Monday, October 25, 2021

SPMW Flat Car 1956 January Roster Data Analysis

In this post I want to cover some research materials I've been working with for nearly 20 years, thanks to the SPHTS publishing the SPMW Jan 1, 1956 Roster in various SP Trainlines over the years.  I've been slowly adding the data into a spreadsheet over the years, which makes it much easier to sort through by assignment, car class, original car number, etc.

Let's look at some of the data I've been able to crunch out from this research.  Specifically, I want to look at the SPMW fleet of flatcars at the time, what assignments they had, and what the original classes of cars were that they came from.  This should help us choose what classes of cars, and to some extent what assignments we should be building and lettering our models for.

Six SPMW Supply Cars with low sides and a single-deck Wheel Car in this cropped photo of SP Sacramento Shops photo from mid-1950s - Inad Akeb collection

Not only revenue flat cars were converted to MW service as flat cars, many boxcars and other 'house' cars were 'cut down' to make more flat cars.  Some of these 'cut down' cars may have received stake pockets, but not necessarily in any "standardized" pattern or location.

I have put in comments in the data tables for groups of cars retired after 1950 when it starts heavily shifting the data, mostly the large numbers of 1954-55 retired cars in the 1956 roster.  These newly retired cars probably replaced older classes of cars.  However, without older rosters determining what those were is impossible.

SPMW 5323, F-50-12, retired 1959 at Carson City Museum, 2018 - Jason Hill photo

Some cars I know of were retired after 1956 have been noted, some F-50-10/12 class continued to be retired into SPMW into 1959-1960, which certainly would have been painted in the SPMW Light Gray scheme.

General Service "Ready Flats"

SPMW 810, F-50-7, Ready Flat kitbashed from Walthers-TM flatcar.

Ready Flats were basically the "General Service" flatcar used in MW service, available to be used in any service not requiring specialized modifications or mechanical standards.  Thus this service received many of the older classes, which may be in somewhat compromised mechanical status.

Foreign         3 (0.9%) *(CEI 37048 1932, M&WRR 100 1936, MI&T 35207 1929)
A-40-1         1 (0.3%) *(ex-Auto boxcar, cut down to flatcar)
B-50-1         18 (5.3%)
B-50-2         55 (16.2%) *(Cut down to flatcars, look similar to F-50-1/2/3 class, possible stakepockets)
B-50-4         1 (0.3%)
B-50-5         4 (1.2%) *(2 unmarked assignment, SPMW 3018, SPMW 3021)
B-50-8         1 (0.3%)
CS-33         7 (2.1%) *(older SP boxcar class)
"Box" 81k, 84k, 86k         14 (4.1%) *("Old" SP boxcar classes, not listed in 1956 roster)
CS-19A (ex-stock car) 10 (2.95%)
S-40-2         1 (0.3%)
Stock         2 (0.6%) *(Class not shown in 1956 roster)
CS-35A         31 (9.1%)
F-40-6         3 (0.9%) *(SPMW 2749 modeled)
F-40-7         4 (1.2%)
F-50-1         17 (5.0%)
F-50-2         61 (18.0%) *(Spread between 1936 and 1943)
F-50-3         42 (12.4%) *(Spread between 1911 and 1943)
F-50-4         31 (9.1%) *(Spread between 1937 and 1955)
F-50-5         10 (2.95%) *(1949-1953)
F-50-7         2 (0.6%) *(SPMW 810 modeled)
F-50-8         1 (0.3%) * (1954)
F-50-9         7 (2.0%) * (4 after 1953, 3 before 1941)
F-50-10         1 (0.3%) * (10-1954)
F-50-12         1 (0.3%) * (12-1955)
"Flat" 78890         1 (0.3%)
"Gon" 54977         1 (0.3%)
ex-Transformer car         1 (0.3%)
DT                 2 (0.6%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfits)
"All Steel"         2 (0.6%) *(would have to look up by original number)
Misc                 3 (0.9%) * ("Ditcher-Flat" F-50-3, "Rail Loader" CS-35A, "Flat" CS-35A shown as Ready Flat classification)
Unassigned "Rdy Flat"339 SubTotal, (49.8% of all SPMW Flats)

Note the shift in the Ready Flats fleet towards older classes of car and converted ex-boxcars and stock cars.

SPMW 2186, an early retired F-50-9 from March 1941.

