Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pennsylvania Container Flat car 473267

Rather than place recently purchased Funaro & Camerlengo Pennsylvania Railroad, PRR, container flat 473267, kit 8120, into inventory I decided to build it immediately as I have no container flats in-service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.

The container flats with “merchandise” containers were one way to efficiently handle the LCL business being taken away by the trucking industry.  The Pennsylvania Railroad per the January 1953 Official Equipment Register had 73 cars, series 473000 to 473764, A.A.R. Class “LF”, PRR System class “Fm” in service. A photo and equipment diagram are available for view and download of the car and DD1 containers on the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society website.

PRR Container Flat
  Funaro & Camerlengo kit instructions photo
(Click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge)

I began the build with the underbody.  First, I drilled and tapped coupler pockets and bolsters for 2-56 screws. Kadee #148 couplers were installed in the coupler pockets with covers attached with 2-56 x 3/16” screws.  Accurail ARA cast steel trucks with 33” InterMountain metal wheels were installed with Atheran 2-56 x 5/16 “ screws.  Tichy plastic washer, set #3013, plus Trackside Specialties .020” brass washers were installed to obtain proper coupler height.  The resin cross bearer stiffeners in the kit and corner braces cut from Evergreen strip styrene from the bit box were installed.

I installed the resin brake component brackets in the kit followed by the Tichy Train Group (Tichy) brake components, set #3013, also in the kit.  The brake components were drilled with #79 drill to receive piping prior to install.  Due to the two cylinder brake levers I added the brake levers next.  I felt the kit resin casting for the brake levers and chain was poor so I used Tichy, set #3013, brake levers, chain, and Tichy, # 1101, .010” phosphor bronze wire (PBW) for the brake rod connecting the two brake levers attached to the brake cylinder.  The drawing in the kit instructions shows an open center sill; however, the kit has a covered center sill so the brake rods from the levers to the trucks in the center sill shown in the diagram were not modeled.  The only additional brake rod, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW installed was that from the second cylinder brake lever attached to the side sill.  Next the piping from the air reservoir to the control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” diameter PBW and from the back of the brake cylinder to the control valve, #1106, .0125” diameter PBW were installed.  Now, the train line .018” floral wire and Tichy dirt collector, set #3013, were added.  The tee to connect the dirt collector pipe to the train line was made with MEK Goop.  The holes in the underframe for the train line were drilled with a 4” drill made from K&S Engineering .032” piano wire.

Under body without levers into center sill as on diagram
as car has a fishbelly center sill with cover plate.

Finished underbody with retainer line.

When you look at the underbody photos you also see a retainer line, Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW, which was not added until side end wall container tie downs with cast on retainer valve was installed.

Funero & Camerlengo kit instructions photo
showing retainer line on end wall container tie down
and along edge of side above truck.

With the underbody work done it was time to add the resin .020” floor. Since the kit had no weight to add to the car I cut one from .020” thick sheet lead the exact size of the floor and using Permatex, clear RTV silicone, I attached it to the resin cast floor creating a .040” floor sandwich which I glued to the car body.

Note the .020" sheet lead under resin floor

The car body was now ready for details.   The end wall container tie downs were installed at the ends of the car with the panel having the retainer valve located on the “B” end followed by the cast gussets and riveted angle attached to them. The wire between the end wall container tie downs is .017” diameter floral wire provided in the kit.  All PBW wire grab irons provided in the kit were installed on the end wall container tie downs and sill ends next.  Placard (tack) boards were installed. Finally, tow loops made from Tichy #1101 .010” diameter PBW were installed.

End wall tie downs installed.  Note  end wall with
retainer valve on "B" end.

The next step was the install of the stake pocket with container guide on back.  Yes, as the instructions state this step was the fussiest of the build.  I first glued the container guides to the back of the stake pockets and let them dry.  I did not follow remaining instructions for this step which had you counting boards, etc. to locate the stake pockets with container guide.  I removed flash from the containers and placed them on the floor without gluing them as I wanted them to be removable. With the five containers positioned I test fit the stake pockets to the car sides with the container guide inserted between the containers as shown in the diagram.  If it fit and looked fine to me I glued them at this time.  Several of the container guides on the back of the stake pockets were too thick to go between the containers so I had to thin several of them to fit.  I thinned them with a single edge razor blade and sanding.  A-Line #29000, style A, wire sill (stirrup) steps were installed rather than the resin cast steps. 

Stake pockets installed.  Note container guide on back.

Stake pockets with container guides on back were installed
with containers sitting on flat car to to locate them.

Stake pockets with container guides on back were installed
with containers sitting on flat car to to locate them.

On the “B” end the ratchet in the kit to hold the brake shaft and brake shaft, Detail Associates #2504, .015” diameter brass wire, were installed.  The brake shaft step, an A-Line #29000, sill (stirrup) step was installed prior installing the brake shaft.  A Tichy brake wheel, set #3013, was added.  End resin cast placard (tack) boards in the kit were installed.  Finally Yarmouth Model Works, YMW #400, Carmer uncoupling levers were installed using a pin made from .010” diameter brass wire.  The resin cast fragile Carmer uncoupling levers were not used for if installed they would be broken quickly on an operating railroad.

"B" end with details added.  Note the sheet lead added
weight shows well.

I wanted the DD1 containers to be a removal load so the containers were never glued to the flat car floor.   I did arrange the DD1 containers on the flat car deck and marked them A thru E on the bottom with a felt tip marker with A starting on the "A" end.  For easier install I glued A and B, and D and E together leaving C in the middle free. When installing load A and B and D and E are installed on each end and finally C is installed in the middle.

DD1 containers are not glued and yet stay in place due to
end wall tie downs and stake pockets with with container guides.

DD1 containers are a removable load.

With the car construction finished, I moved the car to the paint shop.  I sprayed the underbody Vallejo Model Air 71.055, Black Blue Grey.   I used the same color to hand paint the trucks.  The side and ends of the car were hand painted Vallejo Model Color 70.818, Red Leather. And, the floor was hand painted Polly Scale Depot Buff, F414278. The floor after drying was brushed with four plus coats of dirty Dio-Sol thinner to provide weathering.  The dirty Dio-Sol is used thinner after cleaning solvent based paints. The car body was than sprayed with Model Master Gloss Clear Acryl 4638 to provide a gloss base for decal application.

Decals provided in the kit were applied with Micorscale Micro Set and Micro Sol.  and several coats of Walthers Decal Setting Solution.  Once the decals were dry the car body was spayed with Model Master 4636 Flat Clear Acryl.  Once dry, a light weathering with Pan Pastels using Burnt Sienna Shade 740.3.

Car with decals and clear coat applied.  No weathering.

Car decals, clear coat, and weathering applied.

DD1 containers have no decals or weathering.

Under body after paint.

PRR 473267, was now ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company once a car card and shipment card was printed.

PRR Container flat 473267 sitting on GN Interchange.

"B" end of PRR container flat 473267
sitting on GN Interchange.

I want to say,  “Thank You.”  to Tim O’Conner for providing me with photos to assist with the build.

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


  1. Lester Great build.

    One comment, I regret to inform you that it was rare for these to go offline. They were in LCL service between specific Pennsy terminals. also, by 1953 only 16 FM container flats remained in service according to the comprehensive article on these cars in The keystone, Vol. 18 No. 1.

    1. Thanks! I agree it was rare for these flats to go off line; however, on a private name railroad the rare can happen. And, the containers not having any lettering and being removable can be used as a load in any gondola or another flat.