Date   

Re: USRA composite gondolas

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
No good news here, Mark. Almost all of the USRA composite gondolas were rebuilt or scrapped by the end of WW II . . . I can't think of any other RRs that still had them in revenue service.
As so often happens <g>, Richard has a hard time remembering the SP freight car fleet. I would call your attention to the data in the table on page 68 of my gondola book.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: M-53 (was Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued)

Mark
 

I wish to second that motion!
 
Mark Morgan

--- On Sun, 10/18/09, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


From: Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...>
Subject: [STMFC] Re: M-53 (was Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued)
To: STMFC@...
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 12:16 AM


 



Bob

I don't know, and I didn't know they planned to do the M-53, but
good grief, why can't we get a good high quality plastic kit? If
Wright Trak does it, that makes what - 4 - different vendors who
have done resin kits in HO? And all of them had problems or were
just difficult to build? Not to mention brass cars, and the old
Cannonball kit. Sheesh.

Tim O'Connor

Speaking of pre-50s models, will Wright Trak have the B&O wagontop available at Naperville?
Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Re: M-53 (was Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued)

Tim O'Connor
 

Bob

I don't know, and I didn't know they planned to do the M-53, but
good grief, why can't we get a good high quality plastic kit? If
Wright Trak does it, that makes what - 4 - different vendors who
have done resin kits in HO? And all of them had problems or were
just difficult to build? Not to mention brass cars, and the old
Cannonball kit. Sheesh.

Tim O'Connor

Speaking of pre-50s models, will Wright Trak have the B&O wagontop available at Naperville?
Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:

Post-1960 modelers have been
deluged with excellent models from Athearn, while pre-1950 modelers
have been largely ignored... Hmmm, since Athearn is nothing if not
a successful manufacturer, what does that tell you about sales
potential in that (pre-1950) freight car niche?

Tim O'Connor
Tim,
I suspect that Athearn, being a successful manufacturer as you state, have chosen to fill a neglected niche of the hobby (60s-70s era prototypes), rather than representing a true lack of sales potential for earlier prototypes. I don't think our sources of pre-50s models are going away anytime soon.

Speaking of pre-50s models, will Wright Trak have the B&O wagontop available at Naperville?

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

Tim O'Connor
 

Richard Hendrickson tosses out the baby w/ the bathwater... :-)

There isn't a single Athearn freight car part that hasn't been
modeled much better by some other manufacturer, often several
other manufacturers.
I suspect you really intended that comment to refer specifically
to the old Blue Box kits and not to more recent Athearn models??
Or even to some amazingly improved older models (esp a few from
Model Die Casting)?

There are no Athearn cars left on my freight car roster except
for two or three that have been so extensively kit-bashed as to
bear little evidence of their origins.
Such as Athearn's recent 65 foot AAR mill gondola? Or that rather
nice SFRD 50 foot reefer? Of course, you would not have any of the
more "modern" Athearn freight cars like airslides or PS 2893's but
you might have Genesis F units... Post-1960 modelers have been
deluged with excellent models from Athearn, while pre-1950 modelers
have been largely ignored... Hmmm, since Athearn is nothing if not
a successful manufacturer, what does that tell you about sales
potential in that (pre-1950) freight car niche?

Tim O'Connor


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

Frederick Freitas <prrinvt@...>
 

Gentlemen,
 
                 try to see the bright side, we now own real collector's items. Wait about 10 years and divest them on e-bay for some ridiculous price!
 
Fred Freitas

--- On Sat, 10/17/09, Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:


From: Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued
To: STMFC@...
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2009, 7:49 PM


 



On Oct 17, 2009, at 11:30 AM, Brian J Carlson wrote:

....Unfortunately or fortunately
depending on your point of view the blue box kits applicable to
this steam
era list have been largely superseded by Branchline, IM, Red
caboose, kadee
etc. The flaws of blue box kits are many, between crude detailing,
door
claws, poor brake components, and the propensity for Athearn to
paint them
in any scheme they thought up, prototype be danged. I have long
purged my
home layout of Athearn blue box kits, except for one PRR H31 stand in.



