Saturday, May 11, 2024

NAHX Leased Covered Hoppers - Pullman PS-2 & Greenville Prototype

Kadee PS-2 NAHX Trona & Potash shipping covered hopper model.

I've been mentioning leased covered hoppers on my SP Jawbone Branch (Part 46) blog of late, so I wanted to look a bit more into the prototypes and how viable it would be to put any effort into modeling them for use on the Jawbone Branch.

American Potash & Chemical Corp leased NAHX Greenville Cars

These cars certainly fits my modeling era of pre-1954, but these cars were assigned lease to American Potash & Chemical Corp, which sub-lettered these cars to be returned to Trona, Calif. when Empty. Certainly. As such, they would be a prime prototype to model if I was modeling the Searles Turn side of the Jawbone Branch.

NAHX 30229 - American Potash & Chemical Corp, Trona - NEW 5-51 - Pullman-Lib,smugmug,com

These photos are from Pullman-Library on, no infringement is intended, but to discuss the modeling possibilities.

NAHX 30229-Side - American Potash & Chemical Corp, Trona - NEW 5-51 - Pullman-Lib,smugmug,com

Notice the slight tapered side-sills just inboard of the bolsters, which makes these cars unique from the AC&F-built cars.  These cars all seem to have had black trucks and light gray body, which is a nice looking scheme, but would obviously get weathered somewhat in service.  These builder's photos don't reflect what they'd look like after a few trips in the dusty alkali desert environment.

Pacific Coast Borax Leased Greenville NAHX Cars

Pacific Coast Borax was the inheritor of the 20 Mule Team brand of Borax, and included the operations out of the Death Valley, Tonapah & Tidewater, to the Santa Fe at Ludlow and the Calico Mountains near Yermo, interchanging to ATSF at Daggett, Calif..  Processing plants were at Alameda, Calif. and Bayonne, New Jersey.

NAHX 30230 - Pacific Coast Borax Co - NEW 5-51 - Pullman-Lib,smugmug,com

The NAHX 30230 is also a product of Greenville Steel Car Co, in 1951, so this car is certainly within my era, but these cars physically wouldn't have been likely to come up the Jawbone Branch in any form of regularity.  Unless Columbia-Southern Chemical was selling Borax to PCB, but I don't have any evidence of this.

Pullman PS-2 by Kadee

NAHX 31235 - American Potash & Chemical Corp, Trona - NEW 11-55 - Pullman-Lib,smugmug,com

The PS-2s from Pullman are somewhat signature with the round hatches, and were put into production in 1954, which really pushes my cutoff year's boundaries for era.

Kadee's PS-2 model lettered for NAHX's leased cars to AP&CC for Trona/West End service.

The Kadee model's very nice model, but it's really a couple years too new for me to use.  The trucks use their new 'bolster centering wedge' design, which keeps the body bolster screws from being properly tightened without binding up their rotation.  I understand why they fashioned the wedges, to align the trucks with straight track to make it easier to rerail the car, but it goes against the LMRC mechanical standards that I've built all my cars to for the last 28 years.

In Closing

While there's some great models out there to model this sort of traffic, I don't really need any of these cars for my Jawbone Branch layout.  So I'm not sure if I'll keep the Kadee PS-2 car, outside of lettering reference to come up with decals to make the earlier Greenville, and I'd have to figure out what manufacturer makes a Greenville Covered Hopper.

My not quite complete SP 165000-series H-70-8 (iirc) class with side sheet cut-outs by Bowser.

I know that Bowser and Kato's models are more like the AC&F prototype, which were straight silled, so these cars aren't really 100% accurate to model the NAHX Trona/West End cars.  I was hoping that I could re-purpose Bowser or Kato models to make the earlier series of NAHX Greenville cars, I don't think they'd really work given the clearly tapered side sills.  At this point, I'm probably not going to worry much more about doing any more covered hoppers for the Jawbone Branch.given my prototype research for both the Jawbone's industries and the modeling starting options.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Owens Valley Mining (Part 2) - Bartlett Plant - Columbia-Southern Chemical Corp - Soda Ash, Trona, & Boron

Saturday, May 4, 2024

NYC "Standard" Steel Boxcars by BLI (Part 2) - Basic Mechanical & Detail Upgrades

In the previous post in this series (NYC "Standard" Steel Boxcars by BLI (Part 1) - Another Signature Freight Car), I was mostly pointing out prototype information and roster data.  Recently, I was able to get a couple more NYC boxcars from the BLI's production.  However, these models now seem to be in very short supply if you want to find one on Ebay or other web-site suppliers.

