Copyright 1997 - 2015 by James B. Van Bokkelen . This document may be duplicated and distributed for non-commercial purposes only, all other rights reserved. Corrections and criticisms to jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net .
This file contains four sections:
One distinctive thing about the B&M's passenger fleet was that it used 4-wheel trucks almost exclusively. The only new equipment bought with 6-axle trucks were some of the 60' RPOs (both wood and steel), which retained them through reconfigurations and baggage car conversions. Other exceptions were heavyweight sleepers and parlors purchased from Pullman (including a number bought for conversion to baggage cars) and a few heavyweight coaches, combines and baggage cars purchased from the C&O and NYC in 1951 - 1953.
Another B&M characteristic was the use of head-end power for train lighting on cars in commuter or other short-haul service. This avoided frequent replacement of lighting batteries on cars assigned to schedules where the axle-driven generators didn't keep them charged. During the 1930s, many Moguls, Pacifics and even Consolidations were fitted with oversize generators to supply low-voltage DC. The normal equipment was a conduit to the top rear of the tender, where jumper cables connected to sockets attached by short lengths of flexible cable at either side of the end doors on the passenger cars. Some steam locomotives were also equipped with forward train-lighting connections, as some local runs were regularly scheduled to be hauled by an engine running backwards. Most cars thus equipped had a conspicuous conduit running the length of the roof. Many retained their generators and battery boxes for use with non-equipped locomotives or while standing uncoupled in stations, etc. Most of the B&M's Alco and EMD road-switchers were equipped to supply head-end power as well.
All the B&M's locomotive-hauled passenger equipment was disposed of in the late 1950s, as McGinnis carried the previous management's 1954 RDC initiative to an extreme. The wood cars attracted attention because of their age, but very little of the steel heavyweight or lightweight locomotive-hauled equipment survives. I am working on a page of preserved Boston and Maine passenger equipment , comments are welcome.
The B&M started out slowly with Budd Rail Diesel Cars, ordering eight Phase 1b RDC-1s and -3s in 1952 and 1953. Then, in July 1954 they placed the largest-ever single order, 64 cars in all, with the intent of eliminating steam (and the oldest second-hand steel coaches) on commuter runs. The cars of the 1954 order were all Phase 1c, with cast trucks, and were delivered during 1955. Incoming President McGinnis decided that if some RDCs were good, more would be better, and went shopping: Cars purchased included three more Phase 1c RDC-1s and Phase II RDC-1s, -2s and -3s, but the bulk were the cabless RDC-9 model. McGinnis's goal of replacing all locomotive-hauled passenger equipment was complete by 1959, with the exception of run-through trains. Aside from the Canadian Pacific, other railroads preferred to use equipment they already had, rather than pay mileage charges to use B&M RDCs in run-through service.
After the big cuts in inter-city service in the late 1950s, the B&M's RDCs were under-utilized. Their last hurrah as a fleet was the experimental increased service offered in the Boston commuter zone during 1963 and 1964. After the formation of the MBTA in 1965, the state subsidy only covered the MBTA district, and most service beyond it was gone by 1967. A number of surplus RDCs were sold to the CNR, CPR and Reading before 1970. The remainder hauled commuters until they were sold to the MBTA in 1977. That summer, a decision was made to remove all the engine enclosures; In the memorable winter that followed, most were so damaged that they had to be locomotive hauled for the rest of their careers.
In 1982 and 1983, thirty-two B&M RDCs were rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen in Boise, ID to push-pull coaches. By the late 1980s, all the unrebuilt RDCs were retired - some went to tourist railroads as unpowered coaches, and others were scrapped. The Boise Budds were unpopular with passengers, as the rebuilders had removed the sound- deadening rubber pads from the trucks, leaving the cars noisy and rough-riding. In the early 1990s, they were sold to Virginia Rail Express for service out of Washington, DC. When VRE bought new equipment, the ex-RDCs moved further. Some now serve Dallas Area Rapid Transit, some the Grand Canyon Railroad etc.
Note: This is not complete. It covers most of the steel cars, with these notable ommissions: details about the 800- and 900-series second-hand suburban cars, including renumberings in later years. I also haven't delved into all the re-buildings of the 60-foot mail fleet. However, Tom Madden provided information on the heavyweight Pullman to baggage car conversion program of the mid-50s. Much information has been published on the wood cars , but I've only gotten to the classes that survived past WW-II so far, and the information is subject to some refinement due to contradictions in sources.
I don't know much about how B&M equipment was painted before the First World War - if I had to guess, I would say that the New Haven influence probably removed the historical oddities remaining after the era of mergers and consolidation, as it did with the 1911 renumbering of steam locomotives. At any rate, by the 1920s, B&M passenger equipment was painted a dark green. The lettering was imitation gold, with the road name on the letterboard and the car's number normally centered below the windows. Most of the few color photographs that I've seen showing cars in this scheme date from WWII, but a few lasted into the 1950s. The green is clearly weathered, but it may have originally contained enough olive that Pullman Green would be a match. The green scheme was used on all equipment through 1939, with the exception of the Budd stainless steel Flying Yankee streamliner.
By 1940, though, there was some thought that it was time for a change. In that year, the equipment the B&M supplied for the new joint summer-only Washington - Portland East Wind was repainted in that train's yellow with silver striping scheme, and repainted at the end of the season. Also in 1940, a large number of secondhand steel passenger cars were purchased from the Pennsylvania Railroad. Several things I've read indicate that these entered service still painted PRR Tuscan Red, and that this stood out enough that management decided to standardize on red/maroon for passenger equipment.
