Saturday, June 5, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Lots of interesting things in this photo

This photo of Clyde Yard from the Newberry Library from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy collection. The image was recorded by Russell Lee in May, 1948.

In the image below, I have overlaid text to highlight some of the details. Views of roofs are especially interesting as they illustrate the diversity of types, as well as the differing heights of cars. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

When is a Monon Box Car not a Monon Box Car?


John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

This photo was recently posted at the Barriger's flickr site. It immediately grabbed my attention because I knew from the car number and details that it was not a Monon car. CIL 9147 was a 1937 AAR-design car, like CIL 9157 shown below. Monon's 1947-built cars were different, as well, with welded sides and Improved Dreadnaught ends with full-width top ribs and that group of cars also had either Superior or Improved Youngstown doors. I love this type of challenge. Fortunately, I knew immediately what it was, but as an A+ geometry student in high school, I like working through the proof.

This is what CIL 9147 would have looked like, including the National B-1 trucks:

Big Four Graphics

Here are the details that I used to arrive at the real prototype (highlighted in the image below):

  • "Bow-tie" arrangement of rivets at the bolsters
  • Pre-war Youngstown doors
  • Abbreviated top rib in Improved Dreadnaught ends
  • "Kinked" right ladder stile
  • Capacity data fully spelled out, along with type style

The conclusion: CIL 9147 was actually a CB&Q postwar car from the XM-32 family of box cars (note that while the prototype shown below has Improved Youngstown doors, there were cars in this group with pre-war Youngstown doors; I just don't have a good photo of one!) The Monon marketing team no doubt doctored the photo to promote their service to Old Forester. Case closed... Columbo solves the crime again! Book 'em Danno

Al Hoffman Collection

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Plywood Sheathed Freight Cars: Protoypes and Models

Here are the links to my files on plywood sheathed freight car prototypes and models as presented at Hindsight 20/20 6.0 on January 09, 2021. 

Youtube video

.pdf file

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bill Welch


Courtesy of John Golden

I lost one of my best friends on Sunday, November 15 when Bill Welch succumbed to cancer. He was a kind soul, a kindred spirit, and a companion of almost 25 years. 

I met Bill in 1996 at the Friends of the Freight Car dinner in conjunction with the NMRA convention at Long Beach. He and I were both new to the freight car "mafia" modeling community so we shared a bond as the slightly awkward entrants to a party where others knew each other well. From that point on, we were roommates at just about every RPM event we attended together, including more Napervilles, Cocoa Beaches and St. Louises than I can count, as well as other meets from time to time. We would often muse about our "Christmas morning" when the Sunshine sales room would open at Naperville, with all the new releases for that year. Before turning off the lights at night we would peruse each other's stacks of photos that we had acquired that day, making notes about ones we, too, wanted and discussing the modeling possibilities.

Bill shared my love for World War Two era aircraft (and modeling). We were also "tool guys" seeking the latest gadget to aid our modeling efforts. Baseball was another deep love in common and we both shared many conversations over the winters, close to our "hot stoves" discussing trades and signings and the fates of his Dodgers and my Red Sox. We spent countless hours discussing politics and policy, as well, both being passionately interested in the subjects. He was a "breakfast person," too, and I will always remember his quest to find good places for early morning grub wherever we were.

I will miss him deeply. He approached every day with a positive spirit and attitude and couldn't wait to share that with others. As a minister, it is interesting to note that some of his greatest sermons were about detailing models, overcoming the paralysis one can face when tackling a project, and his love of airbrushes and painting and releasing that zeal in others. Of course, he also preached about the Fruit Growers consortium. I am humbled to carry that torch to bring his work to fruition as a book. I am deeply honored to be able to make his vision and passion a reality for others.

There is a virtual celebration of Bill's life and legacy planned for December 9th (details will be shared at all the various lists, Facebook, and the Speedwitch site.) He touched many lives as a photojournalist, minister, and modeler as well as a friend to many.

Rest in Peace, my friend. I can't imagine the RPMs without you. I hope wherever you are, the Sunshine tables are filled with lots of new releases!

One of Bill's last projects

Monday, October 26, 2020

PRR Transition Era Gondola Fleet presentation files


My presentation from Hindsight 20/20 4.0 this past weekend can be viewed as a youtube video or just the presentation file in .pdf format. Enjoy and all feedback is welcome