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Throwback Thursday: Athearn Rolling Stock Ad, Model Railroader, February 1959


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Ben and Dave,

At least two ATSF way cars ended their days on the Central California Traction Co. as CCT 24-25. Originally repainted all-silver in the mid-1960s, later a black stripe along the windows was added. They ended up a brilliant red with huge heralds in the 1970s. The CCT was owned equally by the WP, SP and ATSF, and often drew their equipment from the parent roads.

Enclosed is one of my late father's (Glenn G. Groff) photos from around 1967.


Yours Aye,


Garth Groff





On 4/12/19 3:06 PM, Benjamin Hom wrote:
Dave Lawler wrote:
"I believe the Athe[a]rn, ATSF offset cupola steel caboose is a reasonable stand in for a group of Grand Trunk Western cars."

They should be - GTW acquired 34 ex-ATSF waycars and kept them in service into the 1990s.  Here's a model done by George Dutka.

Ben Hom


Tony Thompson
 

Steve Hile wrote:

Here is a snap shot of the metal car.  It would appear that they were only made for a brief time, as I see a 1954 ad in MR listing 40 and 50 foot flat cars as new.  Just a few years later, Athearn moved into plastic.

     Ah, mine is different. I have always thought mine to be a Varney, with a one-piece metal body that is folded to shape, with stake pockets pressed outward (that is, they are part of the body, not a separate strip). Photo below.

Tony Thompson



Tim O'Connor
 


You're right! :-D Athearn shared the roof + ends mold with their other reefer - a wood
sheathed rebuild with steel ends and roof. Some have said it's an R-40-24 but...


On 4/12/2019 4:40 PM, Garth Groff wrote:
Tim,

Thanks for digging this list out. If it is being edited in any way, let me note the ends of the 40' steel reefer don't match the photos in Tony's PFE book. The Athearn car has 4/3 ends. The R-40-23 had 3/3 ends.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff



--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Craig Wilson
 

The Athearn 50-foot flatcar has proved useful for kitbash projects too.

Way back when the Intermountain 70-ton flatcar was just a twinkle in their eye, I kitbashed a couple of 70-ton, 15 stake pocket flatcars by cutting up two Athearn 50-foot flatcar kits and splicing them back together (tossing the ends with the brake stands).  The cuts were offset and not directly across from each other and I made a replacement deck out of Evergreen styrene sheet.  Made for a reasonably credible model since nothing else was close.  The Ann Arbor RR got several of these second-hand from the DT&I (900-949) which were all modified for specific service.  The DT&I had rebuilt four of them with bulkhead ends for hauling pipe - on the AA they were used for "hardboard" (Masonite).  Others got modified stake pockets and side racks installed for hauling telephone poles.  These racks could be moved to different positions on the cars to accommodate different lengths of poles (they are not movable on the models as they wouldn't stand up to the handling).

I had copies of drawings of the stake pockets and side racks from the DT&I engineering dept. which I used to build a couple of models:

I have seen photos of NP and Soo Line cars which appear to have similar, if not identical, stake pockets and racks which leads me to surmise that these were a commercial product and not home-shop fabricated.

The Athearn kitbash also produced a 70-ton DT&I flatcar loaded with 10 Wiking tractors ("Ferguson" models which are very close to the Ford N tractors in a prototype photo).  I call it my "$80 load on a $10 flatcar" since I picked up the two Athearn flatcars for $5 each at a swap meet.  I have toyed with the idea of replacing this kitbashed flatcar with the nicer Intermountain model but haven't worked up the ambition to redo all the wheel chocks and tie-down cables.

Craig Wilson


Dennis Storzek
 

On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 04:20 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:
You're right! :-D Athearn shared the roof + ends mold with their other reefer - a wood
sheathed rebuild with steel ends and roof. Some have said it's an R-40-24 but...
Tim has hit upon the reason why it has been so difficult to track down prototypes for the Athearn "blue box" cars.

While the kits are one piece bodies, the injection mold cavity inserts that form the roof, sides, and ends are five separate pieces, and this opened the door to mix 'n match the inserts with new pieces to make future kits... Especially the ends. Given the toolmaking techniques available in those pre-CNC, pre-EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) days, those ends ate the lion's share of the tooling budget, so it made sense to re-use them over and over again. In those long ago days of much less research and a much less sophisticated market, the fact that the rib pattern might be slightly different was not a concern. Once this path was chosen, the fact that the ends were for a 10'-5" car and and some prototypes were only 10'-0" tall was dealt with by simply stretching the sides upward 5" to fit. Those same ends seem to have been used on the 50' boxcars, also.

Another oddity that no one has mentioned is the 50' boxcar roofs all seem to be missing a panel, being 14 panels rather than the correct 15. The panels themselves should be the same width as those on the 40' car, but are not. I have no idea why.

Dennis Storzek


mopacfirst
 

All of this brings to mind my days of modifying Athearn cars, since they and MDC were the only games in town.  In about 1970 I made a Santa Fe Fe-26 (40' double door box) by cutting up the Athearn model of the Fe-24 50' double door car.  I took one panel out of each side, with corresponding cuts in the roof.  This resulted in a 43' car, but it was distinctive and as far as I know, no one who saw it in that era ever realized the difference.  Even better, it was painted boxcar red as far as I can recall because the Floquil mineral red hadn't appeared yet.

The mention of the 14 roof panels triggered this memory.  I must have cut the panels in such a way as to preserve the spacing of the panels, because I worked with two end-roof-side pieces.

I may still have this car.  All of my Athearn cars that once operated on the club layout I belonged to are in one box somewhere.

Ron Merrick


gary laakso
 

When Central Valley offered their fully detailed underbody for Atheran box cars, I used them to replace virtually all of my blue box boxcar under frames.  

Gary Laakso
Northwest of Mike Brock


On Apr 13, 2019, at 7:30 PM, mopacfirst <ron.merrick@...> wrote:

All of this brings to mind my days of modifying Athearn cars, since they and MDC were the only games in town.  In about 1970 I made a Santa Fe Fe-26 (40' double door box) by cutting up the Athearn model of the Fe-24 50' double door car.  I took one panel out of each side, with corresponding cuts in the roof.  This resulted in a 43' car, but it was distinctive and as far as I know, no one who saw it in that era ever realized the difference.  Even better, it was painted boxcar red as far as I can recall because the Floquil mineral red hadn't appeared yet.

The mention of the 14 roof panels triggered this memory.  I must have cut the panels in such a way as to preserve the spacing of the panels, because I worked with two end-roof-side pieces.

I may still have this car.  All of my Athearn cars that once operated on the club layout I belonged to are in one box somewhere.

Ron Merrick


Tim O'Connor
 

And Dennis, wasn't that roof panels mistake repeated on the original Proto 2000 50 foot car ?
Inexplicible mistake in both cases, assuming both of them had either photos or drawings to work from.

Tim O'Connor

===================================

Another oddity that no one has mentioned is the 50' boxcar roofs all seem to be missing a panel, being 14 panels rather than the correct 15. The panels themselves should be the same width as those on the 40' car, but are not. I have no idea why. Dennis Storzek



--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*