Re: BLI vs. Walthers express reefers

Thomas M. Olsen <tmolsen@...>

In regard to the information on the REA equipment that I posted from the Roseman Book and the Sunshine instructions, the Branchline website also listed in-service dates for the red-white REA logo and other information regarding when changes were inaugurated for each painting and lettering phase that were mentioned in the September 2005 issue of the Keystone Modeler. I had mentioned this review to Ed Hawkins as he is still researching the inception dates. Here is his reply regarding Branchline's website information in regard to the red and white REA logo and it's initial in-service date:

" Thomas,
I've seen BT's dates as these are the same as given on their web site. I don't buy their 1953 date when the red and white diamond was first applied. My belief is that the date is 1955 based on accurately dated photos. This is the same year when the first batch of 500 steel cars came from General American (the Walthers steel express reefer with riveted sides). I still haven't come across any REA painting and stenciling drawings to confirm the date when this revision occurred.

This is a vexing situation for those of us that model in the early 1950s. Part of the problem with photographs of these cars is the same that was talked about on this list in the last several weeks. That is the lack of dates and locations on many of the photographs that are in circulation from many of the people who are selling photographs at train shows and historical meets. As time passes and the original photos and negatives change hands, many of these photographs have gone undocumented and it is impossible to date them correctly.

I have seen this many times over in hard and soft bound publications while I was making an index of photos of various classes of PRR locomotives and their locations with regard to my modeling period and territory. Credit being given to the wrong photographer and in many cases, not only is the date bogus, but the location and direction of the loco and/or train is also bogus. I have found many instances where the engine numbers changed from one publication to another, although it was the same locomotive photograph.

Tom Olsen
7 Boundary Road, West Branch
Newark, Delaware, 19711-7479
(302) 738-4292

Daniel J Miller wrote:


Thanks for pointing out the lettering color difference. The BLI car
definitely has more end lettering, and the car number only on the left
side of the door.
In message 35016 on Oct 18, 2004 Thomas Olsen provided some information
from the Roseman book and the Sunshine instructions for the wood REA
cars on the paint and lettering, which I've copied below. Scheme II
(for plug door cars) was applied beginning in 1947 and Scheme III (with
the red diamond logo) beginning in 1952/3, so Roseman doesn't
distinguish among early green schemes. I suppose that the Walthers car
would represent a WWII repaint according to Roseman, since buff
lettering saw some application during the war. However, no mention is
made of when the end lettering would have been removed and when the car
number was applied to only the left side of the door. Martin's sheet
for his kit version of these cars indicates only that the number was on
both sides. Perhaps BLI is incorrect in only placing the number on the
left? Also, Roseman states that the ends of the car should be black,
not green as on both the BLI and the Walthers cars. So, it seems like
both manufacturers have incorrect paint, with BLI perhaps having some
kind of hybrid lettering. Of course, I'm going only on the information
from Thomas' message; anyone with more information that would support
either model?

Dan Miller

From Thomas Olsen:

Scheme I - Original Painting and lettering scheme (handed down from
American Railway Express):
Body color - deep green A.K.A. Pullman Green. Lettering - Gold,
may have been (at various times
Gold Leaf), Bronze (metallic) gold paint or imitation gold paint
(buff). Lettering was 5" extended
Railroad Roman. This last color (Buff) popular during WWII as a
replacement for metallic paint
and the fragile leaf process. Roof and end color - Black.

Imitation gold colors by manufacturers such as Dupont (Dulux and
Duco lines) and Sherwin-Williams
gave a bright gold appearance, but were fade resistant. Used due to
tendency of Gold Leaf to rub off
when cleaned and bronze metallic paints tended to dull. Scheme I
was replaced in 1947 and again in
1953. Reasons for longevity was that due to fleet size, various
schemes lasted beyond introduction
dates before repainting.

In Martin Lofton's Prototype Data Sheet #27A for General American 53'
Express Reefers (Sunshine
Kits 27.1-27.2), the lettering information for those cars
specifically in REA service, agrees with the
Roseman book with some exceptions:
Specifically mentions re-positioning of the company name
"Railway Express Agency" and other
lettering beginning in 1952, rather than 1953. It states that
the earlier schemes (wood sheathed
cars only) had the company name on the letterboard, with the
words "Express Refrigerator" and
car number on the car side on both sides of the door. This is
the same location as the diagram in
the Roseman book. In 1952, the company name moved to below the
letterboard to the left of
the door with the car number below, just above the bottom of
the car side, equidistant from the
door and the ends. The word "Refrigerator" moved to the right
car side side below the letterboard
with the large herald (as described in the Roseman book)
below, also to the right of the door.
The former words "Express Refrigerator" and numbers were removed
from the lower right side.

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