Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Southern Pacific Lines B-50-15 and -16 Box Cars


several members of the B-50-15/-16 classes, early 1950s, ebay "grab" image, photographer not known

Recently, there has been considerable discussion in forums and social media about the forthcoming Rapido SP Lines HO scale B-50-15 and -16 box cars. I thought it a good time to post some information about the prototypes. I am also including recent photos of the models, while avoiding any conjecture about the accuracy of what Rapido may or may not have produced until I actually have the two models that I ordered in my possession.

B-50-16 SP 37352 in Los Angeles ca. 1936-7, Michael Urac Collection

The design of the cars was a derivative of the American Railway Association's ARA 4D design for a single sheathed box car. The SP (as well as the Santa Fe in the Bx-11/-12/-13 classes) constructed cars that were taller than the ARA design. The SP modified the ARA underframe, as well. One other important feature is that the cars used 3-1/4" sheathing boards, which was not unheard of, but was far less common than 5-1/8" or 5-1/4" boards.

B-50-15 T&NO 53395 in Los Angeles ca. 1936-7, Michael Urac Collection. Note the different Camel-Allen door hardware, common to the T&NO cars

I have included a table herein that I created using the excellent Southern Pacific Freight Cars Volume 4: Box Cars (revised edition) by Anthony Thompson (2006, 2014, Signature Press, although Signature ceased operations at the end of 2022; copies can be found on the secondary markets.) Also, there are many photos, including detailed images, from the Michael Urac Collection on Focus on Freight Cars, Volumes One and Nine from Speedwitch Media (note: Vol. Nine is being reprinted and will be available again by July 1, 2023.)

Standard Steel Car
Murphy Radial
Bettendorf T-section
Camel no. 32
SP15230-15979750Chicago-Cleveland Viking
ML&T36210-365093001925-6T&NOB-50-15Murphy RadialArch barCamel-Allen
ML&T53060-535595001925Standard Steel CarB-50-15Hutchins Dry LadingBettendorf T-sectionCamel-Allen
SP20000-204995001926SP - SacramentoB-50-15Hutchins Dry LadingColumbia Steel T-sectionCamel no. 32
Pullman Car Mfg
Chicago-Cleveland Viking
ASF T-section
Camel no. 32
SP32160-32659500Hutchins Dry Lading
SP37340-378395001927-8SP - SacramentoB-50-16Chicago-Cleveland VikingColumbia Steel T-sectionCamel no. 32
SD&A7000-700231927SP - SacramentoB-50-16Chicago-Cleveland VikingColumbia Steel T-sectionCamel no. 32
SP - Sacramento
Murphy Radial
TCI&R Co. T-section
T&NO53960-54059100Youngstown steel with Camel-Allen no. 35 fixtures


  • all B-50-15 were built with Murphy corrugated ends, 7 corrugations in the top panel and 9 in the bottom
  • all B-50-16 were built with Dreadnaught ends, 3 main corrugations in the top panel and 5 in the bottom
  • some, but not all of the B-50-15s, were equipped with small lumber doors in the A end of the cars
  • Kingpin-to-striker distance on the B-50-15 was 5'0" vs. the B-50-16 distance of 5'6". The structural members on the sides were relocated and adjusted to accommodate this difference
  • edit: notes about the Murphy radial roof
B-50-15 SP 14721 displays the postwar Overnight scheme of black car with yellow & black SP medallion above the reporting marks and red, yellow & black Overnight logo on the right side of the car. Note the power hand brake and ASF A-3 trucks. The stencil to the left of the door reads, "RETURN TO NWP"

These cars also enjoyed a period of notoriety due to rebuilding and special paint schemes for use in head end and "Overnight" LCL (in conjunction with SP subsidiary Pacific Motor Trucking [PMT]) services. Beginning in late 1935 through early 1936 and continuing through late 1941, 472 cars were modified. This included specialties for passenger service, as well as steel sheathing in place of the wood for most cars. Head end cars were painted dark olive with gold lettering while the "Overnight" cars were painted black with Daylight orange lettering and trim. The story continued including suspension of the Overnight LCL service during the war as well as postwar repaintings once Overnight LCL service resumed, but more detail is best left to the excellent Thompson book.

Steel sheathed B-50-15 SP 15294, ca. 1940, Charles Winters Collection

Steel sheathed B-50-16 SP 37356, ca. 1950, Paul Koehler Collection

In addition to the cars that were steel sheathed as referenced above, 930 class B-50-15 and 200 class B-50-16 box cars in general freight service were steel sheathed. Between 1950 and 1956, 775 more cars from these two classes were steel sheathed and also received replacement Murphy panel or diagonal panel roofs.

B-50-15 SP 20197 in cement service (note small hatch near left end on roof) ca. 1954, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo. The bulkheads fitted in these cars are illustrated in the Thompson book

San Diego & Arizona Eastern 7000 was one of three B-50-16s on their roster, San Diego, CA, Oct. 2, 1954, Will Whittaker photo

ebay "grab" of right side of an SP B-50-16

Sunshine Models offered an extensive line of SP and T&NO B-50-15 class HO scale kits that covered almost all known variations of the cars. These still appear on the secondary markets and have become (relatively) affordable in light of the Rapido announcement. Westerfield has also re-released many of these in one-piece body castings. Bill Welch authored an article about using the Sunshine Models kits to replicate T&NO B-50-13A and B-50-15 box cars in Prototype Railroad Modeling, Volume Three.

Photos of the Rapido models recorded at the 2023 NERPM are included below. These should still be considered test shots and not "final" models.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Dalman-Andrews Trucks in HO scale


Top of the bolster and sideframes, at left, and bottom, including brake lever detail

Note: this post was edited after posting to include additional information, including in the comments section. Thanks to all who shared info.

