Re: Pacemaker boxcar usage off-line of NYC

James Yaworsky

Richard wrote:
The absence of weight data didn't merely "discourage interchange," it
absolutely prevented it.
while I am not professing to be an expert on the NYC, I have read most of the relevant books on it, and it seems to be trite knowledge in the "NYC community" (scholars, railfans, and serious modelers) that Pacemaker cars were occasionally interchanged, despite lack of necessary reporting marks, almost from the get-go. I had a coffee with Terry Link this morning and we discussed this a bit. Hopefully, Terry will weigh in to the discussion with a few thoughts he was formulating.

But one thing he definitely confirmed - his research shows that Pacemaker cars were running off-line almost from the inception of the service. With all due respect, if I have to chose who to believe on this issue, it will be a NYC expert like Terry.

By the 1960s, sure, cars that still bore Pacemaker P/L schemes went
off line in interchange. But Jim, please note that this list is
confined prototypes and models before 1960. In the absence of
compelling evidence, I'll continue to maintain that the Pacemaker
cars did not go off line in the '40s and early '50s and seldom went
off line after that. Yes, I know, there is the occasional photo of
one taken when off NYC system rails - and taken precisely because it
had strayed off NYC rails and therefore a very unusual sight. I have
a couple of those photos myself.
I am not personally privy to the source materials used by the various NYC authorities I have read to the effect that Pacemaker cars were running off NYC rails very early in the game. However, it is noted, for example, in the second NYC color scheme book from Morning Sun -NYC Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment - Volume 2
(Len Kilian, Jim Odell and Jeff English) that the railway basically gave up trying to stop this, and threw in the towel on the issue with the decision to add the full reporting marks to cars painted after September/October 1955 - still well within the steam era.

But that doesn't justify the desire
to run Pacemaker cars on layouts representing other railroads
because, well, they're just so pretty. You can delude yourself about
this if you like, and even fall back on "it's my model railroad and
I'll do what I damned please," but this is a list for PROTOTYPE
I assume when you say "you" can delude yourself, you are speaking to non-NYC modelers of this group and not me specifically. Personally, since I *am* modeling the NYC, and specifically, the CASO's western end to the Detroit River Tunnel, I can run as many of these cars as I have space for and can afford, with a clean conscience as regards the prototypical appropriateness of same... ;>)

However, the basic point of my first posting is that Pacemaker cars *did* occasionally go in to general interchange in the time era covered by this group. I don't think the existence of 3 or 4 photos proves that this only occurred 3 or 4 times. It seems just as viable of an assumption that if it was only caught on film 3 or 4 times, it happened far more often than that. And, there is the actual actions of the railway itself when it started putting the full reporting marks on the cars in 1955.

I would be curious to know who would be penalized for running a car on a foreign road if it didn't have the required reporting marks. Would the NYC be fined for allowing the car to leave home rails? Or the "foreign" road that had the car on it when spotted by an inspector? Or, both? What WERE the consequences of having a very standard design car, in apparently good shape, "caught" on a foreign road without all mandated reporting marks?

Given the NYC's decision to start putting the marks on repaints starting in 1955, it would seem reasonable to me that this decision was taken to avoid trouble. The railroad realized that its attempt to keep the cars on home rails was not working, and was bowing to the inevitable...

But there is a lot of supposition in the past few paragraphs. I for one would appreciate knowing what the actual facts were.

One thing I do still believe - these cars drifted over the North American rail network. There were only 1,000 of them in the model that Intermountain is releasing, and there obviously weren't a lot of them to be seen since the vast majority probably *did* stay only on NYC rails. A string of them - yes, bogus. But if somebody wants one of these cars, for whatever reason, on their layout, it is not "bogus".

Disclaimer: as a NYC-focused modeler, I like to see manufacturers release NYC-specific models. And this will happen more often, the more NYC-specific models they sell. So, yes, nothing would make me happier than to know that every member of this list got at least one of the Intermountain cars being released... The two most "famous" NYC pieces of equipment are probably Dreyfus Hudsons, and Pacemaker boxcars. Well, you can't justify a Dreyfus Hudson on your layout unless you *are* modeling the NYC - but you CAN justify a Pacemaker car...

Anyway, I disagree with Richard's position on the appropriateness of Pacemaker cars on other roads, and thought that the non-NYC modelers of this group deserved to know that the consensus of the NYC modeling community's best experts is to disagree with Richard's position.

Jim Yaworsky

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