Interesting that I've already modeled three of the classes with less than 1% of the Ready Flat pool!  SPMW 810 (F-50-7), SPMW 2186 (F-50-9 "early" group) and 2749 (F-40-6).  Looks like if I want to do any more Ready Flats, which should be half of my SPMW flatcars modeled!  I should focus on the 'decked' B-50-2 boxcars, F-50-2/3 flats and maybe an F-50-4 or an CS-35A class flat cars.  Good data to crunch looking for modeling projects.

Shop "Ready Flats"

Shop Flats were used to move materials between the SP's main or larger shops.  Often this included unmounted wheelsets, diesel prime movers, traction motors, drivers, etc. These cars may have specialized stakes/sideboards for keeping equipment secured.

Six SPMW Supply Cars with low sides and a single-deck Wheel Car in this cropped photo of SP Sacramento Shops photo from mid-1950s - Inad Akeb collection

I'm thinking about building one of the two cars in the string to the left of the wheel car.  Maybe make a load of the unmounted wheel castings.

B-50-2         2 (4.3%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-4         1 (2.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-6         1 (2.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-19A         2 (4.3%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-33         2 (4.3%) *(ex-boxcar)
DT                 1 (2.2%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfit)
EPSW Stock         1 (2.2%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-35A         7 (15.2%)
F-40-6         3 (6.5%)
F-50-1         1 (2.2%)
F-50-2         6 (13.0%)
F-50-3         1 (2.2%)
F-50-4         1 (2.2%) * (1952)
F-50-5         6 (13.0%) * (1 1942, 1 in 1944, 2 in 1952, 2 in 1955)
F-50-8         3 (6.5%) * (All 1955)
F-50-9         4 (8.7%) * (All 1955)
Misc          1 (2.2%) * ("Flat", "Stock", "Tank")
Shop Flat Cars 46 SubTotal (6.8% of all SPMW Flats)

SPMW 2452 under construction with notes marked on weight cover. Oct 25, 2021

The Shop Flat cars certainly were fewer in number than the Supply cars and even the T&M cars, so I'll probably limit myself to just one of these cars.  However, if modeling a section of SP mainline operations, then more of the Supply and Shop cars will naturally show up as they move between shops and across the SP system.

By the numbers I should probably go with an F-50-2 or CS-35A... however the car in the photo is certainly an F-50-4/5/8/9 class car... so I'm choosing SPMW 2452, one of the F-50-5s converted in 6-12-1944 from SP 41069, which certainly could be one of the cars in the photo at Sacramento!

T&M "Ready Flats"

Track & Maintenance flats were assigned to track crews, extra gangs, etc.  These could be seen left out in the field supporting track crews.  

SPMW 3605, F-50-5, a 1944 conversion to T&M service, shown here with removable tie load.

Sometimes these cars were used as idler flats or tenders for other SPMW equipment, such as pile drivers, such as SPMW 1782 (F-50-9 retired in 1954) photographed with pile driver SPMW 3460 on page 216 of Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol3.

A-50-6         1 (1.2%) *(ex-auto-boxcar)
A-50-7         4 (4.8%) *(ex-auto-boxcar)
A-50-8          2 (4.4%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-4          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-6          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-19A         1 (1.2%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-33         1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
DT                 3 (3.6%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfit)
B-50-14          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-35A          6 (7.2%)
F-50-1          1 (1.2%)
F-50-4          7 (8.3%)
F-50-5          20 (23.8%) * (1 before 1950, rest after 1950-54)
F-50-8          6 (7.1%) * (1954)
F-50-9          24 (25.6%) * (4 in 1954-55)
F-50-10         2 (4.4%) * (1954 & 1955)
T&M Misc         2 (4.4%) *(RI 42830 1931, (SP)MW 2485 wood 1924)
T&M Flats         84 SubTotal (12.3% of SPMW Flats)

These cars certainly moved around, I would think mostly from Division Shops out to the field when regular gangs or extra gangs were working on the division, then back to the stores department to reload with the next set of materials.  Some could have been assigned to specific outfits for storing supplies and equipment on.  

As of Oct 2021, I'm not sure exactly where the distinction was drawn between Ready Flats, T&M Flats, and Tool Cars in regard to storing regular outfit tools.  There are not very many "Tool" assigned flatcars in the 1956 roster, so most outfits must have snagged Ready Flats or T&M Flats to serve their needs transporting things like speeders and such, which don't fit well in boxcars!

