Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Southern Pacific A-50-11 Automobile Car


SP 69439 was an A-50-11 photographed in San Diego by Col. Chet McCoid. Note that the placard boards on the right door and the end had been lowered. Dec. 26, 1954. Bob's Photo

The Southern Pacific rostered three classes of all-steel "single sheathed" automobile cars. They're not technically single sheathed cars since they had steel sheathing with wood lining, making them double sheathed, but they have visible structural members, lending the traditional look of a single sheathed car. 

While the subject of this February, 1939 FSA-OWI image by Dorothea Lange was the two itinerants, it provides an excellent view of the Dreadnaught end door applied to the A-50-9 class automobile cars. Calipatria, Imperial Valley, California, Library of Congress Call Number: LC-USF34-019076-E

The first group was class A-50-9, built in 1928 by Tennessee Coal & Iron, 250 cars in series 68980-69229. They were characterized by steel sides with visible structural members in a Howe truss arrangement, long support sections under the Youngstown steel doors, large fishbelly center sill underframes, Murphy Solidsteel roofs, Dreadnaught ends, including end doors in the A end, and Dalman two-level trucks with Barber lateral motion devices.

This Dorothea Lange photo from the same family of images as the one shown above affords a good view of the support applied to the side sill, below the doors. Calipatria, Imperial Valley, California, Library of Congress Call Number: LC-USF34-019076-E

A-50-10 SP 69304 was photographed in Alameda (Oakland area) California in 1947. Note the hinges at the left corner of the car, for the Dreadnaught end doors. Howard Ameling Collection

In 1930, Pressed Steel built 150 cars that were similar to the previous class, down to the end doors, but notably had a different support section under the doors and a different underframe arrangement. This group, nos. 69230-69379, were assigned to class A-50-10.

At the same time, Pressed Steel also built 150 cars without end doors that were otherwise identical to the A-50-10. These cars with tight ends were assigned to class A-50-11, car nos. 69380-69529. Prototype photo at the top of this post.

Given their steel construction, these cars were relatively long-lived on the SP, with close to two-thirds making it into the 1960s in revenue service. Why am I sharing all this info? Well, I happen to be constructing the pilot model of a forthcoming A-50-11 kit as I type this. The one-piece body is shown below.

These kits will be offered in the next couple weeks and include the following:

  • one-piece cast resin bodies and resin details
  • many etched metal details
  • Tahoe Model Works Dalman two-level trucks with Barber lateral motion detail
  • 0.088" tread width wheelsets
  • Decals printed by Cartograf from my artwork
  • Kadee scale couplers
  • Tichy KC and AB brakes and wire

1 comment:

  1. Yarmouth Model Works has end doors ( #0051 or 0052) that appear to be usable in kit bashing the up coming A-50-11 kit into an A-50-10, that is, if you are not planning to produce an A-50-10 kit.


Comments always welcome!