More on Dual Era Cars

By B. Smith and C.E. Hunt

We having been working to create a number of dual era cars for our layouts.  See this earlier post on this topic.

The concept, in short, is if you have a shelf layout, most of the time, only one side of the car will be visible.  This gives you the opportunity to weather and detail cars for different eras.  Both of us have dual era layouts so this is attractive for cars whose service life spanned the two eras.

From the earlier post.  Here is a Moloco car detailed for post 1978.


Here is the other side of the car detailed for the early 1970s.


B. Smith recently received a couple of ScaleTrains PS 4785 covered hoppers and decided to make them useful for his earlier era late 1960-early 1970s and his 1990 era.  The cars are impressive.  The SSW has an unusual roof hatch arrangement that sets it apart from the other hoppers with their continuous hatch the length of the car.

The SSW car was built in 10-67 so it’s early enough to be spotted in Sanderson, the locale of the earlier era.  Smith added only an ACI plate and tried to go easy on the weathering.
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The unloading gates are very detailed and somewhat unusual.
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The other side of the car is for the 1990 portion of the layout.  More weathering, decals to show the car has been re-weighed, consolidated lube plate.
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Smith found that the Penn Central car offered a few more challenges.
“There are some minor issues doing a dual era car.  For the PC car I learned after ordering it that by 1990 there were no longer any PC reporting marks for this series of car, all had been changed to CR, but the cars kept the same numbers fortunately.  This means the reporting marks on the end of the car can only be correct for one of the car’s sides.  I didn’t change the PC reporting marks on my car’s ends.  (We will see if the conductor catches it.)
The other issue is how to weather the car.  Being NEW in 7-72 I felt the weathering should be very light to represent a 1970’s Sanderson version.  The 1990 version should be more weathered, and faded.  The PC green fades to a blue-green color after a few years.  I have been unable to find a 1990 photo of a PC green covered hopper, only recent 2000’s photos, so I’m making a guess here.
So to fade one side of the car I tried a technique I stumbled on (Lance Mindheim also mentions it).  I sprayed the entire car with dull coat.  I figured it would dull the PC side of the car enough.  On the CR side I went over the side after the dull coat had dried with just clear alcohol which results in a sun bleached effect.  The PC side still seemed too new and shinny so I hit it with an almost dry brush with just a hint of alcohol.  The roof I hit with a bit of alcohol and just left the ends with dull coat.  I may go back and splatter them with some flat black and roof brown but I can’t get carried away there.”
Here is the early version.
Here is the 1990 version based on photos from the internet.
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If you are like us and enjoy modelling more than one era, here is a way to get a “twofer” in your fleet.
LCN logo 7 with n tighter

A versatile industry, a ramp

In my early 1970s version of the RailsWest layout, I wanted a place where I could handle a diversity of traffic–a place to load onions and cotton grown in the valley and a place to receive goods brought in for area businesses, such as the Safeway and lumber yard.


I wanted it to be able to handle 2 to 3 cars and look like it has been there out in the sun for a long time.


I also wanted it to look like it had been maintained over the years.


In fact, I wanted part of it to look rebuilt.


I built it by combining four Blair Loading dock kits.


The Blair kits are easy to build.  I recommend this kit.  It looks good and is easy to build.


It can handle 2 to 3 cars.


It looks good upon fairly close inspection.


All in all a great addition to the layout.  It offers a lot of operation possibilities.