Re: PFE (WP) Hutchins Roof Photo Needed

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


Tony Thompson, others and I batted around the question of WP R-30-12 clones several years ago on the old group (or maybe it was the old old USNET group). I don't believe we came to any definite conclusions.

The builder's photo of the first car, lettered Western Refrigerator Line 7001 (later PFE 50001) clearly shows features of the PFE R-30-13s. This can be seen on page 105 of the Thompson/Church/Jones PFE book (original edition). In the text it says some car cards were marked as R-30-12s. It would be extremely odd if some of those older underframes were mixed into the production cycle, and this might just be a clerical error. No photographic evidence has yet surfaced for a WP PFE car with an R-30-12 underframe. Given the paucity of data, I recommend you do your WP car with the R-30-13 underframe, and make your PFE-owned car an R-30-12.

This is what I did I when I was building my collection of Red Caboose models, which as offered were all variations of the R-30-12s, I wanted my two WP cars to be as close to correct as my minimal modeling skills allowed. Fortunately, in one of his RMJ articles Richard Hendrickson showed how to do a conversion using parts from the Tichy R-40-4 kit. While this underframe is a bit beefier, it is still visually close. I did one car for revenue service and one as a silver ice service car. I also kitbashed a couple of others as typical PFE R-30-13s.

The whole question of a Hutchins roof is a bigger problem. I have never seen an overhead view of a WP PFE reefer. There must be at least one out there someplace. Your best bet might be to contact the Portola Railroad Museum. They have 52138, what may be the only one of these to still survive, rescued and donated by John Ryczkowski. At last report the car is still waiting restoration, but they might be able to provide a photo of the roof (I'm sure John shot from every angle!). This car was last rebuilt in 1943 before being sold off as a farm shed, and may still have a Hutchins roof. You can see a low-level photo on page 44 of Jim Eager's WESTERN PACIFIC COLOR GUIDE TO FREIGHT AND PASSENGER EQUIPMENT.

Best of luck with your models, and thank you for including my second-favorite railroad in your fleet (the SN comes first).

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff 

On 9/7/18 12:23 PM, Bob Chaparro wrote:

Alfred Fickensher posted the request below on my Railroad Citrus Industry Modeling Group. I have several WP reefer photos but none showing car roofs. Can anyone help Alfred? Thanks.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Folks, I’m hoping someone might have a roof-view photo of one of the WP PFE R-30s that gives a good view of the Hutchins roof. Apparently there were different Hutchins roofs over the years between the wars, so a picture for example of an XY&Z RY box car with a Hutchins roof won’t be trustworthy enough for my purposes. This has to be identifiable as a PFE reefer and of course has to show at least one and a half segments of the Hutchins roof for me to be able to model it.

I’m scratchbuilding two 1:48 PFE reefers, one R-30-12 with Bettendorf underframe and one R-30-13 with the PFE “company” u/f. My intentions are to paint one as a WP car and at this point in the project it’s not yet decided whether the WP will be the -12 or the -13, both were on the roster although only a small percentage of the WPs were the Bettendorfs.

The Hutchins roof however apparently was on 2000 of the 2750 WP cars so its surprising to me that no photos have shown up for me so far.

Hopefully. . .

Thanks for looking,

Alfred Fickensher

Bettendorf, Iowa

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