GN Airslides, color(s) of lettering


Tim O'Connor
 

I've heard lots of stories like that, but I'm incredulous -- even a
lowly underpaid office worker probably understands that glossy photos
have a reasonable resale value. Yes, a manager might have said "throw
those out" .. and they subsequently end up in the trunk of some employee
automobile. Every now and then on Ebay I've seen GATC 8x10 glossy prints
for sale -- bought a couple myself. They were official company photos.

Tim O'Connor



Subsequently I have been told that all the historical records and photos
went into a dumpster some years ago.
Thomas N. Birkett, PE
Bartlesville, OK


Tim O'Connor
 

There is another excellent photo of a brand new GN #71903 on page 31
of the Four Ways West Great Northern Freight Car Pictorial Volume 2.
This photo is not in the RP Cyc. The car looks very new, and the
lettering (ALL of it, including the herald) definitely looks "other
than black" to me. I would actually have guessed bright red, if Steffan
had not found the drawing that says it was "box car" red.

Tim O'Connor



We know that black & white photos can be tricky to interpret, and I'll
happily stand corrected by defering to painting/lettering diagrams if
they can be located. The AFE may well be correct about the use of box
car red stencils, but on gray Airslide cars built in 1954-1955 this
color would be pretty unusual.

Regards,
Ed Hawkins


spsalso
 

Tom,

Thanks for responding. I wouldn't be shocked if all the pertinent info really was tossed.

I was at the PR office of the Port of Oakland one day when they were throwing out most of their old "stuff" because they were moving to a new space with less storage. I jokingly offered to take it all, and they said that would be fine. But I didn't have the space either. I did snag a rather ratted out photo mural of an SP SW1500 on the docks coupled to a couple of container flats sprinkled with one each of 20' boxes owned by their various tenants at the time of the photo. I should study it and try to figure out when it was shot.


Ed

Edward Sutorik


spsalso
 

Ed,

Thanks for responding.

When I first noticed that the herald on the artwork for the Athearn GN car was wrong, I wrote to Athearn to warn them of the error. They responded that their artwork was based on photos from RPC Vol. 17. I looked there and noted that their artwork did not match the photos. While looking at the shots of 71904, it appeared to me that there might be a red background in the herald. After all, it was there in all the later airslides and, I think, all GN grey grain cars. But I also know the "mind can fool the eye". And the difference in shading in the pictures is strikingly small, if it exists at all. I decided to scan the two pictures and compare the grey in the background area with the grey adjacent. I found the herald area to be slightly darker and decided that was evidence for the red background.

BUT, a gent scanned a portion of his copy of the builder's photo of the car; and, with that one, I can find either minimal or no difference in shading.

So there is a contradiction. To that I say "Double-darn". And more.

There seem to be three possiblities for the lettering of the first batch of cars: black paint with red herald background, black paint, or box car red paint. Right now, to me it's a coin toss. Triple-darn.

The photo in the book of 71916 of the second batch exhibits problems too. The herald background is certainly NOT the car color (as it possibly is in the earlier example). My first thought was that it was an experimental herald with the goat in a color (red?) and the herald background in black, as is the car lettering. But I came upon another explanation for the "experimental" herald: Perhaps it is red, and that red is recorded as a VERY dark grey because the photographer used a filter to bring out the background that failed to show up in the photos of 71904. So, the shade of grey of the goat conceivably matches the lettering while the red records as a much darker grey due to the filter.

Sadly, this makes another double-darn, 'cause I can't see how to pick one over the other.

I suggested to Athearn that they ought to someday (soon) do GN airslides in the later scheme, as it was around for a much longer time span. And kinda looks cooler, too. And the lettering colors can easily be determined. Here's hopin'!!!!


Ed

Edward Sutorik

--- In STMFC@..., Ed Hawkins <hawk0621@...> wrote:


Ed,
I have been in touch with Staffan Ehnbom, and he brought it to my
attention a copy of an AFE pertaining to the 71900-71909 series having
box car red stencils rather than black as I had indicated in my photo
caption in RP CYC Vol. 17.

Truth be told, I made an assumption about the color of the lettering
based on the vast majority of Airslide cars built during the 1954-1956
time period that were painted gray with black stencils (not all, but a
large percentage). I carefully looked at the original images and could
not see any reason to believe the lettering on both series of cars was
other than black. I also looked at color photos in the GN color guide
book in hopes of finding a color photo of the cars. All of the covered
hopper photos were taken in the 1960s (or later) having the slant Great
Northern. All of these were gray cars having black stencils, which
further backed my assumption about black stencils.

We know that black & white photos can be tricky to interpret, and I'll
happily stand corrected by defering to painting/lettering diagrams if
they can be located. The AFE may well be correct about the use of box
car red stencils, but on gray Airslide cars built in 1954-1955 this
color would be pretty unusual.

The circular GN emblem on the first series appears to be a single color
(black or the same color as the rest of the stencils) without a colored
background. The second series, GN 71910-71924, clearly has a colored
background (likely red) surrounding the goat on the inner circle.
Otherwise, both series of cars were lettered essentially the same
except the latter series stating "ROLLER BEARINGS" under the road name.

Regarding trucks, the first series used plain-bearing 50-ton Barber S-2
trucks. The second series used 50-ton Barber S-2 with Timken roller
bearings.

Let's hope that someone has the documentation that specifies the colors
so that the model Athearn produces can be accurately painted and
lettered. I've heard there are a lot of GN drawings at the Minnesota
Historical Society, so that's a possibility.

