Re: x43b roof color

Ed Hawkins

On Mar 9, 2017, at 12:08 AM, ejshoben@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

As delivered, did these PRR box cars have a red, or black roof?  The branchline kit contains a black running board and a roof that is black in the center and red around the edges.  I'd be grateful for help in getting the original roof (and running board) color correct.  Many thanks, Ed Shoben

The quick answer to your question is “freight car color” for the roof of PRR X43B box cars. This is the as-built color per the information that follows. 

A longer answer to your question goes back to events experienced by Branchline Trains in the early 2000s and the reason behind the X43B model roof color you describe. The model came with a black roof based on the information BT had at the time when the model was produced in 2002. Bill Schneider added red to the roof depicting overspray that often occurred to prototype box cars when painting the rest of the body. 

The 6,000 PRR 40’-6” AAR-design box cars in Class X43 & subclasses were purchased in 5 groups from Greenville Steel Car Co. (X43), American Car & Foundry Co. (X43A), and Pressed Steel Car Co. (X43B - 2 groups, X43C). The PSC cars were built at the Mount Vernon plant (formerly Mount Vernon Car Mfg. Co.).

Prior to BT’s production of the PRR 40’ box car models, paint specs had been located from bills of materials for X43 (Greenville) and X43A (ACF) box cars. Both documents specified the roofs to be coated with black car cement. 

Documentation or definitive roof-view photos of X43B and X43C box cars in original paint could not be located when decision time came for the X43B model production. Thus, BT used the X43 and X43A documentation and a “logical assumption" that all cars in the X43 class would have been painted the same since they were built over a short time period. Much later, that assumption was found to be erroneous.

During a Naperville RPM (probably 2010) I discussed the topic with Larry Kline, who followed up by searching the PRRT&HS Archives where he found a copy of the paint specs applicable to these cars. Larry sent the one-page document to me in Jan. 2011. The document is titled: Painting of PRR X43B and X43C boxcars, PRRT&HS Archives collection - From: Pressed Steel Car Co Specification 10937, May 22, 1950. 

PSC specification 10937 was applicable to X43B box cars 600000-601999 and was the first of the three orders built by PSC (the other two being specs 11006 and 11075). The document specifies, “Roof outside including metal running boards to be given two (2) coats of Standard Freight Car Paint." The spec also denotes, “Body outside including side sheets, end sheets and doors will be given two coats of Standard Freight Car Paint Red or Brown color.” The underframe received one coat of Metal preservative with laps & joints a heavy coat of Red Lead Compound. Air brakes and attachments, as well as trucks received one coat Carbon Black Paint.

I know - it’s a long answer to a simple question, but it provides some history of events that occurred over many years.
Ed Hawkins

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