Terry Wegman PFE R-30-16 conversion sets

JP Barger

Hello, people: Several squibs have appeared in the last week or two on this
subject, which I have read with interest. To answer Bruce Smith's query, the
upcoming Intermountain later R-30 series being offered are as accurate as
Terry Wegman could make them (and Terry has the reputation of being one of
our most knowledgeable and accurate modelmakers). But, we all need to
understand that there are lots of complicating wrinkles in the variety and
details of the reefers PFE fielded.
When it came time (beginning in 1940)to retire thousands of 1920's-built
reefers because their superstructures were worn out, PFE created the
R-30/40-16 to -24 series from them over a five year period. This was
accomplished by scrapping the wood and insulation parts of the cars, and
reusing the metal parts. Underframes of three different designs were thus
saved, with wood superstructures of latest (1940-1945) designs added on top
of the frames. Standard procedure at Roseville shops.
Six types of RTR Intermountain assembled cars are shown on this month's
dealer bulletin from IRC, and also on their website. Terry Wegman made his
parts for these cars with only one choice of underframe, namely the R-30-13
version, which you will also find in the Tichy R-40-4 kit,although Tichy's
is supposed to be the 40 ton version. This underframe also appears with
several other models. One of the first mass-produced ones was the Silver
Streak/later Walthers models of the 1946-1980 period. So the models produced
in assembled form by IRC are all cars with the double centerbeam feature of
the Wegman parts. Bruce Smith's email accurately lists the classes shown on
the IRC literature.
The first inaccuracy I have found so far in the current IRC literature is
the description of item 47402,which represents the five first prototype
R-30-18 cars. These cars were a trial to see how the wood superstructures
would interact with or tolerate steel roofs applied to them, although PFE
already had had success with the steel-roof equipped R-70-2 & R-40-10
classes. Five only R-30-18's were built initially; these five were specially
identified with two horizontal red stripes running the length of the sides.
The stripes make for an interesting diversion from the mainstream
appearance of other PFE fleet cars. The cars were initially marked
R-30-12-18, indicating that they were built directly from -12 underframes.
The IRC bulletin this month shows R-30-12-16, but IRC has plenty of time in
this run to correct their artwork, making -16 over to -18. There is another
matter, however,as you may already have figured out from the information
above about Wegman's parts. While almost all of the five correct car numbers
being offered by IRC could theoretically have had either -12 or -13
underframes, the R-30-12-18 cars may only have had -12 underframes. 75652
certainly does have a -12. It is so labelled in an excellent sharp picture
on page 138 0f Thompson's excellent reference on the subject.(1st
edition)And the end of the crossbeams shown are definitely -12. So, if you
don't mind the underframe swap, you will have dimensionally accurate,
correctly labelled cars in this group of PFE cars.
For those who want to go one step farther, they can swap the underfloor to
the correct -12 class with a Red Caboose underfloor. If you can get IRC to
sell you body-decorated kits, prepainted, you can more easily fit the RC
floor to the superstructure than to change it after the car is completely
There is one more change accurately pointed out by Ed Hawkins after a look
at the flyer. That is the appearance of the colored UP shield on item 47403.
It needs to be modified to remove the word Railroad from the upper blue
field, and the white border on the shield needs to be removed, also. These
two incorrect details (on the 1946 UP heralds) are featured later on the
post 1951 black and white UP heralds. Again, there is plenty of time to make
these changes.
Happy model railroading, PFE aficionados. JP Barger


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