Friday 4 December 2015

Freight Car Friday - PROX 75439 (HO)

One of the latest additions to the rolling stock fleet, PROX 75439, is ready for action on the layout. The car has been gloss-coated after decalling, but will be weathered to enhance its' appearance - it's too clean and shiny!

Today’s Freight Car Friday takes on a slightly different theme: instead of discussion of a 1:1 scale freight car, I thought I’d talk about one of my 1/87 scale pieces of rolling stock, PROX 75439. This is the latest project I have been able to complete (only took me five months, working on-and-off on the car!), and was a relatively easy project to complete.

Prototype Info
Procor Limited operates several hundred 23,500-gal insulated tank cars in mono-ethylene glycol service (MEG), with the cars easily identified by their distinctive green colour. Trinity industries operates a small number of cars in MEG service as well. Numbered in the PROX 75100-75400 series, as well as PROX 71000-71100, the cars haul MEG, a plastics-making feedstock, from Scotford, Alberta to various destinations across North America. Initially, much of the MEG was shipped to ports in British Columbia for export to China, but after Chinese firms constructed their own plants to produce MEG, new markets were found in Canada and the US. This results in cars often operating in small groups (3-4 cars, for example), which would make an ideal sized cut of cars to serve an HO industry on one’s layout. Why the green colour? Given that their initial routing through Alberta and British Columbia traversed a large amount of forested territory, a consultant hired by the lessee recommended that the green colour be applied to minimize any visual disturbance to the forest environment (does that mean that bears are scared of black tank cars?). Early in their service lives, the MEG fleet was prone to a number of large wrecks, which destroyed a relatively high percentage of the fleet (including a number of high-profile wrecks, such as one in which cars fell into the Fraser River Canyon), thus contributing to the ordering of new cars in the PROX 71000-series to replace the wrecked cars (as well as to meet increased cycle times when cars started operating across North America).

The Model

Walthers makes a Union Tank Car-style 23,500 gal tank car, and has done so for a number of years; thus there are a lot of them around, and they’re easy to find at local train shows. Walthers has done at least three runs of PROX 75000-series MEG cars, which were reasonably accurate (for the time). The latest Walthers Proto line release, about two years ago, included upgrades such as 36” metal wheels and brake gear detail. In general, Walthers has got the colour close to prototype, though prototype colours vary widely from a dark green when new to a very pale green when cars fade in the sun (particularly the early cars with waterbased paint).

PROX 75439 sits in the yard waiting to be blocked on an outbound freight.

What Walthers hasn’t done in scale yet is one of the cars from the PROX 75400-75449 series, which were slightly different without the large “PROCOR” wordmark on the sides of the car. So after picking up a few Chevron-painted Walthers models at a local train show, I decided to model one of these somewhat unusual cars. After stripping off the lettering on the Chevron car (pretty minimal), the car was primered grey with Krylon paint. I used Tamiya Park Green for the car, which is a bit brighter than prototype, but I didn’t want to get into mixing a custom colour for future cars that I want to paint as well. The good news is that the cars weather fairly quickly, so when I get around to weathering the car (artificially making the colour darker), it should be pretty close to prototype. A Microscale 87-1466 decal set was used to add graphics to the car; this is a fairly new release by Microscale (first sold about a year ago I believe), and contains generally-accurate graphics and information for a number of Procor car types. One thing that is inaccurate however, is the reporting mark font: newer Procor cars constructed at Union Tank Car facilities use a narrower, heavier font than the Microscale set comes with. Highball Graphics makes an alphabet set that is close, but slightly too thick. I elected to stick with the Microscale set for convenience. Decalling was a relatively straightforward affair, and took less than an hour. I modeled the car in its’ as-built appearance, without any graffiti or patch paint repairs. I chose PROX 75439 as this sequence of digits was already arranged in the Microscale set. In addition to standard tank car information such as qualification decal, reporting marks on top of car, and tank specification (111A100W1), these cars include the yellow Optimiser decal as well as a Chemtrec (emergency reporting information) decal on each side of the car. Also, white reflective circular dot decals were applied per prototype, which were applied when the car was new (before regulatory requirements for the yellow stripes came along). Other upgrades to the car include Walthers 100T trucks and MccHenry double-shelf couplers. In all, including purchasing the Chevron car ($12), parts, paint, and the decal set, this car cost less than $30. One thing that is still inaccurate is that the Walthers model does not include the fittings flange correctly per prototype. The car comes with a manway and small fittings cover, however with the prototype having top-unloading capability, the valve package requires a large cover on the fittings plate.  At some point in the future I will remove the existing small fittings cover and apply a proper-sized fittings cover to the car, to be made from spare styrene stock. Until then, I’ll let the car operate in revenue service for a while; lots of other projects to work on!

Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peter...good to see you at the shows this probably picked up more goodies then you sold...and of course nice to see you modeling and posting about them...George Dutka