Thursday, October 27, 2022

X31 & X32 Boxcar (Part 4) - PRR X31As from Boswer

 This time we're continuing my series on Bowser's X31 and X32 kits (links to the previous three parts at the bottom of this post) by looking at the "plain" X31A class boxcar.  The X31As were built in 1934 most of these are general service AAR mechanical designation "XM" cars.  There were other subclasses as well, which pushed the class to over 7,000 cars still in service in 1950 spread between several numbering series.  These cars were still the second largest class of boxcars on the PRR until the new post-war cars started arriving, meaning the X31s were fairly common to see around North America and even as far away as the west coast where I model.

PRR 67526, an X31A from Bowser kit. (May 5, 2011 photo)

I should note here that the cars I'm showing came from Bowser kits bought in the early 2000s, some of the cars don't have the best artwork for the pad printing, especially notice the changes in the "PENNSYLVANIA".  I think Bowser's more recent runs have improved the lettering artwork, as seen on the PRR X32As in Part 2 if this series.  The X31A class cars fill a nice spot behind the X29 in numbers and newer cars, as I wasn't able to find very many Red Caboose PRR X29 kits out on the west coast in the early 2000s when they came out, instead I picked up the mix of cars that are making up this series of posts.  The PRR certainly had enough visually unique cars that a modeler could comfortably have 4-6 PRR cars and not own cars that looked like duplicates!

New Rapido Offering

Rapido X31A boxcar - photo from Rapido website (cropped to remove whitespace)

A newly tooled version of the X31As by Rapido (website here), which are currently in-stock as of 2022-10-27.  I already have plenty of the Bowser X31 & X32 cars, so I'm not in the market or planning to purchase any of the new Rapido cars.  However, I will happily suggest them to modelers who are expanding their fleets as they certainly are bringing the X31 & X32 modeling up to the standard of many other prototype cars with separate grabs and more complete underbody detailing, etc.

X31A Models from Bowser

Roster 1950 ORER Data

PRR 67400-68999 X31A  (1585 cars XM)
PRR 69000-69499 X31A  (465 cars XM)
 - (Note DD 4 cars XAP), 
 - (Note T 23 cars XMP), 
 - (Note BB 6 cars XMP)
PRR 70000-70399 X31A  (394 cars XM)
PRR 76400-81099 X31A  (4656 cars XM)
PRR 81100-81199 X31A (90 cars XM)
 - (Note T 10 cars XMP, 12ft Staggered Doors )

Note T: Individual cars equipped with racks and hoists for handling spools of rayon yard on beams and differing in AAR Mech Designations from other cars in same series - XMP
(T1) 69037, 69086, 69117, 69132, 69210, 69266, 69268, 69269, 69307, 69308, 69311, 69321, 69333, 69340, 69359, 69378, 69392, 69409, 69412, 69421, 69467, 69469, 69480. (23 cars)
(T2) 81103, 81142, 81148, 81149, 81151, 81154, 81168, 81172, 81181, 81189. (10 cars)

Note BB: Individual cars equipped with hoist beams for loading linoleum and differing in mech AAR Designation from other cars in the series XMP: 69014, 69071, 69135, 69230, 69274, 69371 (6 cars)

Note DD: Individual cars equipped with racks for hauling automobile engines and differ in mech AAR Designation from other cars in series: XAP: 69108, 69323, 69332, 69427 (4 cars).

PRR 67401 with very large (tall) road name, large numbers as well. (May 5, 2011 photo)

PRR 67401 general service XM with placard warning about carrying a load of delicate machinery.  The 67401 has some patches of black car cement applied to the roof and a number of chalk marks on the side of the car.

PRR 67526 with compressed name spelled out with larger numbers. (May 5, 2011 photo)

PRR 67526 has some general weathering and some worn chalk marks.

PRR 67578 seems this lettering is almost too small with the name and the numbers a bit wide. (May 5, 2011 photo)

PRR 67578 is showing more signs sooty roof with rusty sides and scrapes from the door rubbing on the car side.  The car's also wearing several chalk marks for the car clerks and carmen to repair the door lock mechanism.

PRR 80265 with more correct lettering size and form. (May 5, 2011 photo)

I forget if I relettered this car or if it actually had a good set of pad printing artwork on the base kit.  In any case, the PRR 80265 is getting pretty crusty with rust.  The reporting marks have been rubbed clean and reweigh data is still visible due to recent restenciling at P712 (station code on the PRR) in Januaary, 1952.  I may end up actually doing a bit of de-weathering on the road name with a fiberglass brush.

The Weird "X31A" Double-Door Cars

Bowser has offered their 40ft double-door X31 model lettered as the following series of X31A double-door series of XMR (automobile loading racks).

PRR 69743 X31A, with double 12ft doors. Probably needs redecalling for road name and number. (May 5, 2011 photo)

Additional cars listed as "X31" class, but show with double doors.  These should be some other suffix class, probably rebuilt.

1950 ORER Roster

PRR 59873-60110 (Note C 35 cars XM, 12ft Staggered double doors)
PRR 60224-60720 (Note C & E 145 cars XMR, 12ft Staggered double doors), 
 - (Note C & G 39 cars XM, 12ft Staggered double doors), 
 - (Note C & E, TT 28 cars XM, 12ft Staggered double doors)
PRR 69504-69997 (Note C & E 136 cars XMR, 12ft Staggered double doors), 
 - (Note C & G 32 cars XM, 12ft Staggered double doors),
 - (Note C & E, TT 34 cars XM, 12ft Staggered double doors) 

Note C: Center of roof is higher than sides IH 10'0" for 3'9" to each side of center.  IH 9''4" at the sides.

