Re: Weathering for Late Steam and Transition Era

Mike Brock <brockm@...>

I'll add a few observations from viewing countless photos and videos regarding this issue.

1. As has been noted, the period late 40's through '55 saw a huge number of new box cars on the nation's rails. Depending upon when one models, some of these cars are going to be quite clean compared to others. Viewing entire frt trains on the video Big Boy Collection, the presence of quite a few relatively "clean" appearing cars is evident. The trains in this video were shot in '53. It is also apparent that some relatively new cars are pretty dirty.

2. I have noticed at least two distinctly different types of dirt/weather. Dirt which has become wet due to extensive rain seems to exhibit accumulations around rivets and other parts, less on panels. Dirt applied in dry conditions seems to encase the entire car with about the same intensity. Having experienced winds of 40 mph in Wyoming while trying to video tape a UP steam excursion, I can speak with authority about blowing dirt. Dirt also has different colors depending upon the location in the country.

3. Videos show a distinct presence of a light tan [ what I would term a sandy look ] on the trucks, wheels, and underbody of Santa Fe & SP frt cars. Additional study of the video is needed.

4. I have seen almost no presence of rust deteriation on the surface of steel frt cars with one definite exception and possibly a few others. Pennsy cars [ except new cars ] very often appear to exhibit rust problems in '53. One also can see similar effects on other northeastern RRs such as NYC and others. This could be due to paint characteristics or due to the presence of various chemicals in the air dumped on these cars while in the industrial areas of the northeast.

5. Having been drenched by cinders and soot from UP 3985 while in coal burning service, there can be little doubt that such locomotives applied such coverings to anything within several hundred feet. Even in the 80's one could find the sides of railroad cuts in Wyoming exhibiting a black covering from yrs of smoke and cinders.

6. The color of coal apparently varies. One of my favorite "weathering" [ I don't like the term because modification of the original appearance of a RR item is often NOT due to weather ] photos clearly shows N&W steam engines with a brownish black covering. The same photo shows black painted objects protected from smoke and dirt to be black.

These are only a few observations that I've noticed. Many other factors are no doubt involved.

Mike Brock

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