I haven't "forgotten" anything. I don't model yards before 1950 -- Why should
I care what they look like? From 1950 to 1960 railroads and private owners bought
about 700,000 new freight cars and probably repainted a similar number of cars.
If there were ever an era on American railroads where you could find a lot of
very clean freight cars, it was the 1955 to 1965 era, which happens to be my
main era of interest.
I'm not advocating lots of shiny cars. I'm just saying they were not an unusual
sight at the end of the steam era. I'm looking at my favorite shot of SP's Bullring
yard now -- dozens of fairly new (less than 5 yrs old) freight cars -- and there
on one of the tracks, a spanking shiny new SP box car.
Tim, you forget how dirty freight cars often were in the steam era. Look at photos from before 1950 to refresh your memory. And I have possession of photos taken in those days within a month or two of the manufacture of a particular freight car, and there is a definite haze of dirt and dust already. I would say any transition era layout had better NOT have more than one SHINY NEW car.