C&O Ralston Covered Hopper
I am a bit befuddled by this and am hoping that someone in this group might has information on this group of cars.
In 1949 the Chesapeake and Ohio received a group of 500 covered hoppers from Ralston Steel Car Co in Columbus, Ohio. They were numbered 800-1299. I have a some what poorly printed copy of the builders photo. It shows the car with gray paint and black lettering with the 1948 C&O for Progress herald. The standard at the time on the C&O was black paint with white lettering. I have the lettering diagram for this series which has a note saying "All letters and figures to be in white paint". The lettering drawing was last updated in 1955 when the herald was changed to the 1954 style. This drawing is also marked obsolete 11/57. My guess is that is when they switched over from black paint to gray paint. Cars in later series were delivered in black with white lettering. I have been through the entire C&OHS photo archive with the search "covered hopper/s" and there are no other images of this series with the 1948 herald in either black or gray paint.
I have HO cars from Bowser, Kato and Intermountain for this series of cars, all of them in black paint with white lettering. I wonder what they are using for reference?
So I guess what I am wondering is the car in this photo white-washed just for the builders photo, a one off experimental scheme or was the entire series was painted like this. The gray trucks make me think it was one of the first 2 options.
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Bruce Hendrick wrote:Builder photos were taken when convenient. Sometimes it would be the first car built, often a car somewhere in the middle, and sometimes a car near the end of a number series. Also, you need to be aware that car numbers did not always reflect the ORDER of construction. If one part of an order needed one particular specialty, it might be delayed, so cars could easily be built out of number sequence.
It is interesting to me that a car so near the end of the series is getting a builders photo. One explanation might be that C&O was experimenting to see how a gray car would look, and more importantly, how it would hold up. Gray was, of course, much more common for covered hoppers than black on most roads.
But most important, cars (and steam locomotives) that would have final paint that was dark were ROUTINELY photographed in “builder gray,” a water-base paint that was hosed off after the photos were taken. Such builder photos CANNOT mean that any cars were delivered in gray.
I came across this image showing a car from this series with black paint, 1948 herald and white lettering. While I can't be 100% certain that the 1143 was painted in builders gray just for the photo shoot, I feel pretty confident that these cars were delivered with black paint just as the painting and lettering diagram suggests.
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