Thursday, December 31, 2020

Modeling Foreign Sleepers on the SP

With the end of 2020, let's turn the 'Way-Back' Machine to December 31, 1948, 72 years ago tonight.

Happy New Years... Hello 1949!

World War II has been over for 3 years.  Most of the 'boys' are home now, the economy is booming, modern diesel rail locomotives are arriving every month, displacing the venerable steam engine.  Nearly everyone in the USA is going to spend tonight celebrating the old year leaving and the new year of 1949 arriving.

Last year's excursion lead by SP 4444 as Second 2 ran east out of Los Angeles to Araz Jct and back via the SD&AE to Los Angeles. December 27-28, 1947 - James Salkeld collection

The Korean War was still a year and a half away.  However, in the passenger car construction landscape of North America, a huge war had raged in the courts since 1945.  The battle lines were drawn between the defending Pullman Car Company and the other major car builders (such as American Car & Foundry) in the United States using the anti-trust laws to claim that the Pullman Car Company had a monopoly on both the construction of sleeping cars, the ownership, and even the operations of such cars which were leased to the railroads.  Even the car type even named "Pullman" showed the market dominance which the Pullman Car Company enjoyed!

December 31, 1948 that all changed.  Peace was established... Pullman had lost, AC&F was victorious and the railroads of the United States would be changed.  Literally overnight the Pullman Car Company sold its entire fleet of passenger cars they owned and operated to the railroads by court order.  As dawn rose on the first day of 1949, a new Pullman company took over the operation of most of Pullman's fleet of cars.  This new company was owned by the railroads, not Pullman Car Company.  This silent coupe was to go unnoticed by the vast majority of the traveling public for years to come.  American Car & Foundry, the Budd Company, along with several other car builders would now be free to compete for the railroad's business in passenger car market.  Southern Pacific's new 1950 Sunset Limited would be wholly built by Budd with their patented stainless-steel body construction method. AC&F would fight for some contracts as well for additional contracts as well.

Pullman History

Second 60, a "Doctor's Special" heads east out of Caliente with an number of nicer "Pullman Pool" extra cars. LMRC operating session, circa 1952.

Let's rewind a bit and see what lead to this change.  From the early years, the Pullman Company specially painted their cars for the various railroad's signature flagship trains and their special schemes.  However, 1945 an anti-trust court case was started, the ruling of which was put into practice on Jan 1, 1949.   This ruling was that the Pullman Company could either continue building railroad cars, or it could continue operating the sleeping (and parlor car) services to the railroads.  The Pullman Company chose to continue building railroad cars (both freight and passenger types) and the car operations department would be sold off to the railroads which it served in the proportions of the cars assigned in 1945.  A new Pullman Pool company would be formed by the railroads which now purchased the fleet of cars which the Pullman Company had to unload due to the ruling.  This new Pool would be set up to operate the fleet of cars.  The employees of the Pullman Company associated with the operational aspects were also transferred to the new Pool company.  The traveling public on January 1, 1949 was none the wiser to the change in ownership of the equipment they were riding and the employer of the crews that were serving them on the trains across America.

Pullman Co. "Coronado", a 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

Over the next year, many of the railroad replaced the "PULLMAN" paintwork on the letterboards of the passenger cars with their own railroad names.  Often "PULLMAN" was painted just inboard of the vestibule doors to show what service the car was in.  A few railroads chose to not repaint the letterboards of the cars (Union Pacific, for example), which eventually caused some issues with the Pool for cars that were owned by the railroads.  Many railroads chose to enter a program in which their fleet of newly purchased second hand sleeping cars were leased back to the Pullman "Pool" to operate.  In many cases this included their whole roster. 

Southern Pacific's streamlined 'lightweight' Pullman cars assigned to the "Lark" were some of the first cars repainted with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" letterboards.

In the book Pullman Panorama Vol.1, the car rosters are shown with the note "Sold to (Railroad Name Here), LTP" next to the car names and 12/48, denoting the month the car was sold to that railroad, and then returned into the Pullman Pool noted with the "LTP" (Lease to Pullman).

As the Pullman fleet was split to the railroads, the actual number of cars were far in excess of the railroads' actual needs, the Pullman 'Pool' at the time of the breakup reaching nearly 9,000 cars!  This was due to the Pullman Company owning a fleet which included extra cars which were provided during shopping of regular cars, wreck damaged cars, seasonal traffic rushes, extra charter trips, military movements, etc.  The new railroad-owned Pullman Pool of 1949 was expected to provide the same flexibility and coverage in service.  With most of the railroads leasing their excess cars back, this generally was able to be provided.  It was a much more colorful affair as the various railroads were painting their premier cars into their own schemes.  Even until the early 1960s some heavyweight sleepers still were wearing their 1949 "Pullman" green or two-tone gray schemes in Governemtal storage, until the day they went to the scrapper.

