Sunday, May 28, 2023

Preparing for NERPM

The 2023 New England Prototype Modelers Meet is coming up - June 16-18.

A lot of what I've been working on is in preparation for the meet.

1. Getting the layout operational. I'll be open for the Sunday layout tour for the first time in a while, and I'm also going to be hosting some casual ops sessions on Thursday just prior.

This has involved completing a lot of track work changes, completely rewiring the bus for additional circuit breakers and future signaling, and programming the locomotives for ProtoThrottles.

2. Expanding/updating a clinic covering the New Haven DL-109s (for Saturday night) - with still more new information since I presented the abbreviated version for Hindsight 2020.

Dale and Ryan ran some test ops on the tracks that are fully operational (the main line still needs power), and Alex and I tweaked 0502 and 0503 (the RS-2s) to serve as switchers for the ops sessions. The Stanley locomotive will be either the HH660 or the H16-44. 

I'm not sure which models to bring along this year. The majority of work has been on the layout itself rather than new models, which is where it has needed to be. 

I can hardly wait, though, I'm looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Livestock and Stock Cars

I started this post some time ago and never got around to finishing it. Something to do on a rainy/snowy March morning...

NH DERS-2c (RS-3) 517 on the Air Line at Middletown with a stock car.

Were stock cars common on the New Haven?

Looking through photos, these are the stock cars I've been able to personally verify on the New Haven. I've included the number of stock cars owned by that road, and rankings in parentheses for those roads that were in the top 15 owners of stock cars in 1950. 

  • CB&Q - 3,573 (3rd)
  • DL&W - 97
  • ERIE - 82
  • MILW - 3,690 (4th)
  • NYC - 1,675 (12th)
  • PRR - 2,315 (9th)
  • SLSX - 713 (Swift)
  • WAB - 594

The Swift cars (and Armour, below) would have been destined for their own plants, as photos of the Swift plant in New Haven have shown.

Other cars I would expect may have made it to the New Haven regularly:

  • ASEX - 200 (Armour)
  • B&O - 1,192 (14th) 
  • CGW - 150
  • CNW/CMO - 3,736 (6th)
  • IC - 1,100 (15th)
  • Mather - 1,444 (B&O, CNW, and CB&Q leased from Mather, may not be included in their totals)
  • RI - 1,207 (13th)

Of course, cars from other roads would be possible. The Santa Fe accounted for 13% of the North American stock car fleet in 1950, and of the 66 roads that owned them, only 18 roads accounted for more than 80% of that total.

But just because these cars were photographed on the NH doesn't mean they were common. How frequently did stock cars actually move on the New Haven? More often than you might think.

I touched on it briefly in an earlier post on commodities because I was surprised to find that swine (in double-deck cars) was the 17th largest group into Connecticut based on number of average annual carloads. This is calculated using the 1% waybill studies from 1950-54, and I was only looking at the statistics for Connecticut (which would also include traffic on the CV delivered to Connecticut).

Fresh Meats NOS (not otherwise specified) was the 6th largest group, averaging about 7,392 carloads annually. But Swine DD (double-deck) was 2,300, plus another 300 single-deck cars, and 250 single-deck cars of cattle/calves. No cars of sheep/goats were recorded. That's an average of almost 8 stock cars/day delivered to Connecticut.

Livestock Traffic

Where does the livestock originate? The cattle to Connecticut tends to come from a bit farther west than the hogs. Major stockyards in those states are listed below. The roads noted correspond to the cars noted above:

  • Illinois (Cattle - 100; hogs - 475)
    • Chicago - All except DL&W
    • East St. Louis - B&O, CB&Q, IC, NYC, PA, RI, SLSX, WAB
  • Indiana (Hogs - 775)
    • Indianapolis - B&O, NYC, PA
  • Iowa (Cattle - 50; hogs - 1,050)
    • Dubuque - CGW, IC, MILW
    • Sioux City - CNW, IC, MILW
  • Minnesota (Cattle - 25)
    • Austin - CGW, MILW
    • South St. Paul - CGW
  • Nebraska (Cattle - 25)
    • Omaha - CB&Q, CNW, MILW, WAB
  • New York (Cattle - 50; hogs 75)
    • Buffalo - B&O, DL&W, ERIE, NYC, PA
  • Ohio (Hogs - 225)
    • Cincinnati - B&O, ERIE, NYC, PA

Armour and Swift operated out of all of the major stockyards.

