Weathering for Late Steam and Transition Era

Jim Betz

We see guys selling stuff on eBay that have rust blowouts,
repaint bleed thrus (especially after an ownership change),
paint patches, spray can grafitti, etc. ... what I'd call
"heavy weathering". And we see photo examples of steam locos
- late in their active service (or after) - that are in pretty
bad shape (ie. heavily weathered/obviously in need of general
maintenance as opposed to a quick oil-aorund and lube).

BUT - it is my impression that this kind of weathering is - in
general - "later" ... that it started to show up on the RRs in
the 70's. And, more importantly, that other than -sometimes-
having a lot of 'road grime' that locos and cars were kept in
fairly good condition thruout the 40's, 50's, and 60's. Yes,
I know that maintenance was often deferred during WWII ... but
that meant 'more dirt' -most/some of the time- rather than
'more rust'.

Do you agree?

Let me give a specific example - let's say we are talking about
steel box car delivered in the late 40's or early 50's ... and has
gone thru a repaint that includes a major change in the lettering ...
and is at least 2 or 3 years after that repaint. So this car is
somewhere between 5 and 15 years old.
My belief is that it was relatively rare to see a car such as
this example with rust blow-outs, where the earlier paint scheme
is showing thru, heavy rust (not heavy grime!), etc. And also that
grafitti was fairly uncommon (most cars did not have any at all)
and what grafitti you did see was mostly done with chalk by a
hobo (rather than by some kid/vandal). Similarly, although you
did find the occasional "patch job" such as a repaint block around
the car data ... that this was very much the exception as opposed
to being "common" or even "fairly common".

It seems to me that a lot of us are over-using the exceptions
to these general rules - and/or effects that started showing up
very much later than the period in question - to weather equipment
for this era. Yeah, you might see a car or two in a hundred car
train that was significantly more weathered and/or in dis-repair
than the rest of them ... but that is not "the rule". Am I wrong?

Similarly - I think it was relatively rare to see a "paint shop
fresh" freight car in this era. Yeah, we've all seen the publicity
photos for stuff like the GN circus train or the initiation of a
new service such as the Overnight but even those ended up with
light to moderate weathering very quickly. Agreed?

I base this on photos in books that are from the 40's into
the 60's for freight cars -and- for locomotives photos from
the 30's and 40's. When I look at a picture of a yard or an
entire freight train all I see is a "general grime" - isn't
that what you see?
- Jim in San Jose

===> Hi, my name is Jim ...
and I have a "Hobby Shop in the Closet" problem.

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