Many photos of SP HW Pullmans after about 1956 were actually taken of the cars in the government's strategic storage yards around the country which were supposed to be available and able to be put back into service to move the US Military in case of national emergency or rapid deployment.  Interestingly, 1966, the year that the government released the cars from storage, and most went to scrap between 1961 and 1966... was about the same time that the C-141 Starlifter heavy transport aircraft entered the USAF Airlift Command's fleet, first built in 1963.  Why have a fleet of stored Pullman sleepers around when you can use the new airplanes that the military just bought and the civilian airliners (Boeing 707 from 1957) instead?

On with the Models!

A couple of quick notes on the photos of the models, many of these cars are waiting for replacement window shades at this time.  Jeff Cauthen and several others have pointed out that I really should have proper darker gray window shades, that Pullman didn't use 'buff' or 'white' window shades on their HW cars.  Fair point, I've been looking into getting either paint sample cards for the weirder foreign roads that did use complimenting colors with their schemes or construction paper of suitable colors for the Pullman standard shades.  Also note that many of these models don't even have shades yet, which will be installed before the cars re-enter service.  I'm sure I'll post some updates when I get around to installing the new shades!

SP's Fleet

Pullman Company "Lake Cary" 10-1-2 Pullman green lease scheme - Walthers model

The SP was the third largest owner of Pullman sleeping cars in the country in 1949.  The 'streamlined' Pullmans were quickly repainted to show "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" on their letterboards to match the SP's other equipment repainted after June 1946.  These early repaints included lightweight cars assigned to the Lark, City of San FranciscoOverland, Cascade, and Golden State.  The heavyweight cars assigned to regular service on SP's trains, such as the Owl, Beaver, Californian, Argonaut, Coaster/Starlight, West Coast also had the cars repainted into SP Dark Olive Green and their letterboards fairly quickly repainted to Southern Pacific.  

SP "Juana" an example of a 12-1 repainted for Southern Pacific after January 1, 1949. - Walthers model

I custom repainted the "Juana" from a Walthers model, with Star Brand SP/UP Dark Olive Green and ThinFilm-160 SP HW delux lettering decals.  I have a total of three 12-1s and a couple other HWs to do this repaint and decal on to finish up the sleeper section of my 1947-1953 era Owl, Nos 57/58.  PC "Coronado" shown in the section above, is typical of a 12-1 in Pullman Green and Gold-leaf lettering before the repainting after January 1949.

SP 9162, one of the SP's 6-6-4s painted for Overland and CoSF service. - Walthers model with SP red decals.

Some SP cars assigned to the Overland pool (CoSF and Overland) were painted in the "UP Armour Yellow" scheme for that service.  This included a number of streamlined sleepers and several SP heavyweight sleepers as well.

Pullman Lease Cars on the SP

My Pullman modeling over the years has grown from some Rivarossi HW 12-1s in the 1990s to include some of the new Walthers plastic HW Pullmans around 2003 when they were released.  I could only afford three at the time from the local hobby shop, as I was a college student.

By the late 1990s, I was kitbashing some of the Rivarossi HW cars into other window arrangements with New England Rail Services' conversion parts.  I was well on my way to making a 10-1-1 and a 6-3.  The 6-3 was a rather painfun conversion with replacing all the windows down large portions of the carsides.  I was determined that I wouldn't get another 12-1 with my limited budget.  I should instead aim for other floorplans.  The three following cars were those that I picked up way back around 2003.

One of the club members, who had a number of references in the early 2000s, which was a rare thing before the SPHTS published their five volumes of SP Passenger Car books, looked up suitable car names for these first three Walthers cars.

Pullman Pool/Company "Glen Arch" (6-3)

Room-side of Pullman Company (Pool) "Glen Arch" in lease paint. - Walthers model

The top of the luxury heavyweight 1920s Pullman cars were the 6 Compartment, 3 Drawing Room cars (6-3).  These were all private room cars and were chartered for trips by the highest paying clients.  The 'aisle-side' as it was known had no rooms, but only single windows and a safety bar (need to install that!).  The room-side of the car was often switched at the originating station on regular runs to face whatever scenic interest there were along the way, the river, pretty views, etc.