Note E: Permanent Automobile stowing equipment various IH, etc. XMR

Note G: Individual cars in series NOT equipped with Automobile loading racks. (number of cars listed in the 69504-69997 series standard XM classification.)  XM: 69505, 69510, 59539, 69542, 69544, 69559, 69564, 69582, 69590, 69594, 69612, 69612, 69622, 69680, 69631, 69668, 69591, 69718, 69729, 69730, 69741, 69764, 69768, 69780, 69791, 69818, 69867, 69877, 69889, 69927, 6936, 69939 (32 cars)

Note TT: Individual number of cars in series have loading racks made inoperative by securing in roof of car for the purpose of transferring cars to general service loading and differing AAR Mech Designation from other cars in same series AAR XM
(TT1) 60230, 60232, 60250, 60256, 60273, 60309, 60311, 60385, 60393, 60453, 60473, 60475, 60496, 60509, 60512, 60534, 60545, 60566, 60573, 60641, 60646, 60647, 60667, 60669, 60683, 60694, 60700, 60715 (34 cars)
(TT2) 69516, 60531, 69575, 69576, 69581, 69598, 69603, 69604, 69607, 69619, 69626, 69652, 69655, 69659, 69677, 69694, 69750, 69753, 69807, 69831, 69849, 69872, 69873, 69892, 69896, 69913, 69917, 69924, 69926, 69949, 69951, 69972, 69987 (28 cars).

It's interesting that the X31As covered both single and double-door boxcars and auto rack boxcars.

In Closing

PRR 67401, time for some new decals?  I'll cover upgrades in the future...

These X31A cars have shown good service for about 20 years at LMRC, showing mechanically they are quite good.  The main issue with them now is the incorrect lettering, which has bugged me over the last 10 years or so.  So I picked up some Speedwitch (now National Car Co) decals around 2012 for the X29s.  At some point I'll patch these X31As with new road names.

PRR 61102, one of the X31B series automobile cars, which I'll cover next time in Part 5. (May 5, 2011 photo)

So I'm getting to the end of covering the X31/32 series of cars.  The next post in this series will probably be a quick one on the X31B (double door) car.  After that I'll probably be doing a post on correcting the lettering on some of these cars.  When I do the decal upgrades, I'll probably also install some basic brake levers and rods to the underside of the cars.

I'm also working on repainting some Red Caboose X29 kits, which may take most of my current stash of PRR boxcar decals, so I may need to get another set of decals (multi-car set) to cover several of these X31 and X32 cars.  Plenty of 'projects' to be blogging about!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Car Overview Index - One page with links to all my modeling blogs on freight cars.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Modeling Auto-Boxcars (Part 1) - Walthers 50ft Double-Door Single-Sheath Auto-Boxcars

Time for a little study on the Walthers 50ft Double-Door Single-Sheath Auto-Boxcars.  These would have been built in the 1920s for the expanding automobile transportation industry.  By the end of the 1930s and 1940s, new all-steel double-door cars were being built after the depression.  The older single-sheath cars were almost obsolete and found their way into general XM service.  Some cars were built with 1-1/2 door openings, not full double-door openings.  

My research for this is pulled from Westerfield's 1950 ORER CD roster for North American interchange railroads.  Various basic specs for car dimensions are listed, including the size of the door openings, staggered doors or centered doors, cars in service, etc.  So it seems some models confuse the two in their numbering.  This means that subtle renumbering of various models may be needed for 1940-1950s era modeling.

Santa Fe (ATSF)

ATSF 66579, early lettering scheme on this Walthers model. - 2022 photo

The Santa Fe's 66000-series is shown in 1950 ORER as 40'6" cars with 12ft doors, which means that the Walthers model is a fobbie for this car in later era.  I don't see any signs of ATSF 50ft 6in wood-side cars left in service at this date.  Many were completely rebuilt into weird hybrid cars, like Anthony Thompson shows on his blog of a Richard Hendrickson kitbashed model, Part 5, Part 6.  These posts show that the majority of early (as-built) Santa Fe 50ft auto-boxcars were using completely different designs of the car sides, etc.  The periods on the reporting marks also date this model to well before 1943, suggesting the 1920s is more likely for the lettering plan used.  So I don't think the Walthers model is correct at all for the Santa Fe car.  Looks like I get to sell this one off or repaint it as something more useful in the future.

Great Northern

GN 41741 - Walthers 50ft SS Auto Boxcar, LMRC 2011 Roster

GN 41752 - Walthers 50ft SS Auto Boxcar, LMRC 2011 Roster

Great Northern's entry in ORER 1950 does not show the 41900-series is empty by 1950.  The ORER does show 43500-43899 series show steel frame, 12ft staggered-doors.  The 43900-43999 are similar, but also show full end door.  The Walthers models come with end-doors as an option in the kit, so it would be possible to model either series if some minor decalling and renumbering was done.

So I may do some renumbering of the GN cars that I have to move them to the 43k series, which should be easy to change the 1 to a 3.  If I wanted to do an end-door car, I would probably have to decal the whole reporting mark on the A-end door piece.  The 43500-43899 and 43900-43999 show as XM (General service boxcars) in the AAR Mechanical classification column.


MILW 271737 - Walthers 50ft SS Auto Boxcar, LMRC 2011 Roster

MILW 271500-271999 series are 50'6" single-sheath, 12ft staggered doors totalling 434 cars in 1950, Note MM.  Three cars in this series also had Note BB (roof hatches and side doors permanently closed for sawdust and shavings) and MM (safety concerns reducing capacity from 100,000 journals to 80,000 pounds.  Cars being stenciled accordingly).  The Note MM is very interesting, which will be fun to model by changing the tare weights max of the car to a 40-ton car!  Something to think about that a car with this much cubic capacity would be limited to 40 tons loading.

