car build dates

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by railroader9731, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. ok here something to think about freight car build dates. what types were built during a certain time periods like ps2 hoppers coal gondolas thing like that. the reason i ask is im looking for cars built in 30s 40s 50s era. thanks guys
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Unfortunately, there are only a couple of manufacturers that indicate the era when a particular model of a prototype first appeared. Red Caboose and Intermountain are two that I can think of.
    As a general guideline for your selected era, for boxcars: with a couple of exceptions, no boxcars over 40'. 36'ers are also okay, wood or steel for either length, single door, doubledoor, door-and-a-half. Plugdoor cars started to make an appearance in the '50s, but weren't that common. The Athearn 40' sliding door car, Accurail wood single or doublesheathed cars are both good examples. For 50' cars, doubledoor automobile boxcars were fairly common, in both steel and singlesheathed wood (the Athearn double sliding door car with riveted sides is a good example of the former, while the Walthers car is a good example of the latter). No outside post cars, like the Railbox-style car.
    For hoppers, composite (wood and steel) or all steel construction in 34' and 40' lengths, outside braced or offset side. Any of Athearn's in these lengths are good examples.
    Gondolas: 40', 50', 52', or 60', in composite or steel construction. In general, riveted construction, although Concors 50'er is a good example of an early welded car. Examples of suitable riveted cars include Athearn's 50'er, Proto2000's 52'er, and Tyco's and MDC's 40'ers. Suitable composite cars would be the Tichy 52' war emergency car or the Intermountain 40' drop bottom gondola.
    Tank cars: generally 40' or less, with frames and walkways around the car. Flat or slightly convex ends, but not overtly convex. The 40' Athearn cars are suitable, as are the Proto2000 cars. Single, double, or triple domes, but generally, not domeless.
    Flatcars: 30'(MDC/Roundhouse), 40', 50'(Athearn), or 52' cars(Proto2000 and Walthers), riveted or welded construction.
    Refrigerator cars: 36' (Tyco, LifeLike, Atlas), 40' (Athearn, Walthers, Intermountain) and 50' (Athearn, Walthers, and MDC - These are generally express reefers of doublesheathed wood construction and usually used in passenger trains.) While mechanical reefers became more common in the late '50s, they were far outnumbered by ice cooled cars.
    While these are only generalizations, and there are many other suitable cars available, this should help you get started. You could also check the "Built Date" on the sides of the car, as most manufacturers are becoming more accurate in their lettering schemes.
    An excellent source of information on freight cars, complete with prototype histories, is available in a Railroad Model Craftsman series entitled Essential Freight Cars, by Ted Culotta. This has been running now for at least a couple of years.

  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Now thats and explanation jawdrop

    It looks like you really know that time period well.

    Good Job Wayne :thumb: :thumb:
  4. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse Member

    It appears the new atlas cars have prototype information, at least in their catalog. I saw it on I believe
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Also (very, very) generally, anything described as "War Emergency" would be suitable for the 40s and 50s (the "war" in this case is WW2). And anything described as "USRA" would be suitable for the 1920s and 30s, as the USRA designs originate roughly during WW1.

    If you want to be more faithful to your prototype(s) you can search for roster(s) that will list the type of locos and rolling stock your road had.

  6. i guess they are right ( becarefull what you ask for ) i thank you for the information as i look in hobby shops and ebay looking to keep things proto.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Here's a link to show you some examples of some of the cars which I mentioned.
    Some of the cars have been modified, and many of the lettering schemes are not available (unless you do-them-yourself). Still, you'll get an idea of some general car styles and the manufacturer is noted (the Train Miniature cars are now available as Walthers cars). Most of the cars shown represent the late '30s, with a couple of road names prototypically accurate for the early '40s, even though the cars predate that period. Any of these cars would have been in service into the '50s.
    I hope this is of some additional assistance.

  8. gee doc your car building looks real nice. as for me ill be in the same era only in n scale, if you want to see what im doing with that era look at my site under nyo&w and if you would let me know what area of manufactures im looking for thanks.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Sorry rr9731, I should've realized that the N scale Old Woman was the layout for which you were seeking freight car info. As for manufacturers, other than Atlas and Concor, I don't have a clue. I do like your taste in steam locos, though.:thumb:

  10. thats cool it my first walk on the steam side so i was looking for in that you have help with. right now im getting info for the business in the city area to get cars for.

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