Aisle-side of PC "Glen Arch" in lease paint. - Walthers model

My model of "Glen Arch" is representing one of the 6-3s that were not repainted immediately by SP when it was purchased in the 'breakup' of the Pullman Company in 1948, and continued to operate in Pullman Lease service off of SP rails for a number of years.  I chose the "Glen Arch" name, because this car did operate regularly on the SP's heavyweight Lark in the 1930s before the train was streamlined in 1941.

Pullman Pool/Company "Lake Cary" (10-1-2)

Pullman Company "Lake Cary" 10-1-2 Pullman green lease scheme - Walthers model

The name "Lake Cary" was chosen as it was a car that we believed in 2003 to have not been repainted to SP letterboard when it was photographed late in its life, which suggests that it never was repainted into the SP Dark Olive Green scheme, so the Walthers model would work from the 1940s all the way through the 1950s.  As the Tehachapi Pass didn't really have a regular assignment for a 10-1-2 on the Southern Pacific, my model of "Lake Cary" has usually bounced around in the extra pool and MAIN train service.

Pullman Pool/Company "William Osler" (14-Section)

Pullman Company "William Osler" 14-Section - Walthers model

The name "William Osler" was chosen as it was a car that lasted into 1966 (as I recall), which was owned by SP, but not repainted into the SP Dark Olive Green, and continued to wear the PULLMAN letterboard into government storage after 1956.

Operationally, if I want to model one of the earlier SP "Owl" (Nos.57/58) consists around 1947, often a 14-Section car was shown in the consist.  If I want to model one of the later uses of the 14-Section car, not in Tourist service, then it will probably be seen in lower fare charter trips, MAIN trains, or protection service as a dormitory car, etc. 

At first I thought the name was really odd, but at least it's memorable.  It's been fun working up the train consists for operations at LMRC over the years and reading off the train consists before the sessions, and having the other person receiving the dictation recognize the car names as they were read off.  It shows both that the cars that have a history of service at the club and it is very cool when a member of the operations crew doesn't need to be told what car type it is.  "William Osler... That's a 14-Section car... next?"

This ends the first group of three Walthers Pullman cars I picked up in 2003.

Pullman Pool/Company Rock Ridge (8-1-2)

Walther's standard Pullman green scheme named into the Rock Island's 'Rock' series. - Walthers model 

A few years ago Walthers released another run of their Pullman green and western two-tone gray cars.  These work well for the pre-1948 Pullman owned scheme cars, and the Pullman Pool cars for post-1948 scheme which didn't get repainted into the various railroads standard schemes.

Pullman Pool/Company Coronado (12-1)

PC "Coronado" 12-1 - Walthers model

I also realized that I'd missed out on getting a 12-1 Pullman in the early 2000s when I picked up the models that became the "Lake Cary" (10-1-2), "Glen Arch" (6-3), and "William Osler" (14-Section) cars in Pullman lettering.  The "Rock Ridge" and "Coronado" (12-1) now completes my "collection" of Pullman lease cars to represent that pool.

Not that we need to model one of every car accommodation type, but it's nice to be able to have some options when I wanted to put together the a demo consist for my blog on the SP's Shasta with a Pullman 10-1-2 for example and my regular Tehachapi Division modeling doesn't call for an SP train with a 10-1-2, well the "Lake Cary" fills the bill.

Pulman Tourist Cars

One of my interests as my Walthers fleet of Pullmans expanded was in the area of modeling MAIN trains, military movements (both troops and cargo).  Many of my older Rivarossi models were getting a bit long of tooth, and I decided it was about time to repaint them into a scheme that wouldn't operate with my 'nicer' cars.  I elected to repaint them into Pullman Lease scheme (green) and instead of car names, I would use the Pullman Panorama Vol 1 data and the Micro Scale UP Tourist Car decal sets to make five 13-Section Tourist Cars.

Tourist-sleepers date back to at least the 1920s, when low-fare sleeper space was sold in all-section cars.  

PC "William Osler" a 14-Section sleeper which was leased back to Pullman by SP. - Walthers model

In the 1930s, these cars were further separated from the regular "Pool" by replacing their names with simply a "Tourist number".  Pullman didn't seem to have hard and fast rules about which numbers the Tourist cars were assigned when they lost their names, but it seems the 3100-series and some 3200-series were 14-section cars.

The newer Tourist cars I've built using the Walthers 14-Section Pullman cars have turned out well being decalled as Tourist Cars, including the conversion of at least one to a 16-Section Tourist Car.

PC Tourist 1148, 2340. etc (13-Section)

PC TC 1148, Rivarossi model with Rivarossi trucks still.