Northern Pacific

NP 4803 - Walthers 50ft SS Auto Boxcar, LMRC 2011 Roster

NP 4912 - Walthers 50ft SS Auto Boxcar, LMRC 2011 Roster

Northern Pacific 4700-4998 series show as 12ft staggered door single sheath cars, 296 cars in service in 1950.  The 5000-5999 series appear to be 1-1/2 door cars with 10'6" door openings with 953 cars.  Both series have Note P, which are belt-rails on the interior with dimensions showing reduced IW and specifying the space.

Southern Pacific

The Southern Pacific owned several series of cars with both double-doors and 1-1/2 door configuration, end-doors, no end-doors, etc.  Many of these cars can be really only accurately modeled with resin cars or brass models, but let's see how the Walthers car measures up.  For this car I will also be using information from Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol.3 Automobile Cars for class and roster information.

SP 66804 with doors closed - 2022 photo

As with most of these cars, I've not worked on SP 66804 for probably 15 years at least.  I planned to have this car assigned to lumber service with the operating with the doors closed for the 'loaded' direction and then with layout's use of reversing loops to turn the entire consist would reveal the other side of the car with open doors for the 'empty' direction back towards Roseville and northern Calfornia.  Flooring and a light block/interior for the closed doors need to be installed inside the car.

Other side of SP 66804 with doors partly open - 2022 photo

The A-50-4 class, SP 63080-63329 series, were build with 1-1/2 doors in 1921.  Additionally 250 T&NO cars, transferred to Pacific Lines as 63600-63746 series 8-1-1936.  This class was 40ft.

The A-50-5 class, SP 68000-68499 series, were build with 9'11" opening with 1-1/2 wood doors & end doors

The A-50-6 class, SP 66800-67999 series & 68592-68654 series 8-1-1936 from T&NO.  The doors are 9'11" opening with 1-1/2 wood doors, no end doors.

The A-50-7 class, SP 68680-68879 & 68880-68979 series, were build with 12'6" openings with 1-1/2 wood doors.  Rebuilding of -7 and -8 cars with 1/2 door removed and resulting in single 6ft 5in door opening and under-door stiffener.

The A-50-8 class (200 T&NO cars), SP 68655-68679 group of 25 T&NO cars from class transferred to Pacific Lines 12-1935, were build 14'7" opening with 1-1/2 wood doors.  Rebuilding of -7 and -8 cars with 1/2 door removed and resulting in single 6ft 5in door opening and under-door stiffener.

The A-50-9 class, 68980-69229 series, were built with steel sheathing and exterior structure, 12ft openings, double 6ft steel doors, under door stiffeners (long tapper shape), and end doors.  Cars came with Dalman 2-level trucks.  Also it should be noted that the diagonal bracing is one brace less than Walthers and MDC/Roundhouse models have, only having three panels left and four to the right of the doors.  The A-50-10 and -11 use same structure.

Brass SP A-50-10 model (primed only) - Notice wider spaced vertical posts and more diagonal angle of the panel braces. - Kent Courtney collection

The A-50-10 class, 69230-69379 series, were built with steel sheathing and exterior structure, 12ft openings, double 6ft steel doors, under door stiffeners (short tapper shape), and end doors.  Cars came with Dalman 2-level trucks.  Also it should be noted that the diagonal bracing is one brace less than Walthers and MDC/Roundhouse models have, only having three panels left and four to the right of the doors.  The A-50-10 and -11 use same structure.

The A-50-11 class, SP 69380-69529 series, were built with steel sheathing and exterior structure, 12ft openings with double 6ft steel doors, under door stiffeners (short tapper shape), and no end doors.  Cars came with Dalman 2-level trucks.  Also it should be noted that the diagonal bracing is one brace less than Walthers and MDC/Roundhouse models have, only having three panels left and four to the right of the doors.  The A-50-10 and -11 use same structure.

This shows that basically none of the Walthers cars are correct for any of the SP single-sheath A-50-series boxcars.  The Walthers model is placed in A-50-6 class, which is probably the closest visually to the Walthers car except for the 1-1/2 door instead of full double doors.  Cars above A-50-11 class were built as all-steel 1936 AAR standard designs (W-corner post).

Union Pacific

UP 150953, by 1950 these were 1-1/2 door cars with 9'9" door opening. LMRC 2011 Roster

The Union Pacific 150001-151000 series (Note M) look like good matches for the Walthers cars except that by 1950 they were 1-1/2 door cars with only a 9'9" opening for the doors.  While the next series, 151001-152000 and 152001-152500 series (both Note N) have full 12ft door openings, which will be correct for the Walthers double 6ft doors.  Looks like this series of Walthers cars need to be renumbered for continued service into 1950.

Note M: Gives specs for nailing rail inside the cars between the doors and the end of the car.

Note N: Gives specs for nailing rail inside the cars between the doors and the end of the car.  Applied on cars listed as follows: UP 151080, 151018, 151080, 151135, 15193, 151218, 151430, 151431, 151484, 151504, 151641, 151646, 151671, 151685, 151716, 151725, 151735, 151819, 151852, 151935, 151941, 152313, 152485

UP 150951 showing basic Walthers UP scheme out of the box. - 2022 photo

I have a couple of these cars, like UP 150951 which I never finished and put into service, so I'll probably do some number changing on this one to put it in a better number series, probably 151951 will be the new number after changing the "0" to a "1".

