Soo Line boxcar questions


James Mischke <jmischke@...>
 

I have acquired a steam era Soo Line boxcar kit, a custom Red
Caboose run offered through Des Plaines Hobbies some time ago.
Boxcar has black $oo Line herald, road number 136182, nominally
a 1937 AAR standard 10'-0" foot inside height car, built date
8-36.


My library is sparce on Soo Line. I model 1964, my questions
are thus:


- Would this boxcar have a Youngstown door or Superior door?
Especially after long service. My available Soo Line boxcar
photos all show later postwar cars, "SOO LINE" billboard
lettering, and all Youngstown doors.


- The 1964 equipment register shows half this series still in
revenue service. Is it plausible that the original Soo paint
would be on such a car after 25-30 years service??


- Even custom lettered model freight cars are only as good as
their source material. Would this Des Plaines car better
represent a different car series?


Tim O'Connor
 

Jim, if the car has Youngstown doors and S-corner ends, then
it's correct for these Soo/WC cars built in 1936.

I expect the cars would have been repainted before 1964.

Ted Culotta's web site is a good reference...
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/prototype/frtcars/1937aarpdfmain.html

The later 10'6" cars were far more numerous on Soo/WC. The old
Athearn 40' steel box car is actually correct for Soo & IC.

Tim O'Connor

I have acquired a steam era Soo Line boxcar kit, a custom Red
Caboose run offered through Des Plaines Hobbies some time ago.
Boxcar has black $oo Line herald, road number 136182, nominally
a 1937 AAR standard 10'-0" foot inside height car, built date
8-36.

- Would this boxcar have a Youngstown door or Superior door?
Especially after long service. My available Soo Line boxcar
photos all show later postwar cars, "SOO LINE" billboard
lettering, and all Youngstown doors.


- The 1964 equipment register shows half this series still in
revenue service. Is it plausible that the original Soo paint
would be on such a car after 25-30 years service??


buchwaldfam <duff@...>
 

I wish I could give you an exact date, but I saw several Soo Line
box cars standing on a bridge in central Wisconsin, still bearing
faded $ heralds. The thing that struck me, and created a lasting
memory was how they incorporated the dollar sign into the spelling
of a word. My "build date" was 8-62, and the occasion of the
encounter was when I was at least 6 years old, as my aunt, an
english teacher, was busy correcting my grammer during the
trip.... :>
I maintain that some cars were still around in well worn dollar
sign markings in 1964 and later.

Regards,
Phil Buchwald


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

Jim, if the car has Youngstown doors and S-corner ends, then
it's correct for these Soo/WC cars built in 1936.

I expect the cars would have been repainted before 1964.

Ted Culotta's web site is a good reference...
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/prototype/frtcars/1937aarpdfmain.html

The later 10'6" cars were far more numerous on Soo/WC. The old
Athearn 40' steel box car is actually correct for Soo & IC.

Tim O'Connor


I have acquired a steam era Soo Line boxcar kit, a custom Red
Caboose run offered through Des Plaines Hobbies some time ago.
Boxcar has black $oo Line herald, road number 136182, nominally
a 1937 AAR standard 10'-0" foot inside height car, built date
8-36.

- Would this boxcar have a Youngstown door or Superior door?
Especially after long service. My available Soo Line boxcar
photos all show later postwar cars, "SOO LINE" billboard
lettering, and all Youngstown doors.


- The 1964 equipment register shows half this series still in
revenue service. Is it plausible that the original Soo paint
would be on such a car after 25-30 years service??


Schuyler Larrabee
 

my aunt, an
english teacher, was busy correcting my grammer during the
trip.... :>

Regards,
Phil Buchwald

So, your grandmother was with you too?

;^)

SGL


Dennis Storzek
 

Re: [STMFC] Soo Line boxcar questions

Jim, if the car has Youngstown doors and S-corner ends, then
it's correct for these Soo/WC cars built in 1936.

I expect the cars would have been repainted before 1964.

Ted Culotta's web site is a good reference...
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/prototype/frtcars/1937aarpdfmain.html

The later 10'6" cars were far more numerous on Soo/WC. The old
Athearn 40' steel box car is actually correct for Soo & IC.

Tim O'Connor
Anything is possible, I suppose, but I tend to agree with Tim. The "$" herald with the black background was used on new steel cars built before and during WWII, even as the black background disappeared from cars the road was repainting in its own shops as an austerity move. When the Soo started assembling their own boxcars in 1948, these were built with car color backgrounds in the heralds, but I have never seen any evidence that any earlier steel cars were repainted such; the period of usage was too short, and the older cars were still too new to need repainting. The original 4' high "boxcar block" lettering was introduced midway through the 1951 production run, and became standard for all steel boxcars at that time. Lots of cars were repainted in this scheme, and the next, "boxcar block II" which changed the shape of the S. The Venus Bold lettering was developed shortly after the Soo, WC, and DSS&A merged in 1961, but not very many 40' boxcars were ever repainted into this scheme.

