Re: Atlas 40' USRA rebuild

Brian Carlson <brian@...>

Tim: From Ben Hom on the PRR Modeling list today and this list back in 2003.
The question asked if the cars could model the PRR X26C.

Dave, I recommend you go back to the pubs and reconsider. The Atlas O and N
scale USRA rebuilt boxcar models are hermaphrodites that don't model ANY
prototype, much less the PRR Class X26C rebuilt USRA SS boxcars. The
following is from my post on STMFC in 2003 (Message 23214) about the O scale
model (and the S Helper Service S scale model that it was copied from) when
it was first introduced:

First, some quick notes on rebuilt boxcars:
Even though Youngstown marketed kits to the railroads during the
1930s to rebuild single- and double-sheathed boxcars, each individual
railroad approached rebuilding cars in a different manner, with some
roads simply replacing the sides while retaining the original roof
and ends; others replacing the sides and roof while retaining the
ends, and one (KCS) doing a USRA DS rebuild in 1949 by fitting a
modern boxcar body, ends and all on top of the old underframe. Almost
all rebuilds increased the height of the car, and railroads took
different approaches to making the ends taller, with some adding a
blank panel and others splicing in sections of Murphy ends. The cars
were also widened - a reliable spotting feature shared by almost all
rebuilt SS or DS boxcars is an indented side sill with trapezoidal or
triangular brackets supporting the new steel sides. The wider cars
required end modifications as well - most railroads simply used an
angle to join the ends to the side creating an indent there, but
some roads [such as the PRR] used sheet metal to widen the ends
creating a more familiar square corner. The original trucks were
almost always reused; the underframe was always reused, though at
least two roads rebuilt these cars a second time in the late '50s-
early 60s with new underframes (some WAB cars with gon underframes,
PRR X26C ->X26F). The net result is that rebuilt boxcars were unique
to each railroad. For a more detailed account of USRA DS rebuilds,
see "Steel Side USRA Rebuilds," Parts 1 and 2 by Martin Lofton
in the September and October 1989 Railroad Model Craftsman.

The Models: Both models has some serious problems with the sides. The
model has eight-panel steel sides, which is correct for many of the
rebuilds except those who used ten-panel sides (ATSF, PRR). However,
the sides have two problems. First, the side sills are incorrect
for the vast majority of SS or DS rebuilds - there is no noticeable
inset, and the brackets are actually closer to those used on Pennsy
Class X29 rebuilds. Most SS or DS rebuilds used triangular or
trapezoidal brackets. Without this inset, the car is too narrow and
fails to capture the look of a wider new carbody fitted to a narrow
older underframe. In fact, these models retain the "sunken cheek"
look of a SS boxcar (the effect is worse on the S Helper Service car).

Both model share the same details:
Roof: Original USRA steel sheathed roof.
Ends: Unmodified 5/5/5 Murphy ends.
Sides: Eight-panel sides. No distinct inset side sill. T-section
support brackets.
Underframe: USRA SS car (some S Helper Service roadnames have the
fishbelly underframe)

This model is closest to the ACL 46000-46949, C&WC 8000-8299, and SL-
SF 127000-130499 USRA DS rebuilds; however, the side sills are wrong
and the model lacks the heavy fishbelly underframe of the DS
rebuilds. (Both model's roofs are correct for these rebuilds, as they
reused the original roof; however, all other road's rebuilds replaced
the roof with all-steel types.)

These models are incorrect for all of the other paint schemes
offered, differing mainly in roof, ends, underframe, and in the case
of the PRR and ATSF cars, car sides.

The bottom line:
- Neither model out of the box is an exact match for any prototype.
- Neither model really captures the "wider body on an narrow
underframe look." I've uploaded a side-by-side comparison of the
closest prototypes and both models in the STMFC files section.

Since I posted this e-mail, Larry Kline modified an Atlas O scale model with
new side sills to more closely match the ACL/C&WC and SL-SF "basic"
rebuilds; however, if you're looking for an injection-molded styrene RTR
Class X26C boxcar, this ain't going to answer the mail.

Brian J. Carlson, P.E.
Cheektowaga NY

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Tim
Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:00 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Atlas 40' USRA rebuild

any particular prototype?
i'm guessing this is the CMO/RI car...

Tim O'Connor

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