In Closing

SP 67789, modeled with doors open for empty or to stage with lumber loads to be unloaded at lumber yards.

I believe most of these models are going to be found kicking around on-line in the second-hand market or new-old stock at various hobby shops.  Most of the ones I picked up are nearly 20 years old.  Newer runs may have changed number series to be more or less accurate.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Car Index Overview - page linking to (ideally) all my freight car blog posts, series, and articles in one place by topic.

UTLX Tank Cars (Part 1) - New Models on the Market - Existing Models Index and new Tangent and Rapdio models.

SP & T&NO B-50-15/16 (Part 1) - Modeling, Research, & Rapido - New gap in plastic models being closed by new Rapido boxcars.  Research and roster data included.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

UTLX Tank Cars (Part 1) - New Models on Market

Over the years in HO-scale, we've had a number of accurate and correct models of UTLX tank cars.  Yet, they still missed the mark if you wanted to have more than one or two cars.  "Why?"  You ask.  Well, UTLX was the dominate private tank car leasing company of the 20th Century with a fleet numbering 42488 cars in the 1950 ORER.  That's a lot of tank cars!  So if there's accurate models out there, what's the problem? 

New 2022 pre-production UTLX 10K X-3 tank car by Rapido!- Photo linked from Rapido's website

The problem is that Union Tank Car Line was owned by Standard Oil, which was split up with anti-trust lawsuits in the early 20th Century.  The Union Tank Car Company built their own designs of tank car for UTLX, resulting in 13,000 of cars of the same 10,000 gallon X-3 design making up their fleet. 

However, these are not the models we've had until now.  No, the models of UTLX cars we have available until now, are the odd-balls from smaller petroleum and chemical companies that were acquired through mergers with Union Oil or decided to get out of the transportation business and sell their tank cars to UTLX and lease a few cars from UTLX's vast pool of cars to suit their needs.  The result is a very large fleet of standardized cars, with a few odd-balls from other manufactures.  Let's look at what's currently available or has been produced by mid-2022.  I'm not going to list the earlier tank cars built before 1915, as many of those didn't meet later standards of ARA and AAR, and were mostly gone by the end of WWII.

A quick note about researching tank cars in the ORERs.  It was up to the railroad/company to provide as much information or as little information to the AAR to make the register.  The PRR for example goes so far as to provide which class each entry is.  UTLX is very minimal; Car number, weight capacity, and a possibly one of 6 special notes to change individual cars within the number block to other weights, lining, acid, etc. warnings.  So short of looking at photos of indivitual cars within the series, there's not much information out there to rationalize the fleet.

The UTLX company has cars spread throughout nearly 100,000 numbers but only 42,488 cars in service.  This suggests large holes in the number series.  From the ORER Notes, even the larger series are broken up with cars of differing capacity or specialization within larger number blocks.  Some number series may also indicate where the cars came from or large customers or divisions of the company that have whole blocks of cars assigned to them.  Unfortunately, much of that in-company knowledge is probably lost to history at this point.

I will also note that Union Tank Car has four sets of reporting marks: UTLX, UTCX, UTX, and PX.  The notes at the end of the ORER entry state that all cars of these reporting marks can be billed as one account.  It is also noted that UTLX is listed as Products Tank Line of Canada, LTD, showing how it is incorporated.  This may explain the origin of the UTCX as Union Tank Canada? 
Home Points:
Bayonne, NJ, 
El Dorado, Kan, 
El Segundo, CA (near LA), 
Milton, PA, 
Neodesha, Kan., 
No. Baton Rouge, La., 
Olean, NY, 
Philadelphia, PA, 
Richmond, CA (north of Oakland), 
Sharon, PA., 
Whiting, Indiana, 
Wood River, Ill.

General American Tank Car (GA)

Type-17 - Tangent Models

The GA Type-17 was introduced unsurprisingly in 1917 and lasted into the 1960s.  Some of these cars made their way through various owners into UTLX reporting marks by the 1930s and 1940s.  

10K Gallon - Produced 2018

UTLX 10673, leased to Hercules Powder Co.

Tangent didn't offer this model in the standard UTLX general leasing black scheme.  I have two of these Hercules Powder cars for the Tehachapi Pass traffic to the Bay Area.  I also picked up two painted unlettered cars.  So I may end up using UTLX decals to make my own general service model, the other I plan to kitbash into an ex-EPSW, turned SP fuel oil car.  But back to the UTLS cars, only 198 cars are shown in the 1950 ORER for the 26-12749 series of 40-ton cars are rated with the note exception to 50-tons capacity.  None match with this number series, so not sure how to resolve this discrepancy.

Hold It, Hold It! Correction Time!

UTLX 10673, 10K GA Type-17 - Leased to Hercules Powder Company (explosives & gun powder).
 - Tangent Website

Edit: After consulting with David Lehlbach at Tangent, their using Tank Car Tariff data from 1936 and 1955 for their steam era tank car models.  So given this car's rebuild/tare date as 2-1949 date and the Tangent research, I'm going to say these cars existed the way they are modeled.  It would be great for the WWII to 1955 modeling community if more Tank Car Tariffs could be found as they are much more specific about the national tank car fleet than the ORER.  The ORERs are good for researching basically any other car type than tank cars!

UTLX 10673 - 1949 Hercules Powder 10K Type-17 Tangent Models Archive - with additional information about chemical shipments by Hercules Powder to various customers around the country.

