. For a lot of model railroads, particularly those with busy single-track mainlines, the limiting factor for most trains is the longest passing siding on the layout. Aside from that, the next limiting factors are grades and staging capacity.

So my layout, out of necessity, has two helixes, one at each end of the Highland Line. Eastbound is Hartford, and westbound is Holyoke/Westfield, the New Hartford branch, Waterbury, and Maybrook, depending on the train. These are about 2% on a 28" radius curve. The other grade on the layout is on the Berlin Line, also a 2% on a 28" radius curve.

Passenger Train Length

The longest passenger train is 5 or maybe 6 cars. Presently, only one of those cars is brass. Most of the trains are 3 or 4 cars. The short trains can be handled by any of the motive power called to do so - Atlas RS-1, Athearn RS-3, Crown Custom I-2. The longer train, 131/136, receives power from Boston, which means either a DL-109 (Life-Like/Walthers or brass), or the BLI I-4. So that's not a problem. Other passenger service, depending on the era, is either the Comet or RDCs. So passenger service is no issue at all regarding the helixes.

Freight Train Length

Freight, on the other hand, is a different story - at least in one case. The major issue here is motive power, and the main limitation is steam.

Cedar Hill-Holyoke Freights (NY/YN)

The Holyoke freights won't be an issue. They come into Whiting Street yard on level track. They could leave a dozen or more cars at Whiting Street before hitting the 2% grade to New Britain (on a curve). Even the J-1 seems to be able to handle 15+ cars on that track, although it will primarily be handled by an S-2, RS-2, or RS-3, and the RS units often ran two or three at a time. The H-16-44s could also be on this run. So these trains could be 30+ cars westbound.

Eastbound, they are limited by whatever the motive power can pull up the helix. But we can add as much new tonnage, probably 12-15+ cars in New Britain, because it's downhill to staging. So they could still be 30-car trains leaving the layout.

Because of staging limitations on the Berlin line, the only way I'll be able to do that is to have the through train crew member actively splitting the train as it enters staging, then removing cars to make room for a later train. Something we might do from time-to-time with the right crew.

New Hartford Local (HDX-5)

Of course, the New Hartford local, with either a K-1-d or an S-1, will be much shorter. I'm not sure the K-1-d will handle more than 8 cars up the helix, perhaps less. I'll need to get as much weight into it as possible. The Atlas S-1 can handle at least a dozen cars.

Maybrook Freights (OA/AO)

The Maybrook freights, on the other hand, could potentially be very long...or not. Starting in '47 these were hauled by an FA-1/FB-1/FA-1 set. The Life-Like Proto 2000 locomotives are great haulers, and starting in '51 I could even add an FB-2 to the consist. But the brass L-1s on the other hand, won't be able to handle as much tonnage.

The good news is, that by the time they get to New Britain, all they have left is New Britain and Hartford cars. But that could still be 12-15+ cars for New Britain, plus that many or more for Hartford. One reason I'd like to be able to have a sizable cut for Hartford is the ability to have a decent string of reefers on the front with an equal or greater size cut of general freight. So maybe 8 reefers plus 10-12 cars, plus another 12-15 for New Britain. So I'll be able to do a 30-40 car train here with the ABA sets.

The westbound has only empties and loads coming from Hartford. This works out well, because I can max out the train coming up the helix, and add on the outbound from New Britain to go down the helix, just like the Holyoke freights.


The point is, even on a layout as small as mine, it is possible to potentially run some very long trains. If I do get to run 30-40 car through freights, it will look "right" because most of the area they are running through is 70%+ to scale. The reality is, in this era it was still possible to see 100+ car trains heading to Maybrook.

Even if I can't run trains that long, we can simulate them anyway. We most likely won't be running the overnight trains (often two Maybrook, one Holyoke, and even a Bridgeport to Hartford train). Instead, long cuts of cars will be waiting for the crew when they arrive at work, just like the prototype. We can extend that approach by leaving the long cuts for the evening/overnight freights when the crew goes home, instead of running those trains. This would be easier for the YN freights to Cedar Hill due to insufficient staging.

In the meantime, as we're prepping the layout it sounds like a good job for Joseph - test 30-40 car trains and see how the layout handles it.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Operations: Auto Dealers

Yes, I often find myself going off on a tangent...

