Re: Rapido USRA 40-ton Boxcar

Schleigh Mike

In the note below, Don Valentine seems to invite finer detail on the demise of B&M USRA DS boxcars in the late 1940s.  Having reviewed archival material at Lowell, Mass., one can get a closer look.  The following numbers come from log books with handwritten entries documenting disposition (and new adds) to the Boston & Maine's rolling stock assets (no locos). For each month listed, the numbers given are the reduction reported for the 70000-70499 series, the USRA cars.  In most cases the cars are being scrapped, sometimes off-road, often at Billerica, but many, along the way, being converted to 'service' purposes, sometimes remaining on their trucks and sometimes becoming the definitive "unretired" boxcar sitting on blocks.  In any case, the car ceased to be an interchanging, revenue earning freight car that month.

B&M USRA Boxcar Removals to Their End  1945-1955
195500000111Nomore cars

Now some points for clarity.  500 'replacement' PS-1 cars arrived totally in September and October of 1947 yet serious fallout of the USRA cars did not begin for another six months but then, fallout did seriously happen.  Back-summing from 1955 only 19 cars remained after the end of 1950.  Also, I would caution that there could be disagreement with the numbers reported in the ORER simply because the above numbers reflect near 'real time' in the accounting process and the ORER numbers probably are at least out of phase with the above.  Over a couple of months they should work out.

Also, the monthly records are only as good as the information the particular office (perhaps one employee?) received, so, precise accounting to the last car probably should not be expected.  Illustrating this is the car (BM 70423) that fell out in June of 1955.  This happened when it was noticed that "Boxcar unable to locate and no record of movement for five years.  Evidently destroyed and no report rendered."  No doubt this was discovered because starting in June of 1955 the Boston & Maine began a renumbering program that continued over the next 18 months affecting 1300 of the 71000-72999 notable XM-1 SS boxcars of 1929-1930.  The first block of 500 numbers to be issued?  The very same 70000-70499 used for the nearly gone (but barely gasping) USRA cars.

I hope this helps the interested understand the final days of Boston & Maine's USRA DS boxcars.  Given the timing of the arrival of the B&M Minute Man herald and the rapid demise of their USRA cars, it does seem that the Rapido B&M cars have limited applicability to those faithful to modeling TIME as well as DETAILS.  Perhaps Rapido will do future runs that predate the herald change.

Mike Schleigh in steamy wet Grove City, Penna. 

On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 9:01:47 PM EDT, Donald B. Valentine via Groups.Io <riverman_vt@...> wrote:

     Well Dave, let's look at the bigger picture. The B&M may have had only 25 USRA double sheathed cars by
1950 but that is because the numbers came down rapidly shortly before that. In July 1946, for example, they
still had 476 of them out of the 500 total. Unfortunately you have not given us the month in 1950 that you refer
to that might also tell us something more. But by April 1947 the number had dropped to 447 indicating the loss
of 29 cars in just nine months.

     An even more important point is the Ertl car. Why set it aside??? As has already been noted, it comes with
an AB brake system and also has a roof that is easily removable as well as individually applied grab irons. This
is more than an Accurail car provides (sorry Dennis) and doe not require the assembly time of a Westerfield car,
two of which I have assembled that don't impress be too much (sorry Andrew as well). The other thing the Ertl
USRA boxcar offers that is too often overlooked is a WORKING DOOR!  No, I'm not suggesting at all that we
return to the day of the clunky Athearn cars with the "claws" at the bottom of their doors but to me an HO scale
boxcar that does not have doors that open is hardly worthy of purchasing. And the Ertl car easily has the most
prototypically thin scale door yet seen on an HO boxcar with the possible exception of Tichy cars. If those
manufacturering such models can't get their act together and give us operating boxcar doors they can at least
mold the damn things separately so they can be attached in an open position or even changed for a different
style. To me a door that is molded onto a boxcar is as big a pain in the ads as one with "claws". There is no
need of what we are being offered being without working doors in this day and age. The Ertl car is easily the
best HO Scale double sheathed car we have ever been offered. It is a shame that it is no longer being offered
but one can pick up all they want on eBay and elsewhere without paying more than $20 each and often lower.
While I have known and appreciated Bill Schneider's efforts very much over the years the lack of operating, or
separate, doors on the Rapido Northern Pacific boxcar left me cold on an otherwise really nice model and it
appears the Rapido USRA car will follow suit.  But with a few over thirty of the Ertl cars I'm not going to shed
tear over it knowing that I can have a better model with a little effort put into the Ertl cars. If Rapido decides to
offer separate underframes that have better detailing and a choice of K or AB brake styles those I might be
interested in but count me out for the cars themselves as I have already told Bill.

Just my two bits worth, Don Valentine

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