Saturday, June 1, 2019

Union Refrigerator Transit Lines URTX 87292

My plastic car inventory is one less after completing Branchline Trains, kit 1218, a wood refrigerator car, Union Refrigerator Transit Lines, URTX 87292.  The kit instructions, well written and illustrated, provide a brief history and reference sources I used and others to obtain additional information on the prototype car.

The prototype was built by American Car & Foundry in 1927 as part of series 87000 - 87444.  The car was painted reefer yellow with a freight car red roof, ends and the rectangle under the door.  Under body, trucks, side ladders and other hardware on sides were painted black.  The paint scheme was a “billboard” variety lettered for leased service to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway.  The “billboard” paint schemes lasted until July 1934 when the Interstate Commerce Commission ruled that refrigerator cars could no longer be painted with billboard lettering and  as of January 1937 could not be accepted for interchange service.  A photo of URTCo. 87105 in as delivered paint scheme can be viewed in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, number 5, page 53 (RP CYC Publishing Company, 2000).  A billboard scheme with the C.M.St.P.&P. herald to the right of the door and URTX lettering to the left of the door can be viewed on ventilated  refrigerator 88194 in the 1937 Car Builders' Cyclopedia (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Co., 1937).  The lettering scheme and herald location on URTX 87292 can also be viewed in the 1937 Car Builders' Cyclopedia on page 182; however, it is on a steel-sheathed refrigerator car.

My build began with the assembly of the fishbelly underframe which is cemented to the under body.  I drilled and tapped the coupler pocket pads and covers (after cutting off the mounting pin) for 2-56 screws.  I do not like truck pins supplied in the kit to mount trucks so I tapped the bolster kingpin for 2-56 screws.  The coupler pocket covers were attached to the coupler pockets with the kit provided 3/16” screws after Kadee #148 couplers were inserted.  The kit provided trucks into which I installed Intermountain 33” metal wheel sets were installed with Athearn #99002, 2-56 x 1/4 round head screws.  The kit weights, two bolt nuts,  plus two electrical outlet box punch outs were used to weight the car to 3.8 ounces prior to installing the under body.

With the under body in place the kit provided train line was installed.  I decided to add an “AB” brake system, Tichy Train Group (Tichy), set #3013, required as of 1937 on newly built or rebuilt cars rather then use the kit provided “K” system.  The brake components were drilled with a #79 drill for piping prior to install. The brake cylinder was mounted on a Sunshine Models bracket from the parts box.  The control valve was mounted on a Tichy bracket (set #3013) and the air reservoir mounts are plastic sill steps cut off other cars.  I made the brake levers from Evergreen strip styrene, #8108, 1 x 8 for the brake cylinder lever and # 8106, 1 x 6” for the fulcrum lever.

Next the piping and brake rods were installed. Piping from the air reservoir to the control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW.  The pipe from the back of the brake cylinder to the control valve Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW.  Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW with clevises, Tichy #8021 turnbuckles, used to attach them to brake levers except for the brake rod between the brake levers in the center sill.  I used MEK Goop (plastic melted in MEK) to make these clevises. The chain  between the brake rod and brake cylinder lever is A-Line #29219, black 40 links per inch. 

AB brake system installed

Next I completed the car body work.  First, I attached the sides to the inner body.  Next, the kit ladders, black on the sides and freight car red on the ends were installed followed by the kit black door latches.  I substituted wire grab irons bent from Tichy, #1106, .0125” phosphor bronze wire (PBW) on the sides and ends.  I added the second grab iron required on the sides as of 1932.  If you want to see details of bending the grab irons you can click on "grab irons" under "labels" in the side bar.  A-Line sill steps, #29000, style A, were installed and bent outward  as on the prototype photos.

Side details have been added.

On the “B” end I installed the kit retainer valve with the molded plastic retainer line cut off.  I fabricated a new retainer line and brackets with Tichy #1100 .008” diameter PBW.  A brake shaft, Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW with the kit brake wheel attached was installed.  I bent and installed the uncoupling lever eye bolt brackets, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW followed by the install of uncoupling levers fabricated from Tichy #1106, .0125" diameter PBW.  The uncoupling lever mounting brackets are eye bolts bent from Tichy #1101, .010" diameter PBW.  If you want look at how I bend the uncoupling levers you can click on "uncoupling levers" under "labels" on the sidebar.

"B" ends details installed are hand painted with paint
mix closer to weathering color than factory color.

On the roof, the kit provided running board, hatches, hatch levers and hatch rests were installed.  The roof grab irons I bent from Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW were installed with Yarmouth Model Works photo etched eye bolts for corner legs.  

Roof  with running board, hatches and hatch rests.

Roof bent corner grab iron with Yarmouth Model Works
eye bolt for corner grab iron leg.

I now had the car ready for the paint shop.

URTX 87292 is ready for the paint shop.

In the paint shop, I sprayed the under body Vallejo Model Air Black Grey RLM66, 71.055.  The trucks were hand painted Vallejo Model Color Black Grey, 70.892. For the freight car red to hand paint the details added on the roof and car ends,  I mixed the freight car red as follows:  Vallejo Model Color Cavalry Brown, 70.892, two drops with a small amount ( less than one drop) of Vallejo Mahogany Brown, 70.846, added.

The weathering of of URTX 87292 was next.  I applied Bradgon Weathering Powder “Old Yeller” with a makeup brush to the sides.  On the roof and ends, I applied Pan Pastels Burnt Sienna Shade, 740.3, with a makeup brush. Over the Burnt Sienna Shade, again with a makeup brush, the roof and ends were touched with the brush loaded with Pan Pastels Payne’s Grey Ex. Dark, 840.1.  I do not spray a clear coat after weathering so when the subtle weathering was completed to my satisfaction the car was put into service.

Car is out of paint shop and weathering applied.

After weathering, a card car was printed and the car went into service on my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company (M&N) with the billboard paint scheme that at the time of rebuild would most likely have been repainted  and lettered into a simplified scheme.  I choose to use my modeler’s license to run this car with a few others that may not have the paint scheme in use in the spring of 1955, the time period of my Minneapolis &Northland Railroad Company railroad.

URTX 87292 spotted at Kruger's in Minneapolis.

URTX 87292 spotted at Kruger's in Minneapolis.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.
Lester Breuer

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