Young modelers will still be able to purchase Branchline yardmaster
kits,
Bowser, and Accurail kits to experience kit building before moving
onto more
advanced models. As for Athearn parts, they will continue sell the
blue box
kits built up so parts should be available. Although I am not sure why
Athearn brakewheels and roofwalks would be desired parts since much
better
detailed after-market parts are available. I will miss them from a
sentimental standpoint, but that is all.
Sic transit gloria mundi. The blue box bow-wows should have been
discontinued twenty years ago or more, as vastly better products came
on the market to replace them. Their only virtue was that they were
cheap, and that wasn't really a virtue as it depressed prices, thus
discouraging other manufacturers from developing better stuff which
cost more. Some of us fondly remember the very fine (for their day)
Athearn metal kits that the blue box models replaced, which were much
more accurate and better detailed than the plastic models, though
more challenging to build. But Irv Athearn saw undiscriminating
train-set buyers as the future of the hobby, and to some extent it
was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Parts? There isn't a single Athearn
freight car part that hasn't been modeled much better by some other
manufacturer, often several other manufacturers. There are no
Athearn cars left on my freight car roster except for two or three
that have been so extensively kit-bashed as to bear little evidence
of their origins.

Richard Hendrickson

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
















[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: USRA composite gondolas (long, but illuminating)

Richard Hendrickson
 

On Oct 17, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Ray Breyer wrote:

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
No good news here, Mark. Almost all of the USRA
composite gondolas were rebuilt or scrapped by
the end of WW II. Minneapolis & St. Louis had
me refurbished ex-L&N cars, some of which lasted
into the early '50s, but only one of those was
still listed in the 1/53 ORER. I can't think of
any other RRs that still had them in revenue
service.
Hi everyone,

With all of the work that people have put into tracking down
various odd, obscure, and single-road freight cars with limited
appeal (to the "great unwashed", anyway) I'm frankly stunned that
no one's bothered to actually study the USRA composite gons AND
their clones, to come up with anything approaching a definitive study.

[snip]
However, my ORER quantities, based on the car series that I've been
able to trace, are much more accurate. For those that are
interested, here's the list of all of the surviving cars in 1959,
which should prove illuminating:

ACL 90250-90499, 272 cars, original USRA rebuilt to steel WITH
original sides.
ACL 99300-99443, 8 cars, all-original cars, ex-AB&C.
C of G 10861-10935, 66 cars, clone rebuilds with open sides for pulp.
C&IM 15000-15001, 2 cars, steel clone rebuilds WITH original sides
for container service.
G&F 6001-6030, 13 cars, steel rebuild clones WITH original sides.
GM&O 12000-12374, 46 cars, wood-sided clones, ex-M&O.
GM&O 44000-44249, 246 cars, all-original cars, ex-Alton.
IC 82720-84997, 25 cars, all-original cars, mix of IC USRA cars and
ex-VS&P clones.
MILW 1-1000, 1000 cars, clones rebuilt without wood sides for pulp
and pipe service.
MILW 84000-90949, 4043 cars, wood-sided clones.
MP 28900-29999, 7 cars, original USRA rebuilt with side doors
replacing 3 panels per side.
SLSF 50000-50398, 62 cars, wood-sided clones.
SLSF 50399-53346, 764 cars, wood-sided clones (some MAY be steel
rebuilds, but not according to the ORERs)
SLSF 85000-85999, 129 cars, all-original USRA cars.
Wabash 13000-13249, 243 cars, LIKELY clones, WITH composite sides.

This all adds up to a grand total of 6,926 cars that at least look
like USRA gons running after the steam era.
Well, Ray, with all due respect, I wouldn't call this a definitive
study; not even close. I'll grant that I overlooked a couple of
groups of USRA cars that survived into the 1950s, but what you're
calling clones were, in many cases, not even close (e.g., the MILW
cars, which were built in the '40s with quite different dimensions
and Dreadnaught ends) and others had been extensively rebuilt. Just
because a gondola had composite sides and 42'11" LOA doesn't make it
a USRA clone.

Remember, the original question was whether the model could be
legitimately repainted and relettered, not what it might be
transformed into with extensive kit-bashing.

Richard Hendrickson


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

Richard Hendrickson
 

On Oct 17, 2009, at 11:30 AM, Brian J Carlson wrote:

....Unfortunately or fortunately
depending on your point of view the blue box kits applicable to
this steam
era list have been largely superseded by Branchline, IM, Red
caboose, kadee
etc. The flaws of blue box kits are many, between crude detailing,
door
claws, poor brake components, and the propensity for Athearn to
paint them
in any scheme they thought up, prototype be danged. I have long
purged my
home layout of Athearn blue box kits, except for one PRR H31 stand in.