As for destinations? Middletown had a slaughterhouse, which is where the stock car in the photo is headed. Copaco in Bloomfield was another destination, as was Swift and Sperry & Barnes in New Haven. There were other industries and stock pens at Hartford, Providence, Boston, and other locations on the NH.

I have seen it mentioned several times that some of the movements were to the locations with large Jewish populations for kosher meat. That may account for the cattle, but certainly not the hogs. At least in the Bloomfield, Hartford, and New Haven areas there were a significant number of sausage companies. 


The majority of these roads can be modeled, including all but two roads that I have documented on the New Haven.

Plastic models have focused on the western roads - ATSF, SP and UP. This makes sense because they owned more than 27% of stock cars in 1950.

The Proto 2000 Mather stock car plays a big part in modeling stock cars east of Chicago/St. Louis. Otherwise, for accurate stock car models, you'll have to look to resin kits.

  • ASEX - none
  • DL&W - none
  • ERIE - none
  • IC - none
  • Mather - Proto 2000; Sunshine. Owned 1,444 cars, many leased to the following roads:
    • B&O - all Mather cars in 1950 (495 single-deck; 438 double-deck)
    • CB&Q (1948 - 60 double-deck)
    • CNW (1948 - 300 single-deck)
    • GSX (Mather reporting marks)(1948 - 4 single-deck; 19 double-deck)
    • MSCX. (Mather reporting marks)(1948 - 46 single-deck; 16 double-deck)
  • MILW - Sunshine; Westerfield
  • NYC - Westerfield
  • PRR - Broadway Limited; F&C
  • RI - Westerfield (kitbash)
  • SLSX - none
  • WAB - Yarmouth


The blocking information in the Arranged Freight Symbol Books includes some regular livestock movements. For example, SN-3 has a block of New Haven perishable & livestock. But it does not have a block that specified Hartford livestock. Nor does any other train, but cars for Copaco in Bloomfield would have been delivered by the Griffins local, originating out of Hartford.

Also, while many photos on the New Haven have stock cars behind the locomotives, the New Haven livestock block is the second block in the train. 

I think it's most likely that stock cars for trains originating in Hartford would have come via Springfield. But it's possible that they could come via Maybrook, and run through New Britain. So the few stock cars I might run would be on a Maybrook freight. Obviously the Mather and Broadway PRR K-7 are the easiest ones to model. But I'll probably build Westerfield MILW and NYC cars eventually, since I think those were among the most common.

There are no industries receiving stock cars (of which I'm aware) west of New Britain on the Highland or Canal Lines. So that's the only train that would potentially have any stock cars on my layout. When the Maybrook-Hartford freights aren't running at all, I won't need any at all.

NH DERS-2c (RS-3) with a Milwaukee stock car.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Feeder Frenzy


In the past couple of weeks I have added more than 100' of new feeders. Where?

Stanley Works is a new track arrangement, the whole section needed new feeders.

Fafnir, Corbin, and Russell & Erwin off of Track 5, all new track arrangement, all of it needed feeders.

New Britain Yard, completely relaid with new track. Everything needed feeders...

You can see where this is going. Pretty much the entire Highland portion of the layout has been redone, and the feeders needed to be done too.

In addition, I'm adding more blocks, and decided to redesign the bus so each block is easily identifiable and uses a different color. This was needed for Track 1 and Track 2 for the new signal blocks anyway. I did the wiring (and track) a decade ago and can do much better than my initial design and installation.

Moving along...

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

No Rail Joiners

These are KV Models compromise joint bars. On the left is Microengineering Code 55 track, and the right is a Peco Code 83 curved turnout. The KV Models joint bars can be soldered to the rail, so I figured I could go a step further and eliminate the rail joiners at the same time.

