Re: SP Overnight scheme

Richard Hendrickson

Both Intermountain and Red Caboose offer their 1937 AAR box car in the
SP's Overnight scheme. As I understand it, this scheme was ONLY applied
to cars built with Improved Dreadnaught Ends (but were 10 ft high inside),
but I want to make sure before I criticize this version. (If I remember
Tony's article in RMC, these were the SP's first box cars with this end.)

- John Nehrich
That's correct, John. The original black overnight paint scheme was
applied to B-50-24 class cars in the 97620-98069 series, built in mid-1946,
which were 10'0"IH AAR-design cars with improved Dreadnaught ends,
alternate-center rivet courses on the side sheathing, early postwar
Youngstown corrugated doors with wide seam panels, and steel grid running
boards. So not only the ends but the sides, doors, and running boards of
the IM and RC models are wrong. It's highly unlikely that an accurate
model of these cars will ever be offered in styrene (though resin is
certainly a possibility) which is, of course, bad news for the SP guys who
would like to model a whole string of them. Since the overnight freight
service trains ran at night, however, I suppose you could made up a train
of IM or RC cars and turn out all the lights in the layout room so the
inaccuracies would be invisible. For that matter, with the lights out you
could run any old train made up of antique Athearn/Tyco/MDC junk that would
make appropriate noises and just tell visitors that what they were hearing
was the LA-SF Overnight. I understand that's what T. Thomspon intends to
do if he ever gets what's left of his Coast Line layout reincarnated in his
attic in Berkeley. FWIW, the overnight cars weren't supposed to go
off-line, so they'd be out of place on any layout that didn't model the SP
Coast Line (though there is a well known M. D. McCarter photo of a nearly
new one at Peru, IN, so obviously there were occasional exceptions).

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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