Saturday, October 7, 2023

New York Central Box Car 157118

 After looking at tables and photos in the book The Postwar Freight Car Fleet (National Model Railroad Association 2006)  by Kline and Culotta I discovered that my fleet was lacking New York Central (NYC) cars.  A table in the book showing the number of boxcars owned by the top twenty boxcar owners on December 30,1950 has the top five and car totals as NYC 67,608, PRR 64,432, ATSF 35,764, SP, T&NO 35,763, and MILW 31,547.  When comparing this list to my fleet I found over the years I had added a good number of cars for each of these roads and well as those in the remaining top fifteen (15) except for the New York Central (NYC).  It was time to add more NYC cars to the fleet.

I contacted a friend with a large collection of freight cars, RTR and kits, to see if he had any car kits of the NYC he would like to part with.  My friend prefers to have RTR cars and purchases them to replace kits he may have purchased.  Therefore, he did have several kits with a RTR replacement, one Red Caboose NYC 1937 box car and other Red Caboose and InterMountain kits that could become NYC cars.

Of the kits purchased,  the first car kit I selected to build was Red Caboose kit, RC-8026-11, a 1937 design steel box car with 4/5 dreadnaught ends lettered for the New York Central numbered 157118.  The kit was a good match for the NYC box cars of the 1937 AAR design in their series 157000-158072.  The prototype of this design built 1936-1947, had the following basic features:  ten (10) foot Inside Height (IH), 4/5 dreadnaught ends, 10 panel riveted steel sides (differences exist), standard 6 foot single door opening and a rectangular raised panel roof.  Additional data for the New York Central cars from the table of 1937 AAR 40” 6” Box Cars, built 1936-1947, complied by Ed Hawkins for NYC cars in series 157000-157299 shows 300 cars built 8-42 by Despatch Shops, Inc. (DSI), Lot 703-B,  had 7 panel Superior Doors, round end corners (termed W-section), Murphy Panel roof, Ajax hand brake, wood running boards, Morton brake step, roping staples, and rode on AAR with spring planks trucks.  Another source states the trucks these cars had was Barber S-2.  The NYC series 157300-158072 cars had the same features except for Youngstown doors with Camel fixtures and the last 73 cars has an Equipco hand brake.  Excellent photos of side and B end of NYC cars in this series can be found on the New York Central Historical Society website.

Photo of NYC 157201 in various collections.
(Click on this or other image to enlarge)

Photo of NYC 157747
 in various collections.

The build of NYC 157118 began with some work on the underbody.  After brake component molded on mounts were removed from the underbody the underframe was installed.  Coupler pocket pads and truck kingpins were drilled and tapped for 2-56 screws.  Kit air reservoir and brake cylinder were installed.   A resin Sunshine Models AB valve (control) was installed.  All brake components had holes drilled with a #79 drill for piping prior to install.   Holes in center sill were filled with styrene rod.   If you are not using the plastic kit piping for your build, it can be used to fill the holes.  Coupler boxes with Kadee #148 couplers were installed with Fastenal 2-56 - 3/16” screws.   Kit provided trucks with installed InterMountain 33” metal wheels were installed with 2-56 - 1/4” screws.

Couplers, trucks and brake components installed.

 Stick on tire weights were added to the interior floor to weight the car to 3.8 ounces.

Stick on tire weight installed.

Basic car assembly work was done.

Basic assembly done.

With the basic car assembly work done, NYC 157118 was ready upgrade details.  I began with the ladders.   Rather than use etched ladder stiles I chose to use the kit ladder stiles removing the molded ladder rungs and replacing them with “NoName” .010” diameter brass wire.   The NoName brass wire came from a friend who did not know the manufacture name, hence NoName.  To replace the ladder rungs the ladders were left on the kit sprues for drilling the holes with a #80 drill and then enlarged with a #79 drill.  After holes were drilled only every other molded on rung was cut off with a sprue nipper and a wire rung bent from .010” diameter brass wire installed.

Every other ladder rung (center ladder)
replaced with bras wire one.

After every other ladder was installed the remaining rungs were installed to complete the ladder.

Plastic rungs (center ladder) replaced with
brass wire rungs.

The kit plastic ladders with .010” diameter brass wire ladder rungs were installed on the car sides and ends.  Kadee bracket grab irons, #2251, were installed on sides.  Kit sill steps were installed and step portion cut off.  A-Line #29000, sill steps were installed. On the roof the kit running boards were installed using Testors tube cement for plastic models.  Later roof grab irons bent from .010” diameter NoName brass wire were installed using Yarmouth Model Works eye bolts without shoulder for corner legs.

Kit ladders with wire rungs, bracket grab irons
 and sill steps installed on sides.

End ladder and running boards with grab irons installed.

