Jan 31, 2002
Did you know that individual railroads such as Conrail do not own their autoracks? Actually, all autoracks are owned by TTX Company, which in turn is owned by various railroads across North America. Prior to 1991, TTX Company was known as Trailer Train.
Since TTX owns the cars in pool service, 90% of the entire fleet is in service at all times. For example, Conrail owned about 12% of TTX's stock during the late 1990s and about 5,800 autoracks with ETTX, TTGX, TTQX, and TTSX reporting marks.
If you are looking to model one of Conrail's more interesting looking autoracks, then look no farther than Walthers Thrall 89' Tri-Level Enclosed Auto Carrier. These cars are designed to carry 15 mid-sized or 18 compact cars. As Walthers says, "As some of the longest and tallest equipment in operation, tunnels, bridges or other obstructions can present routing problems that require detours. To avoid this, a modified tri-level design was introduced in the mid 1970s. The 89' flat car that carries the rack is a special low-level car, easily identified by the side-sill cut outs that provide left and right side clearance for the trucks." If you use replacement metal wheels on your rolling stock, be sure to use the smaller 28" wheels as does the prototype. They did this to further reduce the height of the car, giving it a truly low-slung look.
Walthers offers the car predecorated in the standard Conrail scheme without the Quality logo (#932-4857) and undecorated (#932-4850). I have not been able to examine these autoracks predecorated for Conrail, so I cannot comment on them directly. If you have modeled this car either predecorated or custom painted and have some tips you'd like to pass along, please let me know.
If you are painting an undecorated model, Microscale Decals makes set #87-709 Conrail Autoracks that will paint a rack in the standard Conrail logo along with either the older Trailer Train logo or the newer TTX logo. The set will do three cars. In order to do a car with the Quality logo you will also need set #87-862 Conrail Quality Freight Cars.
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