Re: Throwback Thursday: Athearn Rolling Stock Ad, Model Railroader, February 1959

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


Thanks for digging this list out. If it is being edited in any way, let me note the ends of the 40' steel reefer don't match the photos in Tony's PFE book. The Athearn car has 4/3 ends. The R-40-23 had 3/3 ends.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 4/12/19 12:58 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:

Twenty years ago on the Freightcars mailing list we compiled a list (based on what
was known at the time) of likely prototypes for Athearn freight cars

I marked with a "*" those cars for which far better/more accurate
models are (or soon will be) available (unless you really WANT to
model a Rock Island wide vision caboose on a recycled underframe!)


 model            prototype

 Rotary Snowplow        Lima-Hamilton 1948 -- possibly SOO/UP/CRI&P   !!
 200 ton crane          Bucyrus-Erie?                                 !!

 bay window caboose     SP C-40-4, built by PC&F 1961                 !!
*cupola caboose        ATSF 1750-2200, needs toolboxes both sides    !!
*wide vision caboose    Rock Island, unique short wheelbase rebuilds  !!

 40' stockcar           UP S-40-12, with reversed roof panels         !!
*40' steel boxcar       1942 AAR 10'6" Soo/IC/DSS&A                   !!
*50' dbl dr steel box   ATSF Fe-24 if you don't count the S-corners   !!
                        Coincidentally similar to CNW/GTW/MKT/IC cars !!
 40' grain loading box    UP BF-50-3 rebuilds if you don't count ends   !!
 40' hicube ribbed      PC&F SP/SSW B-70-36                           !!
 40' hicube smooth    UP BF-50-4?                                   !!
 50' Railbox            XAF10 but it has the wrong roof               !!
 86' hicube 4-door      Greenville                                    !!
 86' hicube 8-door      Thrall                                        !!
*40' DS boxcar          based on 1938 GN cars but too tall            !!

 40' offset hopper      1928 ARA B&O/MP/MILW/B&M/C&O/ERIE/NH          !!
 34' composite hopper    1943 War Emergency                            !!
 34' offset hopper    1940's AAR many many owners, Atlas makes      !!
                        a similar model but it has different ends     !!

*40' steel reefer       PFE R-40-23 also built for NP                 !!
 40' wood reefer        PFE R-40-24 but it's a stretch                !!
 50' mech reefer        PFE R-50-6/R-70-8/10 except for ends/roofs    !!
 50' ribbed reefer      PFE R-70-12                                   !!
 57' mech reefer        PFE R-70-20                                   !!

 3-bay covered hopper   PS2 4740 1968-1972?                           !!
 4-bay covered hopper   ACF 5250 late production version up to 1971   !!

 40' single dome tank   GAT/SP O-50-13 ignoring dome/rivet errors     !!
 62' tankcar            ACF possibly based on GN fuel car in 66 CYC   !!

 20' smooth container   ?
 20' ribbed container   ?
 40' ribbed container   ?
 40' TOFC trailer    Fruehauf possibly based on PFE/FGE trailers   !!
 45' TOFC trailer    Fruehauf Z-Van                                !!
 48' container          Monon design                                  !!

 40' flatcar        Rutland by coincidence                        !!
 85' piggyback flat     Pullman 1960-1961                             !!
 85' all purpose flat   4 feet shorter than the prototype             !!
 heavy duty flatcar     Commonwealth cast steel; model is oversize    !!
 40' pulpwood flatcar   based on a rather obscure MP prototype        !!

 Husky Stack            Gunderson
 5-unit well cars       Gunderson Maxi-III

 gondola canisters      similar to D&H cement cannisters              !!

Athearn cars with no clear prototypes or at least embroiled in debate

*50' flatcar            many 13-pockets cars existed but none that    !!
                        match it -- can cut down to 12-pockets and    !!
                        model MILW road 46' cars                      !!

 25' TOFC trailers      who knows

 34' ribside hopper     rumored perhaps to be similar to N&W cars?    !!

*50' sgl dr steel box   based on 1942 ARA drawings but no prototypes? !!
                        Irv probably took photos of B-50-22, but then !!
                        used the wrong drawings to model it. :^)      !!

*50' plug dr boxcar     based on 1960's ACF but with 1942 ends. Much  !!
                        better model was produced by Front Range      !!

 50' plug dr ribbed box maybe North American leasing cars? Then again !!
                        possibly just a mish-mosh of designs          !!

 50' DD Railbox         by a stretch one can imagine this is based on !!
                        an SP prototype but I think it's coincidental !!

*40' chemical tankcar   frankly, a mess                               !!

 40' 3-dome tankcar     grossly oversize                              !!

*50' gondola            a shortened 1941 Greenville gondola           !!

 gondola containers     similar to N&W gondola containers?            !!

 covered gondola        nicely done roof for a short model            !!

On 4/12/2019 2:24 AM, Bill Keene via Groups.Io wrote:

Wasn't Athearn's stock car based upon a Union Pacific prototype?

Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

On Apr 11, 2019, at 11:13 PM, Garth Groff <sarahsan@...> wrote:


Some but not many. The 40' flatcar (a hold-over from the metal kits, by the way) only has a Rutland Prototype. Their 40' tank car is similar to SP, WP and UP 12K tanks, but has a lot of problems as it was a retool of their foobie 3-dome tank. Their 40' 10'6" IH square-corner boxcar was used only by two or three railroads. Their cupola caboose is ATSF and similar to some CRR cars (different steps), while their bay window is SP. The crane matches up to closely to several prototypes. The hoppers aren't too bad. None of these are perfect, and I'm sure all of you are going to enjoy picking my suggestions apart. In my view, most Athearn cars are useful as fodder for conversions.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 4/11/19 6:50 PM, James Lackner wrote:
And did any of these (in this advertisement), ever match a specific
prototype?  All that I have ever seen is "similar to, but not an exact
match to...."

Jim Lackner

Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts

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