NYC 123242 stock out-of-box look at one of the BLI cars.

This time I'm going to show some of the upgrades and changes I make to the BLI models when I get them.  Here's a photo of one of the boxcars right out of the box.  Oh boy, looks like this one will need some help...

Issues with the Model

Box Label for 4-pack of NYC steel boxcars

Here's the info on the cars that were included in this 4-car set.  As I already have a finished and weathered an NYC 121134, I may renumber the car from the new set in the future.

4-pack of cars in very awkwardly sized box.

I think I should have stayed with the single-packaged cars, honestly.  The functionality of using the 4-pack box is pretty bad.  The inner tray gets stuck regularly, making it very hard to get the models out of the box.  Also this new group of cars have some more physical issues than my original models had ~10 years ago... or maybe my memory is just being selective on the issues that long ago. - Severely traumatic modeling tends to do that!

Running Boards, or Not?

All of the etched running boards on the newly purchased batch have come loose in the box.  I'm guessing this is a heating-cooling cycle problem from these being in stored in their box for 10+ years before being purchased.

And the roof walk is off when all four came stock in the box.  Excess heat on the box over the last 10+ years is my guess.

While annoying, this really shouldn't be a problem.  Several of my old models also have partial glue failure on the running boards.  So I've worked over the years to apply canopy cement (Testors) to the running board supports.  

The new cars have completely lost any bonds to the running boards, so I'll probably do some additional work on weathering the metal panel roof, probably adding some galvanizing paint failures, before remounting the running boards.

Having to re-apply the whole running board is just another step higher in the fact that now I have to align it correctly.  Although sometimes the half-applied but loose running boards are more challenging to get the canopy cement just on the tops of the running boards support blocks, and not all over the roof panels or filling the fine holes in the etching.

Oddities of BLI's Choice of Truck Bolster Design

Compared to standard bolster designs in HO, this one might take the cake for the over-the-top goofy engineering award.

It seems that BLI was trying to contain the lateral rocking of the truck and to some extent the longitudinal rocking as well with this extra height collar.  There's also an alignment key molded into it which aligns the truck towards the draftgear... so the truck can't rotate excessively?! - Very weird.  Functional, but weird.  The flanged truck bolster screw threads into the internal bolster hole, which is within the collar of the truck.

I may have to put a slight drop of canopy cement on the threads, as several of the car's screwes still seem loose when they are backed off just enough to allow the trucks to rotate correctly. - So must be an issue with how long each of these very deep cavities are when the frame and truck was cast.

One of the cars had a truck that came completely loose in the box, probably from the screws slowly backing out due to heat-expansions of the metal body frame.  This really isn't a problem, but it certainly puts these cars into a unique truck-body design category, so that the trucks can't easily be replaced by any other maker's trucks.  This seems to be a trend with manufactures since ~2000, when it seems several manufacture's in China decided to get "brilliant" with their engineering staffs.  I'm still more in the camp of if it's not broke, don't fix it.


Previous cars actually had pad-printed 'cooling rib' shadows on the backs of the wheelsets.  This batch looks like they have a coating of black paint or blackening on the wheels, including the treads.  I don't like having chemical blackening or paint on the wheel treads because it will wear off directly onto the railheads and cause dirt problems for operations.  Therefore, I'll have to clean the wheel treads off before the cars go into operation.

Wheels tight according to LMRC standards for wheel gauging of sub-RP25 contour flanged wheels.

