The Chicago & North Western Historical Society is pleased to announce its limited run freight cars for 2018â€”Kadee HO scale models of CNW 809 and CNW 1153, a pair of 40' PS-1 box cars repainted in the North Western's distinctive 1964 yellow-lettering scheme.
The prototypes for our two models came from a 1,000-car order (P-S Lot 8177) of 40' PS-1 box cars, CNW 656-1655, built between March 29, 1954, and May 14, 1954, at Pullman-Standard's plant in Michigan City, Ind. This large order was completed in only 35 working days at an impressive average production rate of 28.6 cars a day. There was a complicated mix of specialty items specified; seven different combinations of doors, hand brake, and trucks alone were used on this order:
Although many of the CNW 656-1655 series cars retained their original paint until retirement, a number of the cars, including our two subjects CNW 809 and CNW 1153, received the yellow-lettering scheme when repaired and repainted at Clinton Car Shop. The two cars had wood flooring replaced with Nailable Steel Flooring, and were painted in the then-standard freight car red with black car cement ends, roof, and underframe. Pertinent dates for both cars are listed below:
CNW 809â€”Built April 27, 1954, painted October 25, 1965 (DuPont paint), retired January 23, 1983
CNW 1153â€”Built May 12, 1954, painted June 3, 1964 (Won Spray paint), retired May 23, 1984
Enhancing their usefulness to modelers, both cars kept this same paint scheme from shopping until retirement (17-plus years for CNW 809 and almost 20 years for CNW 1153). This longevity also applied to the weight data as CNW 809 was never reweighed, and CNW 1153 was not reweighed until October 3, 1983, shortly before retirement. Other long-lasting items were the running boards; when photographed in 1977 and 1978 both cars still had them, and based on North Western practice they were probably retained until retirement.
Our HO scale models of these two CNW box cars uses Kadeeâ€™s superbly detailed 40' PS-1 box car with six-foot door. Winner of Model Railroader Magazineâ€™s 1997 Readerâ€™s Choice Award for best new product, the Kadee car is still one of the best box car models available. Combining finely rendered accurate details (including operating doors), small parts molded in flexible plastic for durability, sharply printed prototypical lettering thatâ€™s legible down to the smallest letters, and of course Kadee â€œscaleâ€ couplers and HGC trucks, this car is a model you will be proud to own.
The lettering on our two cars is especially noteworthy; although identical at first glance, these two examples of the North Western's "consistently inconsistent" lettering practices have many differences that we faithfully reproduced in miniature: stencil breaks (or lack thereof), shapes of the "CNW" initials, car data, and lettering arrangement; all vary from car to car. Since we did not have stenciling diagrams for these cars we relied mainly on photos of the cars themselves, plus material from the CNWHS Archives (such as CNW standard drawings for letters and numbers, car cards, and Clinton Paint Shop records), and photos from many sources, to make the size, shape, and placement of the lettering as accurate as possible. Developing the lettering was a painstaking process; we reviewed and returned proofs multiple times for corrections before finally approving the artwork. A big thank-you goes to Graphic Designer Tory Hill at Kadee for his hard work and patience on this project as the final results are outstanding.