Hercules Powder also had a powder works along the San Francisco Bay, north of Richmond and Oakland at Giant.  So seeing these cars crossing Tehachapi would certainly be possible.

8K Gallon - Newly Announced Run Oct 2022, Previously 2016

UTLX 72185 - Third Run GA Type 17 8K Tankcar - Tangent linked photo.

I never picked up this version for UTLX, so I'm using the linked stock photo from Tangent's page.  Checking the 1950 ORER, the UTLX 71000-79999 series had 4455 cars of 40-tons (probably 8k capacity), 794 cars of 50-tons (probably 10k capacity) and two other cars with special linings in that series.  The 4455 car block shows that this is one of the larger groups of cars.  I should note that Proto2000 has also produced their ACF Type-21s in this same number series, so not all of the 4455 cars rating at 40-tons are these GA Type-17s. In either case, I'm going to snag one of these new run cars before they sell out.

New run of GA Type 17 UTLX 8k models - Oct 2022

American Car & Foundry (ACF)

Type-21 - Proto2000/Walthers - Late-1990s to Present

10K Gallon

UTLX 10343, ACF Type-21 10K tankcar, photo linked from Walthers website.

Proto2000 released the 8K gallon version first, then a couple years later the 10k uninsulated version came out.   Proto2000 are supposed to be historically correct numbering.  Interestingly, this series overlaps with the new Tangent Models GA Type 17 8k models.  Only 198 cars in the 26-12749 series were rated for 50-ton weight capacity, suggesting how few Type 21 10k and GA type-17 10k cars there can be in these number series.

The older kits that I have of this car show numbers in the 60k-series (UTLX 60350 is one I have), which seems to be correct in that it's a 50-ton car and not in a noted series of 40-ton cars within that series.  The 60000-67999 series consists of 4493 cars of 50-tons capacity (probably 10k gallon cars) with 555 rating at 40-ton capacity (presumably 8k gallon cars).

8K Gallon

UTLX 77640, ACF Type-21 8K Gallon.  Looks like this one is missing the dome platform. JHill photo 2011 LMRC Roster.

Unfortunately, most of my P2K UTLX Type-21s have either not been built or took damage like this one.  Proto2000 are supposed to be historically correct numbering.  Interestingly, this series overlaps with the new Tangent Models GA Type 17 8k models in the 71-80k series, so it would seem that the 4455 cars in that series that are shown as 40-ton, 8k cars are not all the same mechanically.

10K Gallon - Insulated - Not Used by UTLX

Type-27 - Intermountain - Late 1990s to Present

10K Gallon

UTLX 1002, Type-27 10K tankcar - IMRC website photo linked.

The ACF Type-27 tank cars are built on a longer frame and smaller diameter tanks than the Type-21s.  The model shown, UTLX 1002, is in the middle of the lower end of the roster and falls within the Note B cars of 976-1026.  Again, a very small group of cars considering the UTLX fleet size.  IMRC currently shows the following numbers available:

Built (Tare Date): Built 2-40, UTC 4-52
Stock Number / Car Number
-37 982, -38 996, -39 1002,
-40 1007, -41 1015, -42 1028

It would seem that the 1028 is two numbers higher than the last 50-ton car and is back in the 40-ton, 8k gallon car number series.

8K Gallon

UTLX 17362, ACF Type-27 8K gallon tankcar - IMRC website photo linked.

The IMRC ACF Type-27 8K tank car is also built on the longer frame of the Type-27 design, with the smaller tank diameter.  ORER shows the 16000-17799 series with 1437 cars of 40-ton, 8k gallon nominal capacity.  Only two cars in the series have notes on being 30-ton capy, probably 6.5k gallon (UTLX 16121 & 16445) and 10 cars of 40-tons with special liners. (UTLX 17001, 17065, 17069, 17211, 17295, 17392, 17567, 17624, 17668, 17705 lined).  So it seems IMRC came up with reasonable car numbers with their research.

Built: 7-37
Stock Number / Car Number
-07 17319, -08 17334, -09 17356,
-10 17365, -11 17371, -12 17382

Previously Released Numbers
-01 17308, -02 17317, -03 17330,
-04 17362, -05 17375,
-06 17389,

1948-1951 LPG Tankcar 11k Gallon - Atlas - Early 2000s

UTLX 96269, 11K gallon insulated, welded, 300PSI LPG tankcar from Atlas.

Atlas produced a new set of tooling in the early 2000s replicating the ACF's 11k gallon LPG tankcar, while a little off-topic from the general service tank cars that I'm talking about in this article, I do want to point it out.

The UTLX 96012-99999 series are the new LPG cars totalling 2274 cars in the 1950 ORER with only 29 cars in the series showing as 40-ton cars, which are probably some other design.  Both cars blocks in the series are classified as TPI = Tank, Pressurized, Insulated.  The Atlas model represents the fairly standard of the late 1940s LPG car meeting the ICC-105A-300-W specification.

Union Tank Car (UTC)


Rapido's pre-production UTLX 10K X-3 Tank car - Photo linked from Rapido's website

The X-3 series of tankcar designs have been offered in resin, but never before in plastic tooling or R-T-R.  So Rapido's announcement that they're doing a 10K gallon UTLX X-3 car is very good news, as we can finally balance out our steam-diesel era UTLX fleets.