What I would relish is the opportunity to gain access to the GATC
archives of drawings and bills of materials, presuming they still
exist. I'd be there in a heartbeat if anyone could verify the existence
of such a data repository and a way of gaining access. I've been told
by what I believe are two reliable sources as recent as 5 years ago
that the technical data still existed for GATC's freight cars built at
E. Chicago. My repeated efforts to discuss the matter with anyone at
the current company (GATX Leasing) has fallen on deaf ears.
Regards,
Ed Hawkins

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


Tom Birkett <tnbirke@...>
 

Ed

I am and have been a customer of GATX for many years. About 5 years ago I
started trying to gain access to their photo archives, which I assumed to be
in Chicago and assumed to still exist. Through my sales rep who was a 40
year veteran at the time I learned that their PR Department controlled
access. Repeated calls were not returned so I gave up.

Subsequently I have been told that all the historical records and photos
went into a dumpster some years ago. I expect that one of the public
libraries in the Sharon, PA area probably has some tank car photos, but I
haven't found the right one to ask yet.

The freight car business at E. Chicago may have a different outcome, but I
am beginning to wonder if there is anything anywhere. Would they have been
so thoughtful as AC&F.

Thomas N. Birkett, PE

Bartlesville, OK


Ed Hawkins
 

On Aug 29, 2011, at 7:16 PM, spsalso wrote:

The below has been on the GN group for a few days. I thought I'd bring
it here to a wider group.

Athearn has announced GN airslides. The artwork they show if for GN
71904 (series 71900-71909). These were built 11/54 and were GN's first
airslides. I thought the herald looked a little funny on their
artwork. It turned out that it was, but the investigation has kinda
grown:

GN's AFE called for boxcar red paint, RPC Vol. 17 says the paint was
black.
The herald may or may not have the typical red background behind the
goat--VERY hard to tell.
I'm asking the members of this group if they can help resolve the
above conflicts.
Athearn is also planning on doing these cars as GN 71926 and 71947
(series GN 71925-71949). More wondering:
Did these cars have roller bearing trucks like the second GN series
or plain like the first?
If they had roller bearing trucks, was that proudly noted as it was
on the second series?
Were these cars lettered in the later slant-serif style or the early
simple block lettering style?
Inquiring minds want to know (yes, there's actually more than one
person who cares).
Ed,
I have been in touch with Staffan Ehnbom, and he brought it to my
attention a copy of an AFE pertaining to the 71900-71909 series having
box car red stencils rather than black as I had indicated in my photo
caption in RP CYC Vol. 17.

Truth be told, I made an assumption about the color of the lettering
based on the vast majority of Airslide cars built during the 1954-1956
time period that were painted gray with black stencils (not all, but a
large percentage). I carefully looked at the original images and could
not see any reason to believe the lettering on both series of cars was
other than black. I also looked at color photos in the GN color guide
book in hopes of finding a color photo of the cars. All of the covered
hopper photos were taken in the 1960s (or later) having the slant Great
Northern. All of these were gray cars having black stencils, which
further backed my assumption about black stencils.

We know that black & white photos can be tricky to interpret, and I'll
happily stand corrected by defering to painting/lettering diagrams if
they can be located. The AFE may well be correct about the use of box
car red stencils, but on gray Airslide cars built in 1954-1955 this
color would be pretty unusual.

The circular GN emblem on the first series appears to be a single color
(black or the same color as the rest of the stencils) without a colored
background. The second series, GN 71910-71924, clearly has a colored
background (likely red) surrounding the goat on the inner circle.
Otherwise, both series of cars were lettered essentially the same
except the latter series stating "ROLLER BEARINGS" under the road name.

Regarding trucks, the first series used plain-bearing 50-ton Barber S-2
trucks. The second series used 50-ton Barber S-2 with Timken roller
bearings.

Let's hope that someone has the documentation that specifies the colors
so that the model Athearn produces can be accurately painted and
lettered. I've heard there are a lot of GN drawings at the Minnesota
Historical Society, so that's a possibility.

What I would relish is the opportunity to gain access to the GATC
archives of drawings and bills of materials, presuming they still
exist. I'd be there in a heartbeat if anyone could verify the existence
of such a data repository and a way of gaining access. I've been told
by what I believe are two reliable sources as recent as 5 years ago
that the technical data still existed for GATC's freight cars built at
E. Chicago. My repeated efforts to discuss the matter with anyone at
the current company (GATX Leasing) has fallen on deaf ears.
Regards,
Ed Hawkins


spsalso
 

The below has been on the GN group for a few days. I thought I'd bring it here to a wider group.

Athearn has announced GN airslides. The artwork they show if for GN 71904 (series 71900-71909). These were built 11/54 and were GN's first airslides. I thought the herald looked a little funny on their artwork. It turned out that it was, but the investigation has kinda grown:

GN's AFE called for boxcar red paint, RPC Vol. 17 says the paint was black.

The herald may or may not have the typical red background behind the goat--VERY hard to tell.

I'm asking the members of this group if they can help resolve the above conflicts.


Athearn is also planning on doing these cars as GN 71926 and 71947 (series GN 71925-71949). More wondering:

Did these cars have roller bearing trucks like the second GN series or plain like the first?

If they had roller bearing trucks, was that proudly noted as it was on the second series?

Were these cars lettered in the later slant-serif style or the early simple block lettering style?


Inquiring minds want to know (yes, there's actually more than one person who cares).


Ed

Edward Sutorik