"Supply Car" Pool Flats

This is My Railroad - 1947 version screen shot of SPMW Supply Flatcars, - fair use.

These cars may have specialized stakes/sideboards for keeping all manners of material secured, including the kitchen sink.  The car above appears to have multiple 30 and 55 gallon drums, kegs of spikes, switch points, switch frog, and all sorts of other materials loaded.  Another car in this clip has about 1/3 of the end of the car loaded with a pile of tie plates.  Notice that the car above has stakes extending above the sideboards, where as the SPMW 229's stakes (below) are cut down, nearly even with the sides, which is modeled more after the cars in the mid-1950s photo at Sacramento above.

SPMW 229, F-50-5, Supply Flat with 30" sideboards for materials.  Oct 25,2021

I'll be working on a couple of supply loads for the 229 car, which will drop in on a false-floor painted and weathered to match the interior floor of the car's wood deck.  Something to look forward to in future blog posts!  I still need to add the capacity data decals to the SPMW 229 model in the photo above.  Many Supply Cars seem to keep their load stenciling data, even after assigned to SPMW service, often keep the lettering change to a patch over the reporting marks and maybe stencil the new assignment.  

At least in SPMW 1782's case (Assigned T&M), the tare date from the last revenue weighing was kept, which was two years before the retirement date, and even in SPMW service it still carried the "HEAVY BAD ORDER" stencil from when it was retired!  I believe "Supply Cars" were cars in good mechanical condition, as they would be running as many miles as regular revenue cars, around the SP system.

F-50-2         13 (7.3%)
F-50-3         18 (10.1%)
F-50-4         25 (14.0%)
F-50-5         37 (20.7%)
F-50-7         1 (0.5%)
F-50-8         6 (0.5-3.4%) *(1 in 1953, 5 in 1954)
F-50-9         49 (27.5%)
F-50-10         10 (5.6%) *(all 1955)
F-50-12         26 (14.6%) * (all 1955)
F-50-5 "Track Mtr"         1 (0.5%) *(SPMW 1643 1953)
F-50-2 Supply "T&M" 1 (0.5%) *(SPMW 3362 1911)
Supply Pool - Flats 178 SubTotal (26.1% of SPMW Flats) *(41 converted after 1954, probably replacing older cars)

Specialized Wheel "Supply Cars"

SPMW operated a small pool of wheel cars.  Most were designed for shipping standard 33" freight car wheels from the Sacramento Wheel Shops out to the various R.I.P. tracks and car shops around the system at many division points.

SPMW 3116, an F-50-12 converted 12-56, Wheel Car 1960 Taylor Yard - Cornell University collection Public domain - cropped

However, specialized single-deck wheel cars with inboard 'rails' and 'yokes' to secure the axles were used to move varying size wheels, including 36" passenger car wheels and 40" diesel wheelsets out to various shops that needed to do any replacement work on cars or engines.  Notice the roller bearing wheelsets and the "Napoleon-hat" triple-bolster profile of the closer wheelset from a (1937-1941 built) Daylight-series car.  

SPMW 847, F-50-9, 1951 single deck wheel car, kitbashed from OwlMtModels #2003 kit

Notice that SPMW 3116 did not rebuild the sub-deck blocks, where as the SPMW 847 has the stake pockets removed and new solid sub-deck timber blocks fashioned.  I still need to make the yokes to secure the wheels on the 847.

F-50-2 DD Wheels         7 (23.3%)
F-50-3 DD Wheels         9 (30%)
F-50-9 DD Wheels         2 (6.6%)
DD Wheels         20 (66%) all wheel cars - Sub-group

F-50-2 Wheels 2 (6.6%) * (1943)
F-50-9 Wheels 2 (6.6%) * (1950)
F-50-12 Wheels 1 (3.3%) * (12-56)
Special Rail Wheel Cars 5 (16.6%) *(SPMW 847, F-50-9, still Wheel Car 1953, returned to pool by 1956)
Wheel Cars         30 cars Total Wheel Cars (4.4% of SPMW Flats)

Misc Assigned Supply Cars

"Trailer" F-50-2         1 (Not exactly sure what the roster means my 'trailer' flat, perhaps speeder cars?)
"Tunnel" F-50-4 2 (SPMW 593, 594 both 1951)
Ditcher Flat         1 (SPMW 959, F-50-8 Misc.Supply)

SPMW "Rdy Flats"    681 Grand Total (not shown are flats assigned to wrecker outfits)

In Closing

Hopefully the upcoming SPHTS book on SPMW will have photos of the Tunnel cars!  Those will be interesting to see.  I also want to see what the book will tell us about 'Ditcher Flats'... if that is in reference to cars that were used to haul ditching shovels, etc on them, or if they were converted to have Jordan Spreader type wings to do the ditching themselves.  Given that in 1954 several F-50-11 (50ft) flatcars were converted to ditcher service, I believe the prior is more likely than the latter option.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang) - Update on SPMW 214/215 Lone Pine mystery car and outfit.

