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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Transportation Models OO, part 1: freight cars

Transportation Models of New York, NY, announced their new OO gauge venture in December of 1945. They improved and expanded the wartime OO offerings of Graceline. Vigorously advertised and competitively priced (compared to HO), with boxes proclaiming "Learn Through Play The Model Railroad Way," the line was advertised steadily from late 1945 to late 1947.

The cars were wood and "comprestic" (cardstock), with cast details. In the photos are parts of two kits, a 40’ wood reefer and also the sides for a 50’ ribbed side reefer. In the close up you can see clearly that the sides are marked Graceline (click on the third photo for a larger view). The wood parts are very similar to Picard but the dimensions are different (floor wider, etc) and the quality level of the wood parts is not quite as high.

PDFs of some of their instruction sheets may be found in the files section of the Yahoo American OO discussion group. They produced quite variety of models! Below is the complete list of freight cars. But with this note: their tank cars and cattle car are "in preparation" in the published listing, but were probably not actually produced.

101 Boxcar, 40', wood
102 Boxcar, 40'
103 Reefer, 40', wood
104 Reefer, 40'
105 Boxcar, 50'
106 Boxcar, 50', double door
107 Boxcar, 50', wood, double door
108 Reefer, horizontal rib
109 Quad hopper, 33'
110 Gondola
111 Flat
112 Utility flat [bulkhead]
113 Tank car, single dome, 8,000 gal
114 Wood caboose
115 Steel caboose
116 Boxcar, 40', double door
117 Boxcar, horizontal rib, 50'
118 Boxcar, 50', wood
119 Tank car, single dome, 10,000 gal
120 Cattle car

One very notable feature were the trucks on these cars, which were not based on Graceline toolings--new, sprung AAR, Andrews, and Arch Bar trucks were produced or at least proposed. As seen in the photo, these had a lot of parts. They are finer and more to scale than the comparable Graceline design, and with care I believe these could be made into a workable truck.

However, I have not yet encountered one in use on a vintage car, and in terms of my own layout the wheelsets are unusable as they are well off from NMRA standards for tread width. The only type I have seen are the AAR type seen here.

The other notable feature you can use to clearly differentiate built-up versions of these cars from late Graceline is that they have fewer metal parts and in particular no die cast frame. With care these could build up into nice cars and I am sure "OOldtimers" made use of parts of these models in kitbashing projects. A built up example of their 50' boxcar may be seen in this article.

Their freight car kits are seen fairly often but that was not all they listed on their boxes! Next up are their passenger cars.

Continue to Part II--Passenger Cars

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