I'm pretty sure these wheelsets can not be changed to IMRC 33", if the truck tooling is the same as it was 10 years ago.  These wheelsets were some of the tightest press-fitted insulation I've ever seen. - which is not a good thing, if you need to re-gauge the wheelsets.

As the coatings on the wheels (blackening or paint - I think paint) is going to be a pain to remove, I'll probably replace all the wheels with IMRC's after I use the "truck tuner" from NWSL to ream out the journal bearing cones to the standard IMRC wheelset length.  Looking closely at one of my older cars that I've run for a couple of years, the underlying wheels aren't even nickle plated, and wore quickly through into the brass, which is not ideal for my use on the Jawbone Branch.

Door Latches & Opening Doors

Door shown here about 1/2 open.

The stock models can have their doors moved to various positions.  For some reason BLI tooled the body's door latches as part of the doors, not the body. (sigh)... So, if the doors are to be modeled as open, then the body door latches will need to be cut off and remounted on the body to the left of the door.


Let's see what I can do to 'fix' these cars and get them ready for service on the Jawbone Branch.  The only real industries on the Jawbone Branch where I'll be able to see an open boxcar door will be at the Bartlett plant.  Usually, if I plan to detail a boxcar interior and have a door open or mostly open, I need to have access inside the car to detail the interior.  I don't have easy access into the interior of the BLI cars, so I may just elect to go with the closed doors again on the new cars.  

Oddly misunderstood tooling for the door hardware by the tool maker. - sigh

The original cars that I built, I glued the doors closed, with one slight exception on NYC 121134 shown below.  In some of the photos here, I'll be using the new batch of models and in others I'll be showing the models I've already done the weathering and various chalk marks, routing cards, etc on for 10 years.

NYC 121134 which I built with slightly open door, and transferred the door lock details to the carbody.

My old NYC 121134 was built with a partly open door, but I kept the opening small so that the view into the unfinished interior would be kept to a minimum.

Tare Dates

All four cars have pad printed tare dates for 1955, which is fine for cars running on layouts modeling between 1955-1959.  One of the regular things I also need to do on most cars for use on my Jawbone Branch layout is to patch out the tare date and reapply it for something more in my ~1948-1954 era.  The tare dates for boxcars during this era was 48 months.  So, ideally tare dates before 1952-53 as with most of my other cars in the fleet, as I cut off in 1954, so 1946-1953 tare dates are ideal for me.

OwlMtModels 1222 Reweigh Patch decal in place, but slightly crooked to the right of the panel seam.

 I used "Repack Patch" decals (OMM 1222) for the brown blanks to cover the BLI reweigh dates and respliced station and date from an OMM Era-D (1946-1966) set.  The patch decal didn't go on perfectly horizontal, it looks like the right side shifted when the Micro-Sol was applied.  It's not really a problem, as I'll probably add some light earthy weathering over the top of the repack area, hiding any oddities.  Prototype patching for restencils weren't always perfect by any means either.  So my story is this was either a Monday morning job, just after New Years where the paint man was hung over or a late Friday afternoon, when it was cold and he wanted to go for the quit!

Reweigh station code and date decals in place on NYC 121134, one of my original cars.

I decided to go with reweigh station "JY" on the NYC, which is Junction Yard in Detroit, Mich, and date the reweight for January, 1950 (1-50). 

NYC 121134 Side View with replacement tare data and the slightly open door.

Chalk marks on this side include a fairly new "X-ld", which was common for empty-to-load, which would fit with this side where the door's not been secured.  The car's also been graded with a "C" card on the door, indicating what products it is suitable to be loaded with.


The silver lining, if there is one, for all the roof walks being unattached is that I have complete access to the roof panels for weathering techniques.  I have pretty much free reign to play with multiple styles of weathering and painting.

NYC 123242 Roof Weathering Effects

Roof weathering with roofwalk removed.

I decided on this car to try some basic weathering for the galvanizing and some white gel-pen outlines for the freshly failed paint areas.

Drops of Testors Canopy Cement applied to the supports.

I added an acrylic wash of Pavement" color thinned with water, however even the water-paint mix attacked the gel-pen effects... so I'll have to touch that up afterwords.