Young modelers will still be able to purchase Branchline yardmaster
kits,
Bowser, and Accurail kits to experience kit building before moving
onto more
advanced models. As for Athearn parts, they will continue sell the
blue box
kits built up so parts should be available. Although I am not sure why
Athearn brakewheels and roofwalks would be desired parts since much
better
detailed after-market parts are available. I will miss them from a
sentimental standpoint, but that is all.
Sic transit gloria mundi. The blue box bow-wows should have been
discontinued twenty years ago or more, as vastly better products came
on the market to replace them. Their only virtue was that they were
cheap, and that wasn't really a virtue as it depressed prices, thus
discouraging other manufacturers from developing better stuff which
cost more. Some of us fondly remember the very fine (for their day)
Athearn metal kits that the blue box models replaced, which were much
more accurate and better detailed than the plastic models, though
more challenging to build. But Irv Athearn saw undiscriminating
train-set buyers as the future of the hobby, and to some extent it
was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Parts? There isn't a single Athearn
freight car part that hasn't been modeled much better by some other
manufacturer, often several other manufacturers. There are no
Athearn cars left on my freight car roster except for two or three
that have been so extensively kit-bashed as to bear little evidence
of their origins.

Richard Hendrickson


Athearn Blue boxes?

Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

As Brian Carlson notes:


Ignoring the first parts of the message about business practice which are
out of line here.
Yep. Brion's...no last name...message violated about 5 STMFC rules. Oh, heck...guess I'll have to go down to Moderate Jail again. I hate to have to go down there. Never seem to recognize anyone...all those beards I guess. Hmmm. Wonder if the door still opens...Yep. Man...lots of white haired guys down here. Oh well...Clang!!. Closing the door always gives a kinda definitive sound.

Best to let Athearn do what they want to and the STMFC will do what it's sposed to do.

Mike Brock
STMFC Owner


Re: USRA composite gondolas (long, but illuminating)

Ray Breyer
 

Ray Breyer wrote:
Wabash 13000-13249, 243 cars, LIKELY clones, WITH
composite sides.
Ray those Wabash cars were World War II
War Emergency gondolas.

Thanks for the information Tim. I'll pull them off my list. I knew that the Wabash had WE gons, but wasn't sure of the numbers.

Wabash did own some near copies of USRA gondolas but they
had fishbelly underframes
Tim O'Connor
I have a photo of one of those cars, and didn't include that series in my list; they weren't close enough! (if I had included those cars I'd have included the closer Rock Island cars, and then the list would have just been of all composite gons...which would be a worthy exercise too!)

Regards,
Ray Breyer


Re: USRA composite gondolas (long, but illuminating)

Tim O'Connor
 

Ray Breyer wrote

Wabash 13000-13249, 243 cars, LIKELY clones, WITH composite sides.
Ray those Wabash cars were World War II War Emergency gondolas.
Wabash did own some near copies of USRA gondolas but they had
fishbelly underframes: 7000-9049, 10000-10124 and 10125-10524 --
built between 1922 and 1925, and were all scrapped from 1944
thru 1946.

Tim O'Connor


blue box

ed_mines
 

The good thing about these kits and the inexpensive Athearn locos was they allowed newcomers to get into the scale hobby at an affordable price, comparable to a "train set" from a company like Model Power.

Ed


GodFatherRails.com

ed_mines
 

This new tribute web site has color photos from the early '50s.

One nice photo of a gondola.

Ed


Re: NYC diagram book

ed_mines
 

--- In STMFC@..., cinderandeight@... wrote:

Ed,
I believe the book you are referencing was reprinted by George R. Cockle in
1974.

Rich-

This was an old post. The same book (or one that's similar) is online somewhere (I think it's from the man with the CASO web site).

I have that reprint, sans cover and the first few pages.


Re: freight car kit discounts

ed_mines
 

I recently bought 7 for the price of 3 from them through the mail.

Ed

--- In STMFC@..., "Andrew Miller" <aslmmiller@...> wrote:

As far as I know F&C always offers 2 for 1 at show and by mail throught their flyer.

regards,

Andy Miller (who will be running F&C PRR MP54s at the North Shore Model RR Club Open house this week end)
----- Original Message -----
From: ed_mines
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 12:44 PM
Subject: [STMFC] freight car kit discounts


Anyone know somewhere which discounts Atlas 1932 box cars?

Has F&C recently been offering 2 for one at shows?

Any of the other resin manufacturers having sales?

