The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More OO Express Reefer Trucks

Keeping on the recent topic of express reefers, these cars were both recent eBay purchases. This one I can’t easily ID but is probably based on a Picard body.

It is in a bit rough shape but it has several interesting things to note. Click on the photo for a larger view. One is the mixture of decals and hand lettering, not quite as sharp as the factory Graceline sides in this earlier post. The car is weighted inside with sand, something I have seen before and something I would certainly never do. Another interesting thing are the trucks. They are modified Scale-Craft passenger trucks that have been changed over to 33” freight car wheelsets. It seems either to have been a conversion a number of different modelers did to create an express reefer truck back in the day or it is something I just happen to have found four pair of on cars in my collection.

With the above car in the same lot was this second car. This is in even rougher shape, probably based on Picard (the frame member is Picard), lettered for a modeler’s personal road (the Spring Valley), but interestingly has one complete and one broken truck that are clearly homemade copies of Scale-Craft trucks, shown in this bottom view. The side frames are roughly cast in a lead alloy and the bolster is plastic. The one with wheels has Scale-Craft freight car wheelsets, one broken due to rough handling. I don’t think these trucks ever worked very well but they are certainly interesting and vintage.

One other interesting thing to note are the couplers on this car. I have not seen these before; they are made from sheet brass and are at this point a mystery item for me but do appear to be a manufactured item. Anyone have any ideas?

This will end this short series on express reefers. Looking at them more I realize several mid-western roads similar to my Orient had express reefers, and it may not be too long before I get itching to rebuild a junker for the Orient.

1 comment:

Phil said...


I just picked up a car on Ebay with these same sheet brass couplers on it. Also it had trucks that I was not familiar with. They are a Bettendorf type. The car is an IGA reefer.