Dual era cars

Really good freight cars are expensive these days.  I am interested in multiple eras. Sometimes, you can have cars work for multiple eras.

In the future, I will probably have an announcement on the Rails West site about a 1975 era project.  I recently weathered and detailed two cars to be able to operate on my 1975 project and my primary Rails West layout 1979-81.

Here’s what I started with…(I had already done some decaling.)



Way too new looking.

After a few decals, a few details and a fair amount of weathering, here’s what they became…



The DL&W car is an Atlas model.  It is a nice car, but the roof walk was a bit thick.  I used the roof walk off a recent Moloco Wabash project, and it fit nearly perfectly!  The Moloco roof walk made the DL&W car look much better.  I also added scale wheels, pin lifters and brake hoses.


The dual era trick comes from decaling each side a bit differently.

Here are the 1975 sides–no yellow wheel inspection dot and a single lube panel.


In the 1979+ side, the COTS and yellow dot surface.



Subtle but really signals the era change to the astute observer.


For the roof on the RI car, I employed the gray-silver splotch technique on the roof to suggest some peeling paint.


I like having the diversity of different roof configurations.  It was a pretty mixed bag in the 1970s and into 1980s as cars were retired or re-built.

All in all, this was a pretty rewarding set of projects and my 1975 project now has a couple of cars ready to go.  The Rails West layout also got some handsome, older cars when the “yellow dot” side is showing.


The first two cars in this line are Moloco.  Moloco makes among the best cars one can find today. There are many great products out there, but Moloco and Tangent are consistently the gold standard.  Many Exactrail and some Athearn Genesis cars also make that grade.  The Wheels of Time recent entry into HO also deserves mention.