Maroon scheme passenger cars can be identified in B&W photos by the fact that the road name is normally centered below the windows, with the car number below it. Converted troop sleepers and some classes of RPOs kept the road name on the letterboard. Lettering was Dulux Gold (yellow with a bit of orange). The shade of maroon applied to the cars varied a lot - sometimes photos show it as quite bright and reddish, other freshly-shopped cars are much darker. I've done most of my painting with Accu-Paint Passenger Maroon , but Badger has a Modelflex color and others use E-L or Wisconsin Central Maroon. Generally, it is practical to use weathering to get a prototypical variation in shades.
The 1947 P-S lightweight equipment and the used steel cars bought in the early 1950s entered service in maroon, but the 1955 P-S sleepers had neither paint on the window band nor a herald - only the road name on the letterboard. The initial RDC scheme was similar, with plain stainless ends, but the 1955 order arrived with Minuteman heralds on each side of the end door. The older RDCs also received Minuteman heralds about that time.
All the Minuteman heralds on RDCs were rather quickly replaced by the McGinnis "white ends with interlaced BM heralds" scheme. No other passenger rolling stock received McGininis Blue/Black/White (though it was applied to a few passenger cab units and the Talgo locomotives). The McGinnis RDC scheme was simplified after about 1968 by omitting the white background, and this was the last B&M passenger livery - all subsequent schemes reflected the MBTA's Purple Line designation for its commuter rail services.
My modeling standards lie somewhere in the middle of the range; I've never built anything I'd expect to win a well-attended contest, and I don't have interiors in all of my passenger cars, but then again, I'm not satisfied with shorty cars or window and ventilator layouts that are noticeably (to me) wrong. I don't have as much time to spend on the hobby as I want to, and I'm as interested in operation as I am in the actual construction, so I use commercial kits whenever possible. Some of these short-run kits, once you add trucks, couplers and detail parts, can be almost as expensive as brass, but I find that the time it takes to get them on the road is an effective budgeting mechanism.
I am beginning to make use of pictures of my own models to illustrate prototypes I don't have photos of, but the process will take time.
Budd Car: The RDC Story by Crouse is mostly in color, and is the source of the body style Phase definitions I've used. RDC: The Budd Rail Diesel Car by Duke and Keilty is thicker, but almost all black and white. Other sources of general RDC information and plans are articles in January, February, March and June 1991 Mainline Modeler and September 1967 Railroad Model Craftsman. All contain a good deal of B&M material, but many modelers will want to supplement it with the October 1986 B&M Bulletin and photos in other B&M-related publications. More detail on the appearance of specific RDCs can be found in my Notes on Detailing B&M Diesels page.
RDCs used to be hard to do well on a budget. The Athearn plastic RDC-1 and RDC-3 were too short, which some fixed by splicing, but the roof blister was also too low, which can't. The version modeled was Phase 2, or new look, which appeared on cars built after July, 1956. It is distinguished by headlights in a rectangular housing protruding from the curve of the end of roof, integral pilot and small cab windows. The fluted ends and doors on the model were uncommon, only appearing on a few new look RDCs. All of the New Haven's cars and the majority of the B&M's cars were Phase 1 old look (headlight recessed into the end, large cab windows) anyway, with add-on pilots attached to the lower portion of the steps. Athearn's cast trucks were pretty good, except that they only did one die, which leaves the bolster anchors facing the wrong way on one end of powered cars.
Late in 2000 Life-Like did a run of Proto-1000 Phase 1 RDC-2s with eight-wheel pickup, a nice drive and partial interior. The paint job wasn't so good - the aluminum pigment was rather coarsely ground. The car was offered lettered and numbered for the McGinnis B&M scheme, but the trucks on the model are the original fabricated type - all the B&M's RDC-2s had cast trucks. In late 2001, they ran Phase 1 RDC-3s with a much better paint job, although fanatics will still be planning to cover them with Bare Metal Foil or something similar. Their RDC-1 arrived in summer of 2002, also with fabricated trucks and the better paint job, but with annoying/innacurate tinted windows throughout, including the cab area.
After 2010, Walthers re-ran the RDC-1, -2 and -3 with a plated metal finish and no tint in the windows. They didn't offer any painted/lettered for B&M.
The Proto-1000 models remove the ancient American Train & Track plastic RDC-2 from consideration for kitbashing. The 1950s metal Athearn RDC is an old look car, which appears to have the right height, but has been shortened. It looks like it would be difficult to splice the stamped metal sides, even though the fluting is pretty coarse.
Hallmark imported brass RDC-1, -2, -3, -4 and -9s about 1985, in both "modernized" (new look) and "original" (old look) versions, along with some customized for specific RRs (e.g. ATSF DC-190/191). They look good and run pretty well (for cars with 4-wheel pickup), but are hard to to find. The horn on the RDC-9 looks kind of like those added to the RDC-9s which the CNR purchased, but the pilots on the "modernized" RDC-9s are a complete invention. Another problem is that many of their "modernized" cars have the fluting on the doors and ends, and any attempt to remove it commits mayhem on the body shell plating. The "original" version models I've seen are Phase 1B, with fabricated trucks - the sideframes are well done, but the giant gearbox can look unrealistic from some angles. All the "modernized" cars have the end numberboard openings, which is right for one late B&M RDC-2 and all the late RDC-3s, but not for any of the late RDC-1s (see my Diesel Detailing page for specifics).