My personal recollection, dating from when I started railfanning the Soo in 1968, was that the $ was completely gone from steel boxcars at that time. I've never seen one, but have seen photos of cars with both black and FCR heralds behind diesels, so they did last well into the fifties. Of course some of the last cars to be repainted were those 1948 and early 1951 home builds, because they weren't very old at the time of the merger.

A word of caution; DPH run of custom Red Caboose cars had a strangely distorted herald; the parallelogram had too much angle, the result of working off a builder's photo that was made with a view camera's swings and tilts being employed. Go to"

http://www.sooline.org/home.html

The masthead has a cut of the $ herald for reference.


Dennis Storzek
Big Rock, IL


buchwaldfam <duff@...>
 

Yeah, they didn't get along too well... ;>

Phil Buchwald



--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Schuyler Larrabee"
<schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote:


my aunt, an
english teacher, was busy correcting my grammer during the
trip.... :>

Regards,
Phil Buchwald

So, your grandmother was with you too?

;^)

SGL


Schuyler Larrabee
 

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Dennis Storzek


The
original 4' high "boxcar block" lettering was introduced midway through the
1951 production run, and became standard for all steel boxcars at that
time. Lots of cars were repainted in this scheme, and the next, "boxcar
block II" which changed the shape of the S. The Venus Bold lettering was
developed shortly after the Soo, WC, and DSS&A merged in 1961, but not very
many 40' boxcars were ever repainted into this scheme.
Dennis, can you provide some photos (or links to them) that would clarify the difference between
"Boxcar Block," "Boxcar block II," and the Venus Bold versions?

I'm fairly sure I have the last firmly in mind, but I would like to be more sure about the first
two.

Thanks


SGL


Tim O'Connor
 

Phil,

Cars built as late as 1951 received the $ heralds. Most
likely, that is what you saw. A car built in 1936 would
have very likely been repainted by 1964. The original
question was about 1936 cars w/ black & white herald.

Tim O'Connor

I wish I could give you an exact date, but I saw several Soo Line
box cars standing on a bridge in central Wisconsin, still bearing
faded $ heralds. The thing that struck me, and created a lasting
memory was how they incorporated the dollar sign into the spelling
of a word....
I maintain that some cars were still around in well worn dollar
sign markings in 1964 and later.
Regards, Phil Buchwald


Tim O'Connor
 

Dennis

I hadn't heard of "block I/II" before, but for me the spotting
feature is the change from SOO LINE located close to the doors
to the later style where it was moved away from the doors. Does
that correspond to the block I/II styles?

Tim O'Connor


Dennis Storzek wrote

Anything is possible, I suppose, but I tend to agree with Tim. The "$"
herald with the black background was used on new steel cars built before
and during WWII, even as the black background disappeared from cars the
road was repainting in its own shops as an austerity move. When the Soo
started assembling their own boxcars in 1948, these were built with car
color backgrounds in the heralds, but I have never seen any evidence that
any earlier steel cars were repainted such; the period of usage was too
short, and the older cars were still too new to need repainting. The
original 4' high "boxcar block" lettering was introduced midway through the
1951 production run, and became standard for all steel boxcars at that
time. Lots of cars were repainted in this scheme, and the next, "boxcar
block II" which changed the shape of the S. The Venus Bold lettering was
developed shortly after the Soo, WC, and DSS&A merged in 1961, but not very
many 40' boxcars were ever repainted into this scheme.


Dennis Storzek
 

Dennis, can you provide some photos (or links to them) that would clarify the
difference between
"Boxcar Block," "Boxcar block II," and the Venus Bold versions?

I'm fairly sure I have the last firmly in mind, but I would like to be more
sure
about the first
two.

Thanks

SGL
What a pain to find pix. I never knew there were so many pictures of Soo Line covered hoppers in existence. It seems color slides weren't invented until all the good stuff was gone :-( The Soo Line Historical & Technical Society used to have a info sheet for their "Technicals" line of decals that illustrated all the changes to boxcar lettering step by step, but it's not on the web any longer.

Here is the original "boxcar block", introduced in 1951. note the sloping center bar in the S.. This is one of the 1953 home built cars.
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo137246ajs.jpg

Here is the second iteration of the "boxcar block", introduced about 1959, perhaps on this series of cars. Note the bar in the S is parallel to the ground.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=772461

Here is the Venus Bold lettering introduced on locomotives in 1962. This insulated boxcar with DF loaders was built at North Fond du Lac in 1956
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo176815.jpg

Here is an example of what started this thread; the car was built in 1940, and is still in its original paint in 1960.
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo44052ajs.jpg

As built, the herald had a black background, which has almost completely weathered away. However, I can see enough vestiges of dark color around the lettering in the herald to feel confident that this is the original paint, not a repaint in the 1948 scheme.