You can also see one of the reasons I personally don't care for Peco track and turnouts - their tie plates and spikes are significantly larger (out-of-scale) than Microengineering. I'll be able to reduce this with painting and weathering and, of course, it would be less noticeable on a layout that is all Peco track.

Although I'm not doing this everywhere, I am using the approach throughout New Britain Yard and other newly replaced track that will be close to the fascia. Especially in cases like this where the rail code is different.

The basic process I'm using now:

  1. Use a Dremel with a wire brush to polish the backs of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  2. Tin the backs of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  3. Clean/use a Dremel with a brush to polish the rail.
  4. Apply flux to both sides of the rail.
  5. Apply solder paste to both sides of the rail.
  6. Apply solder paste to the back of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  7. Cut the joint bars from the fret and apply to both sides of the rail.
  8. I lightly squeeze the joint bars with a pair of tweezers in place, then touch the iron to the top of the rail.

I polished and tinned the entire fret at one time. I apply the solder paste only to joint bar just prior to cutting off the fret to install. The flux/solder paste is sufficient to hold the joint bar in place in the web of the rail, I squeeze them just to ensure they are securely soldered to the rail web. The extra tie in the photo above was to raise the Code 55 rail into the correct position. In addition to the shorter rail, Microengineering ties are shorter than Peco.

This is the only Peco turnout on the layout, and I have four Walthers turnouts too. Despite the enormous flexibility in modifying Microengineering turnouts, they can't be used for everything. The track geometry here needed a 28" radius diverging track, which is a close match for the Peco turnout. The Walthers ones are also on this track around the top of the helix for similar reasons.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

DL-109 clinic on March 4 Hindsight 20/20

 I'll be presenting a clinic on the details and paint schemes of the NH DL-109s on the Hindsight 20/20 virtual meet on March 4.

I've been unearthing additional information even as I finish preparing the clinic, so I'm excited to bring some new clarity to the pre-rebuild DL-109s and their many variations and paint schemes.

It's free to attend, sign up here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The new New Britain Yard

Thanks to John Drake switching back to N-scale, I was able to get the turnouts I needed to rebuild New Britain Yard.

I covered the reasons I did this here, but I'll summarize in no particular order - 

  1. My modeling skills have improved, and the ground cover and ballast of this section (the centerpiece) wouldn't match or be up to the standards of what I'll be doing now.
  2. I wish I had used code 55 track for the yard.
  3. I need to add switch machines to the main track switches, which is easier to do when they aren't already in place.
  4. I need to separate track 1 and 2 into individual electrical blocks for signaling.
  5. I was very happy with the 1-7/8" track centers in Whiting St. Yard. which would also allow me to add the missing track to New Britain Yard.
  6. Other track arrangement issues, I was able to make more room for the crossing shanty, for example.

Here's a few in-progress shots. Because I tore everything up, instead of using N-scale cork roadbed I used the craft foam I used for Whiting St. Yard. Although just a smidge shorter than the N-scale cork coming into the section, it's not a huge difference. I can draw on it to lay things out easily.

To mock it up, I have 3/4" wide strips of masonite (left over from the prior layout when I had cut them for spline roadbed). I prefer to work from the edge of the track, rather than the center line. I think it's more precise (at least for me). The 3/4" between the edge of the ties sets the track centers to 13'3" with the NH standard at 13'. Close enough for me. I think it looks better too, with another bonus being that I can fit the missing Track 13 and have a slightly wider spacing before tracks 15 and 17. 

I didn't pull out the tracks in the asphalt. So Track 1 and Track 2 are still on 2" centers. Although by the time I was finishing this up I realized it wouldn't have been too difficult to deal with that, It will work fine as is.

The switch shanty has an appropriate amount of room now. Still tight, but not much more than the prototype. It also required reworking the engine servicing tracks, also code 55 now.

Is all this worth it? I think so. Here's a picture of the original arrangement:

Note that the yard proper is only 3 tracks. Track 13 should be a long track that crosses Elm St. Without the fourth track, the crossover between the two is missing too. Here's the prototypically accurate arrangement:

Not a huge change by itself, but operationally I think it may be. In addition, the yard tracks are now Code 55 rail. I'm also not using any rail joiners in this section. Instead, I'm using KV Models joint bars, which can be soldered.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Gift of Model Railroading

 As much as I enjoy modeling, it's the modeling community that I enjoy perhaps even more. Of course, this past weekend was the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show (aka the Springfield Train Show). Although last year was the first post-covid show, a combination of omicron and a blizzard meant it was not quite the return as intended.

