The GTW Western rostered some of the earliest examples of 50' Automobile cars built similar to the to the 1937 40' AAR Standard boxcars.
Cars 591000-591199 were built by Pullman Standard in 1937, had End doors and square corner post 5-5 dreadnaught ends on the B end. They rode on AAR cast side frame, spring plank-less trucks. The side sills were continuous and had a large reinforcement member under the doors, which were of the Youngstown type. The roofs were Murphy raised panel and had wood running boards.
Cars in the following series 591200-591399 built 1941 were similar except they had round corner 5-5 Dreadnaught ends on the B end. They rode on National B1 trucks.
The Proto 2000 50' auto car with end doors are almost spot on for this second series of cars. Although a few changes will make for a more accurate car.
If you're a modeller thinking about dipping your toe into the prototype modelling pond - building one of these kits would make for a great first project. The body requires no major surgery and only minor changes are required to produce an accurate representation of the prototype. Kits are available prepainted and lettered. Only basic hobby tools are required for the work.
Here is a picture of the prototype car taken in 1969 by Steve Rush. The original can be found on Rail Picture Archives in colour.
By 1969 the car has undergone some changes. The trucks have been changed out, incidentally to the type of truck the previous series rode on. The sides have been patched to reinforce the car body around the bottom of the door openings and an ACI tracking label has been fitted. Evidence of paint touch up can also be spotted on the reinforcement member under the doors. Since I model 1955, I will not be making any of these changes. Other than these minor repairs this car has undergone little change since it was built in 1941.
My car was purchased used and was already assembled. I decided to remove most of the detail parts. They were half broken and not fitted correctly. I left the ladders on for now, but they are not straight and I may upgrade them if I can't straighten them up.
I started by gluing the doors on straight and centered in the opening. The kit comes with a plug that goes between the doors at the top, don't install this part as it is much too large and is easy to upgrade. Next I installed couplers and Athearn National B1 trucks. These trucks are also available from Walthers and Kadee. Save the kit trucks for another project, or if your modelling 1969 go ahead and use them!
Next, I plugged all the holes on the sides and roof where the detail parts were removed. To do this, drill out the holes with a 0.030" drill bit and then glue in short lengths of 0.030" styrene rod. When dry, trim off with nippers and sand or chisel smooth with a knife blade. Details that were removed are as follows: all grabs, sill steps, running board supports, brake wheel and the retainer valve pipe.
On the underframe, all pipes, rods and lever hangers were removed. I drilled the required four holes in the AB valve, two in the reservoir and one in each end of the cylinder. I installed 0.0125" Tichy wire to represent the 3/4" NPT piping used between these parts on the prototype. Next I added 18" scale grab irons to represent the brake lever hangers. I mark the locations with a set of dividers - drill the holes and use CA to mount the grabs.
I then returned to the ends and plugged all the holes as I did to the sides.
The next post will show how to complete the under frame and the small changes required to build a more prototypical car.