NJ Custom Brass RDC-1, -2 and -3s can be found from time to time, and are "old look" cars, but the drive is horrible. It is noisy, with open gearing and a 5-pole motor mounted on the power truck. Speed control is poor, and the electrical connection to the unpowered truck is pure Mickey Mouse - the mounting screw is soldered in place. The body is a pretty good Phase 1 (five treads per step) except that they left the lower edges of the sides flat, instead of rolled inwards. The coined trucks are a poor representation of the fabricated type used on B&M cars bought prior to 1955. The B&M didn't own any RDCs with those steps, so you can either fix that or ignore it. You also need to make the add-on pilots to model in-service B&M equipment.
The etched side fluting on both the Hallmark and the NJCB imports is weak, and won't stand up to close inspection. In early 2000, MTS imported RDC-1, -2 and -3 models with "formed" fluting at $515 each. The MTS models are Phase 1B, with fabricated trucks - correct for 6100 through 6105, 6301 and 6302. The drive is nice, and the gearboxes on the trucks are much smaller than those on the Hallmark cars. One of the two types of pilots included looks right for the B&M, but New England modelers will have to do a little re-detailing: The factory installed single-chime horn is only correct for B&M cars from delivery through 1955. A New Haven-style Hancock air chime is included as an extra part, but for B&M post-1955 I would get a Custom Finishing 2-chime Leslie (H-220).
Note: In re-working a Hallmark RDC-9, I found that plain old aluminum foil can be glued on and weathered to a pretty good match for a plated "stainless" surface.
Most of the Fall 1979 B&M Bulletin is taken up by a long article on the Talgo. A plan of the locomotives (numbered 1 and 2) was published in one of the first, photocopied publications the B&MRRHS put out back in 1971 or so. There's also useful information, including detail photos and near-scale diagrams, in the series on the New Haven's lightweight trains published in the New Haven Railroad Historical Technical Association's Shoreliner Volume 19, Issues 2, 3, 4 and Vol. 20, Issue 1 .
Good luck modeling it. The ancient plastic Talgo train that you sometimes see at White Elephant tables has parallelogram windows; the ACF Talgos built for the B&M and New Haven had rectangular windows, and the locomotives (1 & 2) were unique. No brass importer has yet been bold enough to bring them in, either: Both the B&M and NH trains were notably unsuccessful and while the B&M's lasted longer (in service till 1964), many fans view them as a symbol of all that was wrong with NH and B&M President (and stock market robber baron front man) Patrick B. McGinnis.
Photos and rough plans for the 1947 coaches, combines and diner-lounges can be found in The Official Pullman Standard Library Vol. 10 . B&M Bulletin articles on these and the 1955 6-4-6 sleepers include: Vol. 2, #1, B&M - MEC Stainless Steel Passenger Cars with scale drawings of the coaches, Spring 1976, B&M - MEC Stainless Steel Update, Fall 1977, B&M Steel Dining Cars with scale drawings of the diner-lounges, Vol 17 #4, Remember When... with construction and PR photos, and Vol. 20, #2, Beach Series Sleepers. The roster information in both the 1972 and Spring 1976 articles was corrected in the Fall 1976 Bulletin.
As delivered, the 1947 B&M and MEC cars had maroon window bands, and were otherwise identical except for the road names on the letterboards. All had 41-NP-11 trucks, a variant mostly found on the PRR that used a small leaf spring instead of automotive-type shock absorbers. Sometime after 1953 the MEC repainted at least one coach with a green window band edged with gold pinstripes (good photo in the Northern New England Color Guide...). The MEC sold its diners early - I think in 1951, which correlates with Official Railway Guide and timetable entries which indicate no on-train food service on the MEC by 1954. I believe that publications that have them being sold in 1958 or 1959 are in error. The B&M coaches, combines and diners went to the Wabash by way of a dummy company so McGinnis and his friends could extract a kickback (which sent him to jail a few years later). The MEC coaches and combines went to the Missouri Pacific in February 1960.
Note: The BAR's three P-S coaches had a different window layout. They went to the Ontario Northland in 1959.
In the mid-1990s, Concord Junction (of Acton, MA) introduced etched brass sides for all of the 1947 B&M and MEC cars, as well as the 1955 BAR, B&M and NH sleepers. My first models use these sides with the Eastern Car Works "car core kit", more or less as recommended in the instructions, except that I glue the sides, ends and floor together and leave the roof loose. If you can get the ECW roof casting to lie flat, they go together fairly well, given a level of skill a bit above that required for straight styrene kits. I've had enough trouble with warped roofs that I ordered some of the Train Station Products core kits as soon as they came out - a first look shows straight castings with much nicer die work, and they go together easily. The coach sides have most of the grab iron holes etched through, but the combines and diners I've seen need drilling. Some sides had a slight flaking problem with the plating.
Concord Jct. has subsequently done a number of small runs of these sides, selling primarily at a table at the West Springfield show. These later sides aren't plated, so the modeler must apply Bare Metal Foil or specialized paint before applying them to a core kit or a sanded-down Walthers P-S lightweight body.
Years ago, NJ Custom Brass imported a partially-assembled brass "kit" for the 1955 B&M/NH/BAR 6-4-6 sleepers. One of the lavatory windows is slightly mis-placed. The right 41-BNO-11 trucks are available: Custom Finishing offers pewter kits, Train Station Products has a styrene kit, and Rapido has a ready-to-run version. All look much better than ECW's plastic version. For me, the most troublesome part of completing the NJCB car was the number and name boards. The etched and plated sides don't include any, since each of the owning railroads (B&M, BAR and NHNH&H) used different layouts. Plated brass panels were included in the kits, but they look too thick to me. I am fairly satisfied with the .015" nickel silver sheet from Clover House that I eventually stuck on with Walthers' Goo.