My reworked Rivarossi 12-1s became 13-section Tourist Sleepers without any additional exterior modifications.  The prototypes had their Drawing Room annexes closed off/locked, converting the cars into effectively 13-Section cars, which is what they were reclassified as.

PC TC 2340, Rivarossi model with 2000-era IHC HW trucks.

These older models of mine haven't been upgraded in my most recent round of mechanical upgrades.  Many still have Rivarossi, IHC, etc trucks and American Limited diaphragms.

PC Tourist 3132 (14-Section)

Pullman Company Tourist Car 3132 assigned and lettered for "The Challenger" SP/UP/CNW 'Overland route' train. - Walthers model

One of my favorite cars that I refinished is this ex-Santa Fe Walthers 14-Section sleeper.  It has been repainted and decalled to represent one of the hundreds of section-sleepers, both 14 and 16-section cars.

TC 3132 was assigned to the SP/UP "The Challenger" service as a tourist car, thus it received the train logo name painted on the center of the carside and the Tourist reporting marks over the trucks.  I modeled this car from a photo in the SPHTS SP Passenger Car Vol.2 Pullman & Dormitory Cars book.  

This car is often assigned to MAIN military service, State/National Guard training movements, low-fare charter groups (Boy Scouts, college ski trips, college trips, etc) or protection dormitory service on trains like the Owl or West Coast when their regular dormitory cars are not available.  I have converted two more of these Walthers 14-Section cars to TC service, but with less colorful paint schemes with the simple "TOURIST" and number below centered on the carside.

PC TC 4242 (16-Section)

Pullman Pool "TOURIST 4242" - Kitbashed Walthers HW Pullman

Here's one of my kitbashed Walthers 16-Section Tourist cars from a 14-Section car, like the TC 3132 above.  The TC 4242 was recorded as part of the consist of the Owl in 1947 when it derailed at Lerdo, California.  During that time two 16-Section TC's were running in the Owl regularly with military personnel returning from overseas.  The other TC in the consist that was the 4246, as sister Plan 2412T & 2412 U sleeper.  These cars had doubled aisle windows, seen at the right end of the above photo.

I plan to finish the last two 16-Section models I have at some point.  These 16-section cars make great cars for low-fare charters, MAIN trains, and regular assignments for modeling consists in the 1945-1948 era, and the Korean War.

Foreign Cars on the SP

Despite the size of the SP's fleet, foreign cars always were running somewhere on the SP system.  No matter if this was because of a regular operational agreement, such as the Overland route with the UP-inspired scheme or the Golden State Limited running with Rock Island equipment.  Sometimes the foreign Pullman Pooled cars were carrying smaller charter groups, extra passenger traveling seasonally, or replacing regular SP cars, the foreign cars were there.  Let's look at a few which I've picked up over the years.

The days of Pullman's dark green sleeping cars interchanging across the country, with specialized schemes for the premier trains of certain railroads were over.  The railroads were now free to repaint the Pullman cars into their colorful standard schemes, and those cars in lease service with the Pullman Pool, were now able to freely roam the rails of North American where ever the ticket sales took them.

PRR Arona (12-1)

PRR "Arona" an extremely common HW 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

One of the two largest Pullman sleeper car owners after 1949, the PRR owned hundreds of the 12-1 arrangement sleepers.  These budget floorplan cars allowed 24 passengers in upper or lower berths and up to three passengers, often families or businessmen wanting more private space to spread out in during the trips in the single 'drawing room'.  The 'drawing room' came complete with couch, bed and chair, plus its own toilet annex!

Unfortunately, I was ever only able to snag one of these Walthers models, as they've been in high demand.  I finally picked the Arona up off Ebay.  As with most of my passenger car models, I choose a name which is not commonly available on the supplied decal sheet.

NYC Dover (12-1)

NYC "Dover" another extremely common HW 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

Not being able to get any other PRR cars, I settled for getting the competition's 12-1.  NYC was the other largest owner of Pullman sleeping cars in 1949, the SP was the third largest!  This is a Walthers model, which has had the name decal applied.  I still need to put in the gray window shades and do some finishing work on the car.

Both of these NYC cars are painted in the NYC and Pullmans "Eastern Two-Tone Gray" scheme, which has the light and dark shades of gray reversed from the "Western Two-Tone Gray" scheme, which the SP, UP, and ATSF used starting around 1941.

NYC Park Rapid (14-Section)

NYC "Park Rapid" (14-Section) - Walthers model

The NYC placed most of their 14-section cars of this group into the "Park" series.  This model is often operated on charter group trips or in MAIN military movements as the whole car is upper and lower section berthing.  The only HW car floorplan with tighter space in the two bathrooms/dressing rooms at the ends of the car are the 16-section sleepers.

