Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CNW Hopper Fleet

This past week I started up a small project to grow my covered hopper fleet a bit. I would imagine I will be doing a couple small batches vs one big lot in the interest of time, money, and, well, time and money. First, a little background on the project.

There are 3 main sources of info for this project. North Western Lines Vol 13, No. 4 (Fall 1986), The Chicago & North Western Final Freight Car Roster, and CNWHS Modeler Vol 3, Issue 2. This issue of NWL contains a 20 page article on the CNW's jumbo hopper fleet as of about 1980. It includes b&w photos, descriptions, some drawings, and a roster with 4000cft and larger hoppers in the fleet. Only available on CD now from CNWHS, but if you shop around you can find paper copies. Probably not the most interesting reading, but certainly a great tool if you're modeling pre DM&E CNW on the prairie (or early DM&E). The Final Freight Car Roster is just plain necessary for any CNW enthusiast, color photos, descriptions, and drawings of every type of car still on the rails in 1995. Referenced frequently at my house anyway. CNWHS Modeler is a maybe quarterly e-pub with some neat articles about various CNW models, one of the regular contributors models about the same stuff as I'm interested in (albeit Horribly Oversize). Vol 3 Issue 2 has an article with some simple math in it for how the author arrived at how many of what type of hopper he should have in his fleet.

Armed with this info at my disposal I evaluated my own hopper fleet and determined I had some work to do. I'm shooting for a total number of around 12. Here's how things break down so far:
  • 2x PS 4427 low side, Exact Rail, one green and one ex TDLX Continental Grain patch
  • 1x ACF 4650, Intermountain, green
  • 1x  FMC 4700, Red Caboose, green
  • 1x Thrall 4750, Atlas Trainman, ex ROCK patch
  • 1x PS 4750, Intermountain/CNWHS, pea green
There's 9 already, but as you can see only one PS 4750 just won't do. There are also no high side 4427's, and no miscellaneous like the odd ball Berwick and Ingalls cars, cylindrical cars built by Marine Industries or the GATC 4700s from CGW. The GATC might be a tough one, no model exists. That's probably a kit bash project on it's own. The Berwick and Ingalls built cars are as far as I can tell clones of the Pullman 4750 only gray with a black and white herald instead of green with black and yellow. The Marine cylindrical hoppers can easily be done with Intermountain models, and the high side PS 4427's can be done with Micro-Trains models. Given all this, here's what I'd like to ad:
  • 2x PS 4427 high side, Micro-Trains, green
  • 1x Misc 4750, Intermountain, gray Berwick/Ingalls stand-in
  • 3x PS 4750, Intermountain, green
  • 2x MI Cylindrical, Intermountain, gray Farmland patch
Hey that's not bad. I was shooting for 12, and hit 14. Those two cylindrical hoppers don't really count though as they are for bulk dry fertilizer service not corn, beans, or wheat. It's maybe not accurate ratio wise, but it will certainly give the impression of a mixed fleet and gives me the satisfaction of having one of everything. It's hard to compress a several thousand car roster into 12. Sorry, no pictures again this time, just words.