I asked Terry Link the question regarding the inception date of the Gothic Lettering style on NYC freight equipment as it pertained to reporting marks and dimensional data. He was kind enough to send me the following information:
"The date on the drawing for the Gothic NYC reporting marks is May 17, 1955 and then another one dated October 11, 1955. I would probably have to go through and read all the drawings notes to see if they pinpoint things better.
As noted on my web site - drawing dates don't always match the date they went into use. I've seen cases of cars being painted - and the official drawing not being created for a month or two later. There was also some rolling stock lettered in the Gothic style prior to this date - the Pacemaker boxcars and bay window cabooses were both using the the Gothic style when they entered service and of course - it's possible for a shop to have used the stencil for one of these on a regular car. For whatever reason - the Gothic style herald diagram wasn't revised until August - but then I guess they had hundreds if not thousands of drawings to redo - obviously they could not be done overnight.
I'm going to say late May/June 1955 would probably be when the Gothic style started to be applied across the roster instead of the Roman style."
This answered my question in regard to what style was in use in my late 1953 time frame so that I can now make an informed decision as to what Sunshine kit I need to buy. I hope that Terry's information will be of use to all of you who are in the same time period as I am. Also, many thanks to Richard Hendrickson, Tim O'Connor and Tony Thompson who also responded to my questions regarding the NYC Gothic lettering style.
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