UP Lake Crystal (10-1-2)

The Union Pacific used a version of the Pullmans' Western Two-Tone Gray since 1947 as their standard scheme, and on certain secondary trains after 1942.  In March 1952, a new scheme, based on the 1937 City-series of trains Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray would begin being applied to the UP's fleet of passenger cars.

UP "Lake Crystal" (10-1-2) wearing the standard UP Armour Yellow scheme of 1952. - Walthers model

The UP "Lake Crystal" is a 10 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment sleeper.  The UP had a number of these cars, and were a very common arrangement of rooms allowing three rates.  The 10-1-2s often were placed in the "Lake"-series to help ticket agents recognize what floor plan the cars had.  I did look up a list of Named UP HW Sleepers on-line of the UP's yellow-painted 10-1-2 Pullmans to choose the name for my "Lake Crystal."

UtahRails UP Paint Schemes webpage also has some interesting reading.

The SP had the largest number of 10-1-2s of the railroads after the breakup of the Pullman Company operations, but it is fair to represent these cars from other railroads as well.  The UP being one of the Overland Route partners,, and also a direct interchange railroad at Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California assured UP cars could be found almost anywhere on the SP system.

UP American Scene (6-6-4)

UP "American Scene" (6-6-4) a common car in transcontinental service. - Walthers model

The UP's LW cars are well represented by this UP 6-6-4 sleeper.  Like the HW 10-1-2s the 6-6-4 floorplan cars allowed a good mix of accommodations for passengers paying various rates.  The six high windows of this plan are for the upper beds in the sleeping sections (upper and lower bunks).  UP placed their 6-6-4s in the "American"-series of names.

L&N Lake Conway (10-1-2)

L&N "Lake Conway" (10-1-2) sleeper - Walthers model

Like the UP "Lake Crystal", the "Lake Conway" is an 10-1-2 sleeper in the 'Lake' series.

I decided about 2013 to snag several other foreign railroad cars to round out my heavily west-coast flavored fleet of sleepers.  The "Lake Conway" and "Henry M. Rice" (a 14-section car) were two that I chose.  There was a photo of the "Lake Conway" on the rear of a UP passenger train in the UPHS's magazine UP Streamliner several years ago, so I know that this car at least did get out west.

B&O Centabella (8-1-2)

B&O "Centabella" - Walthers model

Closing out this list in style is the B&O's "Centabella".  Cars in the "Cent" series were 8-1-2 arrangement, the floorplan were basically that of the 10-1-2, but with larger bathroom/dressing room space for the cost of two of the Sections.  There were also a number of cars in the "Rock" series, built for the Rock Island's trains which included 8-1-2 arrangement, among others.

The 8-1-2s generally were used for higher-end charter trips and for officer accommodations when in MAIN train movements.  The B&O put a number of their sleepers through "Betterment" programs where the roofs were faired-in to match the contours of lightweight streamlined cars.  The underframes were also at least partly hidden by skirting which covered the underbody equipment and faired over the stepwells.  The Walthers model, doesn't lend itself too easily to those types of upgrades, so I hope the "Centabella" was one of the cars that didn't receive these upgrades to the highest levels of B&O service.

In Closing

Only a few railroads decided to withdraw their cars from the Pullman Pool, D&RGW was one.  Sadly there were a huge number of very sharp looking D&RGW (Silver and yellow with the black stripes) Walthers models at almost any hobby shop during the 2010's which weren't moving.  However, I did my research before I bought any of them... armed with the knowledge that the DRGW cars didn't interchange to the west coast allowed me to keep from buying any of them.

Soo Line "Beaufort" 12-1 Pullman - Walthers model

I did pick up a Soo Line 12-1, the Beaufort, in the deep maroon/wine red scheme... oddly the Walthers model came with the name already applied.  This should be a warning to anyone buying cars for this type of interchange service.  When I pulled out the Pullman Panorama book, after much searching through the thousands of 12-1s.  Soo Line only bought one 12-1 in 1949... the Beaufort!

So I'm not really sure how often the Beaufort went off-line from the Soo.  Perhaps it was a protection car, and it was given over to the LTP pool, or it could have been a regularly assigned car that basically never went off the Soo.  This is one of those points where to do it 100%, you almost have to learn about the passenger operations of every railroad to understand which cars were regularly assigned and which cars were 'free roaming' in the Pullman Pool after 1949.  Even that list of available pool cars changed quickly as new cars were built, services changed, and older cars became extra and placed into the pool fleet.