One of the long-term goals is to better replicate the paperwork, such as waybills, used to operate the railroad. While it's easy to address either the shipper or receiver that is online in New Britain, it's often more difficult to determine the origination or destination of off-line cars.


A major commodity for most towns in this era are automobiles. Autos were shipped in 40' and 50' Automobile Boxcars, which frequently had loading racks that allowed one or more cars to fit above cars loaded on the floor of the boxcar. Some Auto Cars had end doors, and most (all?) had double doors to allow loading from the side. I believe 3 cars would fit in a 40' Auto Car, and 4 in a 50' Auto Car. I'll address the necessary freight cars in a future post.

Dennis DeBruler has a great post on his blog with lots of photos of how autos have been transported by rail over the years. Scroll down, because there are more pictures below the modern auto racks.

In most cases Autos were unloaded at bulk/team tracks, but not all towns had concrete (un)loading ramps, so I think that in many cases cars would be delivered to a nearby town. I don't know if the wooden platforms at a typical freight house was sufficient to unload automobiles. In the towns that have (un)loading facilities, they didn't always have end ramps to use the end doors.

Based on the 1% waybill study, between 1950 and 1954 there were an average of 377,500 boxcars carrying passenger automobiles were shipped to CT annually. That's more than 1,034 Auto Cars per day. Looking at an NYC 1947 Routing Guide, it lists 148 freight stations in CT. That's almost 7 cars day (including weekends) per station. Although larger cities such as Cedar Hill would undoubtedly get more cars than smaller towns, I think this is balanced in part by the fact that not all towns have unloading ramps. So to me, it's safe to say that in any given operating session I'll have at least 1, but probably more, cars of automobiles delivered to the Whiting Street bulk tracks.

I have a New Britain City Directory, and the New Britain Public Library has the entire collection. So it's easy to identify the auto dealers in town, and all brands available at the time are represented:
  • A.G. Hawker Inc. (Packard) 
  • Automotive Service Garage (Willys-Overland) 265 Elm St.
  • Becker Motor Sales Inc. (Chevrolet/Oldsmobile) 1141 Stanley St.
  • Berlin Auto Sales (Ford) Berlin
  • Central Motors (DeSoto) 119 Church St.
  • Curry Motors (Dodge/Plymouth) 1139 Stanley St.
  • Edward Sousa Motor Sales Inc (Lincoln/Mercury) 152 South Main St.
  • Luddie K-F Motors (Kaiser, Frazer, and Henry J starting in 1951)
  • Moran Motors (Hudson) 403 West Main St.
  • New Britain Motor Car Co (Chrysler/Plymouth) 248 Elm St.
  • Papa's  (Hudson and possibly Crosley) 724 Allen St.
  • Royal Motor Sales (Kaiser-Frazer) 35 East Main St.
  • Stanley Motor Sales Inc (Ford) 85-105 Myrtle St. (Arute Ford Sales in 1951)
  • Swift & Ferguson Inc (Studebaker) 238 Hartford Ave.
  • Tufano Body Co (Nash) 209 Hartford Ave.
  • The Williams Corp (Pontiac/Cadillac) 50 Chestnut St.
All of these would be serviced at the bulk track at Whiting St. Yard, where there is a concrete unloading ramp. And all would be delivered in 40- or 50-foot auto cars. Not all neighboring towns have unloading ramps, so there's a good chance autos were shipped to New Britain for them too. At some point I'll get a list of other potential consignees, at least in Berlin since Whiting St Yard is on the border.

There is a lot of historical information available online regarding vintage autos and the auto industry. What isn't always obvious is what railroads service the plants. Here's what I've been able to determine for 1949. Ford and GM have numerous plants across the country, the closest plants that manufacture a given model would be servicing a given area. Although I really only need the ones east of the Mississippi, I've included all of the ones I could identify for 1949.

Note that there are some differences depending on the year. Most auto manufacturers didn't introduce new post-war models until 1949. A number of new plants were built in the decade following the end of the war, so each year is a little different in that regard as well.


