Fresh rust pattern on wheel rim

Jerry Jackson of the Protoweathering Forum helped me understand the weathering pattern for the rusty wheels on the GACX 73137 covered hopper. He commented that when the car would go through a wheel retarder, such as found at a hump yard, it rubs the old rust off the face of the wheel rims. Jerry noted that fresh rust would form quickly as a result and that this could account for the difference in coloring on the wheels as seen above.


I also want to extend a sincere apology to Brain Tovey, who brought the Eric Neubauer drawing from RMC to my attention. I should have included his name in the Acknowledgements section of the book. It was an unfortunate oversight on my part. The drawing contributed a great deal of value to the book, thanks to the generosity of Carstens Publications, Mr. Neubauer, and Brian’s good memory.

Up on the roof

Below is an enlarged and cropped photo of the roof of a different car in the same number series. Notice all the interesting details here. Based on this photo I speculated that the blue object sticking out of the corner of the A end of 73137 (page 15 of the PDF) was a zip tie type of device used to secure the roof hatches after loading. You can see similar objects on each hatch cover in this photo. Notice too, the plastic lining under the hatch covers. A weather seal of some type? Lastly, it looks like someone tossed a fast food lunch bag away and it lodged near the running board support on the right side of the photo. A neat little detail for the truly obsessed.

GACX roof hatches close-up

On Saturday evening March 10, 2012, Chester asked about what looks like antennas in the photo (see the comments section). I enlarged and re-cropped the photo ┬áto show what he’s talking about (below).

Hopper car roof antennas?

The yellow arrow points to the objects in question. They are actually on the first car in this cut and I don’t have a clue what these might be. Since there appears to be one on each hatch cover, my guess is a security or locking device of some kind. Anyone out there know for certain what these are?

GACX 73137 spent nearly five to six weeks at the plastics plant in town. I find this interesting because in model operations, we tend to want to switch cars or industries every time. I was frankly surprised at how long this one car stayed at the same location. Another nugget of prototype knowledge gained by getting out in the real world.




  1. RS-2

    Hi Mike,

    Your first book looks good. A bit too modern for my railroad though.

    In the roof photo at the bottom left at what appears to be the end of the car is what appears to be an antenna of some sort. What is it for?


    P.P. When is the senery book due?

  2. mike

    Hi Chester,

    I don’t have a clue what those devices are. It’s actually on the car in front, and there are several of them. With all the new technology railroads are adopting it could be anything.

    The scenery book is quite a ways off yet. There will be updates on the blog throughout the year.


  3. Eric G Peterson

    I believe the items shown with the arrow are a security device attached to each hatch to prevent it from being opened in transit.

    Eric Peterson

  4. mike

    Yes, I’ve also come to that conclusion. Have no idea what else they might be.
    Thanks for writing in.

    mike Cougill