Saturday, February 24, 2024

SP Ready Shop Gondolas (Part 1) - New Decals for SPMW 1162 & SPMW 1902

I had a bit of fun when the sun came out this week touching up the decals on a couple of my old SPMW gondolas.  So this will be a short post on the upgrades on two cars.

New small decals applied to add more information about the car's assignments

The SPMW forces seem that they didn't have any gondolas assigned to Supply Train service on their ledgers, but instead listed them as "Ready Gondola - Shop".  It seems that this still put them under the Stores Department, but not under the "Supply" category, which seemed to be what the Supply Trains pulled their cars from or were the regular pool of cars sent around the system for track and other department's supplies.  Material for the Stores and Shop forces was kept separate.  This may mean that these cars could be seen in Supply Trains, due to the "Ready Gondola" general classification

Past Kitbashing of SPMW 1162

Ex-EPSW 40ft gondolas SP 45752 with sideboards and retired sister SPMW 1162 (ex-45138).

Some fifteen to twenty years ago, I started rebuilding this car and got it as far as painting and decalling the basic reporting marks and data on the side.  I stopped working on this car before I drilled all the grab iron holes and installing them.  The hand brakes on the car end still needs to be fabricated.

Side view of SPMW 1162

The prototype was originally an EPSW 40ft gondola SP 45138, which was retired on January 19, 1937 and according to the 1956 SPMW Roster the car was assigned as a Ready Gondola, billed to the "Shop" department.  By 1956, there were only two of these Ex-EPSW gondolas remaining in SPMW service.  I am not sure if more were in MW service earlier and these were the last two.  I would think that these were the last two survivors of a larger number at one time in the SPMW service, but I don't really have a way to know for sure.

Other side of SPMW 1162

I did some basic weathering, mostly in the form of road grime and some "rust strikes" from the interior of the car's steel sides getting hit by materials dropped on the inside, which started breaking loose the paint from the exterior of the car.  So this is starting to show on the SP medallion.  I still don't have any of the car's measurement stencils applied.  Not surprising as the SPMW didn't bother re-stenciling all the mechanical data of the retired cars.

Underframe Rebuild

During the original kitbash, years ago, I put an Athearn 40ft steel boxcar underframe under this car to get some easy bolsters and coupler boxes on the car.  A sheet of lead was cut to fit under the floor, sandwiched between the body and the Athearn underframe.  The trouble with Athearn's underframe is that the brake cylinder's on the wrong side of the underframe!  This is a long standing tooling error dating back 60+ years.  So I'll probably be taking off all the brake components from the underframe.

SPMW 1162 kitbash with Athearn 40ft boxcar underframe.

Because this car was retired in 1937, just at the very beginning of the use of AB brakes and refitting cars in the revenue fleet with it.  Therefore, I highly doubt that the SPMW 1162 could have had its brakes rebuilt to AB at the time it was retired.  I have the car tare-dated for 1948, which means it may have been fitted with AB brakes, as the car lasted until 1956.  Then again, I've seen K-brakes on SP's F-50-series flatcars into 1955, so MW cars still having K-brakes well into the 1950s is certainly possible.

I'll probably put K-brakes on SPMW 1162 in Part 2 as I finish up the details.

Scratch Built Ends

Scratch built ends from styrene shapes and sheet.

The ends were fabricated from styrene sheet and some small plastic angle from Evergreen Plastics.  The exterior of the ends has a top angle and two vertical angles just outside of the frame and draft-gear.  End sills were also fabricated simply out of angles.  I still need to add the grab/ladders around the ends of the car.

The insides of the ends was braced 

The inside ends of the car had horizontal angle iron bracing.  I researched this end from photos in Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars book, Volume 1 - Gondolas.

Updating Assignment Decals

I'm not 100% sure, but this sounds like a car that was available for use by the Company Shops... So this could mean for car parts, steam parts, diesel parts, etc. 

SPMW 2452 showing examples of the stenciling for the SP Stores Department.

It's similar to the assignment that I covered with SPMW 847 and SPMW 2452 wheel cars, which carried special stenciling for the assignment, including which Stores Department location the car was to be sent back to. 

Left side of Ex-EPSW gondola, retired to become SPMW 1162.

On the SPMW 1162, I decided that I want more of my SPMW fleet to have specific assignments stenciled on the car itself, if it was historically probable that it was done.

New small decals applied to add more information about the car's assignments

On this car I want to add the "Shop Ready", "LA GEN STORES", and "STORES DEPT" stencils appropriated from OMM's new 1214 SPMW F-50-8/9/10/12 decal set and also from Todd Osterburg's new Boxcar/Pullman SPMW sets.  Theoretically, this car would be routed back to LA General Shops when empty, of course I could waybill the car to go anywhere on the system, if needed.

It appears from the SPMW book by Ken Harrison that these ex-EPSW gondolas were kept captive to the El Paso Shops, and probably just worked west on the Arizona Division and east onto the Rio Grande Division.

Updating Decals on SPMW 1902

Left side SPMW 1902

Likewise, I decided to add some assignment decals to the SPMW 1902, which is also a Ready Gondola assigned to Shops, part of the Stores Department.  In this case, I used the Sacramento Shops General Stores stencils.

Right side SPMW 1902

On this model, I went with the larger "SHOP READY" stenciling assembled from the larger lettering. 

Unfortunately for my modeling of this car... a few weeks after I added the decals covered here, I read in the roster CD included in Ken Harrison's SPMW book, that the SPMW 1902 was fitted with a sump pump and tank, which would have been cool to see a photo of... but I guess I could experiment with kitbashing a 'what if' theoretical set of machinery of what that could have looked like. - I'm assuming that it was used to clean out the various drain and catch sumps shown on SP's Val maps around water and fueling at shop facilities.  So if I do make a specialized load for this car, I'll probably cover it in another blog post.

In Closing

I just noticed working on these photos that I'm missing the standard lubrication stencils which would be on all cars, including MW cars, at the right end of the car, near the bolster.  So I'll have to go back and add those for the next part in the series.

I've enjoyed doing a little tinkering on some of these old "cheap" kitbashes again with the new decals.   I feel I want anyone operating the cars to get a natural sense of what the car's doing and why it is there.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Freight Car Overview Index - Overview list of various blogs, including SPMW projects

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