Custom Model Depot has released an HO scale version of the distinctive Dalman-Andrews truck used by several railroads. The trucks are solid one-piece sideframes and bolsters with brake levers and shoes, comprised of "nylon like" 3D-printed resin. The detail, while not like a Tahoe Model Works or Kato truck, is a lot better than the Cape Line trucks of years past and is certainly acceptable, especially given the distinctive nature of the prototype. (note: I am not certain if CMD has worked out the kinks of their web site yet; I was able to manually order via email and submit a paypal payment as opposed to a more typical ecommerce checkout. I did order some vehicles, too, and will profile those in a separate, future post.)

The trucks above were fitted with Reboxx 1.020" length axle. 0.088" tread with wheelsets. I filed little notches in one of the openings on each side to ensure that the axles could be inserted before I stressed the truck castings too much (after some previous experience with 3D-printed, one-piece trucks.)

Jack Burgess photo of a GN box car from the same series as the car shown below

Below is a roster I assembled with the help of others of prototype uses (known to me.) While I would be surprised if it is exhaustive, it is a foundation. If you are aware of other applications, please leave a note in the comments section below and I can update the roster. I have not highlighted it in this post, but Richard Remiarz has identified distinct details and nuances among the bolsters and attachment of the journal boxes that provide further differentiation, meaning there is not a one-size-fits-all Dalman-Andrews truck.

Great Northern31000-31499BoxSunshine
Great Northern43500-43899Automobile50'
Great Northern43900-43999Automobile50'; end doors
Great Northern65000-65499FlatBoas52'
Great Northern69500-69999Flat43'
Great Northern73200-73699Hopper
Great Northern74000-74199GondolaComposite GS
Great Northern77000-77249GondolaGS
Great Northern86210-86499Ore
Soo Line6001-6399Hopperodd nos.; Barber Lateral Motion devices
Soo Line7501-7999Gondolaodd nos.
Soo Line40200-40998BoxSunshineeven nos.; "Sawtooth"; Barber Lateral Motion devices
Soo Line41000-41398BoxSunshineeven nos.; "Sawtooth"; Barber Lateral Motion devices
Soo Line41400-41798BoxSunshineeven nos.; "Sawtooth"; Barber Lateral Motion devices
Soo Line (WC)135400-135798BoxSunshineeven nos.; "Sawtooth"; Barber Lateral Motion devices
Seaboard Air Line15000-15999BoxSunshineClass B-5; ARA design

Colton, CA, Jan. 8, 1955, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

Providence, RI, Nov. 1957, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

late 1950s; no other details available

Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

Harrisburg, PA, July 24, 1947, Bob Charles Collection, NMRA Kalmbach Memorial Library

Fayetteville, NC, Dec. 30, 1951, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Photos from 2023 NERPM

On day one, Mal Houck had models of seemingly every center cab that the O&W ever rostered. He followed on day two with some more conventional subjects like 4-8-2s and 2-10-2s. Mal is one of the best brass scratchbuilders and kitbashers you will ever find

The latest NERPM was held this past weekend at the La Quinta in Springfield, Mass. Attendance was sky high, the clinics I attended were extremely well done and many good friends were in attendance. I managed to race around the display room and photograph a mix of models that were on display. There are many people out there doing amazing, challenging work with great results. It's really inspiring and motivating to see so many beautiful models on display. Here are the pics...

Bob Tegtmeier brought along several LNE diesels, including this beauty

Vincent Lee used a Westerfield kit to model this ACL class O-15 ventilated box car

Mark Osmun had a large group of models, including this Guilford unit...

... as well as this Santa Fe auto car

John Frantz showed off an ex-EL E unit quickly changed to Conrail service

This handsome New Haven baggage car in McGinnis livery was modeled by Kevin Hamelin

Bob Cronin displayed his usual large group of resin freight cars, including this Resin Car Works NYC gondola

This impressive in-progress kitbash of a Tilcon (a Connecticut rock quarry company) Ortner hopper is the work of Louis Papineau

Ryan Mendell skillfully finished this Sylvan utility pickup

Ryan also brought a Sunshine model of a Rath postwar Mather refrigerator car

Todd Hermann displayed several beautiful Ironton models, including this one based upon a Stewart undec DS 4-4-1000 with numerous details, decals, and weathering plus DCC and sound

Steve Solombrino showed off this oldie, but goodie based upon a Sierra Car & Foundry kit

Cheryl Dunbar produces some exquisite loads, like this one on a TTX bulkhead flat car

Luis Segarra displayed this impressive CSX gondola with an equally nice scrap load

Will Jamison added a highly realistic steel load to a Penn Central flat

Will also brought along this gorgeous in-progress Penn Central G44 made from resin castings based upon Will's own scratchbuilt patterns

Eric Hansmann took advantage of his recent move to the East Coast to attend his first NERPM. He displayed numerous pre-Depression era freight cars including this B&O M-13a based upon a Westerfield kit. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Tim Moses showed off this highly detailed NYS&W SD unit... look at those fans!

Blair Davies used a Centralia Car Shops kit to kitbash an ex-ATSF N-5K Penn Central caboose, including adding the bay windows and modifying the cupola

This substantial looking Conrail unit is the work of John Terry 

This Penn Central E unit is the work of Frank Lea

Ron Poidomani displayed a couple fine structures including "Rosario's Metal Works"

Jeff English showed off this impressive 3D printed S scale Rutland flat car, based upon a NYC System prototype 

Lastly, Mike Sparks showed off this very impressive scratchbuilt model of the Delaware & Hudson's Whitehall, NY freight house