Not this year. Attendance was over 21,000 and it certainly felt like it. I don't typically need much, so I prefer to be involved. 

The reality was, in part because of Emily finally coming home from the hospital after a 4-month visit just a few days before the show, I wasn't well prepared. I didn't have a shopping list ready, barely had things to sell, and didn't get the things ready to display what Chris Z. and I have been up to. Since I didn't have a table this year, I helped Dale (not much) at his, but did sell a few of the trucks that Chris and I made.

Of course, I saw lots of folks, and that was the most fun for me. We had a great return to the Steaming Tender parlor car for dinner, even if the new arrangement isn't very conducive to moving around to see people. Shows like this really help motivate me to make some progress on my layout.

I did manage to get a couple of things, though. Dale handles the table for the Amherst club, and this year most of the table consisted of cars and buildings from Dick Elwell's layout, who passed away a few months ago. Of course, Dick was a master modeler and well known from features in Model Railroader and elsewhere. I had the pleasure of operating on his layout in the past too.

I managed to snag a couple of Tangent tank cars Dick weathered. Like the Russwin smokestack my buddy Craig Bisgeier made, Dick's modeling will live on, not only on my layout, but many, many others.

And they aren't the only ones. Probably the highlight of the weekend for me was a generous gift:

A mutual friend of Bill Welch gave me this Sunshine Rock Island box car built by Bill, who also sadly passed away last year. It appears Bill hadn't quite completed the car, it's not weathered yet, and I'm torn between leaving it as is, and weathering it as my contribution his beautiful work.

It's not really the freight car itself that moved me. The real gift of this hobby are the thoughtful and generous friends we make. I love going to the shows, not just to see my many modeling buddies, but to meet new ones too. It's a hobby that only grows richer the more folks we know, and it's a community built on helping each other reach their modeling goals.

I'm not sure I'll be quite as influential as the Dick Elwells, Bill Welches, or Allan McClellands, who also passed last year. I often wonder what I can offer to my friends who are such accomplished modelers. Over the years I've found that I do have ideas, research, and many other things that I could provide to even them. But the real lesson that they have passed on is that it's not what we can offer them, but what we can offer others. 

They were inspired by those that came before them, just as we are by them. And just as they have passed on their love of the hobby, their excellent modeling, and how they did what they did in clinics, articles, and sharing directly, we can too. The richness of model railroading can be seen in their work, but that's the past. The hobby grows by sharing what they have done, and we do, with others and building upon the foundations they and those before them have built.

Monday, January 30, 2023

44-tonners Part IV

Builders Photo of DEY-4 0806. Phase Ic.

With Rapido's announcement of 44-tonners, The samples look (and was running) great, I've passed on my suggestions to Bill/Rapido so I'm looking forward to their release.

 I, of course, know what I will need, but I've seen some questions online as to who had the earlier phases, and which road numbers were which phase. I've compiled a quick list of the original owners of the Phase Ic and Phase III locomotives.

This information is from Extra 2000 South issue 51, and issue 52, which define the "phases" and includes drawings of Phase Ic, II, III, IV, V (51) and Ib and Vb (52). They also include serial numbers and all of the subsequent owners and dispositions through mid-1975 and lots of in service and builders' photos.

