Re: Paint schemes timlines

Tim O'Connor

Rich Orr wrote

The PRR shadow Keystone was first applied to class X48 (PS-1) boxcars in February, 1954.
It began being applied to all freight cars in August 1954. The plain keystone was adopted
in late 1961 and applied to all cars beginning in 1962. Keep in mind that there are 4 different
shadow keystone schemes because of changes in the font used in the reporting marks and numerals.

For the complete list of PRR P/L schemes see



I wonder if it is worthwhile to re-post this old email from the original
Freightcars mailing list from Rick Tipton regarding the information available
on the Keystone Crossings web site. I don't know enough about PRR schemes to
know whether Rick's "nitpicks" were valid or are still valid today. The email
was posted in January 1999.

Tim O'Connor


All of you must have had a great holiday season, as only Terry Stuart picked
up the challenge to critique points of accuracy on the Keystone Crossings
website freight car lettering "page." Thanks to Jerry Britton for being
tolerant of my beefing about fine points of PRR's freight car lettering
practices; I appreciate his continuing work in keeping us all communicating
via Keystone Crossings and PRR-Talk.

As promised, here's my New Year's Eve list of nitpicks on the freight car
scheme portion of the Keystone Crossings website. Again, I apologize for
being a scale rule Richard (pun intended here), but I've been researching this
area pretty hard recently, and Jerry and I both want the posted info to be

It's unfortunate that the Summer 1988 Keystone is out of print, as Brady
McGuire's article illustrates all the below so well:

1. NK3 "PENNSYLVANIA" is not double-underlined on any of the NK3 pictures I've
found. I've just verified this again from PRR freight car photos in a 1916
Car Builder's Cyclopedia. A one-inch bar is placed between the 7"
PENNSYLVANIA and the 7" car number, like


2. NK4. Says the number is underlined, but "PENNSYLVANIA" is not. More
correctly, the 7" reporting marks are bracketed above and below by 1" lines:

3. "Don't Stand Me Still" and the calendar script numbers aren't
contemporaries, and aren't used on the same car.
- DSMS was used only on X29D. In fact, it was used only on 500 of the X29D's
that were rebuilt in August 1955, well into the SK1b period.
- SK1a was used on just a few cars (February to June 1954): 20 X48's, the
first order of 350 H34's, and a few boxcar repaints.
- Don't confuse X29D rebuilds with X29B. X29B's rebuilds (1948) were way too
early to carry SK1a, although some did carry MS1 Merchandise scheme, which is
of course based on the CK scheme.

4. PRR 913467 has reporting marks of NK3, but carries CK herald. Wonder if
this ever happened in real life? No prototype photos like this known to me.

5. PRR 69636 is recognizably SK2b pattern, but the PRR and the 69636 don't
look the same size. They should both be 7" letters.

6. PRR 720452 looks like SK2a (not SK2b) to me, because the reporting marks
are in Roman.

7. PRR 67402 represents PK, but the numbers 67402 look a little small.
According to Brady, these were 10" numerals under a 14" bold Gothic PRR.

8. And from Terry Stuart: PRR 497289 Terry questions the white S in a white
box. In every prototype boxcar picture I've seen with this style stores
marking, the S is yellow in a yellow box, not white. Terry is also correct
that the PRR is not quite the correct lettering style. It should probably be
slightly fatter (it's BOLD Gothic) and placed slightly lower, since this is
just extra markings (and a nonrevenue car number) on a PK paint scheme.

BTW, just to keep the pot boiling, does anybody have a strong opinion of which
phase (s) is represented by Bowser's lettering of the F30A flat car? If so,
what persuades you it belongs to that phase?

Rick Tipton
On the Panhandle in Louisville KY

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