10K Gallon - Rapido, new project 2022+

The first release of Rapido cars look like they're numbering into the 26000-42999 series, including 28714 in the 1920s version, 28941 in the 1930s lettering scheme, and 35552 is one of the cars in the 1950s version with AB brakes.  This massive group of 17,000 numbers 6235 cars show active in 1950 with 50-ton (10k gallon) capacity and only 174 cars of 40-ton (8k gallon) capacity in the series.  It doesn't appear that Rapido has announced exactly which numbers they'll be doing as of Oct 16, 2022.  The numbers I meantioned here are what their render-artwork shows and one pre-production 1950s model is 35552.  However, with 13,000 cars of the 10k gallon X-3 design, that accounts for almost 25% of the UTLX's whole fleet.  So we can clearly see how we've been missing this very signature car in the steam era fleet.  Several other leasing companies and railroads besides UTLX are planned in this first release.

Rapido Website Link: UTLX X-3 Tankcar

Among the other leasing and railroad owned X-3 Rapido is also producing besides UTLX, I believe that PX is Products Tank Car.  The PX cars use the UTLX yellow on black standard lettering.

8K Gallon

Only available in resin kit form.

6.5K Gallon

Only available in resin kit form.

In Closing

T&NO 838 with variety of oil and chemical tank cars, Texas Feb. 25, 1952 - Robert Yarnall Richie photo - George Lane collection, digital collection at DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Texas.

I'm hoping that this blog post will help my fellow modelers learn and develop a roster plan for their layouts which will have a good balance of UTLX and tank cars in general.  If nothing else, to keep a weather-eye out for what models are floating around on the NIB and second-hand markets for the limited production models, such as Tangent or the various P2K kits that have been produced over the last 25 years, but aren't currently "in production" to build a fleet from.  Nothing worse than walking into a hobby shop and having your brain go blank of exactly which cars were right and which ones was I supposed to avoid as "Fobbies"?  Hopefully, this page can be a "oh, yeah, NightOwl did an article on that, let's pull it up on my phone." to solve the question.

Jason Hill

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 5) - B-50-13/14 from Accurail or resin kits

SP Pre-War Boxcar (Part 1) B-50-18/19/20/21/23 classes

SP Post-War Boxcars (Part 2) B-50-24/25/26/27/28/29 classes

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Shell Oil of Calif, Union Oil of Calif, Pennzoil

Saturday, October 15, 2022

SP & T&NO B-50-15,-16 (Part 1) - Modeling, Research, & Rapido

Continuing my SP Boxcar writing binge (After a couple month delay).  I'm pressed to get this article out due to Rapido's announcement (yikes) six months ago that they will be producing the SP B-50-15 & B-50-16 classes of boxcar.  The pre-order cut-off is Oct 17, 2022, just two days from now!

New Rapido B-50-15 wood side - linked photo from their website.

While some of you have seen my previous post on my Sunshine B-50-15, SP 32451.  It is currently still just a shell with no details yet.  So to get this article posted in time to help fellow modelers sort out their options regarding the Rapido B-50-15/16 announcement, I don't want to wait on finishing my two resin kits!

Fair disclosure: I have no professional interest in or connection to Rapido's B-50-15/16 project.  My personal interest is in getting a good model to help fill out my fleet for the Jawbone Branch, help fellow modelers learn more about this class of car, and help any other modeling groups I am part of out there.  I've currently pre-ordered five B-50-15/16 models from Rapido.


After WWI, and the assignment of 1000 (B-50-12) USRA single-sheath boxcars to the SP while under US Government control, the SP ordered large numbers of boxcars to an improved design, roughly based on the B-50-11 with some improvements, designating it B-50-13 of 1923.  The following class, B-50-14 of 1924, was very much the same, built with pressed steel ends, but otherwise very similar.

SP 32570, a late-series B-50-15.  This resin kit was built by Paul Doggett ang with his permission I'm using his models as examples of the SP's B-50-15/16.

By 1925, the designs had moved forward again and a new pair of classes were being worked on at the drafting desks of the SP Mechanical Department.  B-50-15 and follow-on B-50-16 class would total 4903 cars and break with the traditional Pratt-truss design of B-50-8/10-14, shifting to the Howe-truss style of diagonal side braces.


B-50-15 - 1925-1926 Built

Rapido B-50-15 wood side - linked photo from their website with Murphy corrugated steel ends.

SP 14480-15979 (1500 cars) - Standard Steel Car - T-Section Trucks, 1st 750 cars Murphy radial roof, 2nd 750 cars Viking roof
ML&T 36210-36509 (300 cars, after 1928 to T&NO) - T&NO Shops - Arch-bar Trucks, Murphy radial roof
ML&T 53060-53559 (500 cars, after 1928 to T&NO) - Standard Steel Car - T-Section Trucks, Hutchins roof
SP 20000-20499 (500 cars) - SPE Sacramento (shops 'contractor') - T-Section Trucks, Hutchins roof
SP 31560-32659 (1100 cars) - Pullman - T-Section Trucks, 1st 600 cars Viking Roof, 2nd 500 cars Hutchins roof
3900 cars

B-50-16 - 1927-1928 Built

Rapido B-50-16 wood side pre-production photo from the Rapido website with Murphy Dreadnought steel ends.

SP 37340-37839 (500 cars) - SPE Sacramento (shops 'contractor') - T-Section Trucks, Viking roof
SD&AE 7000-7002 (3 cars) - SPE Sacramento (shops 'contractor') - T-Section Trucks, Viking roof
T&NO 53560-54059 (500 cars) - T&NO, Houston (shops) - T-Section Trucks ,Murphy radial Roof
1003 cars

Rendering for Rapido's SD&AE 7002, one of three cars assigned to the SP subsidiary

The three SD&AE cars I believe all went to SD&AE MW at end of service life.


