Freight car eras - perplexed newbie!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Spongemike, May 24, 2006.

  1. Spongemike

    Spongemike New Member

    Kia Ora

    As a returnee/newbie to model RR, I find myself wondering which eras are applicable to whichypes of freight cars. Is there a website or something that has this type of useful information? I don't want to be overly retentive, but I guess I'd like to know so I can make an edumacated choice :)

    It'd be helpful if perhaps manufacturers put this type of info on the boxes! I know most of you will know this stuff, so bear with me whilst I get my head around it all!

    I'm kind of (very loosely) doing a diesel era (somewhere from 60's onwards) layout, with no real spedific timeframe or locality in mind, hence one might see all sorts of incongruities!

    This seems like a pretty cool site BTW, lots of help and inspiration here!

    Cheers from NZ

  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Mike,

    One thing that might help is to check the May 2006 issue of Model Railroader magazine. It has a nice article about various steel box cars and their eras.

  3. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Freight Car Eras

    Sponge Mike,
    If you want to model the '60s era, you might look for rolling stock that you might remember having seen during that period. Also, it was about that time that roof walks began to disappear from most box cars, but you could still find a few left on. Further, most earlier 40s and 50s cars were still using Bettendorf trucks while the more up to date cars were riding on roller bearing trucks. To become even more convincing, you might try to weather the 40s and 50s cars so that they appear to look 'older' than the 60s rolling stock. Nice thing about the 60s modelling is that you could still find a crummy riding behind!

  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    In Oct. '68 the ICC ordered that no new freight cars may be built with roof walks and that by Oct. '72, all interchange (cars that went from one road to the next 'til they reached their destination) cars had to have their roofwalks removed. Maintenance cars and non-interchange cars could still have them. Made for some interesting modeling back in those daze as we'd have to fill the holes with bits of sprue then carve 'em to shape. Made for some pretty interesting trains as it wasn't at all unusual to have an old B&O wagontop boxcar mixed in with a 96' Hi-cube or a tri-level auto-rack.
  5. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    ninety-six foot HI-cube!!! :eek: :jawdrop: Did they make them that big? :eek:
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    1960 tri level auto racks introduced by TT, 1963 L&N started using high cube box cars, 1968 the ACI label's were started.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Mike,Freight cars eras can intermingle.Ice Bunker reefers was used into the late 60s.
    The Wellsville, Addison, & Galeton (WAG) operated wooden boxcars into the 70s.
    Notice the WAG boxcar on the track next to the 6813.Notice the roof walk has been removed.

    Best bet study prototype photos and videos of the era you wish to model.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Ahhh, yes...who can fergit those colorful bar codes....and it wasn't long before they had to run lengths of corrugated steel down the sides of those auto-racks to protect from vandals... :thumb:

    Miles, I have plans and pictures of a 75' three truck wood sheathed reefer from the late 1800s:thumb:
  9. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    sign1 Miles...I think he meant a high cube car that was 96 ft. long.

    Texas chief
  10. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I read what I see, and I see what I read. I want pics of that car. Seems like it would be top-heavy and off balace unless the top 90' was styrafoam.:D :D :D

  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    And don't forget you can check the built date on the side of a car to see if it's too new.
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    If you can find a copy, Model Railroader books, "The Model Railroader's Guide to Freight Cars" has a lot of good information about all kinds of freight cars, including what changes, when, and why the change. Kalmbach books ISBN 0-89024-585-1, about $20.00
  13. Mike Hamer

    Mike Hamer New Member

    Mike, the fellas have provided lots of good resources for you. I recall older issues of Model Railroading magazine (not Model Railroader) where they used to run a series of articles each issue called "Freight cars of the..." fifties, sixties, seventies and so on. While you are getting back into the hobby, you may have to ask at your local hobby shop and maybe someone would have these magazines.

    Another strategy would be to study any of the regular magazines and look at other model railroads on the internet. Everyone tells the time period they are modelling...why not study the images to see what type of freight cars they run on their layouts for their time era! :D

    At any rate, best of luck in your model railroading endeavours! :)

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