Phase Ic (53 units) (S/N 13092 - 15131)

  • B&M:  114 - 117
  • D&RGW:  38 - 44
  • Iowa Ordnance Plant: 8-44, 9-44, 10-44, 11-44
  • Kansas Ordnance Plant: 2
  • Kentucky Ordnance Works: 1
  • LV: 60-62
  • MEC:  11 - 12
  • MILW (CMStP&P): 1701
  • Minneapolis & St. Louis Ry: D-172, D-842
  • Missouri & Illinois Bridge & Belt: 100
  • MP: 811
    • BSL&W: 815
    • I-GN: 812
    • StLB&M: 813 - 814
  • NYNH&H: 0800 - 0806
  • NYO&W: 101 - 105
  • Pine Buff Arsenal-US Army: unknown road number
  • San Francisco & Napa Valley Ry: 30, 40
  • Scioto Ordnance Plant: unknown road number
  • Sheffield Steel Corporation: 1 - 3
  • SP: 1900 - 1902
  • US Navy - Brooklyn Navy Yard unknown road number
  • US Naval Supply Depot, Pier 91 unknown road number
  • Washington & Old Dominion RR: 47 - 49

Phase III (36 units) (S/N 18145 - 27794, 27973 - 27975)

  • Atlantic & East Carolina RR: 8
  • ATSF: 463 - 468
  • Fernwood Columbia & Gulf RR: D-1, D-2, D-3
  • High Point Thomasville & Denton: 101
  • MEC: 13-15
  • NYNH&H: 0807-0816
  • Pacific Electric Railway: 1652-1654
  • Sheffield Steel Co: 6
  • US Army Aberdeen Proving Grounds: 7931-7932
  • US Army Fort Clark: 7492
  • US Army Fort Miffin Naval Ammo Depot: 7493
  • US Naval Air Station: unknown road numbers (2 units)
  • US Naval Ammunition Depot: unknown road number
  • US Naval Supply Depot: unknown road number
  • US Navy Whiting Field Naval Air Command: 5

Phase IVa (S/N 27793 - 29994)

  • You can use the list at the Diesel Shop to identify them.

New Haven 44-tonners

I've covered the DEY-4 class of locomotives here, here, and here. But since this will be the primary locomotive used in New Britain, this is a good place to add a little more information.

The Bachmann chassis suffered from the common issue of nylon gears that crack over time. The gears are no longer available, but I found that the latest truck design (at least their fourth) fit into my existing chassis. Since I needed to take them apart, I decided I wanted to upgrade the decoder and install a keep-alive, so they are waiting in the queue for that upgrade. I have two W&R brass shells of Phase Ic, and the Bachmann shell I modified into a Phase III.

Instead, I'll use the decoders elsewhere and switch to the Rapido locomotives, although I'm still waiting to see how well they can haul up my 2% grade from Whiting St Yard.

I have the following assignments during my era (including Phase and scheme):

Spring 1948
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0812 - Phase III - delivery
Autumn 1948
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0805 - Phase Ic - delivery
Spring 1949
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0805 - Phase Ic - delivery
Autumn 1949
  • 0805 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0806 - Phase Ic - delivery
Autumn 1950
  • 0805 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0806 - Phase Ic - delivery
Spring 1952
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0804 - Phase Ic - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
Autumn 1952
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0804 - Phase Ic - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
Autumn 1954
  • 0810 - Phase III - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
  • 0813 - Phase III - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
The seven locomotives assigned are:
  • 0802 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0804 - Phase Ic - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
  • 0805 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0806 - Phase Ic - delivery
  • 0810 - Phase III - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood
  • 0812 - Phase III - delivery
  • 0813 - Phase III - Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab

Rapido is releasing 0801, 0802, and 0804 in the Warm Orange with Pullman Green cab and top of hood scheme. So I'll definitely be getting 0804. 

0802 also received this scheme in August 1953. Since that was a regularly assigned locomotive for many of the years (and was back in 1956), I'll get that one as too. 

Even though 0812 was identified in Spring of 1948, I like the idea of having at least one Phase III in the delivery scheme.

For the rest, it's a question of if/when they will release the other schemes. I've only identified two (0812, 0813) that received the Warm Orange with Pullman Green cabs, so it seems unlikely to be done soon. But it's also very easy to do provided the cab is a separate piece.

The delivery scheme is very easy to do, since it's just Pullman Green. And we already have decals for that scheme. I'd prefer that it was factory painted. All except the two Phase IVa locomotives had this scheme, and several appear to never have received a second scheme. This would be a good option for them to release.

You'll note in the comments a discussion with Ken Baker. I was incorrect in those comments about the McGinnis scheme. There's a thread he started at the NHRHTA forum on the subject.

