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

Monday, December 24, 2018

Two COFC cars and a TOFC by Bill Johann

Back in the April, 1989 issue of The OO Road Bill Johann had a lengthy article on TOFC/COFC equipment in OO scale. While these cars are not specifically mentioned in the article, they were certainly part of the project that led to the article.

For example, in the article he mentions converting the Gilbert P-14D513 flat car and the Revell 4030-002 flat car to OO. Of these two cars, the UP car is Revell and the Philadelphia & Western car is Gilbert. Bill was in the very fortunate habit of marking his cars with built and modified dates on the bottom; the UP car was built in 10-71 but modified 11-86, and the P&W car was built 5-88 and modified 1-91.

On page 8 of the issue a prototype photo is presented of a UP car loaded very similarly to the present UP model, but with actual containers rather than crates. I believe the crates on the car today are commercial products, most likely resin castings, and one is as seen in the photos damaged today. I looked at this car briefly in another article, when it still had S-C trucks.

The P&W car is an interesting one on a few levels. One is that a quick search showing that the Philadelphia & Western was an interurban line, with freight service ending in 1970. Johann modified the cast metal flat with a flat deck of styrene and mountings for the container, which is I believe kitbashed from HO, two models split and put back together as a single, wider container. The small lettering on the flat car is all original Gilbert lettering, but the Philadelphia & Western lettering was likely cut from an alphabet lettering set one letter at a time. Referencing the list of OO model railroad road names (see the March, 2007 issue of The OO Road), I realize that this was the personal road of Ed Morlok, and the car was made by Johann to honor Morlok.

Both cars, when they got to me, were on Scale-Craft trucks. As I have just a few extra pair of the roller bearing trucks Johann produced in limited quantities (described further here), I put those on both cars. They roll great!

Looking at the P&W car I realized I had another car by Johann that was on the same Gilbert flatcar frame. This one is lettered with decals, and the reporting marks are for the personal road of Pierre Bourassa. Johann has dates of 1-67, 1-84, 2-84, and 2-90 on the bottom of the car, he modified it a few times.

Also note the Lallier trailer. As is mentioned in a prior article, I was told by Pierre Bourassa that he built it, although it is clearly marked from Johann working on it 10-91. It is based on a Matchbox frame but with the body built up from plastic. Pencil markings on the flat and on the trailer indicate they were meant to belong together. Lallier as near as I can tell was/is a Canadian trucking firm. 

The white flat would have been done by Johann as a model to honor Bourassa. I’ve been reluctant to build cars for the personal roads of other OO gaugers, but it is an interesting idea, and I may do a few of these.

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