Custom Painted P-2000 units

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Easy Loads for 72' Center Beams Flats

Greetings All,

This past week after painting the handrails on my Bachmann 89' Tri-Level Auto Racks I turned my attention to the two 72' Center Beam Flats that I own. The models are from Walthers and I purchased them in used but very good condition from fellow modeler Rick P of TrainLife. The cars look great running empty but to be in revenue service they must be loaded at some point. Seeing loads for the cars being sold for about $10.00 per I decided to try and get away a little cheaper. A long time ago I bookmarked the July 2011 Model Railroad Hobbyist E-Magazine for an article by Steve Piroko that detailed how he made his own home made lumber loads. Steve provided a link for modelers to be able to print out their own sheets of "wrapped lumber loads" from various shippers. I printed out two such sheets and put them in a safe place until I was ready to use them. After a fruitful search of all my safe places I found them and got started on the project. I could not believe how easy this was and how good the printed loads actually look in the car from normal viewing distance. Here is a link to MRH July 2011 - Issue 17.

Anyone who reads this blog already knows that Neal's Lumber and Hardware is a favored rail customer for the amount of rail traffic N.L.& H. produces. As Neal's business grows the demand for more and more lumber and other products grows. Enter the 72' Center Beam Flat. Today is the first day these extra long cars are being spotted at N.L.& H. Follow along as we visit with 1/87th Scale Sir Neal and check out the action in and around N.L.& H.

New York Central Baldwin S12 #9314 (Athearn BB) has the job today pulling two loaded 72' Center Beams to be spotted at Neal's Lumber and Hardware. 

The second car showing it's newly added wrapped lumber load and a NYC caboose brings up the rear.

A shot of the train as it heads from Terminal Yard to Empire City. I'm thinking of calling this area Ravina as there is an aisle off to the left  between this shelf and Empire City.

A demonstration of how easy the loads were to make and add to the cars. 
This was basically a cut and paste operation. The loads were trimmed
to fit the cars, folded over and pasted with a glue stick. That's it

Here is a close up of the Center Beam empty. It looks good just like this but as noted it does need to earn some revenue.

The first car is spotted at Neal's Lumber and Hardware under the watchful eye of 1/87th Scale Sir Neal Himself sporting his trademark blue coveralls and cap while some of the train crew holds vehicular traffic

A view for North Side yard shows a close up of the Weyerhaeuser loads. I noted the little dip in the top and plan to add a foam board insert to correct this. In the Piroko article I he used a piece of thin plywood to support his printed loads. 

The car is spotted and the train crew holds traffic while the engine backs out of the roadway. 
We see 1/87th Scale PC Ralph in his PC green shirt and cap has stopped by.  

It didn't take long for the Neal's Lumber and Hardware staff to unload that 72' Center Beam!
The train crew has grabbed an empty 40' gondola to use as a handle to pull the unloaded car from N.L.&H. The 72' length was a bit too much for the track radius into N.L.&H. for the two Center Beams to couple together. The train crew again holds vehicular traffic which includes some good looking Detroit Muscle. Seems word went out on TrainLife that this rail activity created a clear road ahead when done and was a perfect place to let out the clutch so to speak.

A Hemi Cuda and G.T.O. Judge bide their time until the roadway clears. An AMC Gremlin and Chevy Vega wagon sit in the second row. 
Looks like 1/87th Scale PC Ralph has made a purchase. 

Mets fans will get the significance of 1/87th Scale PC Ralph's new broom

The Empire City Police have noted the hot rod traffic in and around N.L.&H. 

Empty out load in

With the cars spotted and the locomotive clear of the roadway 1/87 Scale Sir Neal and PC Ralph chat with some of the train crew regarding the spotting of the new 72' cars. One thing is clear to 1/87 Scale Sir Neal is that he going to need a bigger siding so he can close his gates at night. Interestingly no one asks 1/87th Scale PC Ralph "what's with the broom"? Any NYC train crew member should grasp it's significance without question. As you know the NYC main reason for being was to run from NY to Chicago. 

Looks like our Detroit Muscle has left the starting line with the Hemi Cuda taking an early lead.
The boys are about to learn a valuable lesson.

No matter how fast your car is you cannot out run the police radio.

The boys in blue have the cars stopped and get down to the big three requests every motorist hates to hear; License, Registration and Insurance Card

The local train crew rumbles by and takes in the police activity on their way to North Side Yard.


  1. If I had any Center Beam cars I'd get on this right away! What a brilliant and effective way to simulate loads!! Thanks for the link to the MRH article. It was a good read. Your lumber loads look great! Neal's Lumber and Hardware will be well supplied. An excellent place to buy a timely new symbolic broom for sure! I enjoyed all of the photos, some providing views of your layout I haven't seen before. The last one really reminds me of the West Side Freight Line! Those muscle cars are cool but don't tempt the diligent law in Empire City!

    1. Thanks Ralph! It was an enjoyable blog entry to put together.

  2. Centerbeam cars are signature elements of the contemporary rail scene. An ebay seller called JD Lumber Loads makes very reasonably priced loads on the same general principle, but they have built-in imperfections and variations that you can see on the prototype, and which I like.

    1. Thanks for the link John! Nice looking loads.