The rear end of an eastward charter train at Bakersfield

Hopefully this has been an instructional and inspiring post on modeling 'foreign' passenger cars that can spice up your passenger train consists!  I plan to do some finish work with window shades and safety handrails inside many of the Walthers Pullman cars shown here.

Jason Hill

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 1) Pre-War All-Steel (B-50-18,19,20,21,23)

I eluded to modeling some of these cars in my last post about the Owenyo Branch (Part 4).

For many years I've not really dove into SP's all-steel boxcar classes.  I'll also say here at the beginning, that I'm by far an 'expert' on the details of SP boxcar classes and details.  For a more expansive listing of the details involved in modeling SP's Prewar Boxcar Fleet, at the bottom of this post are links to Tony Thompson's blog where he dives into more details.

So I'll just be looking at a few examples of cars that I have acquired over the last 20-odd years, and several in just the last year with an eye towards building a small fleet for my planned Owenyo Branch layout's needs.

At some point I may look into finding workable options for the Post-War SP All-Steel Boxcars, but not yet!

B-50-18 & -19 - Square Corner Post

The SP's pre-war cars remained at the 10ft Interior Height (IH) standard which the SP preferred because of various route height restrictions at the time.  There are only a few models produced which are correct for these two classes of cars because of the square corner post Dreadnaught Ends.

B-50-18 - 1936/37 Built

Stock R-T-R Red Caboose B-50-18 boxcar model, SP 32892.

  • SP 32770-33269 500 cars
  • SP 33270-33519 250 cars
  • SP 33520-34019 500 cars
  • SP 34020-34519 500 cars, Totaling 1750 cars

I have a couple of these Red Caboose models to use as examples of this class.  Wood lined with sharp 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, Youngstown doors, and wood running boards. - Description excerpt from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.4 Boxcars.

B-50-19 - 1937 Built

SP 38542, B-50-19, redecalled RedCaboose B-50-18 R-T-R model

Essentially repeats of the B-50-18 class ordered only one month later.

SP 37840-38089 250 cars
SP 38090-38339 250 cars
SP 38340-38589 250 cars
SP 38590-38839 250 cars Totaling 1000 cars

I'm planning on either renumbering or trading with a couple friends to get one B-50-19, although having slight fleet imbalances don't really bother me too much as nothing says I *Must* have an exact proportional fleet representation.

B-50-20, -21, & -23 - Round W-Corner Post

These three classes are nearly identical in terms of basic body, so I will be grouping them together. 

Running Boards/Roof-walks

A side note here, these classes of car had mostly Apex metal running boards as-built (unless noted below), not wooden running boards.  I may address this later when I can unearth my stash of metal running boards.  Kadee and Tichy offer suitable pattern running boards for these models.  From my view point, changing the running boards, even on a "completed" and weathered model is not a hard thing to do.

B-50-20 - 1940/41 Built

SP 84550, B-50-20 from Branchline Yardmaster with Speedwitch decals, (roof is not attached yet).

SP 83240-83739 500 cars (CRECO or Superior Doors)
SP 83740-84239 500 cars
SP 84240-84739 500 cars Totaling 1500 cars

B-50-21 - 1941/42 Built

SP 82992, B-50-21 - Branchline Yardmaster Series car with upgraded decals

SP 81990-82489 500 cars
SP 82490-82989 500 cars (U.S. Gypsum running boards)
SP 82990-83239 250 cars Totaling 1250 cars
T&NO 54100-54599 500 cars (Creco or Superior Doors)
T&NO 54600-54849 250 cars Totaling 750 cars (2000 cars both SP & T&NO)

B-50-23 - 1942 Built

SP 96311, B-50-23 with Creco doors - Branchline Yardmaster with Speedwitch decals.

Built into 1942 when Pullman exhausted the supply of parts, ending the order at 1744 cars.

SP 95520-95863 344 cars
SP 96220-96919 700 cars * +
SP 96920-97619 700 cars Totaling 1744 cars

* first 600 with CRECO doors, rest Youngstown doors
+ First 500 Gypsum, remainder Apex running boards

Models and Modifications

SP 32892 - B-50-18 - Red Caboose

Here's a close-up of the Red Caboose square corner post Dreadnaught End.

These cars are distinctive because of their square corner post design.  Built in 1936, these cars are well represented by the IMRC/RC models using RR-39093-4 in my case here (SP 32892) in the post-war 1946 scheme with spelled out SOUTHERN PACIFIC and a tare date from Brooklyn, Oregon in 8-47.

SP 32892, B-50-18 by Red Caboose with square corner posts.