Which is a much better resource for information on the McGinnis and later eras than me!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

New Cars!

 I just received the Eastern Seaboard Models Magor/PC&F XIH box cars. For those unfamiliar with the company, this is their first HO scale offering, after years of excellent N-scale products.

Bryan has been posting updates, photos, and videos on a regular basis which highlighted testing and various rejections (including just as they were about to ship) to ensure these models were up to their standards.

I haven't done any significant research on the prototype since the NH version was built mid-1953 and just sneaks into my modeling era. But these are actually two closely related prototypes, 300 cars built for BAR by Magor in 1950, and another 150 cars (plus 100 for the NH) built by PC&F.

Magor-built BAR car.

PC&F-built car.

The PC&F cars (right) used a different roof than the Magor-built cars (left).

The cars are beautifully finished with the ever-popular (even on incorrect prototypes) "State of Maine" scheme. There has always been a lot of debate about the scheme, particularly the ends. Although the ends were painted the same color as the roof and top third of the car sides, it was mixed with asphaltum making them look black. I prefer this choice as it better matches photos of the cars.

I'm sure some will complain about the price, but I'm surprised it's as low as it is. It's their first foray into HO scale, and the amount of testing and changes alone add to the cost. But they also have genuine Kadee couplers, Intermountain trucks and wheelsets, and Hi-Tech rubber air hoses. Although OEM prices are less than what we as consumers pay, it does increase the cost of producing the product.

The main reason I'm posting this now (aside from them arriving today) is that Eastern Seaboard Models is they will be in the Mallary building (section 127) at the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show at West Springfield this weekend. If you didn't order the cars, go check them out in person. I doubt whatever is left will last long. I got mine through NHRHTA and I don't see them listed on the site there at all.

Monday, January 23, 2023

New Britain Station - Relaunch

Hand-colored postcard of New Britain Station.

On November 2, 2007 I first published New Britain Station. At the time I was still planning my layout.

I posted about the basic concept of the design, with a helix at either end, in March of the following year

It wasn't until almost a year later that I had removed the old layout to prepare construction for the New Britain layout.

In 2011, I had to move the website due to technical issues. Quoting guitarist Robert Fripp, "turn a seeming disadvantage to an advantage," and I took the opportunity to completely redesign the site. In 2014, again due to some technical changes, I switched the blog to be hosted at Blogger. It is more robust and added the ability for readers to comment on my posts.

Today I'm launching New Britain Station 3.0. The old Google Sites is being retired, but the deadline was (fortunately) pushed back several times. Which again allowed me to not just transfer it but redesign it entirely. I've updated and rewritten every page and added loads of photos. Although quite time consuming, I have learned so much more since 2011, it really needed a proper refresh. Hopefully for the last time. The blog will continue without any changes.

Postcards of New Britain

The photo at the top of the page is from a postcard produced for F.W. Woolworth Co. and is one I have used as the main photo on the site. Like most postcards, there's no copyright date but the one I have was postmarked in 1913. As it turns out, New Britain Station was a popular subject for postcards. I have found nine different ones to date - here they are:

Souvenir Postcard Co. N.Y., postmarked in 1907.

August Schmeltzer Co, Meriden Conn. Made in Germany. Postmarked 1911

Danzinger & Bermin, New Haven Conn.

Danzinger & Berman, New Haven Conn.

Chapin New Company, Hartford, Conn. Made in Germany. Postmarked 1908.

Chas. M. Hutlgren, New Britain, Conn. Made in Great Britain.

Leighton & Valentine Co., N.Y. City. Postmarked 1913

August Schmeltzer Co., Meriden, Conn. Made in Germany.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Another unusual car?

As I'm wrapping up the final few pages on the new website (for now) I was looking more closely at this photo of a J-1 (3019?) in Whiting Street Yard. I think this is a Kent Cochrane photo from c1940, but the window of time based on other elements in this, and another photo, is post-1936, pre-1945.

Is that a PRR X24 with horizontal sheathing and Youngstown doors?