Ed





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

Brian Carlson
 

Ignoring the first parts of the message about business practice which are
out of line here. I like many others started with Athearn Blue box kits as
well as MDC, Front range, etc. In Buffalo we have 4 train oriented hobby
shops, only continues to stock blue box kits. Unfortunately or fortunately
depending on your point of view the blue box kits applicable to this steam
era list have been largely superseded by Branchline, IM, Red caboose, kadee
etc. The flaws of blue box kits are many, between crude detailing, door
claws, poor brake components, and the propensity for Athearn to paint them
in any scheme they thought up, prototype be danged. I have long purged my
home layout of Athearn blue box kits, except for one PRR H31 stand in.



Young modelers will still be able to purchase Branchline yardmaster kits,
Bowser, and Accurail kits to experience kit building before moving onto more
advanced models. As for Athearn parts, they will continue sell the blue box
kits built up so parts should be available. Although I am not sure why
Athearn brakewheels and roofwalks would be desired parts since much better
detailed after-market parts are available. I will miss them from a
sentimental standpoint, but that is all.



Brian J. Carlson, P.E.

Cheektowaga NY



From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Brion
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:14 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued



The very reason these items sold well was because of their simplicity and
the comfort of having a cheap starting point to begin hacking away. It takes
"cajones grande" to started chopping up a $$$ Kadee car or Branchline
sleeper as a neophyte. Frankly, if they just sold the undec shell they'd
probably do better. How many of us use Athearn trucks? Brakewheels?
Roofwalks? I hope someone buys the molds and keeps a trickle coming out.
Might be enough to keep a small concern going with a hand full of employees.

Enough. Time to start hoarding.

Brion


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., "Brion" <BrionBoyles@...> wrote:

<big snip>

Enough. Time to start hoarding.

Brion
Interesting rant, but I don't think you'll get much sympathy on this list. I will admit to running lots of "blue box" Athearn kits as a kid, but I last bought one about twenty years ago. All the relevant steam era models from Athearn have long since been replaced by new injection molded or resin kits.

Although I appreciate Irv Athearn's contributions to the hobby, and have many fond memories of slapping those kits together, I don't think model railroading will dry up and blow away because they aren't available. I think Accurail has replaced Athearn in the market for those who want a relatively inexpensive, easy to assemble kit. And they are made in the USA as well.

As for the loss of kitbash fodder, the craftsmen (and women) of today are as likely to assemble a resin kit, or scratchbuild the masters for a kit, as they are to spend hours hacking apart an Athearn boxcar and still end up with a compromised model.

Just my two cents.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Re: USRA composite gondolas (long, but illuminating)

Ray Breyer
 

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
No good news here, Mark. Almost all of the USRA
composite gondolas were rebuilt or scrapped by
the end of WW II. Minneapolis & St. Louis had
me refurbished ex-L&N cars, some of which lasted
into the early '50s, but only one of those was
still listed in the 1/53 ORER. I can't think of
any other RRs that still had them in revenue
service.
John Hile wrote:
At one point I tried to find unmodified (or least
modified) 40' USRA cars still listed in the 1/53
ORER with composite sides.  Below are my notes...
ACL 99300-99443, 141 cars
GM&O 12200-12374 most w/solid floors, 170 cars
L&N 73000-74999, 19 cars
SLSF 85000-85999 solid floors?, 358 cars
Additions and/or corrections are welcome.

Hi everyone,

With all of the work that people have put into tracking down various odd, obscure, and single-road freight cars with limited appeal (to the "great unwashed", anyway) I'm frankly stunned that no one's bothered to actually study the USRA composite gons AND their clones, to come up with anything approaching a definitive study.

Since no one's seemed to bother, I've done so. Starting off with the (flawed) list John Nehrich has online, I dug through my hundreds of car diagram book scans, thousands of freight car photos, and assorted other primary source freight car material (most railroad-generated) I now have a list of all of the USRA GS gons in service, along with all of their CLOSE clones (those cars that looked VERY close to the original USRA design, especially from the sides. They MUST have the blank center panel and the same lower edge to be included in my list). I tried to track down all of the original number series, their build dates, and if & when they were rebuilt. My numbers tracked any cars that were rebuilt from their original configuration, but which kept the original side bracing (including steel rebuilds or cars with the wood removed for pulp or pipe service). I then tracked all of these car number series through the 1930, 1945, 1950, 1955 and 1959 ORERs.


My number of originally-built cars and clones is problematic, since this is only a quick study (for now). It stands as 47,979 cars and IS an incorrect number. Milwaukee and Wabash cars are especially giving me fits, and more research is required.

