MKT boxcar paint

Tom Palmer

Good day gents,
Since I am one of the few serious steam era MKT modelers' on this list I guess I need to speak up. If you attended my clinic in Naperville a few years back, on MKT freight equipment, this will be a partial recap. If Martin has a cancellation this year I may be presenting an updated version of this presentation this year at Naperville, I am on the back up list of speakers.
The MKT was an extremely frugal railroad. Fortunately I have been able to collect a very large collection of MKT freight car erection drawings, painting and lettering diagrams along with large sums of other data. Out of this collection is the information I supplied to Ted Cullota for the MKT boxcars he produced. He did a first class job on that car, I could not be happier. I really needed them. I have also helped on a few other correct projects.
I have also been fortunate enough to have interviewed a few gentlemen whom worked in the Denison car shops in time period the Katy reconditioned the freight car fleet during the 1940's. These men also helped build the new cars in the 1937, 1945-46, and 1948 car construction programs. The 1948 program was for cabooses.
The first yellow painted cars were, the express box cars pulled out of the 60001-60100 series cars built by ACF in 1937. These cars were 41'9-1/4" over the striking faces with 12' 7-1/4" clear double door openings. This group of cars had yellow sides, ends, roofs hith black underbodies and trucks. They were also unique for they were one of the first cars,on the road, to have "The Katy Serves the Southwest Well" slogan. Eventually all the new cars built in the 1937 car building program had this slogan applied. It was later simplified to the "The Katy Serves the Southwest" after the 1945-46 car building program.
The stock cars built in 1937, at the Denison shops, were originally box car red but in mid production the yellow and black paint scheme appeared. Hence the reason why you can find fresh built photos of the cars in two differing paint schemes.
During the car reconditioning period of the early 1940's yellow was the standard color for boxcars. Hoppers, gons and other equipment was BCR.
The Katy never used car roof cement on freight equipment. It's use was limited to older wood cabooses,some stock cars, and MOW bunk cars with leaky roofs. This was an temporary fix for cabooses and stock cars until the cars went through the shops for reconditioning.
The yellow paint was applied to the car roofs. Since the cars had metal roofs it was notorious for peeling. I have great color shot Ted sent me of a yellow steel 50'car with almost no paint left on the roof, what is left is yellow.
In conclusion, none of my documentation supports the use of BCR on any yellow painted cars. The same for black roofs on freight equipment. Dirty, sooty, and grimy? Yes. Especially the express cars since they were almost always on the head end.
Respectfully yours,
Tom Palmer
Stafford, Texas

Modeling the MKT in central Texas in 1952

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