Modeling SP Supply Trains (Part 4) - SPMW 2452 - Ready Shop Wheel Car

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang Outfit)

In the last post (SPMW 214 - Part 1), I covered some of the basics of my guesses of what this car and outfit were doing at Lone Pine, California after 1958.  

Pondering the Context

I've spent the last week or two pondering with several friends the prototype photo, I now believe this photo very likely could have been taken around 1960 and the abandonment of the Standard Gauge railroad between Lone Pine and the then abandoned narrow gauge interchange at Owenyo.

Given the outfit photo shows three HW 12-1 sleepers turned into bunk cars, this is a very large outfit "gang", so large that I doubt this was regularly assigned to the Jawbone Branch regularly.  Instead it is probably a "Extra Gang" which moved around the system to where ever they had larger projects needing more hands.

Here's the outfit in question at Lone Pine: tool/tender, 12-1, water car, two 12-1s, two boxcars, water car. - owensvalleyhistory,com - ebay47_lone pine_sml

So, what's the story then for the "Extra Gang" at Lone Pine in the photo?  Sadly we don't have anymore info on the photo than this is Lone Pine, and the date being after the SPMW cars changed to light gray paint, which puts this after 1958.  The only serious work on the branch than I can think of after 1958 would have been the scrapping of the SG track to Owenyo, and removal of the Owens River Bridge.  Notice that there is a "Occupied Outfit Cars" sign hung from the left grab iron next to the cut lever, showing that this track is basically blue-flagged at the time of this photo.

I think this tool flatcar in the foreground story is that it very well might be a crane tender, the track gang probably had a small crane, 25-tons or less, which is self-propelled, maybe even a self-propelled Burro crane, running around at the end-of-track with the crews.  So I think the flatcar with the rack has probably been shoved back against the outfit once the gang got setup on-site for the work.  As the "Extra Gang" is working more as Track and Maintenance (T&M) assignment.

Changing Numbers & Assignment

So at this point I made the decision to change the car number that I'm modeling.  Originally I was going to model SPMW 214, an F-50-5, which was assigned to Ready Flat service in 1956 roster.  By changing to SPMW 215, also an F-50-5, converted in 10-1950 and assigned to T&M in the 1956 roster.

Adjusted decals for SPMW 215 & "T&M" stenciling now.

This was an easy change to do.  I blanked out the "4" from both sides and the "Ready Flat" stencilling with Polly-S Freight Car Red and Apple Barrel Chestnut paint.  The new "5" decal and "T&M" stencil applied.

Additional Deck Weathering

SPMW 215 deck weathering, more mud on the main deck and stains on the rack deck.

I decided to do a bit more deck weathering to the upper rack with the "flicked droplet" method with some dark gray-black washes.  Also the main deck had some additional black applied under the rack and some more mud colors applied under where the 3" pipe load will go, on the right side of the open deck.

In Closing

The change in perspective on the prototype usefulness now calls into question the usefulness of this model on my 1953 Jawbone Branch layout.  

SPMW 4049 - upgraded Walthers-TM 25-ton Crane.

Thankfully, the La Mesa Club fleet can always use another crane tender, in fact the SPMW 4049 25-ton Crane could use one, so I'll probably finish this model and pair it up with that crane.

Jason Hill

Sunday, October 10, 2021

SP F-50-7, (Part 2) - T&NO 23454 a stand-in for a WWI emergency flatcar

In the last post in this series, SP F-50-7 (Part 1) - a stand-in for a WWI emergency flatcar, from Sept 2020, I cover building the basic kitbash for SPMW 810 and some of the early development for T&NO 23454. 

Those modelers following my postings in order are going to start wondering about me and modeling flatcars... The last eight posts have all been on kitbashing flatcars.  Oh well, strike while the iron is hot I suppose.

T&NO 23454, a Revenue F-50-7 "Stand-in" Model

Time for an old "sag-backed" T&NO F-50-7 flatcar kitbash!

