Saturday, February 13, 2016

Foreign Model RR Equipment - Part 2

Some time ago I had posted part 1 of 2 in my foreign railroad equipment series. The time between each of the posts was longer than originally expected, but none the less here we are. In Part Two we are going to explore MCIS railcars at home on other model railroads.

If you haven't had a chance to review part 1, provided is the link to get caught up before reading part two.
Foreign Model RR Equipment - Part 1

But before we look at MCIS on other freelance railroads, there is one newly added freelance model railroad railcar that I want to showcase.

Chesapeake, Wheeling, and Erie - CWE

Alot of modeling license was used to accelerate Tom Patterson's CWE from the 1970s to 2015. This goes to show that not only have cars been back dated for other railroads that we will see below, but they also have been moved forward into the future.

CWE125379 at Michigan Sugar awaiting unload. An important lifeblood commodity on the St. Clair Sub is the processed products from sugar beets. To extract this product coke is needed to be burned with limestone. Michigan has plenty of limestone locally that is trucked in but the coke is sourced from the Appalachians. The CWE, WLE, and MCIS formed a coke railcar pool transporting product from Mountain State Carbon at Follansbee, West Virginia to Michigan Sugar at Upper Huron, Michigan. 

Now we are going to look at MCIS railcars on two other freelance model railroads. 

Virginia Midland Railroad - VMID

Out east there are quite a few Michigan Interstate cars roaming around on the VMID. Since this railroad is set in the 1990s the equipment seen here is different than what you find on home railcars set in current day.

VMID GP39-2 #274 spots MCIS7282 at Mid-Atlantic Feeds for unloading. This PS 4427 cubic hopper is carrying corn for use in making animal / livestock feeds. These cars date back to the late 1970s and would be off roster around 2008 being replaced by larger capacity cars such as the PS 4750 and Trinity 5161 cubic hoppers. 

VMID GP11 #280 pulls MCIS8347 empty from Klotz Distributors. Wood paneling products from Michigans northern lower peninsula criss-cross the country to distributors or finishers which in this case happens to be Klotz. These ACF 70 ton boxcars while much more weathered are still active on the general fleet in 2015. 

Here we see 9800 series 2 bay covered hoppers in Sand service at Rappahannock Aggregate. The majority of these are in cement service within the great lakes serving numerous cement plants, but a small subfleet of the cars were in service hauling sand from Michigan Dunes to states along the Atlantic and Canadian Maritimes. In 2014 the fleet was beginning to show its age and by October the last of the cars were retired from service. In their place customers opted to obtain their own lease fleets of newer higher capacity cars. 

In reality when these cars were "retired in 2014" they were physically shipped to Shannon's VMID where they "returned to service" in the 1990s era. Provided is a link to a post showcasing this change. 
2 Bay Hopper Attrition

Washington Northern Railroad - WN
With cars in the east there we cars bound to be in the west as well. Kevin Kletkke, owner of the WN snapped two shots of Michigan Interstate equipment out in Washington state. Like the VMID the WN is set in the 1990s era.

Provided is a link to view his published WN Bulletin featuring the MCIS railcars.
Washington Northern Railroad - Bulletin #7

MCIS2930 is in processed aggregate service hauling lime, cement products, or foundry sand to name a few. LDM materials and St. Marys cement have both transitioned to their own lease fleets of Trinity 3281 Cubic hoppers. 

MCIS72829 is apart of a nationwide boxcar pool handling various types of autoparts around the country. These smaller cars were replaced by second hand acquisition of larger 60' Plate F Berwick and new build Gunderson cars. 

There are a three other model railroads that have MCIS equipment in the works or active but unfortunately I do not have any pictures to share at this time. Thank You to all of the layout owners for letting the Michigan Interstate Railroad be apart of your operations.

These two posts not only show another dimension that freelance model railroading provides, but also allows you to develop great friendships in the hobby. You never know what kind of conversations will come up when someone sees that freelance railcar or locomotive for the first time.

- GM

Washington Northern Railroad - WN

Saginaw Valley Model Railroad Club - SRV


  1. Pretty cool. Neat to see your stuff out there on 'foreign' roads!

    Thinking about those 70 ton boxcars, I also see them out on the rails today, heavily weathered and such as you noted. When I started in model railroading, this was modern equipment, and still is mostly less than 5 years old on my model railroad.

    I wonder though, as these boxcar-boom cars are now approaching 50 years old (!) if they will start disappearing quickly in the next 5 years. I think when equipment reaches 50 years, it can no longer be interchanged? Not sure, just seem to recall reading that.

    As a current-day modeler, will that mean retiring similar cars on your layout if that does happen on the prototype?

  2. Mike,

    Older boxcars designed as 40 year cars could become a 50 year car after completing rebuild and getting waiver. Newer design cars built today are to a 50 year standard.

    As for MCIS and subsidiary MCBT the entire roster includes around 480 (50’ 70 Ton Plate C) boxcars that were built from 1975 to 1983. Of these 480 a total of 14 are actually modelled on layout. The cars are modeled to reflect being rebuilt for 50 year service, so we should see them roaming North America until 2024. After the 50 year mark I expect a number of the PS5344 and FMC5347 boxcars will be kept in captive home road service for shuttling paper rolls between the various Fort Mackinaw Paper plants. Other modelled cars could be “back dated” so they can find new homes.

    Since 2013 any boxcars or covered hoppers acquired are modern 100 ton equipment with build dates from 1990 up to today. For example the 100 Ton boxcar fleet has recently grown from four to ten modelled. Overall 100 ton boxcar fictional fleet stands at 180 cars.

    As Eric Brooman had mentioned in an MR article, staying current can get costly so I give myself a 5 year grace period to work with.