Eric's Car of the Month
Eric's Car of the Month features specific prototype railcars. The first 12 installments traced the history of a particular group of cars in detail. These became too time consuming for me to produce on a regular basis. Starting in September, 2009, each new installment features an individual car or topic in a simpler format. File sizes are smaller, so feel free to send them to friends as email attachments. Enjoy!
Please use the links below to download these free PDF documents.
- October, 2016 Pullman and Pullman Standard Passenger Car Production This guide serves as the second of two volumes and includes cars ordered from Pullman after 1911 and from Osgood Bradley before operations were merged into Pullman Standard. Free download is 106 pages, 1.3 MB.
- December, 2015 General American Car Production List - 4180 and 4566 c.f. Renewed popularity of these designs in the model train industry prompted creation of this excerpt for publication while updating my General American production lists. Later production by Trinity is not included. Free download is 19 pages, 0.1 MB.
- March, 2015 Cast Steel Underframe Railcar Production ... Most people are aware that some railcars had cast underframes but don't realize how many. This guide includes American Steel Foundries, Commonwealth Steel, General Steel Castings, General Steel Industries, and eventual subsidiary, St. Louis Car. Free download is 94 pages, 0.9 MB.
- June, 2014 Pressed Steel Railcar Production ... It's about time there was a comprehensive guide to Pressed Steel Car, its subsidiaries, and their predecessors. Contemporary Austin-Western, Bettendorf, and Ralston are also included. Free download is 203 pages, 2.2 MB.
- May, 2014 Standard Steel Car passenger car production ... I recently paid several trips to the PA State Archives to research Pressed Steel Car passenger car production. At the same time, I was able to update my SSC passenger car production list.
- July, 2011 Old business ... You never know what you'll find looking at old photos. Sometimes it's the ordinary, sometimes it's not as in the case of this PS-2 Jumbo covered hopper.
- May, 2011 Where'd they go? Has anyone noticed how rare early TILX tank cars have become?. This feature explains why.
- December, 2010 Old mysteries revealed at last traces the history of some Trinity gondola cars built in 1980 from P&LE to MSDR, then SRLX, and finally AM.
- November, 2010 One man's pain is another man's gain shows the unfortunate demise of TCSZ 464544 and some interesting construction details of RoadRailers.
- October, 2010 This work sheet shows the renumbering of NRUC box cars into the CN 418000 to 418399 series.
- September, 2010 This excerpt from T108 Tank Cars summarizes the production and use of T108 tank cars including ethanol cars.
- August, 2010 The last of the promiscuous tank cars features some of Union Tank's randomly numbered cars. As part ot the T108 tank car book, I had to sit down and take the time to unravel part of the UTLX roster.
- May, 2010 Economic expedience features GMRC 122, a cement car rebuilt from a grain car. The only GMRC covered hopper cars I can remember seeing in Bethlehem are pressure-differential types used for talc. However, I was pleasantly surprised by five non-pressure cars last month.
- April, 2010 Endangered species? features DTTX 59923, a rebuilt Gunderson Husky-Stack AP model. Work on the upcoming Gunderson book made me aware that the clock is ticking on some recent intermodal car designs.
- March, 2010 CNJ 1918 illustrated roster demo is in lieu of the usual feature. I visited some roster websites while writing my last book and got to thinking about what kinds of sites I liked best and how I would put one together myself. This is my version made up entirely of small PDF files rather than HTML documents. Hopefully, others will be encouraged to create sites with similar content since this kind of information is sadly lacking on
- February, 2010 Size matters? features JMHX 72713, a very unsuual carbon black hopper car built by Thrall in 1969. A recent request for more information about this design brought this car to mind.
- January, 2010 There are more things ... features DSRC 489399, a rare Southeastern Specialties covered hopper car built in the mid 1980s. A recent discussion of the Railroad Car History list prompted me find out more details about the cars produced by this little known builder.