While the SP (Pacific Lines) retired and scrapped most of their F-50-6/7s by 1950, a handful of the F-50-7s remained in revenue service into 1950 on the Texas and New Orleans and show up in my 1950 ORER.  This is why I decided for my F-50-7 'revenue' service car should be a T&NO car.  I decided on T&NO 23454 as one of the eight odd cars which was still in service with upgraded 50-ton trucks.

Starting point of re-purposed Walthers-TM 42ft flat as SP F-50-7, WWI era flatcar.

This second model, I already fitted with strip wood overhanging deck.  It also has 0.020" bolster strap over the top of the bolster tubes.  I cropped down the bolster straps to make them taper down to narrow at the outer edges of the bolster.  Then I had to file down the bolsters to the same 0.300" that was done on the SPMW 810.

Vulcan Trucks

Kadee 573 Vulcan truck.

These cars will use Kadee 573 Vulcan Trucks.  I have modified the truck bolsters glued to be rigid and use more standard bolster system than the KD mounting system.

Underframe Construction

Bolsters, center frame beams and MDC queen posts.

The old Walthers undeframe is removed and new plastic scratchbuilt parts fabricated and installed.  Kadee coupler covers are glued in place and boxes will be mounted with 2-56 screws.

Underframe painted, without K-brake installed yet.

I fabricated K-brake laterial supports from styrene strips.

Deck Changes

Decals applied, draftgear stake pockets at the ends installed.

I modified my old wood deck on this car to include inboard draftgear stake pockets.

Truss Rods

Truss rods & bolster-draftgear structures installed.

Stirrups from A-Line are installed in drilled holes in the bottom of the carsides.  The truss rods are made from 0.012" PB wire, bent to shape to fit across the queenposts.  Sections of 1/8" x 1/16" styrene strips are cut to fit between the bolsters and the inboard ends of the coupler draftgear boxes.

Got Sagged?

Left side of T&NO 23454 with K brake and truss rods installed.

I want the T&NO 23454 to appear as several F-50-7s do in the last years of their life.  Often the truss-rod flats appear to be sag-backed.  The model actually was sagged a bit because the weight was bent a bit.  I decided to tweak it to have about 3" of sag deflection at the center of the car.  The bolster pads were filed to make the trucks sit level.  This will also require some slight shimming to the couplers for them to be at the right height.


Right side of T&NO 23454 with dusty weathering applied.

I decided to weather this car with"wet-drybrush" Apple Barrel technique.  I went ahead and gave the car a tare date in 1948 at Los Angeles, as some T&NO cars were used on the Pacific Lines to supplement the Pacific Lines fleet of 40ft flatcars.

In Closing

Nearly complete T&NO 23454, photographed this time on the east end of my Owenyo station.

Still need to install the hand brake gear and brake rigging.  I may get around to installing turnbuckles and anti-turn boards between the truss rods.  So a few things to finish up at some point.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 1) F-50-series Flatcar (Lone Pine Outfit)

Want to try another wild prototype SPMW kitbash?  I think I'll give this one a try.

Lone Pine SPMW Outfit F-50-flatcar - - ebay47_lone pine_sml

I've decided to built a new F-50-series carbody to make this model, which is really cool!  I think this car was used for water service, probably under the Bridge & Building Department.  Oddly the B&B Dept didn't have cars directly assigned in the 1956 roster, while the Track and Maintenance did.  Lots of tubes, looks like 3-4" pipe.  Some sort of compressor or generator under the rack.  Be a cool looking car!  Of course I'd back-date this to FCR, pre-1958 era version.

Type-A 14x10" "Occupied Outfit Cars" sign, used to protect equipment from being coupled to or moved.

Notice the blue-flag warning sign hung above the cut lever to the left end of the flatcar in the prototype photo.  This would be put on both ends of the equipment to protect it from being coupled to.  There would also be a sign hung on the rail, and locked in place 100-200 feet from the equipment.  The switch stand to the track where the blue-flagged equipment would also be aligned the opposite direction and then a blue-flag switch lock, which also had a sign warning of "occupied equipment."

SPMW 3605 F-50-5

I already built a couple SPMW flats from the F-50-series flatcar from the OwlMtModels' kit.

SPMW 3605 assigned to T&M gangs - OwlMtModels 2002 kit.

