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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

ATSF heavyweight baggage cars and RPO by James Trout

Following up on the combine (rider car) for the Fast Mail seen last week, we have these three ATSF heavyweight passenger cars (potentially for the same train) by James Trout, two baggage cars and an RPO.

To the baggage cars first, they are lettered as cars 1826 and 1599. The latter model has the distinctive fishbelly sides seen on some ATSF baggage cars. Both cars are built with the same sides which are copper and appear to be photoengraved. The rivets are very small but very distinct, the effect is wonderful compared to say pre-war J-C models sides. Comparing the sides to a set of Exacta Pullman sides, the details match very closely in style, so my conclusion is that he almost certainly used Exacta #501 baggage car sides on these two models (my overview article of the excellent sides offered briefly in the post-war period by Exacta may be found here).

Another neat feature are the trucks. What he laboriously did was remove material from standard Scale-Craft truck sideframes to upgrade and change their appearance. One set he mainly just opened up the filled in areas between the journal boxes, this I have seen done before. But the other pair was more of a project, he modified the sideframes extensively to match or at least closely approximate a design used on ATSF baggage cars. They end up looking a bit like Famoco passenger trucks from the side but heavier duty. As always, click on any photo for a better view.

The RPO model is lettered as ATSF 77. This model is scratchbuilt. The sides are a thin tinplate material and have rivets pressed in in the same manner as the combine. As with the baggage cars there are a lot of little details here, quite a bit of soldering and fabrication was required. There are no interior details, but the metal bars in the windows are a nice touch. Also note, on this and the other cars, the shape of the fillet at the top of the roof is nicely continued down to the end of the cars.

To the final photo, the trucks on the RPO are Kemtron, a post-war product described further in this article. They are built up from lost wax castings and look great on this nicely detailed model.

All three cars have Devore couplers and of course the sides of all these cars are hand lettered. Also you will note little dings here and there. I am not going heroic on restoration on these but one of the baggage cars did require some rebuilding of the frame, possibly damaged in shipping. Many of the cars I have from Trout have this type of light damage, and as I work them over I will feature them here.

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