Chrysler Corporation

  • DeSoto Wyoming St Assembly, Detroit, MI (DeSoto) - DTR
  • Dodge Main, Hamtramck, MI (Dodge) - GTW and MC (NYC)
  • Jefferson Assembly, Detroit, MI (Chrysler Imperial) - DTR
  • Lynch Road Assembly, Detroit, MI (DeSoto, Plymouth) - DTR
  • Los Angeles Assembly, Commerce City, CA (Dodge, Plymouth) - LAJ
  • San Leandro Assembly,  San Leandro, CA (Dodge and Plymouth) - SP (?)
Dodge Models
  • Coronet Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Sedan, Station Wagon, and Town Sedan
  • Custom Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Limousine, Sedan, and Town Sedan
  • DeLuxe Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan
  • Meadowbrook Sedan
  • Wayfarer Coupe, Roadster, Sedan
Chrysler Models
  • Crown Imperial Limosine, and Sedan
  • Imperial Sedan
  • New Yorker Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, and Sedan
  • Royal Club Coupe, Sedan, and Station Wagon
  • Saratoga Club Coupe, and Sedan
  • Town & Country Convertible Coupe
  • Windsor, Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, and Sedan
DeSoto Models
  • Custom Brougham, Club Coupe, Limousine, Sedan, and Suburban
  • DeLuxe Carry-All, Club Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, and Station Wagon
Plymouth Models
  • DeLuxe Business Coupe, Club Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, and Suburban
  • Special DeLuxe Business Coupe, Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, and Station Wagon

Crosley Motors

  • Richmond, IN - C&O (and N&W?)
  • Marion, IN - C&O
Crosley Models
  • CD Convertible, Sedan, and Station Wagon
  • Hotshot Roadster

Ford Motor Company

  • River Rouge, Dearborn, MI (Ford, Mercury, Trucks) - DT&I; DTR
  • Atlanta Assembly, Hapeville, GA (Ford) - SOU
  • Chester Assembly, Chester, PA (Ford) - PRR
  • Dallas Assembly, Dallas, TX (Ford) - ATSF (?)
  • Edison Assembly, Edison, NJ (Lincoln, Mercury, Trucks) - PRR
  • Lincoln Assembly, Dearborn, MI (Lincoln) - C&O (formerly PM)
  • Long Beach Assembly, Long Beach, CA (Mercury, Ford) - SP
  • Maywood Assembly, Commerce City, CA (Lincoln, Mercury) - LAJ
  • Norfolk Assembly, Norfolk, VA (Ford, Trucks) - N&W
  • Pittsburgh Assembly Plant, East Liberty, PA (Ford) - PRR
  • Richmond Assembly, Richmond, CA (Ford) - ATSF
  • Somerville Assembly, Somerville, MA (Ford) - B&M
  • St. Louis Assembly, Hazelwood, MO (Lincoln, Mercury, Trucks) - WAB
  • Twin Cities Assembly, St. Paul, MN (Ford) - ???

  • 6 Series Business Coupe, Club Coupe, Fordor Sedan, and Tudor Sedan
  • 8 Series Business Coupe, Club Coupe, Fordor Sedan, and Tudor Sedan
  • Custom 6 Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Fordor Sedan, Station Wagon, and Tudor Sedan
  • Custom 8 Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Fordor Sedan, Station Wagon, and Tudor Sedan
Lincoln Models
  • 9EL Convertible, Coupe, and Sport Sedan
  • Cosmopolitan Convertible, Coupe, Sport Sedan and Town Sedan
Mercury Models
  • 9CM Convertible, Coupe, Sport Sedan, and Station Wagon

General Motors Corporation

General Motors had a primary manufacturing location for each brand. In addition to producing completed automobiles, they also produced "knock-down" kits that were sent to the regional assembly plants.

