Back in 1954 the Western Pacific ordered 100 Pullman-Standard 50-ton double-door box cars. By 1957 their numbers had grown to more than 800 identical cars and they had effectively replaced the aging fleet of wooden 50-footers. Although cars of this type are usually thought of as auto parts cars, only 275 were equipped with auto racks.
Those not equipped as auto parts cars were numbered from 35001 to 35625 and assigned to general freight service as Class XM unequipped boxcars. With forest products being a primary industry along the Feather River Route, it's not too difficult to comprehend why lumber became the major commodity shipped in these Western Pacific 50-footers. By 1982, a mere 69 of the original cars remained on the roster although 9 more of Sacramento Northern heritage supplemented the fleet.
With few changes, the Athearn 50-foot double-door auto cars become close representations of the Western Pacific prototypes. These P-S cars have gone through so many changes during three decades of reliable service that the time frame you choose to model will dictate the amount of detail alteration to be performed. No matter the era you choose, the side sill along the bottom of the car will have to be cut away and replaced with one more closely matching the prototype (for the author's models, a .020" styrene strip was cut to form the new side sill). The detail of the early cars is enhanced by replacing the molded plastic roofwalk with an etched brass version from Detail Associates which also produces several other freight car detail parts including grabs, ladders and coupler lift bars). The car can be further dressed up by replacing the proportionally thick, molded-on steps with Tuttle Industries stirrup steps (style R on the left, style N on the right).
Some cars, such as the 3965-3989 and 19601-19725 series and those of the Sacramento Northern, are equipped with P-S or Superior steel doors instead of the Youngstown steel doors provided with the Athearn kit. For those cars equipped with the Youngstown steel door, the tack boards need to be lowered. When modeling cars sans roofwalks, CM Shops roofwalk plugs were used to plug the rooftop holes. These cars should also be equipped with the shorter ladders, a step best accomplished by completely removing the ladders and replacecing them with Details Associates short boxcar counerparts.
If modeling a 1950's or 1960's vintage car, Floquil's boxcar red will do just fine. Although it's a bit on the light side, fading of paint on the prototype was just enough to match that of a car having spent a few years in service. Rebuilt cars with more recent paint jobs should be painted with Scalecoat No. 21 Roof Brown or Floquil Tuscan Red. But if you're a real stickler for accuracy, you'd best locate a good color photo. Due to the many repaintings using paint on hand and the effects of weathering, the 50-footers are found in several shades of boxcar red.
Decals are available from Herald King, Walthers, Microscale and Detail Associates. As for location of decals, and for that matter, which decals to use, you had best rely on photography. Again, the changes applied over the years have left the fleet with a wide variety of marking arrangements.
Puddle the setting fluid where the decals are to be positioned, then lay them in place as accurately as you can. If necessary, use a paper towel to draw away some of the excess setting fluid and then maneuver the decals into position with tweezers. After allowing sufficient time to dry apply more setting solution to the decals and then press them down to the surface with either a cotton swab (previously soaked with water) or a piece of foam. This will assure that the decals snug up to the surface, especially over the rivet heads and other details.
|Western Pacific's 50-foot, 50-ton double-door boxcars|
|3001-3010||04/54||Built as part of 35001-35100 order.||1||30001-30010||12/55||Renumbered from series 35401-35425.||6|
|3087-3089||04/54||Renumbered from series 3001-3010.||2||34004-34023||10/60||Renumbered from series 3965-3989.||7|
|3301-3302||04/54||Renumbered from series 35501-35625.||1||35001-35100||04/54||Original 90 cars not DF equipped.|
|3501-3502||04/54||Renumbered from 35201 -35300 series.||1||35101-35400||11 /54||Original 90 cars not DF equipped.|
|3801-3837||12/54||Built w/ Evans DF loaders for auto parts serv.||35401-35425||12/55||Used as conversion cars.|
|3838-3862||09/55||Built w/ Evans DF loaders for auto parts serv.||35501-35625||01/57||Not equipped with DF.|
|3863-3964||04/54||Renumbered from series 35101-35625.||3||35801-35900||01/57||Renumbered SN cars series 2401-2500.|
|3965-3989||10/60||Built w/ Evans DF loaders for auto parts serv.||38001-38125||04/77||Not equipped.|
|3990-3995||04/54||Renumbered from series 3001-3010.||2||38126-38225||03/79||Not equipped.|
|4007-4019||04/54||Renumbered from series 3863-3964.||4||38226-38325||06/80||Not equipped.|
|18506-18508||12/55||Renumbered from series 35401-35425.||5||45001-45200||12/55||Renumbered from series 19301-19725.||8|
|18509-18512||12/55||Renumbered from series 35401-35425.||5|
|18551-18553||12/55||Renumbered from series 35401-35425.||5|
|19301-19450||12/55||Equipped as auto parts cars.||Notes|
|19601-19725||01/57||Equipped as auto parts cars.||1 Equipped with DF loaders.|
|19901-19902||01/57||Transco test cars.||2 Auxiliary door welded closed;|
|19951-19960||12/55||Rebuilt ACL boxcars from Transco , 9/65.||3 Equipped with DF loaders for auto parts loading.|
|4 Converted to XP-type boxcars with protective bulkheads.|
|5 Equipped with special racks to hold auto transmissions.|
|6 Converted to paper loading.|
|7 All DF equipment removed.|
|8 Auto parts cars with all auto racks removed.|