I moved onto the “B” end work.  Running board extension brackets, Yarmouth Model Works, #220, were installed.  Sill iron grab irons were bent from .010” diameter NoName brass wire and installed.  The bracket grab iron was made by installing  a kit bracket grab iron, cutting off the the hand grab portion with a sprue nipper and replacing it with a .010” diameter NoName brass wire one.  With grab iron install complete other B end details added  were as follows.

  • Brake step brackets, kit
  • Brake step, cut from Kadee latitudinal (lateral) running board
  • Brake housing with chain, kit. Hole enlarged with #56 drill .0465”
  • Brake shaft clevis to attach brake shaft to bell crank, kit
  • Brake shaft, Tichy #1102, .015” diameter PBW 
  • Retainer valve, kit
  • Retainer line and brackets, Tichy #1100, .008” diameter PBW
  • Brake wheel, Kadee Ajax, #2020

Some B end details installed.

B end details with better view of brake step.

After installing the above parts I hand painted all the parts with Vallejo Model Color Burnt Red 70.814.  The Burnt Red is a fine color match to InterMountain factory paint.  However, the B ends were still not done as placard boards and uncoupling levers had to be installed.  The prototype photos showed a unique placard board made up of four vertical boards on the ends.   I made a master with Evergreen strip styrene, made a mold and cast the placards boards in my M&N Shops.  After the resin cast end placard boards were installed I installed the uncoupling levers.  Uncoupling levers were bent using Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter phosphor bronze wire (PBW) and installed with uncoupling lever mounting brackets, Yarmouth Model Works #507.

Placard board and uncoupling lever installed.

Back to the sides for finishing work.  I installed the seven panel Superior doors provided in the kit.  Prior to install I had carved off the molded on door handles and replaced them with new brass wire handles bent from NoName .010” diameter brass wire.  The doors were installed now to enable the placard boards for the doors to installed.  The placard boards, resin cast in my M&N Shops, were installed.  The upper placard boards mounting brackets were added with Evergreen strip styrene from my bits box.

Placard boards installed on sides.

With car body work complete the underbody work was done.   Underbody details were installed as follows.

  • Brake cylinder lever, made with Evergreen #8108, 1 x 8” strip styrene
  • Brake floating lever, made with Evergreen #8106, 1 x 6” strip styrene
  • Brake lever hangers, plastic grab irons
  • Brake piping, air reservoir to control valve, Tichy #1101, .010” dia. PBW
  • Brake pipe, brake cylinder to control valve, Tichy #1106, .0125” dia. PBW 
  • Brake rods, Tichy #1106, .0125” diameter PBW
  • Brake rod clevises, made with MEK Goop 
  • Chain, Precision Scale #48553, 34 links per inch
  • Train line, .018” diameter flora wire
  • Dirt collector, resin cast in M&N Shops

Underbody details installed.

Once underbody work was completed I moved NYC 157118 to the M&N paint shop.  In the paint  shop, the underbody was airbrushed Vallejo Model Color Black Grey RLM66, 71.055.

Underbody painted.

After the underbody was dry.   The car body had all added detail parts touched up if necessary with Vallejo Model Color Burnt Red 70.814.   I wanted to change the new date to a later reweigh date; however, I could not find a decal match to do so.  As a temporary fix I removed the “N” from the new date  leaving the “EW” which is valid reweigh symbol for Monk, a Canadian National (CN) reweigh station.   Now the car body was airbrushed with Model Master Acryl 4636 Flat Clear.

NYC 157118 is ready for weathering.

Since I still need to change the reweigh date when I find decals to do it with I did not want to apply much weathering; however, I did not want the new look.   Therefore, I added a chalk mark, track two, with Prismacolor Premier white PC938 pencil.   And, I used a makeup brush to apply Pan Pastels Paynes Grey Extra Dark 840.1  on the roof and lightly over car body.

NYC 157118 with very light weathering.

NYC 157118 with very light weathering.

New York Central box car 157118 was ready for service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company, The Lakeland Route, “Serving today, Shaping tomorrow.”  A car card was made for NYC 157118, the final step to put the a car in service on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company Railroad.

NYC 157118 sitting on Wildung Team Track
in Randolph, Minn.

NYC 157118 sitting on Wildung Team Track
in Randolph, Minn.

NYC 157118 sitting on Wildung Team Track
in Randolph, Minn.

Soon after the NYC 157118 was set out at the Wildung Team Track in Randolph, Minnesota it was reported to the M&N Shops the roping staples were missing.   So the NYC 157118 was moved back to the M&N Shops and roping staples were installed.

NYC 157118 back at the Wildung Team Track
 with roping staples installed.

I want to say, “Thank You” to Seth Larkin for the New York Central Historical Society link, Charlie Duckworth for the link to NYC Freight Car Roster & HO Model Reference Guide and to Robert Bogie, Steve Hile, T.J. Stratton, O Fenton Wells for photos and data they provided to help me with the build of this car. 

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 sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer


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