Railroad Model Craftsman Product Review

Micro-Trains’ Weathered Conrail/ex-Reading 50’ Boxcars

The latest release from Micro-Trains is a pair of ex-Reading 50-foot boxcars patched for Conrail.

Micro-Trains’ Weathered Conrail/ex-Reading 50’ Boxcars

N Scale (1:160)Review by Harry K. Wong/photos by the author

Conrail was formed in 1976 from the financially struggling ashes of several Northeastern railroads, including Penn Central, Erie Lackawanna, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Lehigh Valley, Lehigh & Hudson River, and Reading Railroad.

The early years of Conrail after the merger made use of the equipment and rolling stock inherited from each of these predecessor roads. Most predecessor equipment between the merged roads was assimilated into a unified numbering system for the new railroad. More often than not, rolling stock that required renumbering was hastily patch-painted with their new road numbers and “CR” reporting marks instead of getting a full repaint. Some of these cars never received a full repaint. 

Prior to the merger, Reading Railroad rostered a large group of 800 Pullman-Standard PS-1 boxcars, all of which measured 50”6” in length with 10-foot wide sliding doors. Designated as class XLj on Reading, the cars were delivered in three groups from Pullman-Standard between 1971 and 1972. All cars featured cushioned draft gear, but were equipped with a variety of different load restraint devices depending on the number series. With the coming of Conrail in 1976, approximately 297 of the XLjs transferred to the Delaware and Hudson, with the majority of the XLj fleet going to Conrail. With the new merger, these cars became class BR50L on Conrail. 

One of the latest releases from Micro-Trains is a pair of ex-Reading Pullman-Standard PS-1 50’6” boxcars patched for Conrail. This offering is a set of two cars presented in a single hardshell black cardboard box emblazoned with broadside renderings of the two cars. Inside the box are the two models, each enclosed securely within plastic jewel cases.

Our first car represents CR 231036 — which began life as RDG 18531 — part of the first group of XLj cars delivered to the Reading Railroad in 1971. This car features the classic large “billboard” READING lettering over a weathered green car body with DF “Damage Free” load restraint logos.

As these models depict prototypes as they appeared during the 1980s, each car presents a heavily weathered, timeworn appearance that reflects the ravages of time upon the car’s outer body surfaces. The weathering includes rust streaks, faded paint and lettering, oxidized and rusty roof and side panels. Contrasting this are the refreshed “patched” reporting marks, new reweigh data, and different styles of COTS stencils between the two cars. The weathering applied is intricately executed, subtle where it needs to be and stands up to close scrutiny under magnification. A U-1 wheel inspection dot is visible on both sides of CR 231036, typical of cars seen after March 1978…

Micro-Trains’ Conrail/ex-Reading Weathered 50’ Sliding Door Boxcars 2-pack Stock # 993 05 860

$62.95 per set

Micro-Trains, 351 Rogue River Parkway, Talent, OR 97540, micro-trains.com

October 2021Read the rest of this review in the October 2021 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman! Subscribe today!

This article was posted on: December 8, 2021