In 2005, Railway Classics imported brass versions of the 1955 6-6-4 sleepers at $485 each. The pilot model looked nice, but there were painting errors. I don't know if they were fixed in production.
Eastern Seaboard Models offered N scale kits of the B&M/BAR/NH 1955 sleepers in 2000. These were re-issued as sides only in 2005.
Accu-Cals decal set 5830H is intended for these cars in HO (and other B&M lightweight equipment, e.g RDCs and the Flying Yankee), but I think the black lettering is too heavy. I used the Micro-Scale HO 87-863 set, and I chose the blue lettering for a BAR lightweight sleeper (they also offer black) based on a photo in the Northern New England Color Guide... . The 1947 cars arrived with stainless roofs, but they were out of reach of the washer brushes and usually look heavily weathered in photos. The 1955 sleepers were delivered with black roofs and no paint on the window band.
The B&M's American Flyer coaches were similar to cars ordered by the New Haven and Bangor & Aroostook, but note that only the NH had the 11-window version. Also, B&M and BAR cars were built without skirting, and the BAR cars had ice-activated A/C (contrary to the E&B Valley instructions). Most NH cars had had the skirting over the trucks removed by 1947, and skirts between the trucks were mostly gone by 1957. The Official Pullman Standard Library Vol. 10 has rough plans and good photos of B&M, NH and BAR cars as-built, the Winter 1974/75 B&M Bulletin has better plans of the B&M cars and different photos. A comprehensive history of the NH cars and a separate article on modeling them appeared in the NHRHTA Shoreliner Volume 16 #3 (1985), but see also The New Haven RR's Streamlined Passenger Fleet by Doughty.
In the early 1980s, E&B Valley introduced a flat-molded plastic kit of the 10-window cars. This was later taken over by Eastern Car Works, and can still be found at train shows. It's not hard to build, and looks good. The styrene-sideframe trucks have held up fairly well since I built my first in 1987 or so, but be sure to clean up the mold draft angle on the bolster piece when you assemble them - otherwise the joint can be very weak. This kit can be used to model any railroad's 10-window cars, in all the skirt and A/C configurations. I'm not sure what I'd do if I wanted one of the NH's 11-window commuter coaches or the BAR RPO-baggage cars. An article by Marty McGuirk on producing B&M and NH cars from the ECW kit appeared in Paint Shop in the January 1998 Model Railroader.
In 2005, Railway Classics imported brass 10-window American Flyer coaches decorated for B&M. I have not examined them. Neither have I examined Weaver's O Scale cars (tinplate and 2-rail were made).
In 2010 Rapido imported ready-to-run HO 10-window American Flyer coaches, including a version detailed and decorated for B&M. The curved skirts by the vestibule steps need to be removed for accuracy.
In the early 1980s NJ Custom Brass imported versions of the New Haven American Flyer cars which turn up at used brass dealers: Note that the B&M had no grill cars, and the NH converted its American Flyer grills to coaches not long after their stainless-sheathed grills arrived in 1948. Because of this, and the fact that all the cars I've seen have had full skirts, I've passed the sets up, even when reasonably priced. Long ago there was an HO etched brass and wood kit by Bennington Scale Models, which looks reasonable for its era. An old O-scale kit with a sand-cast aluminum body shell is reported to require an excruciating amount of filing and sanding to smooth the surface.
The B&M's articulated streamliner 6000 arrived in 1935, and remained in service until 1957. B&M Bulletin issues with material on it include Diesel Railroading on the B&M, with a fold-out scale drawing in March 1972, Scheduling History in Spring 1982 and a reproduction of a brochure and general information and photos in June 1985 . It was on display at Edaville (South Carver, MA) from 1957 to 1995; A few years after Edaville closed it was transported by truck to Bartlett NH, where it sat beside Rt. 302 for several years. It eventually got moved to Claremont, NH, where a restoration project was begun; recently it's been moved to Lincoln, NH where work continues slowly, as funds are available. (see http://www.flyingyankee.com/ for current info).
The Flying Yankee's configuration was substantially different from the CB&Q's Zephyr. There have been three brass models imported since 1980: The one I have examined closely is from Challenger (2081.1, 1993), and looks and runs satisfactorily. It came factory painted in the original B&M - MEC Flying Yankee scheme, which changed in 1945, when the train went into service as the Cheshire , on B&M rails only. It lacks the curved snow deflector applied below the cab windows in winter months most of the years the unit was in service.
Kitbashing Con-Cor's HO Pioneer Zephyr model should be possible, but the changes to the window and door layout are substantial and require joints in very visible locations. I've heard hints that an N-scale resin-bodied Flying Yankee may be offered commercially in the future.
These cars are pretty distinctive in photos; the 36 inch high single windows can be identified when you can't see much else. The window layout was apparently an Osgood Bradley standard, as it was used in cars for the B&M, NYNH&H, NYO&W and WM well after the collapse of the pre-WWI Mellen empire. Good plans and photos of the coaches (Summer 1982) and combines (Spring 1982) have been published in the B&M Bulletin . The former article also contains details on re-numbering, ventilation and electrical supply: All of the coaches had axle-driven generators, but by the end of WWII half were also equipped with jumper cables and roof-top conduits to draw power from the locomotive's train-lighting generator. Many received ice A/C in 1935 - 1937. All were scrapped 1958 - 1960, except for five coaches which went to South Korea.
