Miramar Mysteries


My school schedule requires me to bounce between Campuses, and on certain days my commute takes me directly over the Miramar Wye, in San Diego, CA, right when the afternoon commuter rush begins. Add in a fairly large break before my next class begins, and you've got a young railfan's dream schedule. This was my first time actually venturing down to the Wye, and I was trying to solve a mystery. Unfortunately, I didn't solve it. If anything, I added to my confusion. I was also trying to photograph trains, of course. In that endeavor I was actually fairly successful, but when everything runs on a published timetable it's harder to be unsuccessful than it is successful. First up is Amtrak 583, Northbound (RR Westbound) to LA (Images 1-3). 

Eastern Car Works G26 gondola Prototypes

Back in Volume 1 Issue's 2-4 (August, September, October 2010) of the Model Railroad Tips Newsletter, we explored the Eastern Car Works G26 gondola, with bulgy sides, in Conrail paint. Starting soon, we'll work on a set of Eastern Car Works 65' AAR 70 Ton mill gondola's, in Denver & Rio Grande Western paint.

We'll begin this series with a look at the railroads that rostered the 65' AAR 70 Ton mill gondola. This list is compiled from the instruction sheet for the kit.

ATSF 170850-170974
CBQ 197700-197798
CN 155000-155199
CNW 132001-132099
CS 21000-21009
DRGW 30000-30169
GN 79000-79049
LN 26000-26224
MILW 93500-93619
NYC 726000-726299
RDG 31200-31699
SOU 52000-52169

Seasonal Business, Christmas Trees

Thirty or so years ago, somewhere around October 1980, I was driving along US-31 in the northern area of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. There the highway often parallels the railroad tracks, which were Conrail at the time.

I knew there was little or no railroad business in most of those small towns I was passing thru. Most of them did not have even a single industry, so I was surprised to see green 50 foot PC boxcars on sidings in every little town. Not just
one, but a dozen or so in burgs such as Levering, Pellston, Alanson [all of which are no longer rail served], etc. I wondered why. What was happening? As I traveled along I came to one town which provided the answer.

Large trucks were bringing in freshly cut Christmas trees. A special machine was quickly wrapping them in mesh fabric and they were immediately being loaded into the awaiting boxcars. It was a seasonal business and certainly and interesting one.

Now on my model railroad each fall I make sure that I deliver some empty boxcars to sidings in little towns for a similar movement on the my pike. The modeling could be further enhanced by having stake trucks or semi-trailers arriving loaded with Christmas trees. The trees can be easily made from what craft stores call “bumpy chenille.” This is material that resembles a pipe cleaner but varies alternately in width from about ¼ inch down to almost nothing. Using a wire-cutters it can be cut at the “almost nothing” end and then about 5 or 6 scale feet lower and “presto” you have a scale Christmas tree. Load several of them into an open stake truck headed toward the loading site and you have a scene.

The machine that wrapped the mesh looked something like a large funnel, where the tree was fed into the big end and came out of the smaller end wrapped tightly and ready for shipment. This was mounted on a 2-wheel trailer so it could easily be moved to the next town. To model this, look in grocery store “gadget” aisles for funnels and select the smallest one available. If nothing can be found small enough, a short piece of tubing could be used, approximately 4 foot in diameter. (Half-inch in HO scale.) Cut it to about a 4 foot length. Search Google images for a better picture of such machines [editor's note, here is a link to a great article showing the machine at work: http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/ChristmasTree.html ].

© 2010, 2019, Gregory Peet, https://www.modelrailroadtips.com

PS 2600 ft3 Covered Hopper Roster

Compiled by Carl J. Marsico from Jim Eager post on MFCL.
Edited Dec 9th 2009 by Josh Baakko for ease of reading.


Union Pacific Excursion Cars

A roster of UP's current excursion car fleet

This roster was copied (with permission) from the UP Modelers group on yahoo, and was originally posted by David W.

Thanks for David W. we have a very nice, complete, current service roster of UP's excursion car fleet. The cars follow, listed by style.