Main Plants
  • Buick City, Flint, MI (Buick and Chevrolet) - C&O (formerly PM)
  • Detroit Assembly, Detroit, MI (Cadillac) - GTW, and MC (NYC)
  • Lansing Assembly, Lansing, MI (Oldsmobile) - LMR
  • Pontiac Assembly, Pontiac, MI (Pontiac) - GTW
Regional Assembly Plants
  • Baltimore Assembly, Baltimore, MD (Chevrolet) - B&O
  • Doraville Assembly, Doraville (Atlanta), GA (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac)- SOU
  • Fairfax Assembly, Kansas City, KS - (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) - MP, UP
  • Framingham Assembly, Framingham, MA (Buick) - B&A (NYC)
  • Janesville Assembly, Janesville, WI (Chevrolet) - MILW
  • Lakewood Assembly, Lakewood Heights (Atlanta), GA (Chevrolet) - SOU
  • Linden Assembly, Linden, MI (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac; also GMC Truck and bus division) - PRR
  • North Tarrytown Assembly, North Tarrytown, NY (Chevrolet) - NYC
  • Norwood Assembly, Norwood, OH (Chevrolet) - PRR
  • Oakland Assembly, Oakland, CA (Chevrolet) - SP
  • St. Louis Truck Assembly, St. Louis, MO (also GMC trucks) - MBT
  • South Gate Assembly, South Gate, CA (Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) - ATSF
  • Van Nuys Assembly, Van Nuys (Los Angeles) CA (Chevrolet) - SP
  • Wilmington Assembly, Wilmington, DE (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) - B&O
Buick Models
  • Roadmaster Convertible Coupe, Estate Wagon, Riverside, Sedanet, and Touring Sedan
  • Special Sedanet, and Touring Sedan
  • Super Convertible Coupe, Estate Wagon, Sedanet, and Touring Sedan
Cadillac Models
  • Series 60 Special Coupe de Ville, and Touring Sedan
  • Series 61 Club Coupe, and Touring Sedan
  • Series 62 Club Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Coupe de Ville, and Touring Sedan
  • Series 75 Business Imperial, Business Sedan, Imperial Sedan, Sedan, and Touring Sedan
Chevrolet Models
  • Fleetline 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan
  • Styleline Business Coupe, Cabriolet, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, Sedan Delivery, Sport Coupe, and Station Wagon
Oldsmobile Models
  • Futuramic Series 76 Club Coupe, Club Coupe Deluxe, Club Sedan, Club Sedan Deluxe, Convertible Coupe Deluxe, Deluxe Sedan, Deluxe Station Wagon, Sedan, Town Sedan, and Town Sedan Deluxe
  • Futuramic Series 88 Club Coupe, Club Coupe Deluxe, Club Sedan, Club Sedan Deluxe, Convertible Coupe Deluxe, Deluxe Sedan, Deluxe Station Wagon, Sedan, Town Sedan, and Town Sedan Deluxe
  • Futuramic Series 98 Club Sedan, Club Sedan Deluxe, Convertible Coupe Deluxe, Deluxe Sedan, Holiday Coupe Deluxe, and Sedan
Pontiac Models
  • Chieftan 6 Business Coupe, Deluxe Convertible Coupe, Deluxe 2-door Sedan, Deluxe 4-door Sedan, Deluxe Sedan Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, Sedan Coupe
  • Chieftan 8 Business Coupe, Deluxe Convertible Coupe, Deluxe 2-door Sedan, Deluxe 4-door Sedan, Deluxe Sedan Coupe, 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, Sedan Coupe
  • Streamliner 6 Deluxe Sedan, Deluxe Sedan Coupe, Metal Station Wagon, Metal Station Wagon Deluxe, Sedan, Sedan Coupe, Wood Station Wagon, Wood Station Wagon Deluxe
  • Streamliner 8 Deluxe Sedan, Deluxe Sedan Coupe, Metal Station Wagon, Metal Station Wagon Deluxe, Sedan, Sedan Coupe, Wood Station Wagon, Wood Station Wagon Deluxe

Hudson Motor Car Company

  • Detroit, MI - DTR
Hudson Models
  • Commodore Six Club Coupe, Convertible Brougham and Sedan
  • Commodore Eight Club Coupe, Convertible Brougham and Sedan
  • Super Six Brougham, Business Coupe, Club Coupe, Convertible Brougham, and Sedan
  • Super Eight Club Coupe and Sedan


  • Willow Run, Ypsilanti, MI - MC (NYC)
  • Long Beach, CA (Deluxe, Special, Traveler) - SP (?)
Kaiser Models
  • DeLuxe 492 Convertible, and Sedan
  • Special Sedan, and Traveler
Frazer Models
  • Standard Sedan
  • Manhattan Convertible, and Sedan

Nash Motors

  • Kenosha WI - CNS&M, CNW
  • El Segundo, CA - SP
Nash Models
  • 600 Super Brougham, 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan
  • 600 Super Custom Brougham, and Sedan
  • 600 Super Special Brougham, 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan
  • Ambassador Custom Brougham, 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan
  • Ambassador Super Brougham, 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan
  • Ambassador Super Special Brougham, 2-door Sedan, and 4-door Sedan