With regular FCR roofwalk installed.

I decided to leave the roof walk painted for this car.  On one of the others, I painted the roof walk with galvanized gray color, to show one where the paint had failed from the top surfaces.

Roof weathering touched up with the white gel-pen again on some edges.

I went back and reapplied some of the white gel-pen to the lower edges of the paint failure areas, where the most recent paint failings have happened.  Some of the areas I also gently wiped with my finger to blend away some of the stark brightness of the white, leaving a partial remaining color behind, rather like chalk weathering.  

Under layout lighting, NYC 123242's fairly completed roof weathering... for now.

I also used a light gray 'moonlight' gel-pen to make some failed paint on the running board tread areas.  I'll put on a dullcoat pass to seal this step in place before I do any more with acrylics.

In Closing

At some level, with all the oddities of these BLI cars and the difficulties in finding any more out there, I might be tempted to do the resin examples over all the work needed on the BLI models.  Perhaps this is why BLI didn't make anymore runs of these in the more recent past?

I've not weathered the sides of NYC 123242 yet, but have applied a few gel-pen chalk marks.

I put a few gel-pen chalk marks on the new NYC 123242 and a little of the roof's pavement toning down wash over the trucks as more of a dry-brushing.  I still need to put the re-tare dates on the model and do some side weathering.  I'll probably aim to do each of the 'new' cars slightly differently in terms of weathering and finishing, so each tells a unique story.  Obviously, NYC 123242's roof has had better paint at one time.  I'll probably do one as a recently full repaint, with bare minimum weathering. - But I'll cover those in future posts in this series.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling X29 (Part 1) - PRR 100813 Basic Construction - Link to the PRR's competing design, the X29.

Modeling X29 (Part 2) - PRR 100305 - Ex-Battery Car - Redecalling PRR MW car back to general service circle keystone scheme.

Modeling X29 (Part 3) - PRR 504385 Early X29s - Checking out the IMRC's "early" X29 with vertical staff hand brake and plate-steel ends.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Modeling X29 (Part 3) - PRR 504385 Early X29s

Recently, I decided to pick up one of the IMRC's new X29s from late 2023 run.  I've mentioned in previous posts in this series, the PRR X29 models have always seemed to elude me.  So I finally bit the bullet and ordered one.  This Ready-to-Run (RTR) model comes with installed KD-5 couplers.  The model is of an early production X29s prototype, which had three-panel doors, plate ends, and vertical staff handbrake.

Differences of "Early" X29s

An example of the "Early" X29s which had the 3-panel doors and plate ends. IMRC 2023 RTR production.

The early X29s, like the early NYC steel boxcars of the mid-1920s used double rivet rows in the construction of the car sides (one tight spaced row, with the second row using double-spaced between its rivets).  This pattern looks similar to that used on the SP's B-50-24 class of boxcar 20 years later, which were called ACR (Alternating Center Rivet) and had to do with the shape and construction of the vertical framing of the carside and attachment of the side sheets.  This is modeled nicely on the early X29 body and I'll be highlighting it when I weather the car in the future.  I should note the Red Caboose/IMRC's later X29 (and BLI's later NYC) cars model the simplified sides, which used only a single rivet rows of the standard tighter spacing.  The AAR '37 boxcars also used single row riveted construction at their panel joints.

Some Prototype Photos from Web-search

PRR X29 horseshoe with freight cars - Matt Glumac collection - found on-line - Cropped

This is a nice weathered example of an early X29 with the details that match those of IMRC's 504385.  This photo's a little later than my modeling era, as there are GP7/9s helping a passenger train in the full photo.  There appears to be a bit of rust starting to blister through to the right of the herald.  Dirt/mud is coating the truck sideframes and lower carsides.  The car still has vertical staff hand brake.  Of note is that it has the extra door stop next to the data block stenciling.  It is hard to tell from this photo if this car has the replacement lower carsides.

