Thursday, November 7, 2019

McKeesport Connecting Railroad 1000-series 50-foot Gondolas

ACF Industries, Hawkins/Wider/Long Collection
The McKeesport Connecting Railroad was part of the U.S. Steel family of railroads and its very modest fleet of cars reflected that affiliation. It received 100 fifty-foot gons from American Car & Foundry in 1941 that were similar to cars received by other USS roads. The cars were placed in the 1000-1099 series. They had fairly low sides, steel floors, fixed Dreadnaught ends, and fishbelly center sills, among other details. They were painted in a decidedly gray (not black) color: Scully #320 black graphite and as delivered featured a Pratt & Lambert "Vitralex" red circle as part of the company monogram.

The cars did have some unusual details, many of which are called out in the graphical photo overlay above. Note the grab arrangement in the in service photo below.

John W. Barriger National Railroad Library flickr site, TRRA of St. Louis album
Funaro & Camerlengo offers HO scale resin model kits for these cars. There are a few details that need to be addressed/corrected for an accurate model:

  • Grab iron mounting arrangements at corners of sides and ends (note that these were simplified for many cars by the early to mid-1950s; scratchbuild on model)
  • USS-style towing loop/jacking pads and route card holders (spare etchings from Speedwitch B&LE box car kit)
  • Universal 5700 XL power hand brake with M1704 wheel (from Intermountain covered hopper kit)
  • Collapsible stake pockets (model includes them; prototype did not have them; will model a car with a load to hide interior, but must remove rivets from exterior of sides)
  • Red circle in the as-built scheme (small custom decal project!)
I will highlight the modeling of a car in coming posts. Here are photos of my model in its current state (not very far along!):
Reservoirs and AB valve installed and piped with 0.010" wire
Floor glued in place; not collapsible stake pockets (not correct for this prototype)
Etchings for towing loops/jacking pads and route card holders

Other photos:
MKCRR 1029 - Ed Wilkommen Collection of Lake States Railway Historical Association - note replacement Equipco hand wheel
MKCRR 1042 - Jack Whitmeyer Collection (small image)

I plan to bring this to Cocoa Beach as a finished model, including pipe load

BIG thank you to Ed Hawkins for his help with the prototype information

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