However, my ORER quantities, based on the car series that I've been able to trace, are much more accurate. For those that are interested, here's the list of all of the surviving cars in 1959, which should prove illuminating:

ACL 90250-90499, 272 cars, original USRA rebuilt to steel WITH original sides.
ACL 99300-99443, 8 cars, all-original cars, ex-AB&C.
C of G 10861-10935, 66 cars, clone rebuilds with open sides for pulp.
C&IM 15000-15001, 2 cars, steel clone rebuilds WITH original sides for container service.
G&F 6001-6030, 13 cars, steel rebuild clones WITH original sides.
GM&O 12000-12374, 46 cars, wood-sided clones, ex-M&O.
GM&O 44000-44249, 246 cars, all-original cars, ex-Alton.
IC 82720-84997, 25 cars, all-original cars, mix of IC USRA cars and ex-VS&P clones.
MILW 1-1000, 1000 cars, clones rebuilt without wood sides for pulp and pipe service.
MILW 84000-90949, 4043 cars, wood-sided clones.
MP 28900-29999, 7 cars, original USRA rebuilt with side doors replacing 3 panels per side.
SLSF 50000-50398, 62 cars, wood-sided clones.
SLSF 50399-53346, 764 cars, wood-sided clones (some MAY be steel rebuilds, but not according to the ORERs)
SLSF 85000-85999, 129 cars, all-original USRA cars.
Wabash 13000-13249, 243 cars, LIKELY clones, WITH composite sides.

This all adds up to a grand total of 6,926 cars that at least look like USRA gons running after the steam era. 5573 of these still have wood sides, 287 have steel replacement sides but retained the diagonal bracing of the original cars, and 1066 cars have open sides with all of the original bracing intact. 687 of these cars are original USRA-built cars, and 408 of these are nominally retain their as-built configuration (some, but not all, likely have replacement ends)


So good news! If you like USRA composite gons, but model some time after WWII, start buying them in large lots, especially if you're a Milwaukee or Frisco modeler. Get the Intermountain versions though, as you'll sometimes have to leave the sides off or replace them with steel.

Now I need to clean up these numbers, and then figure out what to do with this data. Good thing Bob's Photos will be nearby in a couple of weeks.

Regards,
Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL


Re: Athearn Blue Box kits discontinued

brionboyles
 

At the Worlds Greatest Hobby Tour here in the DC area a couple of years back (3?, 4?) I spoke with the Athearn Rep about the future of the Blue Box and why they were important (I am a professional custom painter and inveterate tinkerer) . I could tell by the look in his eyes that every syllable dripping over his blue lips was a lie. I knew right then what I read know. Herb is dead. The kids sold their souls. Horizon Hobbies (the parent company) and the flood of Internet "virtual" hobby whorehouses they support with bottom line mentality are ready to throw another cherished part of the hobby onto the funeral pyre (already fueled by the bones of neighborhood hobby shops killed by throwing stars, poisoned with General Tso's Chicken or drowned in Won Ton Soup).

Athearn didn't write this. Horizon Hobbies did. If Betty Crocker thought this way, the baking goods aisle in the grocery store would vanish overnight, and we'd all be eating the same, someone elses' version of your mothers' German Chocolate cake at $100 a pop on your 5 year-old's birthday.

Expense, my ass. R&D costs for the Blue Box line was recovered decades ago. I'm sure a boxcar kit costs about 25 to 50 cents to produce, box and all. Hell, there is as much material involved as a shampoo bottle. Could be done in the States, if they didn't have to ship them from China along with their high-end Tiffany stock that is too expensive to make here. And the Internet virtual whorehouses have killed off the local shops where craftsmen peruse and buy such items, along with the occasional bottle of paint, pack of track joiners, strip of basswood and a magazine. Hobby shops didn't make much money off these items...Hobby shops kept their doors open with selling locos, and the industry leaders undercutting their own distribution by flooding the internet with discounts have given us cheaper locos, but fewer hobby experiences.

The very reason these items sold well was because of their simplicity and the comfort of having a cheap starting point to begin hacking away. It takes "cajones grande" to started chopping up a $$$ Kadee car or Branchline sleeper as a neophyte. Frankly, if they just sold the undec shell they'd probably do better. How many of us use Athearn trucks? Brakewheels? Roofwalks? I hope someone buys the molds and keeps a trickle coming out. Might be enough to keep a small concern going with a hand full of employees.

Enough. Time to start hoarding.

Brion


Did Bakries buy grain? (Was Grain rush)

Paul Catapano
 

Orowheat did. I gew up across the street from their Bakery on the SP Burbank (Van Nuys) Branch and they did get  covered hoppers of rye.

Paul Catapano

110021 - 110040 of 195499