Now, what are the chances that a car built four years earlier would still be in it's original paint four years later?


Dennis Storzek
Big Rock, IL


Bruce Smith
 

On Jun 30, 2008, at 8:02 AM, Dennis Storzek wrote:
Here is an example of what started this thread; the car was built in 1940,
and is still in its original paint in 1960.
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo44052ajs.jpg

As built, the herald had a black background, which has almost completely
weathered away. However, I can see enough vestiges of dark color around the
lettering in the herald to feel confident that this is the original paint,
not a repaint in the 1948 scheme.

Now, what are the chances that a car built four years earlier would still
be in it's original paint four years later?
Dennis,
The photo is caption with a 1966 date. I can't read the reweigh, but if it agrees, then that half of the equation is complete <G>. And of course, right next to it is an example of "Brock's rule" a nicely weathered steam era freight car from the Northern Pacific <G>.

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/index.pl/bruce_f._smith2

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
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Dennis Storzek
 


Dennis

I hadn't heard of "block I/II" before, but for me the spotting
feature is the change from SOO LINE located close to the doors
to the later style where it was moved away from the doors. Does
that correspond to the block I/II styles?

Tim O'Connor
Tim, as far as I know, all the placement variations were with the original block lettering, and occurred during a couple month period in 1951 or early 1952. The original use of the block lettering had it placed just below the top plate of the carside and very close to the door. After some limited production (no one has ever, to my knowledge, been able to determine the start and end number of each variation) the two words were spread out further from the door for better balance, but still up tight to the top plate. Someone must have then wondered how the scheme was going to fit on the older, lower steel boxcars when it came time to repaint them, so the placement changed again, placing the lettering the same height from the rail as it would be on the 9'-4" IH 1932 design cars (which came to the Soo in 1936) when the lettering was placed as high as possible on those cars. So, a whole string of boxcars on the Soo had all the lettering in a straight line, even though the roof line varied.

AFAIK there was never a variation with the lettering placed in the lower position but close to the door, but it wouldn't surprise me.

I've never heard a good reason for the change in the shape of the S in the block lettering (I believe there were also subtle changes in the shape of the other letters, also.) Perhaps Pullman-Standard did it when the built one small group of 40' PS-1s in 1958. Interestingly, when the road decided to use block lettering on the remaining plywood sheathed wood cabooses starting in the very late sixties, they went back to the original 1951 version of the block lettering, even though the Venus Bold had been standard on EVERYTHING since 1962.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo99024abp.jpg

This lettering is smaller than that which was used on the boxcars. I suspect the block lettering fit between the windows better than the Venus Bold would, and the decision of which style block lettering to use was simply a matter of which drawing the draftsman got his hands on first.





Dennis Storzek
Big Rock, IL


Dennis Storzek
 


Dennis,
The photo is caption with a 1966 date. I can't read the reweigh, but
if it agrees, then that half of the equation is complete <G>. And of
course, right next to it is an example of "Brock's rule" a nicely
weathered steam era freight car from the Northern Pacific <G>.

Regards
Bruce
Oh, so it does. I originally found this same image on another site, and the caption there said 1/1/1960. While searching for other photos to illustrate the other schemes, I found this version with somewhat better color balance, so substituted the link.

Another interesting thing to note in this photo is that the reporting mark and number appear to have been re-stenciled for better legibility without painting the whole car. That used to be pretty common, but I haven't seen it now for years.



Dennis Storzek
Big Rock, IL


Tim O'Connor
 

I can't read the reweigh either, and many of Jim Sands' photos date
from 1966, but I have seen several cases where Jim himself clearly
misdated his scans. For one thing, he sometimes returned to an old
slide and rescanned it, and gave it a new date. So don't take Jim's
scan dates as gospel.

Tim O'Connor

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Bruce Smith <smithbf@auburn.edu>

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo44052ajs.jpg
Dennis,
The photo is caption with a 1966 date. I can't read the reweigh, but
if it agrees, then that half of the equation is complete


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, timboconnor@... wrote:


I can't read the reweigh either, and many of Jim Sands' photos date
from 1966, but I have seen several cases where Jim himself clearly
misdated his scans. For one thing, he sometimes returned to an old
slide and rescanned it, and gave it a new date. So don't take Jim's
scan dates as gospel.

Tim O'Connor

OK, you got me interested, so I opened the image in Photoshop. It
looks like the last reweigh was 11 - 63, based on the fact that the
stencil bars are symmetrical on both the top and bottom of the second
digit, and the only number this is normally true for is 3. That means
the 1960 caption date is clearly wrong, and the 1966 one could be
correct. So if the original poster feels like stretching it to a 1936
car and doing a real bang-up weathering job, I'm not going to argue.
The newer stenciling for the reporting marks is kinda cool anyway.

Dennis