PRR 572857 very early 1924-series X29 & NYC Steel Boxcar - antiquesnavigator,com collection

Also note that this model has a vertical staff handbrake and AB-brakes installed, while the PRR 100813 kit I was building in X29 Part 1 has the upgraded geared hand brake assembly.  I think I'll leave the vertical staff handbrake on this model.

PRR 570862 very early X29 (circa 1924) - Antiquesnavigator,com collection

As they did stay around, even after the car was upgrade to AB schedule air brakes.  Many of the SP's single-sheath boxcars from the 1920s also kept their vertical handbrakes after upgrading to AB schedule equipment was hung on the underframes.

Here's a comparison between the "late" X29 (left) and the "early" X29 (right)

The PRR 100813 kit that I assembled in Part 1 of this series is shown with the RTR 2023-produced 504385 from IMRC at right.  The visual differences of the Youngstown door (left) and 3-panel door (right) provide some variety between the otherwise nearly identical models from a few feet away.
It is interesting to note the subtle change in PRR Freight Car Red which was used on the newer model.  These sorts of color changes on a model don't really bother me, as the weathering on these two models will actually look better if not all my cars are exactly the same base color.

Another comparison between the X31F automobile boxcar with raised roof (left) and the "early" X29, which was much shorter in height.

Just to compare some more examples of various manufacture's choice of PRR's FCR color, I pulled out my X31F which I covered last year, which is a newer Bowser model with better lettering than the older 2000-vintage models.  The IMRC X29 has a slightly more red hue to it.  Again, only one or two shades, and any weathering will easily account for that.  Just the color change that paint normally goes through in the first few months could account for this.

Prototype Repairs & Upgrades

Side view of PRR 504385 with patched lower side panels.

Plus an extra feature molded into this model is the typical "patched sides" which was required on many X29s as the lower sides tended to "rust out" before the rest of the body or underframe.

"P441 10-53" Tare stencil on PRR early X29 patched sides - Pintrest webphoto

The Red Caboose tooling, which includes the patched panels is a good basic starting point to simulate this repair on the cars.  I'll cover more in the future kit-builds on the patch-panels on the sides.  However, the variations in size of these patches were installed is not 'standard' so I'll be looking to create custom-sized patches on my future kit-builds!

Model Upgrades

A 3/4 view of the A-end of the 504385.

I need to cross check my sources on PRR's painting standards if they really maintained the black underbody and trucks into the 1950s or if they, like the SP, switched to all over FCR scheme - including the underframe and trucks.

Truck washer and scale-head coupler installed.

As I'm continuing to work on cars for the Jawbone Branch fleet, I've decided when possible to replace the larger KD-5 couplers with the 158 'scale head, whisker spring' couplers.  This car thankfully was easily converted by popping out the out-board wheelsets, unscrewing the coupler box lid, and then installing the 158 couplers.

One truck's brake beam assembly was loose in the box and the second truck's brake beam came loose when I removed the wheelset.  After changing couplers, I reinstalled the brake beam detail part (which is sprung in place with a few small tabs between the truck sideframes.  This time I added a few drops of thick ACC superglue to the holes in the truck side frames.  This should help keep the part from randomly popping out in the future.

I also noticed that the stock model has some larger metal washers in the truck bolsters, to raise the car's coupler height.  I'm not sure why this was needed from the factory, other than they have changed to a AAR U-section IMRC truck from the original PRR prototype trucks that were supplied with the Red Caboose era model.  I've checked the coupler height and the height is correct, but the older kits didn't need this modification, as they were also correct height.

Early Phase of Weathering

Roof weathering started with Apple Barrel "Pavement" wash.

I started my weathering process on this new model with some dirt and dust on the trucks and underbody.  

First pass on the flat panels of the roof and running boards.

Then I moved onto the roof with a wash of Apple Barrel "Pavement" wash with brush manipulation.  I put a few dark gauge wheel-streaks up the end plates.  I kept the weathering off of the car sides for now, so that I can deal with an oddity in IMRC's lettering of the car.

