Amassing A Fleet

I decided to start my Pajaro Valley Consolidated RR by building some boxcars. The construction of these cars was discussed earlier. At first glance, they all appear to be standard boxcars with standard paint and lettering. While that's mostly true, there are some differences in each of them that help to create a uniform look without repeating the same car over and over.

Loaded boxcars awaiting pickup on my current layout.

In the recent weeks, I've completed the first four cars of the PVCRR, boxcars #220, 218, 215, and 208. They were all built from Fine N-Scale's 36' truss-rod boxcar. They all include True-Scale body mount couplers from Micro-Trains, and metal wheels. The underbody detailing had to be filed slightly so the wheels could roll freely. After doing that, the cars all operate smoothly. The scale couplers are a nice touch, and they perform well. I've had trouble getting them to couple at slow speeds. I'm hoping that lubricating the couplers will help them operate more freely.

Each Fine N-Scale kit comes with two slightly different boxcars, as seen in cars 208 and 215 below.

The two variations of cars included in the Fine N-Scale 36' Truss-Rod Boxcar kit

The roofs were also different, one style includes molded wood planking, similar to the final result, while the other includes what appear to be wide metal or wood sheets in place of wood planking (picture 4x8 sheets of plywood). I knew I'd be sanding the roofs smooth and installing scale lumber planking to match the prototype, so that didn't bother me.

As for the doors, the majority of the prototype pictures I have found show doors like #220 and #208, some opening to the left, and some to the right. I decided to leave the models as they were, and as of today, mine all open to the left. I did, however, add additional bracing details to the door to match the prototype.

I did find one picture that was labeled as car #215 with what appears to be a door like the one included on my version of #215 and #218. Using that as a guide, I went ahead and modeled #215 and #218 with the different doors.

Photo courtesy Steinbeck Country Narrow Gauge, courtesy United States Geological Survey. The end numbers on #221 are located to the left of the brake wheel.

Photo courtesy Pacific Coast Narrow Gauge.  Boxcar #216 has its end numbers located in the center of the grab irons and brake wheel.

Note the location of the car numbers.

The lettering and numbering gave me the opportunity to create some variety in a small set of otherwise similar boxcars. According to pictures I've seen, the numbering on the end of the cars varied slightly, as seen above.

Note the lettering on the boxcar in the upper left. Photo courtesy Steinbeck Country Narrow Gauge,

The picture above shows what looks to be a PVCRR boxcar in the upper left, with the lettering on the right side of the boxcar. All other boxcars I've seen so far include the lettering on the left, or don't have any reporting marks at all. I first thought that maybe this image had been flipped, and we were looking at a mirror of the original, but the numbering on the SP tender in the foreground looks to be correct, and the lettering on the boxcar looks like "PVC RR". I used this image as an opportunity to mix up the lettering, as seen on #218 below.

At first glance, these four boxcars appear to be simple models of simple cars. A closer look shows off their variations, allowing even a small railroad to have an interesting and diverse fleet of freight cars.

Now that we have a set of boxcars to move freight around the railroad, I think my next project will focus on the railroad's small collection of passenger equipment.

Coach No. 6, Courtesy Steinbeck Country Narrow Gauge, Vernon Sappers Collection.

Products used:
BLMA Models  - N scale grab irons
Builders In Scale - Laser cut planking
Fine N-Scale - Freight car kits
Microscale 60-2 Black and White Freight Car Data - Car Data Decals
Micro-Trains - True Scale Couplers #1300
Midwest Products Co. - Scale strip wood
Modeler's Decals and Paint -  Custom Decals


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