Mixing of Freight Cars

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Greg Elems, May 21, 2004.

  1. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Currently UP is in need of any and all freight cars it can get a hold of. We have had a resurgence of old covered hoppers show up in Sparks that are going east on a pair of locals. They are a varied fleet of cars, made in the early to mid 60’s. They are 3-bay covered hoppers but a real jewel came in twice now, a CGW hopper with the Lucky Strike herald. A small group of 1963 hoppers have started showing up, quiet interesting when sitting next to a 2003 built 4-bay hopper carrying plastic. The new car holds almost as much as the two of these older cars. A dredging up of inter-modal cars has brought some 1969 built flat cars for piggy back and some TTX flats converted in the early 70’s for containers. If anyone is out getting pictures, start shoot these cars, for I feel it will be their last hurrah and when the new cars show up to replace them or traffic levels lower they will be gone forever. If you are a modeler of current railroads, this sure opens up the variety of cars usable on the layout.

    Greg Elems
  2. chipmonk

    chipmonk Member

    hey greg,
    thanks for the heads up. i am one such modern modeler and this is good news! seeing as i already have a few late 60s early 70s cars that i was afraid i couldnt use. anyway i got quick question for you as you seem to know alot on the subject whats the average built date on most rolling stock used on todays railroads, i have quite a few mid 70s built cars, but i recently bought a couple of tankers built in 92 is there a decade i should try to stay in for most of my cars? i am fairly new to modern modeling so any other advice you could give me would be great.

    Thanks again for the info :wave:
  3. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Hi Chris,
    You are welcome. If you get a chance to do much train watching, look at the cars and find the ones that look old. On the side and to the right, generally above the truck area at eye level will be a black box. In that black box with be some information. The useful information will be the built date. Usually listed, blt 07-78 as an example. Some time in the late 90's cars quit having the new date listed by the capacity.
    Anyway, my observations in the Reno area have netted these generalities. Gondolas tend to be common with dates as early as 1963. Flat cars seem to be late 60's or early 70's. Most box cars are in the early 70's and on. A few mid 60's cars have been running but they are few in number and usually privately owned. Some short line box cars are from the 60's. I do see them on a regular basis but it would be one or two a week. Once in a great while I see a tank car with full length running boards and a late 60's build date. Early tank cars of the end sill and bolster design are not all that common. Over the last four years, the only old covered hoppers I'd see tended to be a few CNW cars hauling sand. These were 3 bay PS-2 cars built in 1966 or so IIRC. A few more of the larger center flow 3 bay grain hoppers have been running regularly from the late 60's. The ACF center flow cars are still fairly plentiful, with the high brake wheel on the end. The auto box cars, 85' variety, have been running here regularly with 1965 and on build dates. The PFE reefers tend to be 1971 and on, with a few 1969 cars showing up now. I've also been trying to keep an eye on the older 50' high-cube box cars and found 1974 being the oldest I've seen recently.

    Those are the dates and cars I can think of off hand. I hope it helps. As for numbers or % of cars, the type will dictate that. Off hand, gondolas tend to have the widest spread, with hoppers, then flat cars then box cars and tanks last.

    If you are into maintenance of way equipment, then cars of the late 50's and on roller bearing trucks are still used.

  4. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    This is one of the 1963 hoppers, coupled to one of UP's Dash 8 GE's.


    Attached Files:

  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

  6. chipmonk

    chipmonk Member

    greg, thanks for the detailed info on rolling stock this will be very helpful in building my fleet.

    jon, those are some great pics, they should come in handy since im planing to model that area.

    thanks again guys :wave:

    oh, i came across this site click here. it has tons of pics of locos, and rolling stock all very well organized by road, and type. could be of some use.


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