I'll probably do some basic upgrades on the model for my Owenyo Branch, just replace the plastic couplers with metal 58-head KDs and paint the UF FCR, before adding some weathering for this post-1946 repainted car.  The coupler boxes will need screws installed as well.

SP 38542's roof with simple brush and makeup weathering sponge work. This is before the 'salt weathering.'

This B-50-18, 32892 has been redecalled with Speedwitch decals to B-50-19, SP 38542.  I've been working on getting the roof on both it and 32891 weathered in preparation to do some 'salt weathering' experiments.  The two Yardmaster cars below will be getting the removable-roof version of these same experiments.  Should be some good fun!

Branchline Yardmaster Boxcars

The BLYM cars work nicely as SP '37 boxcars with a bit of work.

All my BLYM cars have some basic modifications.  The stock models expect the use of a pair of steel nuts as weight above the floors.  

Stock BLYM nut-weight bosses over the bolsters.

Modified BLYM with bosses ground down.

This is really not a good idea to comply with LMRC's standards for car center-of-gravity, which we try to keep as low as possible in the car.  I grind down the molded bosses for the nuts and use sheet lead (roof flange material) to bring the car back up to club standard weight for the cars rolling and center-of-gravity standard allowances.

SP 81992 - B-50-21 (Ex-SP 82992)

SP 82992 - Branchline Yardmaster

Now this car's been in the shop for a number of years.  Looks like I didn't quite get the alignment holes reamed cleanly on the A-end, which made the installation about 0.015" low.  This causes the gap just below the roof.  I'll be filling that with some strip styrene and touching up the paint.

The paint changes include replacing the SP with the post-1946 spelled out name from Speedwitch Media decals' D114 set.  This side of the car has a replacement door which is not as weathered as the rest of the car.  A moderate weathering coat and pencil chalk marks complete the look of this car.

For the Owenyo Branch this car will be right at home with the chalk markings.  "MC" is the initial code for Mojave.  This would make sense for a clerk at Bakersfield or Taylor Yard (Los Angeles), as the freight agent at Mojave put in a request for some home-road boxcars.

SP 81992 after adjusting the car number decal.

I've decided to renumber my nearly complete B-50-21 into another number series, as most of my other cars are in the more common 82000+ series... the 81990-series is right above the 50ft boxcars, which are normally thought of with the 81000-series cars.  So it's a rather interesting "gotcha" car number.  Also by changing this car's number it is now in the Apex running board number series not the US Gypsum series.  At some point I may change the running board too.

SP 96311 - B-50-23 (Ex-L&C 902)

BLYM repainting to SP B-50-23 with CRECO/Superior Doors

This car is one that I bought about 20 years ago when I picked up a number of foreign cars.  The L&C only had a handful of cars and this particular scheme is from well after my modeling era.  So this car is repainted and will be decalled for SP.  I had also considered decalling it for NYC using the Speedwitch Media.

SP 96311 with galvanized roof and gray painted roof boards.

I decided to model one of the SP's minority cars which were fitted with the CRECO/Superior Doors.  I'm planning to have a mix of all-steel SP boxcars for my Owenyo Branch, so having a car which doesn't have the standard Youngstown doors will be nice.

SP 96311 with gray galvanized roof, pre-'salt weathering'. color 'ripples' artifact from photo stacking.

The B-50-23, 96311 will be a fun car and shown here with some of the overall gray roof, before 'salt masking' and respraying with the standard Freight Car Red.  I'll be detailing the experimenting with the salt weathering in an up coming post.

The running board on this car should be replaced with a US Gypsum pattern metal version.  I will probably do this later when I uncover my stash of metal running board parts.  For now I'm leaving the wooden boards, it is an easy change later on.

SP 84550 - B-50-20 (Ex-C&EI 2)

This model was acquired and was damaged during assembly.  Make sure to ream the alignment holes in the body for the ends on the BLYM cars!  The upper connections over the doors folded up and broke.  The rest of the body was fine.  The broken pieces were glued back in and lightly sanded flush again.

A-end and left side view of the partly repainted C&EI 2 boxcar.

B-End and right side view of the partly repainted C&EI 2 boxcar.

The damage repaired, the car is now ready to be decalled, coupler installation, and some minor details replaced (stirrup steps). 

Finally ready to be decalled.

This car will probably become another B-50-21.  Speedwitch's decal set offers B-50-20, SP 82745 as a 'number-jumble' which can be directly applied to the model.  I generally prefer to mix the decals at least somewhat.  I decided to do one of the very early B-50-21s SP 81993.

