Steam Era Rolling Stock

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Play-Doh, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Not knowing alot about the steam era itself (other than when it ended) I am slightly confused when looking at potential rolling stock. I want to keep the realism, so I dont want any rolling stock that was built well after the steam era. ALot of the rollling stock I have seen for sale does not have a "built" date. Could someone tell me (preferably with pics or links) what NOT to have and what are MUST haves? Oh, and if its any help, im modeling mid-late 1930's.


  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    As far as the "must" or "must not" goes, it will also depend on how faithful you want to be to your chosen prototype road.

    I am modelling a fictional branchline in southern Ontario in the 1920s and 1930s - with a Canadian National flavour. For me, that means a lot of outside braced boxcars, 2 bay hoppers, shorter flat cars, smaller (8,000 gal) tankers, some shorter gondolas, and wooden cabooses. No "war-emergency" composite hoppers (or anything else "war emergency", for that matter). No covered hoppers. The boxcar was supreme for shipping almost everything. Of course, there were specialized boxcars, like one with end doors for autos, or door and a half, ones with small doors high on the end to aid loading lumber, ones with drop floors, ones for shipping grain, etc, etc.

    And everything was either boxcar red, or black. ;)

    Hope that helps.

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You didn't mention what railroad you are modelling. The steam era ended at different times for different railroads. On the Santa Fe, it was mostly diesel by 1953, and I think the last steam engine ran in 1955. On the Norfolk and Western, steam lasted until 1960 or so.
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    For the mid to late 1930s, wooden-sided boxcars with steel ends would probably be the most popular choices--you'd still find some all-wood boxcars with steel frames, and even some all-wood boxcars (with truss rods) on the rails, generally 36 or 40 footers. 36' wooden reefers were still standard...40' metal boxcars were in use by then, too. Gondolas were around, with metal sides, and open-topped hopper cars (no enclosed hoppers yet, grain and other loose items were packed in boxcars with wooden or cardboard walls blocking most of the door.) Roof walks were of course still in general use, and every freight train had a caboose.

    Heavyweight (metal-sided) passenger cars were the rule, but the new streamlined cars were coming into use for high-profile fast passenger trains--the diesel-powered Pioneer Zephyr set the mold, the Super Chief and plenty of others followed with gleaming stainless-steel cars. Some electric interurbans still used wood-sided but metal-framed cars, although some had attempted to modernize by putting metal on top of the wood.

    Tank cars, I think, ran 30-36 feet.
  7. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Thanks for the info folks. Oh, and im doing the UP to answer the abover question.
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    The actual end of steam doesn't matter, since he said a time frame.

    Though it's not really what you asked, gives information on locomotives for this era. The UP's first diesels were articulated streamliners in 1934. Their first independent diesels were E2s in 1937. When it comes to steam, Challengers were introduced in 1936 and FEF Northerns in 1937. Big Boys didn't come until 1941.
  9. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    My layout is sorta unique. I fell in love with the UP while driving through washington this last fall. Im not modeling anything of its day to day opertaion. I just took the road name, steam era, and I am modeling a residential area with a lumbermill at the north end. (Since lumber is their primary export) But the track layout itself is not end to end, more of just a freelance.
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    One thing worth looking into, perhaps, is whether the area you are modeling was actually Union Pacific territory in the 1930s...UP and BNSF are both mega-railroads made up of many smaller railroads gobbled up over time--so while UP may run where you're modeling now, it's good to know if they were running there then, or an earlier railroad.

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