A visitor to Roswell from California and … the evolution of the appearance of freight cars over time

One evening driving home, I saw an intriguing red box car sitting near the depot in Roswell.  Upon further inspection it was a visitor from California.  I have no idea what it contained, but it was attractive and would be a nice memory for me that pleasant evening in Roswell in the early 1990s.  That memory will be captured from time to time on the layout.

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Here is a similar boxcar many years later in Payette, ID being spotted at Seneca Foods on Mar 11, 2010

The Stockton Terminal and Eastern box car didn’t look that old and tagged sitting near the depot that evening in the early 1990s though.  In the early 1990s, freight cars tended to be relatively graffiti free. Below is how I recall the name on the car appearing that evening.

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Recollection of how the name of the box car appeared in the early 1990. This is the extent to which my STE box cars will be weathered on my layout.

Of course when the car was new, the appearance was even more impressive.

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Original appearance of this series of STE box cars in 1979.

Rather attractive.you’d have to say.

It is important to understand the evolution of weathering and grafitti when preparing your freight cars to go “on stage.”  You need to know about how old each car is on your layout.  If I were modelling 1979, my STE cars could look almost new, but since I model the early 1990s, it would be unrealistic for this series of box cars to appear on my layout looking new like the car above or heavily weathered and tagged with graffiti as in the first photo.  Fortunately, photos abound on the internet and other sources to help modellers make an educated guess as to how heavily weathered and tagged (if any) their rolling stock should be.  The more realistic the weathering, the more evocative the layout is of the era you are modelling.

Through research and carefully application of weathering, I can relive the special evening once again even if it is in HO.

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