Packard Motor Car Company

  • Detroit, MI - DTR
Packard Models
  • Custom 8 Club Sedan, Convertible Victoria Coupe, Limousine, and Touring Sedan
  • DeLuxe 8 Club Sedan, and Touring Sedan
  • Standard 8 Club Sedan, Station Sedan, and Touring Sedan
  • Super 8 Club Sedan, Convertible Victoria Coupe, Limousine, Limousine DeLuxe, Touring Sedan, and Townsman Station Wagon

Studebaker Corporation

  • South Bend, IN - NJI&I (WABASH), MC (NYC), and PRR
  • Los Angeles Assembly Plant, Vernon, CA - LAJ
Studebaker Models
  • Champion DeLuxe Coupe, 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, and Starlight Coupe
  • Champion Regal DeLuxe convertible, coupe, 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, and Starlight Coupe
  • Commander coupe, 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, and Starlight Coupe
  • Commander Regal DeLuxe convertible, coupe, 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, Land Cruiser, and Starlight Coupe

Willys-Overland Motors

  • Maywood, CA - LAJ
Willys Models
  • Jeepster VJ2
  • Series 463 Jeepster, and Station Wagon
  • Series 663 Station Wagon

Industrial Railroads

Many of these plants are served by small industrial roads, also known as terminal and switching railroads, rather than Class I railroads directly to their plants. These roads typically didn't roster any freight cars of their own, cars from connecting lines would probably be the most common for outbound loads.

Detroit Terminal Railroad (DTR)

A look at the auto industry wouldn't be complete without mentioning this shortline road that circled Detroit and was originally owned by the GTW, LS&MS (NYC), and MC (NYC) railroads. It serviced many of Detroit's auto plants, running from the Ford River Rouge complex to the Hudson and Packard plants on the other side of town. It had connections with DT&I, GTW, MC (NYC), NJI&I (WABASH), C&O (formerly PM), and PRR.

Here's an article about modeling the DTR, including a map.

Lansing Manufacturers Railroad (LMR)

An industrial railway originally leased to LS&MS and MC railways, both of which became part of the NYC system. Among the industries served were the Olds Motor Works (GM Oldsmobile plant), GM Fisher Body/Lansing Car Assembly #6, and the GM Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Plant #2. The railroad interchanged with GTW, MC (NYC), C&O (formerly PM).

Here's a map of the LMR (it's also available on Wikipedia).

Los Angeles Junction Railway (LAJ)

This shortline in LA services the Chrysler and Ford Maywood Assembly Plants. It has connections to ATSF, PE (SP), SP and UP.


Depending on where you model, there is a lot of additional traffic related to the automobile industry. Most of the companies had additional plants that manufactured parts, which were shipped by rail to the assembly plants. For example, in 1914, the Ford Highland Park plant received 100 cars of materials, parts and supplies, and shipped 176 cars of automobiles daily. (In the postwar era, the Highland Park plant manufactured Ford tractors).

Here's a great site about the LA auto factories and dealers, including a map of the LAJ from an issue of the Warbonnet.

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA)

Although none of the plants listed here are serviced by the TRRA, it's an industrial road originally owned by MP, StLIM&S (to MP in 1917), Wabash, O&M (to B&O in 1893), L&N, and CCC&StL (aka "Big Four" to NYC in 1930) , so by my era it was MP, Wabash, B&O, L&N, and NYC. In addition to those roads, it has connections to A&SCB&Q, C&EICRI&P (RI), EStLJ, GM&OIC, IT, L&MMKT, MRS, NC&StL, PRRSL-SF, SOU, StL&BE, StL&O'F, SSW, along with a water connection to Mississipi Valley Barge Lines.

Here's a map of St. Louis railroads from 1921 at the St. Louis public library.

Researching the Railroads

In order to identify railroads that serviced a given plant, I used a number of resources. First is the Opsig Industry Database. I'd search for the factory and railroads to see if any sites specifically discussed that location. If that didn't work, I'd find the location (or prior location) of a factory on Google Maps, and compare it to the USGS maps at Topoquest. Another resources is the collection of Sanborn maps at the Library of Congress. In addition to the maps, check out the Articles and Essays, and Sanborn Samplers where they've collected a series of maps with a bit of historical information as examples of how the maps can be used for research, including several of particular interest to model railroaders.

One of the main reasons I created my site and blog is to keep track of stuff that I research so I can go back to it later. Compiling this information in a single place makes it more useful to me, and hopefully you too. If there is information missing, or that you'd like to see that I'm not including, just let me know. And of course I always welcome corrections.