Haha... gotcha!  I changed my mind, and numbered this car in the higher number series, avoiding another 82000-series car number.  I was wanting a bigger number spread in this group of five cars I'm working on.  Originally, somehow I ended up with three cars all in the xx99x series... how that happened, I don't know.  One of the pet peeves I have is non-random clumping of numbers on my models.  In this group of five cars I had 32991, 32992 (double ouch, consecutive numbers!), 82992 (ok, really? Two cars ending xx992?!), and the two completely new painted cars.  Sooo I went with SP 84550 for this model.

SP 84550 with most of the decals applied. pre-salt weathering. Dec 28, 2020 photo.

The SP 84550 is getting very close to doing the salt-weathering masking.  The right side capacity decals still need to be put on.  Note again the photostacking artifacts of the FCR not showing as the same color.  I think the camera's actually catching the duty-cycling of the LED lighting.

At some point I may change this car's running boards to Apex pattern metal ones.

Galvanized Roofs with Peeling Paint

I'm also wanting to experiment making the peeling paint effects on the next few cars with the salt-masking technique.

SP 96311 with galvanized roof and gray painted roof boards.

I removed the roof and painted it with StarBrand Weathered Wood.  I'll be doing some wood weathering on the running boards.  I'll be using the rubber cement masking on the wooden running boards and the salt-masking techniques on the steel roof panels.

Here's view of two stock roofs from BLYM '37 boxcars.

Painted with StarBrand Weathered Wood before applying salt masking.

The paint used on the galvanized roof panels tended to peel off after a couple of years.  Replicating this on the model can be done by painting the underlaying galvanized roofing in gray, then applying a small amount of water, followed by salt into the areas that you want to have the peeled paint.  After allowing the salt to dry for about a week, over-painting the roof with standard SP Freight Car Red will keep the paint from adhering to the salted areas of the roof.

Pre-Weathering Before "Salting"

Somehow my post from Dec 6 has not been posted until Dec 28!  So let's jam in a couple more roof weathering photos before I do the seal coat and try the salt weathering.

SP 38542 pre-salt weathered roof panels with my usual Apple Barrel painting techniques, with photo-stacking.

Another view of SP 38542, B-50-19's - Dec 28, 2020 photo

I went with the failures of the paint around the ribs.  This is medium gray galvanized color added.  Then rust sneaking in as the galvanizing is starting to fail too.  I'm not sure how much of this I'm going to continue with as these cars were built 1936-37 and I'm modeling 1949-1953... so these cars are really only 12-16 odd years old, I have to question how fast the paint will fail compared to the galvanizing will fail and how fast it will rust.

SP 84550, B-50-20 with one panel failing to the point of rusting.

Both SP 96311 and 84550 roofs trying some various techniques.

SP 96311's roof, I'm trying adding another layer of gray with cosmetic sponges.  We'll see how it goes from here.

Coupler Modifications

Easy coupler replacement with "Whisker" scale-head couplers from Kadee.

I've replaced all the standard Kadee 5 couplers with the scale-head Kadee 148 "Whisker" scale-head couplers.  I believe this will be my standard coupler on my regular cars for the Owenyo Branch layout.  I'm not sure yet if I'll be cutting off the coupler magnetic uncoupling pins.

In Closing

I'll probably do a separate post on the salt-weathering techniques in 2021.  Speaking of the end of the year... Thanks to everyone who's commented on the blog this crazy year of 2020!  Let's look quickly at the stats from the last year.

2020 viewer count.

This year there have been about 65k views of the blog.  Amazing... All-time viewers count since July 4, 2016 has now reached 220k!

Top post views in 2020.

Thanks again for another great year of enjoying blogging and I'm looking forward to doing new projects into 2021!  Happy New Year!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Plastic Options for SP B-50-12/13/14 class Boxcars

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 2) - Post-War All-Steel - Overview of classes, modeling links to Anthony Thompson's blog.

Owenyo "Jawbone" Branch Freight Car Roster Planning

Tony Thompson Blog Posts on SP Boxcars:

Modeling Freight Traffic: SP Coast Line, 1953-Part 9 - Various classes of SP boxcars

Choosing a Model Car Fleet - SP Boxcars Update - Roster data for SP 40ft Boxcars including post-war cars

Choosing a Model Car Fleet-SP Box Cars - Roster Data

Upgrading Older Models - Athearn Steel 40ft Boxcar to SP B-50-18/19 stand-ins. - I may actually try doing this with an old scrap paint job Athearn boxcar that I have kicking around here. Still have an extra B-50-18 partial set of the Speedwitch decals...