Oddity of Stock Tare Date

I've seen for years the PRR used a "P-code" for their weighing station shop code.  Thankfully Richard Hendrickson, Bob Johnson, Art O'Toole, Frank Peacock and Jerry Stewart put together a spreadsheet that documents tens-of-thousands of photographs with tare codes and decoded them for dozens of common carriers across North America. 

Close-up view of IMRC's 2023 X29 details of the lettering.

The IMRC 2023 sample X29 I have shows the tare stencil as "P7-1-21-51" - which is complete jibrish according to the standard code format that has been used on multiple manufactures and Ted Culotta's Speedwitch decals.

Tare codes do not use "day-week-year" format, instead they used "station month-year format."  The more likely stencil for the IMRC model should be "P-712 1-51", which would be P712 PRR at New Shop at Terre Haute, IN researched by Schoenberg.

"P441 10-53" Tare stencil on PRR early X29 patched sides - Pintrest webphoto

I'll be patching over the tare stencil with an appropriate FCR paint color and pull out one of my Speedwitch decal sets to put together a new tare stencil.  One of the favorite tare stations to use by module manufactures is P57, East Altoona, PA.  However some of the research photos on-line that I found show "P441" in 10-53.  Another tare station I might use on one of these cars is "P456" PRR 55th St. Yard WB IL, Chicago, or some of the other larger yards around the east coast.

I wonder if PRR cars would have been grabbed out of LA or the San Joaquin Valley for loading at Bartlett at the Southern Columbia Chemical Co., which was owned by Pittsburg Plate Glass Co., to ship bagged soda ash east to PPG manufacturing plants.

The small tack-boards for routing cards is just to the left of the door along the bottom sill.  The IMRC detail part is glued on a little bit oddly, so I'll probably cut it off, sand/file the back of the tack-board, and maybe cut into the detail on the carside just slightly to ensure that it has a level place to be glued in place.  I really don't want to have it catch and get pulled off the model with the way it is attached now.  After weathering and finishing, I'm sure I'll be putting a couple OwlMtModels 1220 Routing Card decals on my X29s!

In Closing

Basic weathered model, ready for service.

This will do it for now on this car, I'll be doing more on all three models finishing up the details and getting into the weathering in Modeling X29 (Part 4).

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling X29 (Part 2) - PRR 100305 - Ex-Battery Car

NYC "Standard" Steel Boxcars by BLI (Part 1) - Another Signature Freight Car - Competing design from the NYC for the "Standard" boxcar.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Modeling X29 (Part 2) - PRR 100305 - Ex-Battery Car

This X29 started as a Red Caboose "Gray Battery Car" in MW Gray for PRR.  I started on it probably around 2004.

I started this Red Caboose X29 kit by repainted from a Gray Battery Car MW version.

This was to be the first of three X29s that I was going to build from the Battery MW kits.  I got started on this one and painted it a rough guess at PRR FCR probably around 2005. 

I started this Red Caboose X29 kit by repainted from a Gray Battery Car MW version.

The decals are some that I picked up years ago from Speedwitch,  I'll be using the rest of the decals to do the next Battery Cars when they come to the top of the construction que.

PRR 100305 with over-weathering of the lettering.

The original version of this car as I did it, I really over-weathered the decals on the car, circa 2008, so around 2020 I de-weathered the lettering with a fiberglass brush from P-B-L.  I was able to keep from damaging the decals for the most part.  I expect to put a finishing dullcote layer over the car when I'm done with the details.  Then I can do any chalk marks, etc that I need to do.

Deweathered lettering on X29 repaint with fiber-brush.

Gluing the roof on also resulted in some glossy glue squeeze out, so the future dullcote should help that issue too.

Finishing Up The Details

In April 2024, I weighted the car by added two sections of 2"x 1"x 1/16" lead sheet, one at each end, bonded in with RTV silicone rubber.  This allows the door to be open and not show the weights, unless the car is being viewed from 1/3 or more towards the ends.

PRR 100305 X29, with the door open.

Now that the weights are in, I can proceed with the rest of the detail part installation: grab irons, stirrups, roof corner grabs, brake rods, etc.  The brakewheel popped off and has been in the box for several years, I plan to drill a 0.015" hole in it and into the hand brake gear box.  This hole will mount the wheel with a brass wire.  I plan to do this on any of my freight cars which start shedding their brakewheels.

