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Monday, June 6, 2011

Some Vintage Boxcars, Part I: Bessey and Graceline

With a fairly brief window of time open to work on train projects, these past few weeks I worked through a number of freight cars that have been on the sidelines not in condition to run on the layout, cars I wished to run. The first cars I want to feature are a group of five wood boxcars by E. H. Bessey and Graceline. As always, click on the photos for a larger view.

First up is this group of three interesting cars. They are all wood boxcars decorated for the Southern Pacific and are nominally of USRA designs of WWI era. The two cars in front are both by E. H. Bessey. These were wood kits but they had factory painted and printed sides. The car with the modified car number (on left) may be seen in this prior post before the recent work was done (it is on a Hawk frame), and the other was a more recent eBay find. In both cases I worked over the under frames and trucks and did other detail touch up. They both are on Schorr trucks at this time as well, which suited the existing truck mountings.

The car in the rear was in a bit rougher shape but is a fairly rare car, by Graceline. It may be seen in this article “before,” and I hope to feature their products more in coming months. (Overview here) The really notable thing about this car is that it has hand painted sides with a Southern Pacific emblem printed on paper. It was missing a roof walk and the original Graceline trucks were unusable so it is now on Scale-Craft trucks.

The second pair of cars are also Graceline products with the hand painted sides and printed logos. The Atlanta and West Point single door car is on reproduction Lionel trucks now and the Atlanta, Tennessee and Northern car is on a pair of original Graceline trucks, proving that they can be rebuilt sometimes! Also both of these I left with dummy couplers, the double door car having the original Graceline couplers which are larger than S-C or Lionel couplers but compatible.

If a car has no couplers in my rebuilding they come out of the shops with Kadee couplers. If they have workable vintage couplers and are in a category of oddball but interesting vintage cars such as these I often leave them be these days, with their dummy couplers. Every brand of vintage OO coupler seems pretty compatible with Kadee, with luck they will even couple automatically.

Tomorrow we will be back with more boxcars!

Continue to Part II

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