An article (mostly pictures) on building the Bethlehem Car Works coach kit appeared in the June 1997 RailModel Journal . A construction article by Roger Hinman with a drawing of the coach appeared in the August 1998 Mainline Modeler . If you can find a copy, the NHRHTA's reprint Passenger Car Diagram book has well-dimensioned diagrams of New Haven coaches that were similar to the B&M's.
Funaro and Camerlengo offered an "Osgood Bradley coach" in cast resin, which is presently out of production awaiting an improved version. If it's typical of other cast resin kits, it'll be somewhat harder to assemble than a flat injection molded styrene kit.
I have built the Bethlehem Car Works etched brass and plastic kits for the 4500-4580 coaches and 3600-3607 baggage-smokers. They look pretty good, but represent another step up in skill level. One issue is that the prototype cars were about 13 ft. 8 in. high (before the train lighting conduits were added), about 4 inches lower than than contemporary heavyweight Pullmans. Of this, 2 ft. 8 in. was above the eaves according to original drawings reproduced in Train Shed Cyclopedia #42. The original BCW kit's molded plastic roof was about 3 ft. 3 in. high, so I sanded mine down as much as I dared before assembly. In 2009, BCW was offering a resin roof which looked like it might have a lower cross-section, but I don't know if it is included in current kits. Another point is that if assembled per the instructions, the car sits about .060" too low on the trucks; I shimmed my "truck mounting pad" down by that much.
In the mid-1970s, Nickel Plate Products imported a set of cars for the NYO&W Mountaineer . This included two coaches usable for B&M or New Haven, and a single baggage door, single vestibule combine which is usable for New Haven. The two baggage door/30' mail car is also usable for B&M (3110 - 3114), MEC (417 - 420) or NH (2760 - 2772) but the observation is pure NYO&W. All of the NPP cars have well detailed bodies, but the underframe fishbelly is missing. I've added BCW Kitbits #30B plastic fishbelly underframes to mine.
In 1931, the B&M and Maine Central jointly purchased four sets of DeLuxe equipment for the Flying Yankee, Pine Tree Limited and other Boston - Bangor name trains. The B&M's were numbered 4581 - 4584 (coaches) and 3608/3609 (combines). The MEC's were 261 - 265 and 521/522, respectively. A plan and photos of the coaches appear in the Winter 1982/83 B&M Bulletin. The DeLuxe cars were delivered with roller bearing trucks and (I think) "bucket seats". They received ice A/C in 1934, the first B&M cars so equipped. 4581 went to the MEC in 1950 to replace wrecked 266. The remainder of the B&M cars were sold in 1959. MEC 522 was renumbered 322 and operated into the 1980s on official trains. BCW #247 represents the combines, but I don't know of any accurate models of the coaches. The Branchline trains HO "single window" coach might do for a stand-in - it has three more windows per side.
Plans and photos of the Laconia cars appear in the Fall 1982 B&M Bulletin , and I haven't found any visible differences between the two orders. It appears that splicing two Athearn heavyweight steel baggage cars will create a creditable model of the side. I am still thinking about what to do about the recessed end panels. At worst, you cut out the area in question and make new panels of thin styrene with a rivet press. Bethlehem Car Works has an end of this style available, but you could run into trouble blending it into the Athearn roof contour. I've also seen another person's car based on a similar cut/splice of two IHC/Rivarossi heavyweight baggage cars.
Good as-built plans and some photos of the 1930 diners (84 - 87) appear in the June 1972 B&M Bulletin . They are also covered (text and photos) in a food-service article in the Fall 1977 B&M Bulletin . The latter says all the diners are equipped with "Commonwealth" (from the context, top-equalized 242-type) trucks. I'm pretty sure this is incorrect, because photos show they all had 241x drop-equalized trucks as built; See Kratville's Steam, Steel and Limiteds for several that are pre-WWII by the paint/lettering. I've found post-1950 photos of all but #86 with drop-equalized trucks. The diners appear to have received ice A/C about 1934 - the major change was a large ice box on the corridor side. The Mountaineer (ex-Maine) survives at Steamtown, but the others were all converted to other uses by 1955. In 1994, Concord Junction produced etched brass sides for these cars, to be applied to cut-down Rivarossi 12-1 sleepers.
The B&M's parlor and parlor-buffet cars were scrapped or converted to baggage cars in the mid-50s, along with some heavyweight sleepers replaced by the 1955 P-S cars. Per the Fall 1977 Bulletin article, the Elm, Onward and Progress had 242-type trucks - the rest had 2410-type trucks. This is apparently an error, since Passenger Car Catalog and the Pullman Project database have Onward with 2410 trucks while Pullman-owned. All the parlor cars I've been able to spot in post-WWII photos are painted maroon with black roofs. The MEC also owned two Plan 2417D parlor-buffet cars ( Pine, Spruce ), and all appear with the 1947 P-S stainless-sheathed cars in pre-1956 photos of Boston-Bangor trains.
The only drawing of the interior of a Plan 2417 parlor-buffet that I've been able to find is in Passenger Car Catalog by Kratville. It shows the buffet as between the drawing room and vestibule, and the asymmetric paired windows at the other end as a small enclosed smoking lounge. Strangely, this plan shows only one lavatory - men's? A plan of a sister car to the Onward and Progress appeared in the June 1966 Model Railroader, but it isn't clear if they shared its interior arrangement; some Plan 4019 cars had the lavatories at the vestibule end instead of the end windows shown in the MR plan.