Repainting the Door... Again

I've repainted the 'replacement' door on the car with some Barn Red paint from Apple Barrel better matched PRR FCR to match the unassembled PRR 100813 kit that I bought in the last couple years.  While not perfectly matched, it's the freshest paint on the 100305, so "close enough" applies.

In Closing

PRR 100305 & 100813 - filthy & clean X29s.

For now that will cover what's happened with this model.  The PRR 100813 kit is coming along too, so I'll be covering it's assembly in the next part of this series.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Modeling X29 (Part 1) - PRR 100813 Basic Construction

NYC "Standard" Steel Boxcars by BLI (Part 1) - Another Signature Freight Car - Competing design from the NYC for the "Standard" boxcar.

Monday, April 22, 2024

NYC "Standard" Steel Boxcars by BLI (Part 1) - Another Signature Freight Car

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts about the SP's boxcar fleet (
SP Boxcar Recap for Modeling in 1950-1955 Era), much of my modeling for many years left some fairly large holes in my prototypical balanced fleet.  I started to remedy the short comings of any representation of some of the signature cars from the two largest railroads in the country, the PRR and NYC.  While I'd pretty well started modeling PRR with the offerings from Bowser (X31/32) and Branchline's (X43/44), I still didn't have any of the classic early all-steel cars that both railroads ordered in the thousands during the mid to late 1920s, which lasted into the well into the 1960s in numbers.

BLI Models

Broadway Limited's NYC "Standard" boxcar, in this case one of the later 1920s built examples.

Around the 2015, I did pick up a couple of these NYC 'standard' steel boxcars when BLI came out with their models.  These are a good starting point to expand my NYC fleet.  As shown in the 1950 ORER, the NYC still rostered almost 15,500 cars of this early "Standardized" steel boxcar design, or equal cars with 2955 cubic foot volume, which indicates identical design.

BLI NYC Lot 489-B 1924-built "Standard" boxcar (left) and Red Caboose PRR "late" X29 1934-built (right).

In short, these cars were the NYC version of the Pennsy's X29 "Standard" boxcar (Part 1).

Early Series Cars

Earlier Lot 489-B 1924 series with ACR (Alternate Center Rivet) pattern at the side panel joints and steel 7-8 ends.

Note: All of the cars in the full series from 102500-123499 have exactly the same dimensions in the ORER.  This doesn't cover exactly what construction details for the sub-groups of cars within the group as a whole have.  I'm arbitrarily breaking the roster at 120000, I'm not sure this is where the physical changes in the cars occurred.  Any NYC experts are free to weigh in and I'll edit this post.  

NYC's 2955 Cu Ft Boxcar Series in 1950
NYC 102500-104499 - Lot 437-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1922 BLI 1750, 1751, 1754 "Early"
NYC 104500-104999 - Note +
NYC 105000-105999 - Lot 438-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1922 BLI 1750, 1751, 1754, 1758 "Early"
NYC 106000-106999 - Lot 439-B SSC - HAMMOND - 1922, Note ++
3766 cars remain in 1950 ORER from Lots 437, 438, 439 - plus the 104500-104999 group.

NYC 107000-108999 - Lot 489-B ACF -BUFFALO - 1924 (Ex-NYC 98000-99999)
NYC 109000-109999 - Lot 490-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1924
NYC 111000-111999** - Lot 491-B ACF -ST. LOUIS - 1924 *BLI models
4323 cars remain in 1950 ORER from Lots 489, 490, 491

NYC 113000-113999 - Lot 500-B SSC - HAMMOND - 1925
NYC 114000-114999 - Lot 501-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1925
NYC 115000-115999 - Lot 502-B PRESSED STEEL - McKEES ROCKS - 1925
2379 cars remain in 1950 ORER from Lots 500,501,502

NYC 117000-117999 - Lot 627-B NYC - EAST BUFFALO - 1933 - 929 cars, Note +++
NYC 118500-119999 - Lot 530-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1926 - 1437 cars - 
Totaling                       12834 cars in 1950 ORER

It seems that in the earlier series, most of the cars were still in service.  Some of the earliest groups were missing up to ~500 cars out of 3500 car series.

