The Unofficial Micro-Trains� Release Report
(Not affiliated with Micro-Trains Line, Inc.)
Copyright (C) 2002, George J. Irwin.
New Release: 13105, Marklin Coupler, $11.70, 13105-2, Micro-Trains Coupler,
$13.40, 50 Foot Gondola with Fishbelly Sides and Drop Ends, Western
Pacific.� Black with white lettering including reporting marks on left and
roadname across center.� Reporting Marks: WP 6606.� Approximate Time
Period: early 1950's (1950 Built Date given by MTL) to mid-1980's.�
It was back in August 2000 that MTL reprinted this very gondola in N Scale,
with the road number 6610.� But for the first iteration of this car in Z,
the folks behind the red and yellow sign reach back to the road number 6610
which was also on the first N Scale iteration back in January 1977.� A nice
touch.� The link to a photo of prototype car 6650, which resides at the
Feather River Railroad Society's Portola Railroad Museum in Portola,
California, is still good; surf to�
to see it.
Summarizing the ORER data, in July 1950 there were 200 cars in the series
6601 to 6800, AAR Class GB, as "Gondola, All Steel, Drop Ends, Steel
Floor."� In the January 1964 Register it appears that some of the group had
been sublet to a covered gondola series or a special cargo series.� By
April 1970 the series was down to 99 cars and in January 1985 just 25.
New Release: 17004, Marklin Coupler, $41.50, 17004-2, Micro-Trains Coupler,
$43.20, Unpowered F7-B locomotive, Southern Pacific.� "Black Widow" scheme
of black body with silver lettering and red stripe along bottom. Road
Number: 8023 (will be "SP 8023" in website listing).� Approximate Time
Period: late 1940's through 1960's, most accurate for the mid-1950's and
1960's, see text.
Richard Percy's "Espee Modeler's Home Page" found at
contains, among a variety of other things, a
rundown of the F units purchased by the Southern Pacific and its
subsidiaries Texas and New Orleans and Cotton Belt (St. Louis
Southwestern).� While Percy says his page isn't complete, it's certainly
comprehensive already.� According to Percy, unit 8023 is numbered that way
as the result of the system wide renumbering of SP F-units in 1949.
Originally, the units were delivered in four-unit sets numbered 6100 to
6119 A to D, so, for example, there was 6100 A, B, C, and D, with the A and
D being A (cab) units and the B and C being B (booster) units.�
However, there is one little problem... maybe.� Unit 8023 initially
corresponds to a renumbered F-3 diesel, not an F-7.� A key difference
between the F3's and later F's is the protruding roof fans, versus
relatively flush fans on the F-7A's and F-9's.� This is true of both A and
B units.� But wait!� After a stint on the Texas and New Orleans, where it
was numbered 527, the 8023 was rebuilt in 1954 into an F9m, which looks
more like an F-9, and thus also more like an F-7.� So I think we're cool.
If you think we're not, hit the "4 Axle Diesels" section of Percy's Espee
website and pick another number!
One other quick note: For the first time at the East Coast Hobby Show, I
actually held an MTL Z Scale F-unit in my hand.� I thought I had the sense
of how small these 1:220 units really are, but that sense was reset upon
physically handling one.� It is pretty amazing.
--George in Ellison Park, New York
--Author, The Unofficial Micro-Trains Release Report
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