Anyway, I return today with a product announcement of sorts and a (soon-to-be-) addition to the roster.
Smoky Mountain Model Works recently (April 2018) released their "return to O scale" kit for an AAR 53' 6" 70t flat car. I heard many good things about their kits in general and from those who built this kit since its release.
Alas, I wasn't fully sold on it until finally (!) completing enough research to prove that this car type would've been active in my target era of mid-1970s to early-1980s. Using a recently-re-discovered digital release of Vintage Freight Cars from Morning Sun Books, I found a 1973 picture of Penn Central 751355 as shown below:
I was then able to track the car series through my hardcopies of the Official Railway Equipment Registers like so:
|Unknown||New York Central||Unknown|
|Apr 1973||Penn Central||1+|
|Jul 1975||Penn Central||30|
|Oct 1977||Conrail (PC)||9|
|Jul 1978||Conrail (CR)||7|
|Apr 1979||Conrail (CR)||6|
|Oct 1982||Conrail (CR)||3|
So, armed with this new information and previous research on customers and commodities showing that U. S. Engineering could be a customer of coiled steel, I ordered one of the car kits. Stay tuned for future updates when (?) I get around to building either it or anywhere to operate it.