- December, 2009 On borrowed time features SP 241525 from the Minneapolis trip. It is one of the rapidly disappearing Golden West cars.
- November, 2009 You can go back features one of my favorite spots for photographing rail cars. Last September I returned for a visit after a 20 year hiatus.
- October, 2009 Back for another round features PW 100131, one of the new autoracks that have attracted a lot of attention. These cars have a surprising and unique history.
- September, 2009 A unique marriage features TCSZ 462979, a Triple Crown RoadRailer with a very interesting history.
- March, 2009 is our first look at cars from south of the border. Constructora Nacional de Carros de Ferrocarril produced a distinctive 50' plate B box car between 1979 and 1987. Many were either sold to or interchanged with railroads north of the border.
- February, 2009 is the last installment of the Itel all-purpose intermodal car series and includes the ubiquitous Pullman-Standard cars in lot 1016.
- January, 2009 is the second installment of a three part series on Itel all-purpose intermodal cars. A new feature, the Dispostions graph, is included to clarify the subsequent history.
- My Christmas car(d) is a special holiday extra. It is a small, single page PDF document.
- December, 2008 started to be about Pullman-Standard lot 1016, those colorful Itel all-purpose intermodal cars built in 1978 and 1979. Although the P-S cars are the best known, Itel also received cars from ACF and Bethlehem. Once I began, it became obvious that I should include all three builders. So, the project will consist of three installments. The first addresses the ACF cars. While some of the history of these cars is still unclear, I think you will be very impressed
with what I have worked out.
- November, 2008 features a group of Louisville & Wadley box cars built by National Steel Car about 9 years ago. These unusual 60' cars are painted jade green and used for oriented strand board. They frequently appear in small groups on one local train out of Allentown, PA.
- October, 2008 features the deluxe bi-level dome cars built by Colorado Railcar for the Alaska Railroad. Colorado Railcar has now built more full length dome cars than Budd and Pullman-Standard combined. These cars operate between Anchorage and Fairbanks Alaska from May to September. The feature also discusses fourteen similar Royal Celebrity and Holland America cars found in the same trains.
- September, 2008 features a group of 89' Trailer Train flat cars built by Bethlehem in 1968. The Trailer Train roster is immense and contains many nuances, especially where 89' flat cars are concerned. These served as platforms for many different uses, and often had their equipment changed. This document takes a very detailed look at class F89X.
- August, 2008 features Gunderson forest products box cars built for Arkansas Midland in 2000. Gunderson built similar orders of huge, plate F cars for other customers, but the door arrangement on these cars is apparently unique. Although they don't yet have a complicated history, they do have an attention-grabbing paint scheme reminiscent of the Incentive Per Diem box cars built for many shortlines in the late 1970s.
- July, 2008 covers some rotary coal gondola cars. The particular cars in this document were built by Ortner for the Seminole Electric Cooperative in Florida from 1982 to 1984. The term of the original agreements was twenty years, and now all of the remaining cars are used for scrap metal by several other companies.
- April, May, and June, 2008 were skipped.
- March, 2008 includes some open hopper cars built by Bethlehem Steel in 1977 for Squaw Creek Coal, and later sold to the Andersons. The cars were originally used for coal, but are now used for scrap or trash.
- February, 2008 features a group of Evans Products 4,780 cubic foot covered hopper cars built for lease to the Farmers Cooperative Association in York, NE. These blue covered hoppers cars with large, white billboard lettering illustrate one of the small groups of brightly colored cars built for various agricultural cooperatives from the mid 1960s to early 1980s.
- January, 2008 covers Brandenburg gondolas. The bright yellow cars with large Brandenburg lettering on the sides would stand out even if their design wasn't dramatically different from other gondola cars. Looking more like dumpsters than freight cars, they also have some innovative and unique features. They were built from 1998 to 2001, and are used for scrap, primarily from the demolition of the Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, PA.