Concord Junction has offered etched brass sides for the Plan 2417D Parlor-Buffet Cars (Birch, Maple, Elm), intended for use on the Rivarossi 12-1 body with New England Rail Service air-conditioning parts. The Walthers 28-1 parlor is Plan 3416, but I don't know of a good enough photo of Hemlock to compare configurations. In 2008, Bethlehem Car Works introduced a kit for a Plan 4019B car based on the Branchline Pullman suitable for Onward and Progress. Otherwise, see below for references to other Pullman kitbash tactics. Listings of imported brass don't usually contain enough detail for me to tell if any of the parlors match B&M cars.
Concord Junction has offered etched brass sides for a 12-2 sleeper, intended for use on a cut-down Rivarossi (formerly imported by AHM and IHC) 12-1 body. New England Rail Services also offers a line of parts for cut-and-splice conversions based on the Rivarossi car. See The Best of Mainline Modeler's Passenger Cars Vol. 1 , the April and May 1989 Model Railroader articles, and Railway Prototype Cyclopaedia Vol. 1 and 2 for the basics of heavyweight sleeper kitbashing. Branchline Trains has released their air-conditioned plastic 10-1-2 sleeper, which is as well executed as their recent 22-window coach. However, it is a Plan 3585, with pedimented ends, which only one B&M car (Martel) had. Both Branchline and Walthers have released 6-3 and 14-section cars. Note that Walthers painted their New Hamburg in maroon, while the B&M car remained Pullman Green until it was scrapped.
Modeler's Notes #34 listed the Pullmans that the B&M bought when Pullman divested in 1948. Wayner's Pullman Panorama says the cars were leased back to Pullman immediately. Pictures of B&M heavyweight sleepers in service are rare, but Harry Frye opined, based on 1952 and 1953 photos, that they probably remained Pullman green with "Pullman" lettering until they were scrapped, rebuilt to baggage cars or sold back to Pullman after the lightweight sleepers arrived in 1955. This has been confirmed by Tom Madden's Pullman Car Project database: Only the Valparaiso University received two-tone gray, in October 1954.
The B&M kept three heavyweight sleepers long enough to appear in Wayner's 1961 Pullman Company List of Cars - they were Gounod (6-3), Valparaiso University (12-2) and McSpadden (12-1) (other sources say all but Gounod had been retired in 1960). In mid-1960 McDade (12-1), Mapleton, Maskell and Ft. Bliss (all 10-1-2) had been sold back to Pullman, and are listed as being in "government storage".
Good information on CNR cars that pooled onto the B&M via the Central Vermont is available, and the CPR cars supplied for the Montreal trains via St. Johnsbury often appear in photos. It appears that during most periods, the CPR didn't provide sleepers for the Gull, though just before the lightweight 6-4-6s arrived, the train had been using heavyweight 8-1-2s that were probably CPR. Aside from a few runs of imported brass cars and a few recent resin kits, you're going to need some skill at kitbashing or scratchbuilding to obtain models of the more distinctive Canadian equipment.
These commuter haulers were part of a much larger PRR fleet, built at Juniata Shops. They were designed to be convertible to multiple-unit operation as the PRR electrification expanded, and I assume some were surplus when it finally reached Washington in 1938; other cars were sold to the Erie RR and the New York, Susquehanna & Western in the same period. The B&M bought coaches, combines and RPO-Baggages in 1940.
These cars pioneered the maroon passenger equipment scheme on the B&M when they arrived. Some coaches were rebuilt with platform gates for high-density commuter service near Boston. Commuter cars generally had their battery boxes and generators replaced with head-end power connections. Other cars of all types made frequent appearances in long-haul secondary passenger service (or sometimes as a non-A/C coach in a premier train) all over the system, many with head-end power conduits in addition to their generators and batteries. Before they were retired by the 1955 RDC order, most had their PRR trucks replaced with B&M standard drop-equalizer passenger trucks.
Until 2005, the only way to model the P-54s accurately short of scratch-building was brass imports, but in that year Funaro & Camerlengo introduced P-54 and PB-54 kits suitable for the B&M's fleet, some of which had platform gates instead of vestibule doors. Since 2009, Con-Cor has made a couple of runs of HO injection-molded coaches, combines and MB-54 baggage-mail cars. Railworks included well-executed brass locomotive-hauled coaches, combines and RPO-baggage cars in a post-2000 run at $155 each. Walthers had coach and combine kits with stamped-metal sides long ago, but they were too long, and the monitor profile looks a bit high compared with the prototype. The squat, wide, tight-clearance clerestory promises to be difficult to achieve via kitbashing.
Note that I'm a bit confused regarding the combines: Some sources indicate that 12 combines were purchased in 1946, and 4 more were purchased in 1952. However, other sources indicate that the 1952 group of combines were assigned lower numbers than the earlier combines. This wasn't done with the coaches, which puzzles me, so I've got more research to do. Reading Railroad fans have researched the original RDG car numbers - I'll put them on line one of these days.
Most of these cars were shipped to Korea after RDCs displaced most locomotive-hauled trains in 1956 and 1957 - as far as I know the remainder were scrapped by 1959. Per Modelers Notes #14 , the MEC also bought 10 coaches numbered 180 - 189 in 1946. These too went to Korea. The November 1984 Model Railroader had plans of the whole family of cars as built for the Reading. The March 1997 Railroad Model Craftsman had an article about the building the Bethlehem Car Works kits as B&M cars.
