Monday, May 18, 2020

Plastic options for B-50-12, B-50-13, B-50-14 class cars

SP 4279 leads a eastward string of boxcars towards Tehachapi Summit.  Jason Hill photo Copyright 2007.

Prototype Histories

In the last few months I've been looking into building several new SP boxcars.  Let's look at the prototypes briefly.

SP B-50-12 Class

Tichy-IMRC assembled SP 26948, one of the second lot of B-50-12 cars.

1000 cars built 1919 under USRA control
SP 26360-26459, 100 cars
SP 26460-26959, 500 cars
SP 26960-27359, 400 cars

These cars were distinctive on the SP for their hat-section body structure and corrugated metal Murphy 5-5-5 ends.  The best 650 odd cars were rebuilt around 1949 into all-steel B-50-12A cars.  The remaining 350 cars were scrapped or had been retired to SPMW service by that time.

SP B-50-13 Class

PE 2707, Accurail model as a B-50-13, before the group of 200 cars was absorbed into the SP in 1951.

3700 cars built 1924 back under SP control
AE 1160-1409, 250 cars - Columbia T-section trucks
PE 2700-2899, 200 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
SP 27360-29609, 2250 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
T&NO 51250-51749, 500 cars - to T&NO ~1928 - Bettendorf T-section trucks
H&TC 51750-52249, 500 cars - to T&NO ~1928 400 Bettendorf, 100 Symington T-section trucks

Transfer of cars:
AE 1160-1409, 250 cars to SP in June 1924. SP 87935-88184
PE 2700-2899, 125 cars to SP in June 1951. SP 88185-88309

These cars were built with wooden ends and 'Z'-braced body side structures.  They had lumber doors in the A-end, which will have to be added to plastic models.

B-50-14 Class

The B-50-14 were built with wooden ends, but nearly all the Pacific Lines cars of the class were rebuilt in the 1930s with 4-5 Dreadnaught ends.  It appears that the SPdeM cars might not have been given new ends as SPdeM 9451 was shot in 1950, still with wooden ends.

Class car of the first lot of B-50-14, SP 29640 as modeled with an Accurail boxcar.

3375 cars built 1924
SP 29640-30539, 900 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks, Radial Roof
SP 30540-31539, 1000 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
PE 10000-10599, 600 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
T&NO 52260-53059 cars, 800 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks
SPdeM 9426-9500, 75 cars - Bettendorf T-section trucks, Radial Roof

Transfer of cars:
PE 10000-10399, 376 cars to SP June, 1951. SP 19080-19455
PE 10400-10599, 200 cars to SP July 1925. SP 18880-19079

These three classes are therefore fairly easy to model with existing plastic models or resin models for revenue service.  However, as many of you readers know, I like to mix it up somewhat!  So let's see what I've been thinking about.

Kitbashing Modeling Projects

There's a couple of starting points for these projects.  In the past I've primarily used Accurail boxcars with either wood or Murphy ends.

SPMW 701 - Supply Car

SPMW 701 started life as B-50-13 class, SP 28477 and was retired on 7-21-1951.  It was placed in Misc. Supply service as of January 1, 1956, per the SP Trainline roster of SPMW equipment.

SPMW 701 Supply Car from Accurail steel-end, wood door model

I've had an Accurail model at home for many years.  It has a damaged poling pocket from some long ago trip to the floor.  So that will need to be addressed.  In Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol.4 there are no photos that I could find of B-50-13/14s with 7-8 Murphy ends, as the steel-ended Accurail cars have. - So, I might very well be replacing the ends of this car anyway.

SPMW 701 with end damage to poling pocket - Oops.

Also visible on this side of the car is the beginnings of my letter-by-letter application of the "SUPPLY CAR" decal to match my referrence photo from This Is My Railroad, 1946, steam version video.

This Is My Railroad, 1946 - Stem Verion video still frame showing "Supply Car" SPMW 2681's lettering

Three extra ladder grabs and a stirrup step will be added to the Supply Boxcars to the left of the side door for easy access into the car away from freight platforms.

SPMW 438 - Scale Test Repair Car

As I already have the Walthers model of the 4-wheel Scale Test Car, I think building the complimentary Scale Test Repair Car will be a great little project!  SPMW 438 was a B-50-13, SP 25831 and was converted on 8-7-1950 to MW service, by 1956 it is shown in the SPMW Roster assigned to the Scale Test Repair Car service... interestingly the only car so assigned on the roster at that date!

SPMW 438 and SPMW 790 in their post-1958 gray paint. - Eddie Sims collection

I found a photo of SPMW 790 scale test car with SPMW 438. a B-50-13 "Scale Test" repair car.  As I sat down with a undecorated Tichy USRA 40ft boxcar and looked over the details.  Unfortunately the main thing that I discovered was that the Tichy car has a 'hat' cross section on its braces.  The B-50-13/14s had 'Z'-section braces.

So, my undecorated USRA Tichy car will have to become some flavor of SPMW boxcar, possibly a supply car.  Looks like some happy perusing of the SP Trainlines' January 1956 MW roster will be in my future for working on that car.

The SPMW 438 will therefore start as an undecorated Accurail car with wood ends, which will then have the windows made and the diagonal braces removed along with the main sliding door  The end doors will be added, along with new 'man doors' for the side of the car and new headers blocking out the rest of the 6ft doorway.

In Closing

I've been wanting to add a couple more Supply cars to my MW fleet for use with the System Supply Train (See my previous post on Modeling SP Supply Trains - Part 1) and general stores-shops supply service to Bakersfield and Mojave.

The companion car for the scale test car will just add a cool bit of extra operation to the movement of our scale test cars around the layout during operations.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling SP Supply Trains - Part 1

Modeling SPMW cars with Musical Parts (Part 1)