The lettering in the upper left is "Autom/obiles"

Sure, it's a Pennsy car, how unusual can it be? Originally built 1913, the PRR rostered 2,000 cars. Not a lot for them, perhaps, but a lot of a distinctive class. But between 1934 and 1942 1,421 of the cars were converted to K7 stock cars. Only 318 remained in the 1938 ORER, and I've never seen another photo of an X24 with horizontal sheathing.There were still 289 in 1943, and 147 in 1948.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Baggage Cars

Somebody was looking for some baggage car kits, so I was looking through photos to identify the classes of baggage cars I'd need (and what I could spare) and came across something rather interesting. I also needed to finish the updating the page on the new website for passenger equipment, which led to more digging, and yet another interesting find. The result? A post on baggage cars.

Steel Underframe (Wood) Baggage Cars (3800-3946)

Photos seem to confirm that all of the Highland Line passenger trains were assigned Steel Underframe Baggage Cars from the 3800-3946 series of cars. Like Pete Puma, I'll need three or four of them.

The next question is whether I need any steel baggage cars, and which ones. I knew that they showed up in several of the photos at the station. Each day there's a baggage car that is spotted at the station to bring storage mail to Hartford in the evening. I'm 99% sure that these would be 60' steel cars from the 5300-5404 series, and not the longer 70' cars since Train No. 472 is assigned 60' of storage mail.

Can I identify if they are the steel underframe vs steel cars? For example, in one of several Kent Cochrane photos, shere's I-2 No. 1300 at the station. To the left you can see the end of the baggage car.

If you note, the end rails are a simple right angle. That's the arrangement on the 3800-series of cars. Here's I-1 No. 1007 at the station and you can clearly see that the train has a wooden baggage car.

But at the station is another baggage car. If I zoom in, we can see that it has an upper right handrail at about a 45-degree angle.

That's a signature feature of the Osgood-Bradley built steel baggage cars. It won't tell us the length of the car, but since it's only assigned 60' of storage mail, I'm comfortable with that. Are they common?

60' Steel Baggage Car (5300-5404)

But then things get more interesting...

Three photos show alternate angles of baggage cars at the station. First is this baggage car behind DEY-4 No. 0803. You can see a belt line, so it's a steel car (I have commented in the past that I thought it was wood). What I find more interesting is that it's in the yard. That leads me to believe these were probably brought to New Britain by a freight train.

The second photo taken by Jim Karl on the 1949 day is moments later. Ted Culotta noticed the clerestory roof behind No. 0802, and I found the photo above later.

But wait, looking at the spacing between the Ward ventilators, there are six "windows" between them. A photo of in the Bob Liljestrand book shows that the 60' car have only four. Is that a 70' car?

The F&C model, and the prototype photo on their site shows the 70' car also has only four. But here are two photos (the second is of No. 5532) that show some of them had different spacings.

I already have a couple of the 70' car kits in progress, but the vents are cast into the roof and that complicates things. But it is interesting to see a 70' car in New Britain. Since this is a clerestory roof, it's from the 5500-5569 series of cars.

70' Steel Baggage Cars (5500-5569)

In that second Jim Karl photo we can also clearly see the side of two baggage cars spotted at the station. The first is clearly steel, and the second is wood. With three cars, it looks like several may have been brought at the beginning of the week. Counting panels, it appears to be a 60' car.

There's another even better shot of a steel and a wood baggage in the photo of the Comet at the station. These seems to be in the middle of a switching move, because the cars are sitting on the westbound main (Track No. 1). 

In true New Haven fashion, though, it has to be different. The number of panels is obviously different than in the other photo. It also doesn't have Ward vents, nor the angled end railing. Yes, this is a different car. Unique, in fact, on the New Haven. Car no. 5407 was purchased second-hand in 1942 and is the only car on the railroad like it. 

60' Steel Baggage Car (5407)

Could the baggage car in the photo of No. 1300 above also be this car since it lacks the angled end railing? No, because it has an Ajax handbrake, and 5407 has a "vertical wheel type," which, in the photo, looks a lot like an Equipco handbrake.

Some time ago I had used the Jim Karl photo as a commentary on rare cars. Well, here are a couple more. And apparently I need more baggage cars than I thought...