Bethlehem Car Works produces quality flat styrene kits of a Reading coach and combine, but only the coach exactly matches the ones the B&M and MEC bought. The combines the B&M bought had a different window arrangement (13 passenger-section windows instead of 12). In the mid-1990s Concord Junction Car Shops offered a cast resin side to correct the BCW kit, but since Bethlehem started offering the side moldings as separate items I chose to just cut and splice a coach and a combine side. All the photos I've seen of the B&M cars show a conspicuous train-lighting conduit running the length of the roof, whether the car is in a commuter train or the backwoods of New Hampshire. I modeled it with 0.020" brass wire. There is also a wide variation in the number and arrangement of the roof ventilators - I think the cars with more than 6 or 8 ventilators are going to turn out to be the gate-vestibule commuter fleet, but I'm not sure. Note that some kits come with B&M decals; If you can't find one, use Micro-Scale 87-1014 or Accu-Cals 5827H, though the latter requires changing the letter-to-letter spacing in the road name.
In 2002, ready-to-run versions of the BCW coach and combine kit (assembled in China) became available from Intermountain. These appear to be well executed versions of the closed-vestibule cars, but do not include a train-lighting conduit. The combine has the proper window count.
Imported in 1996 (at about $180 each) by Railworks. The Boston & Albany version has an open vestibule with gates at the bottoms of the steps, which the New York Central Putnam Division coaches the B&M bought didn't have. However, it appears that the B&M removed the doors (while keeping the diaphragms) and added gates at the top of the steps (see the Northern New England Color Guide... ). I don't know the specifics, but I believe these cars were scrapped in the late '50s too.
The coach is a good match for the Branchline HO 80' 22-window coach kit. Maywald's Memories of the B&M shows a coach with 4-wheel drop-equalized trucks, Ward ventilators on the clerestory, lavatory vents and a train-lighting conduit on the roof. A photo of a combine in Forest, River & Mountain shows 6-wheel trucks, Ward ventilators and a train lighting conduit.
In 2011, Bethlehem Car Works introduced a kit for these cars, based on a Branchline core. I haven't built it yet.
Plans and photos of the 30' mail cars appear in the Spring 1983 B&M Bulletin . Around 1990, Steam Shack offered a pretty good HO cast-resin kit for the car with the 30' RPO section. They re-ran this in the winter of 2000, so it it worth looking for. Earlier, a photo was published of an arch-roof car built from Athearn components by a modeler at RPI. If you want a 15' RPO version, don't be deterred by significant window differences between the 15' and 30' cars: it appears openings only need to be filled, not added. These cars were scrapped about 1959.
See May 1991 Model Railroader for plans and info on a New York Central conversion. B&MRRHS Modeler's Notes #4 has plans of the B&M single door cars (converted at the B&M's Concord, NH Shops), a roster and photos. There have been various brass models of the original troop sleepers, and the Cannonball Car Shops plastic kit finally became available in 2001, but Walthers' RTR injection molded cars have made older models (except B&M 4-door cars) obsolete.
My own cars are built from Concord Junction cast resin kits produced around 1993. All the B&M versions were offered: 2-door, 4-door, RPO/Baggage, and the full-baggage conversion of the RPO/Baggage as well. Decals were included, and some kits came with Cape Line Allied Full Cushion trucks (he simultaneously offered kits for NYC and NH conversions as well).
With the original Concord Junction cars, be careful, the sides on both my kits needed a good deal of filing before the roof would overlap onto the ends. Also, the newer kit (in a plastic bag as opposed to a cardboard box) had a floor that was even shorter. I haven't yet found a coupler shank length that produces a really satisfactory way of mounting the coupler: the mounting screw comes too close to the joint between the end and the floor either way. About 1955, most, if not all, railroads using converted troop sleepers scrapped the Allied trucks after analysis of a wreck indicated they were at fault. They were often replaced with high-speed Bettendorf-outline trucks (the Chrysler FR-5 for many of the B&M cars). I don't know of any ready-to-run snubber-equipped Bettendorf or Chrysler-type trucks. For a long time after Cape Line shut down, the only sources of Allied trucks were a run imported by Overland and the Bethlehem Car Works Kitbits line. Eastern Car Works offered plastic Allied trucks, which are an option in the Cannonball kit too, and now Walthers has them in metal.
A new series of converted troop sleeper kits from Concord Junction appeared at the 2000 Springfield show, with brass sides and other components of resin. I haven't built one yet, but the etching on the sides looks nice. No four-door version was available at the show, but I've since read that Central Hobbies has them. I also picked up a styrene kit (from the CCS tooling), with plugs for the windows. I am thinking of trying to build it as one of the B&M 4-door conversions.
The original Walthers (HO) and Micro-Trains (N) RTR troop sleeper baggage conversions had a factory door arrangement correct for NYC, New Haven and possibly other roads. Since then, Walthers has offered HO RTR versions of the B&M single-door cars.
All of these cars had an arch roof, flat ends, no ice hatches and 8 foot wheelbase drop-equalized trucks, with two doors per side, approximately 4 feet wide. They had truss rods (and probably steel center sills, given the date built), and were rated to carry 36,000 pounds. As-built, most had small doors in the ends, but these disappeared in later rebuildings. The resources I have at hand don't give detail about the histories of the earlier cars. 1609, 1616 and most of the 1700s series ran until they were replaced by the 1957 steel milk cars. 1708, 1714, 1716 and 1718 (and possibly others) received Thermo-King mechanical refrigeration units for milk in bottles and cartons from Bellows Falls to Boston for First National stores. They had either one or two metal "Brookside" signs mounted on the sides as well. Photos indicate that the "Brookside" cars were shuttled back and forth in blocks. All the color photos I've seen show maroon sides and ends, black roof and underbody, and gold lettering, but they were probably green with gold lettering prior to the 1940s. A scale plan appeared in the Spring 1978 B&M Bulletin .