I don't think I'll be using SPMW 3605 for the Jawbone MW "outfit" which was photographed at Lone Pine, which had a rack over-head, fuel tanks, compressors, etc.

SPMW 215 - T&M Flat

Basic Flatcar

Originally an F-50-5, ex-SP 41449, converted to T&M Flat on 10-5-1950.  Unfortunately, I can't read the car number on the prototype photo at Lone Pine, but I'm making a guess for a 1956 roster, for a car that was converted by my modeling era of 1949-53.

Underframe of completed F-50-5 with K-brake.

I built the flatcar per the kit instructions provided by OwlMtModels.  K-brakes are used, and I don't have any extra Kadee Vulcan trucks at the moment, so I'm using Accurail U-section AAR trucks (kit 2003).  The deck is moderately weathered with my razor saw distressing method.  I also added some deep gouges longitudinally from the center of the car under the tool rack, where the generator/compressor (whatever it is!) would have been drug into place.

Deck is distressed, engine drag marks from center to left, towards B-end.

I painted the basic car body with Star Brand SP/UP Freight Car Red (FCR).  The prototype photo is for a post-1958 gray MW car, and it appears that the car and tool rack is painted over-all gray.  Likewise, I want the car generally over-all FCR, but I'm using pre-stained wood with OwlMtModels ABS plastic stakes from the lumber load kits.  The plastic stakes can be glued very well into the plastic deck.

Stakes & Sideboards

Rough cut stakes from OMM lumber load kit spare parts.

B-end stakes and end board.

End stakes and inboard platforms stakes.

2x10 basswood strips cut to fit across B-end and down the sides.

The 2x10" basswood strips are pre-stained with gray Apple Barrel paint.

Machinist square checking vertical for the stakes while ACC cures.

Inboard end stake pockets fitted with stakes as well.

Checking fit of sideboards. - Notice no sideboards where fuel tank will be.

Another view of square with stakes set vertical.

Other 2nd from B-end stake.

ACC gluing left sideboard to stakes, with board clipped to inboard platform stake.

Sideboards installed.

Adding more stakes into the pockets with ACC around three sides and bottom, plus up the back side.

Another over-view of the installed sideboard.

On the right side, there was a short section of 2x10 between the center three platform stakes.

I used a loose 2x10 strip to space the short section of 2x10 up onto the stakes, glued on with ACC glue.

Completed short 2x10 installed on right side.

Left side short stakes installed.

Higher view of the sideboards and stakes.

Another high view with all stakes installed, including short stakes.

I filled in the remaining stake pockets with left over stake material.  I used the mini-clamps to hold the stakes to the sideboards as needed.  The right side of the car is shown in the prototype photo, so I cut them to the respective heights.  I extrapolated some of the left side stake heights, but some are just a guess.

Upper Platform

At this point, the stakes are secured well to the stake pockets.  The lower sideboards glued to the stakes also seems to help keep the stakes square and vertical.

Installing the longitudinal stringers with small self-closing clamps.

I put marks on the inside of the stakes at 6'4" from the deck.  This is the mark for the top of the longitudinal stringers made from wooden scale 2x6s.  ACC glue was applied with a piece of 0.030" scrap wire.  Then self-closing mini-clamps are useful to glue the wood strips to the stakes.  The stakes tend to lean off from the stakes, and to get them to glue properly to the longitudinal 2x6 the clamps work very well.

Cross beams were made from 9

Crossbeams were made from 9'6" scale 2x6 strip wood.  I used the NWSL "Chopper" to make 10 of these crossbeams for the five pairs of stake bents.

Overall view of the Right side of the car and rack at this point.

The crossbeams are glued in place with wire-applied ACC.  Occasionally the mini-self-clamps were used to hold the parts together while the ACC dried.

Notice in this shot that I've added the 2x4 wood strip across the upper parts of the right side A-end stakes, per the prototype photo, this formed the outside of the "pipe pile" area.  I'm not sure if there were more boards across the A-end of the car to keep the pipes from shifting.  It doesn't seem like if there was, it would have been high enough to contain the pipe, the photo doesn't seem to show it anything there at the far end of the prototype photo.

Overall view of the Left side of the car and rack at this point.

About this point I did a light coat of hand-painted Apple Barrel Chestnut (21391E), which is a slightly lighter (faded) shade of FCR, which seems about right if the crew that built the rack on the pre-painted flatcar in 1949, just applied a light coat with a brush or mop and it's already starting to fade or fail.  I may blend this a bit more when I weather the flatcar sides.  I'm keeping the internal sides of the wood strips with the pre-stained gray color of wood that had been outside for a couple years. 