Looking through Thompson's Vol4 on the Boxcars, specifically the B-50-15/16 classes. A number of them were converted to steel sheathing in the 1930s for PMT/Overnight and passenger express boxcar assignments.

Rendering of original wood-sided Passenger-Express B-50-15 from Rapido in Dark Olive Green.

I think it's a little unfortunate that Rapido has only announced the wood-sided version of the DOG Passenger-Express version of the B-50-15s and not the slightly later and more common all-steel rebuild version.

These cars would be correct for the first batch of October of 1935 "Overnight" cars.  These were to replace the 1933 use of baggage cars assigned to the PMT's predecessor of the Coast Merchandise East and West (Overnight) trains.  The new upgraded service started with the conversion of 95 Passenger-Express cars of B-50-15 & -16 classes cars.  Receiving special upgrades including a coat of Dark Olive Green with gold/yellow lettering, signal lines (& hoses), wrought-steel wheels (for high speed braking), and Type-E couplers.  However, they kept their freight numbers until March of 1936, when they were changed to the new SP 9000-9094 series.  This conversion process continued in a program that extended into April 1936 to complete all 95 cars.  The original wood-sided cars received upgrades to steel-sides in 1943.

Another 50 cars were converted for Passenger/PMT service in Summer of 1936 (SP 9095-9144) which were steel-sheathed for the conversion and painted into the new PMT Black with PFE Orange Trim "Overnight" scheme.  From this point on, the DOG and the new "Overnight" cars were upgraded with steel-sides wheels, signal lines, etc.

Pre-production Rebuilt B-50-15 from Rapido website

By March 1937, 195 more steel-side conversions for express service (SP 9145-9339), with 32 more in 1939-1940 also getting AB-brakes.

In addition to the express service cars listed above, 930 B-50-15s and about 200 B-50-16s were steel sheathed by this time for freight service in standard FCR color. So about 1/3 of all B-50-15s and 1/5th of all B-50-16s were converted before WWII to steel sheathing.

WWII Conversions, Colors, & Assignments

Another batch of 100 DOG express service B-50-15/16s were completed in 1941-42. By Jan 1942, a total of 472 cars (269 from B-50-15) were in DOG for passenger service or "early" Overnight express service, and most received new U-section AAR trucks. Only 4-cars were fitted with Allied "Full Cushion" trucks during the 1942. All Allied trucks were removed by 1947, replaced by modern AAR U-section trucks with bolster stabilizing with steel wheels for high-speed braking.

The WWII demands suspended special freight service, such as the 'Overnight' using the black with orange trim, not the postwar version with the all black and arrow ball logo.  

This is an interesting point about suspending service, despite the two wrecks involving the Lark and Overnight in 1941 and 1942! - So one wonders if the CME/CMW "Overnights" which hit the Lark twice were being run with still black/orange Overnight cars, or if they were being supplemented by regular boxcars in the last months of peace and the early months of the war.  

In any case, the final group of 100 cars were converted in 1943 for Baggage-Express service (painted DOG) and numbered in the 5900-series, but only the first 24 cars assigned, the remaining 75 cars went to the 5800-5874 series.

The express equipped B-50-15/16s were all painted in the Passenger Dark Olive Green (DOG) scheme until 1948, which I assumed started in 1942 with the ending of "Overnight" service on the coast.  During this time, the Dark Olive Green Passenger Express cars would have been steel-sheathed for most of us post-war modelers wanting one of these cars.  Also a number of these cars would have been refitted with U-section AAR trucks, which would be better suited to the higher speed operations with steel wheels, not cast iron wheels.

Post-War "Overnight" Scheme - 1946-1950-ish

SP 14483, a B-50-15 repainted in 1946 for Overnight service until 1950-1951.  Note U-section AAR trucks, suggesting this is one of the express car upgrades after 1942. Used by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

When the war ended 500 new B-50-24 class (all-steel) cars were ordered for Overnight and passenger service. The 450 new Overnight cars were protected with 150 cars of the B-50-15/16 express DOG cars that were painted in the new all-black Overnight Scheme with red ball and arrow herald in 1946. This lasted until the 1950's drop in Overnight loading when all of the older B-50-15/16s were removed from Overnight service, and were painted back into FCR over the following couple years.

SP 32251 with Brooklyn rebuild, including new diagonal panel roof, AB-Brakes, and U-section trucks, by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

During the post-war conversions of B-50-15/16 class cars with steel sides continued totaling 750 more cars with modern roofs in the 1950-1956 time frame.  All of the 1950 and later SP Pacific Lines rebuilds received diagonal-panel roofs, most of this work being done at Brooklyn, OR.

Of the 1000 cars on the T&NO, less than 50 cars were resheathed with steel by 1950.

T&NO numbered car transferred to SP in 1961, by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

So it would appear that by the 1955 time frame probably 50% or better of surviving B-50-15/16s would be steel sheathed, this makes since as the number of B-50-15s being retired to SPMW during the 1954-55 time frame is very large.  After 1956, I would guess it was more like 60-75% were steel-sheathed, with the wood cars lasting until scrapped in the 1960-62 time frame. It appears that most of the 1955-56 retired B-50-15/16s to SPMW cars were wood-sheathed. Steel-sheathed SPMW cars coming from retiring later cars in the 1960-1970s, some of which are still around today.

I plan to go look through my 1950 ORER and see if I can get anymore insight for modeling that era on how many and which series were wood or steel-sided.


In the past the only way to get a model of SP/T&NO B-50-15/16 class cars were to build resin models from Sunshine Models (out-of-production) or Westerfield Models.