Overland imported brass models (OMI 3063 w/Thermo-King) in the 1980s - they're pretty good, but the exhaust stack on the mechanically refrigerated cars sticks up too high. I don't think I could have lowered mine without a resistance soldering setup. Funaro and Camerlengo offers a resin kit, which has a solid cast body which came with flash removed and primer applied (nice). I have one but haven't built it - I borrowed one Brookside sign decal for an Overland car and found it to be *very* fragile, so I'll overspray them with some kind of varnish before I finish the kit. Railworks imported both the normal and mechanically refrigerated cars in late 2001, but I haven't seen the photo that they base their factory painted silver roof on. The Micro-Scale B&M Milk Car set (MC-4241) does these cars, including the Brookside sign.
The trucks were 6'0" wheelbase, with a curved drop equalizer. A scale plan appears in the Spring 1978 B&M Bulletin . One survived into the 1970s as storage space at the Hood plant in Charlestown, MA. Funaro and Camerlengo did a flat resin kit of these cars. It looks nice, and now that Bethlehem Car Works has brought out a suitable truck in cast metal, maybe I'll get to it.
There is an article on the restoration of number 1920 at the Railway Museum of New England in B&M Bulletin Vol. XX #2 . Good drawings of both types of car were published in the February 1986 Railroad Model Craftsman . As built, they had Chrysler swing-motion trucks with roller bearings, but in later years these were replaced with standard roller bearing freight trucks. Operationally, the 4-door mechanical cars were purchased to run Bellows Falls - Boston for Finast/Brookside. The ice cars ran in general service, but since locomotive-hauled passenger trains vanished outside of the interline services by the end of 1958, they usually ran in solid trains with a caboose through the end of milk traffic in the mid-1960s.
Overland (OMI 3065 4-door, 3066 2-door, 1993?) and Challenger (1995?) have both imported brass models of these cars. Note that you may have a problem getting the right herald (blue B, white M) for an unpainted model. The Challenger models came with trucks that won't stay on the track, but the OMI models operate decently. Concord Junction issued a decal set when the Overland cars were new, but I haven't seen any copies in several years. A plastic kitbash based on the Walthers steel REA express reefer is another approach.
Roger Hinman's overview of B&M baggage cars in B&M Bulletin Vol. XX #3 is the best source I've found on the wood baggage and baggage/mail fleet. I've used it in preference to the B&M RR Passenger Equipment roster serialized in the Bulletin between 1980 and 1994, which has much more detail, but has some numbering sequence issues and equipment classification issues I find confusing. Roger also wrote a construction article for the blind-end wood/SUF cars with a plan in the May 1991 Mainline Modeler. In 2003, Bethlehem Car Works introduced an HO resin kit for the double 8' door version with the sawed-off clerestory end. In 2004, Bethlehem Car Works came out with an HO resin kit for the 4' x 8' door version with the sawed-off clerestory end. A few years later they followed on with an 8' x 8' door version. Some of the 2813 - 2853 series from Laconia have normal clerestory ends and might be easy to do starting with a wood kit (LaBelle?).
Roster information is primarily extracted from the 30-part series B&M RR Passenger Equipment , but I have omitted cars built prior to 1900 (due to the variety of different predecessor railroads they were built for, and the complex history of rebuildings and renumberings), and classes of cars gone from the roster before 1945 (to save effort). Note that most of these cars (except the 600 - 712 coaches) had been re-numbered around 1932 - the numbers I give are those assigned at that time.
The Fall 1981 B&M Bulletin reprinted an old plan of an open-platform coach. The old Ambroid or Northeastern kits (coach and four-baggage-door combine) represent these cars pretty well, though the width of the sheathing boards has been criticized. Some of the kits were re-issued by Rails and Structures (now defunct, I'm told).
In 2008, Bethlehem Car Works introduced a laser-cut wood/resin kit for a Laconia open platform coach similar to that reproduced by Ambroid. I haven't built mine yet, but doing the roof will definitely be easier than the tricky work involved in an Ambroid kit. More recently BCW has produced kits for 4-door and 2-door combines.
There's also a photo in the 1996 Walthers Catalog of a kitbash of these cars starting with Roundhouse plastic Pullman Palace cars. Don Valentine opines (in New England States Limited ) that the LaBelle HO-4 kit follows a B&M prototype - 60 feet long, with closed vestibules. I can't connect this with a specific number or class.
The Ambroid open platform baggage may be less accurate. I've seen one picture of a car with three doors per side and open platforms, but all the other B&M wood baggage cars I've seen had blind ends. I haven't built one yet, but a blind-end conversion would appear not to require so much fiddly work contouring and trimming the roof as the coaches and combines.
The Roundhouse plastic Pullman Palace diner is fairly close to the B&M's 1907 Pullman wooden diners. They were renumbered from 1088 - 1093 to 88 - 93 about 1930 and remained in service into the 1940s. Two remained as work train diners into the 1970s and then were preserved . A plan and article can be found in the Summer 1977 B&M Bulletin . Several of the LaBelle arch-window kits might also be used as a base for these cars.
NOTE: A general Boston & Maine bibliography may be found in my Unofficial Boston and Maine Railroad Page.
Maintained byJames B. VanBokkelen (jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net) .