B-end view of the flatcar and rack.

Be sure to leave a little extra longitudinal stringer past the posts to catch the outside cross beams on.

High-angle view of the cross beams, with a second one at the end of the rack installed.

One crossbeam was then attached on each side of the stakes.  The prototype photo seems to show plenty of "stuff" piled on top of the rack... so I suspect that the construction of the rack was build extra strong to support whatever the MW gang put up there.  Interestingly there does not appear to be any diagonal cross bracing in either direction for the tall stakes going up to the platform.

Detailed view of the completed framing with doubled cross bracing.

I used a couple of loose pieces of wood or stake material to check that the cross beams were roughly even and level so the platform deck boards would be level and supported.

Another overall view of the completed framing for the platform deck.

Looks like the cross beams are ready for the floor boards made from 2x10 strip wood, which are cut to overhang the outer cross beams slightly.

Northwest Short Line "Chopper" for cutting plastic and wood to repeated lengths.

Nine pieces are cut to length, again with the NWSL "Chopper".

Nine platform boards glued in place with small gaps between the boards.

On all the plastic-wood glue joints, I'm using ACC "super glue".  On the wood-wood joints, I'm using canopy glue (Testors), weighting or clamping in place, until it is dry.

Let's have a look at the bottom of the platform deck

Looks pretty good!  Wheels will be installed later, as I liked having a good steady support for the car on the workbench, not allowing the car to roll alway.  In this view the hole in the sideboards is obvious, where the fuel tank (?) is installed.  I look forward to building the crazy piles of stuff on the car, but for now I'm building it empty.

Time for platform deck detailing with pencil nails.

For the little nails to hold the deck on the platform, I'm using my little mechanical pencil, and softly pressing down into the deck boards.

2x6 sideboards installed on the platform.

Per the prototype photo, there were 2x6 boards forming a tray out of the platform.  This makes perfect sense as all the materials stored up there needs to be contained.  Note that I have mounted another 2x6 across the B-end of the rack, to form a containment board there.

Possibly, if I was to do this again, I would have put a 0.01-0.02" styrene strip spacer under the 2x6, which seems to be good, as there would probably be a gap to allow anything spilled to be cleared out.

Another 2x6 is cut to go across the inboard side of the rack.

Note that the rack doesn't have a ladder on the inboard end of the rack, per the prototype photo.  There's a ladder formed on the center two posts on the B-end.


Ladder rungs are formed from 24" sections of OwlMtModels lumber bracing stock.

I made the ladder on the B-end out of ABS OwlMtModels bracing pieces cut to 24".  These pieces and the stakes in the center stake pockets are both ABS plastic, which can be very effectively welded together with Tamiya plastic glue.

Upper "Stuff" Rail

Spacers made from two extra OMM Stakes and a piece of 0.125" x 0.06" strip.

I need to make spacers to position the upper platform "hand rails" or maybe more correctly termed "Stuff rails."  I figure they should be about 12-15" above the lower boards.

Removed plastic spacer with upper right rail clamped in place.

The upper rails are still clamped, now that I've removed the plastic spacing material.  The two loose stakes are going to b

Inboard upper hand rail in place.

I'm not sure if the inboard rail should have another vertical support, but the prototype photo doesn't seem to show one.

The B-end cross hand rail is glued in place.

The final part is installing the B-end hand rail.

Here's the B-end cross hand rail is cut to length and for the ladder.

 Last step is cutting the 2x6 rail to length and separating the two halves for the ladder.

Completed upper rail around the platform.

At this point, I cut off the extra height of the stakes around the upper platform railing with my flush cutting pliers.  A bit more paint touch-up will need to be done.

In Closing

Here's the nearly complete car with the rack.

After this photo, I went in with a wash-stain and lightly touched the horizontal boards around the platform.  I also touched up the vertical posts with Chestnut color and the interior of the platform boards with Dark Gray (Apple Barrel 20366E).

Lone Pine SPMW Outfit F-50-flatcar - - ebay47_lone pine_sml

The brake wheel and shaft need to be installed.  Also I still need to do the gloss coat and apply the decals, but for now the basics of the kitbash is complete.  At some point I'll get to the load on this car along with the SPMW 7021A, Rail & Tie car load.

Jason Hill

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