Completed Resin Models by Paul Doggett

I want to take a moment to thank Paul Doggett for the gracious use of his assembled B-50-15/16s as visual examples of the topic being discussed today.  The cars are assembled, painted and finished by Paul Doggett.

T&NO 36259, B-50-15 (1st T&NO group) by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

SP 20095, B-50-15 (2nd SP group) with original wood sides by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

SP 32570, B-50-15, with wood sides by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

(SP) T&NO 53360, B-50-16 with steel resheath by Paul Doggett, used with permission.

Cars for the Jawbone Branch

Sunshine SP 32451 under construction with wood sides and original Hutchin panel roof, spotted on the wye at Owenyo, July 1, 2022. Jason Hill model & photo.

As far as my fleet goes from way back about 20 years ago, I have a Sunshine B-50-15 SS (wood) 20000-20499, 32160-32659 series) with Hutchins roof (Kit #38.7) which was the last one that a vendor had at a convention several years ago.  This car is slated to become SP 32451.  

SP 32451 Left side after decalling starting color pencil weathering. - Jason Hill model & photo.

When Westerfield came out with their beautiful one-piece body version, I picked one of the steel-sided B-50-15 SS with AB brakes and "Overnight" decals (kit #12863), which I'm now debating if I'll finish as black "Overnight" car or if I'll do it as one of the ex-express/Overnight cars back in the Freight Car Red scheme of the early 1950s.

My Rapido Order?

In November 2021, Rapido Trains announced plans to offer R-T-R models of SP B-50-15 and B-50-16 class cars with various roofs, ends, and steel or wood sides.  Rapido is planning to offer 6-packs $329.70 (no price break) and single cars on reservation for $54.95 USD.

As of November 2021, I went ahead and ordered a mix of five Rapido cars.  They are showing different versions with Murphy or Viking roofs, so that's good.  

Rendering of Rapido's 1946-1952 "rebuilt" steel-sided B-50-16 in FCR.

While it's great that we're getting the steel-sided version of the B-50-15/16, as of Nov 2021 I'm a bit confused by Rapido's naming/numbering convention in their advertisements and ordering options, as to exactly which combination of parts we're getting in each option.

Note: I did sit down and sort out that the options, and I think Rapido might have slightly changed the options in the last two months August-Oct, 2022.  I had to reorder due to some changes in Rapido's on-line reservations and website.  As of Oct 15, 2022 I have one each of the following SKUs on pre-order is as follows: 
  171007A - HO SP B-50-15 Boxcar: 1931 to 1946 scheme - Rebuilt w/ Viking Roof: Single Car
  171002A - HO SP B-50-15 Boxcar: 1946 to 1952 scheme - As Built w/ Viking Roof: Single Car
  171004A - HO SP B-50-15 Boxcar: 1946 to 1952 scheme - As Built w/ Murphy Roof: Single Car
  171054A - HO SP B-50-16 Boxcar: 1946 to 1952 scheme - Rebuilt w/ Viking Roof: Single Car

I believe this will give me an ideal spread of FCR boxcars from this first run with different features which will compliment my two resin B-50-15/16s I have now which both have Murphy Roofs and both B-50-15s from Rapido will have Vikings.  The Rapido B-50-16 has early Dreadnaught-type ends, which neither of my resin cars has.

Rapido #171005A - B-50-15 "Passenger" Wood-sided, Viking Roof

Rendering of original wood-sided Passenger-Express B-50-15 from Rapido in Dark Olive Green.

During my re-order I decided to skip getting this passenger version with the wooden sides, as it really would be a rare car... maybe only 20% of the express B-50-15/16 fleet at the end in 1948/49 still having wood sides.  Also with most of my modeling era shifting to post-1949 and Jawbone with minimal passenger service, personally I'm shifting away from needing this car.

Rapido #171056A - B-50-16 "Overnight" Steel-sided, Viking Roof

Rendering of Post-war Rapido's SP "Overnight" B-50-16 with Steel-sides & Viking Roof

I've also ordered a steel-sided 1946-1950 "Overnight" scheme car from B-50-16, with rebuilt sides and viking roof.  While a little weird for the Jawbone Branch in 1949-1954, these cars might have shown up just after they were released from Overnight service as regular boxcars for a few trips before getting into get repainted in FCR.

In Closing

Rapido's rendering of their SP B-50-15/16 (<- main page link), which is reportedly in-tooling as of July 2022 according to the Rapido website.

The SP did have 4900 of these cars and started with multiple versions with different roofs and ends.  Add to that the SP was rebuilding and upgrading the cars to steel sides and improved ends or diagonal roofs over the years too.  It's not really as simple as "as-built" or "rebuilt".  I was able to confirm with Bill at Rapido that they are planning to do other roof/end/side combinations which the research shows did happen in the future, but they weren't able to do all the variations at once in this run.  Hopefully, I can get some more information as it relates to the prototypes and pass that info along in SP & T&NO B-50-15,-16 (Part 2) - Update soon.   In the future production runs it would be great to see T&NO B-50-16 and possibly other roof combinations.  I may check a bit more if the roof options will allow one of the wood-sided Rapido B-50-15s to be redecalled as a T&NO prototype, just to balance my fleet a bit more.

Right now, if you want to show support for these models, you have until Oct 17, 2022 to get your pre-orders in!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 3) - Plastic Options for B-50-8, -10, & -11

Modeling SP B-50-series Boxcars (Part 5) - B-50-13/14 from Accurail or resin kits

SP Pre-War Boxcar (Part 1) B-50-18/19/20/21/23 classes

SP Post-War Boxcars (Part 2) B-50-24/25/26/27/28/29 classes