+ I'm not sure the details of the 104500-10499 group of cars, as they are shown in the ORER as mechanically identical size cars (2955 cu ft), but they are not shown on the website spreadsheet.

++ Renumbered from NYC 182k series by 1953, only 21 cars in old series in 1950 ORER.

+++ Lot 627-B conversions from Lots 440-B, 464-B, & 465-B in 1933.

Later Series Cars

The Lot 559-B-series cars have single rivet lines with Dreadnaught Ends.

NYC's 2955 Cu Ft Boxcar Series in 1950
NYC 120100-120499 - Lot 532-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1926 - 380 cars 

NYC 120100-120499 - Lot 503-B MDT - EAST ROCHESTER - 1925 - Dup #-series to Lot 532 ***
NYC 120500-120898 - Lot 504-B MDT - EAST ROCHESTER - 1926 - 385 cars 
NYC 121000-121999 - Lot 559-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1927 - 946+ cars * BLI models
NYC 122500-123499 - Lot 563-B MDT - EAST ROCHESTER - 1927 - 952+ cars * BLI models
Totaling                       2663 cars in 1950 ORER

* Lot 559-B Ex-CCC&STL 49000-49999 series:1927-1953, looks like the transfers started around 1936.
* Lot 563-B Ex-NYC 94500-95499 series: 1927-1955, looks like the transfers started around 1936, but wasn't complete until 1955.

*** Not sure what's up with these two entries on CanadaSouthern,com's web spreadsheet, but it seems there's an error in here.  Maybe this partly explains the missing data for 117000-series car lot.

I may consider renumbering one of these later series models from BLI to the previous number series.  Each of the sub-100k NYC roster groups of these cars was between 30 and 90 cars in 1950 ORER, so they were by far the minority.

Other Subsidaries of NYC

Lot 491-B
P&E 3829 model from BLI

P&E 3700-4116 - ACF -ST. LOUIS - 1924 - Transferred from MCRR in Dec 1940-1972.

However, there is also a conflicting entry for the same group of MCRR cars:

MCRR 81000-81999 transferred to NYC 111000-111999 starting in 1936-1966.

The 1950 ORER of course shows that the NYC 107000-111999 series has 4323 cars it in as of June 1950.  While the whole number series could have up to 5000 cars, the ORER does not sub-divide this group of cars any more sadly.

The's roster table notes are unclear on exactly what happened with this series of cars.  The notes show that BLI's 1754 model (shown above) is correct for P&E 3829, in this series, which has a tare date for September 1952, so as I model near that time, hopefully this model is fairly accurate.

Lot 492-B
B&A 50000-50999 to NYC 38000-38999 transfer started in 1952 and seems to finish in 1962, unless this was a typo. - BLI 1761 model.

Lot 531-B 
P&E 3500-3599 ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1926

Lot 560-B ACF - ST. LOUIS - 1927
P&E 3600-3649
"BLI #1752, 1753, 1759, 1760 ( CORRECT BODY - BUT MODELS ARE LETTERED NYC )" from's spreadsheet notes

In Closing

NYC 111869 ready for service at Owenyo with a few chalk marks on it.

Unfortunately, these models from BLI have become quite hard to find on the HO market of late, while N-scale models seem quite common.  These cars are still available in resin from Westerfield's 2950, 2951 kits.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

NYC Roster List - Canada Southern (dot) com - Link to roster data I used in this post.

Modeling X29 (Part 1) - PRR 100813 Basic Construction - Link to the PRR's competing design, the X29.

Modeling X29 (Part 2) - PRR 100305 - Ex-Battery Car - Redecalling PRR MW car back to general service circle keystone scheme.

Modeling X29 (Part 3) - PRR 504385 Early X29s - Checking out the IMRC's "early" X29 with vertical staff hand brake and plate-steel ends.