S-scale boxcars for Farmington: What MEC Numbers

PLW has announced S-scale double sheathed box cars (O-scale too).  The MEC and NYC versions will have printed sides.  Gary indicates he will produce them with any car number you request.  So what numbers to get?

O-scale pilot model of PLW MEC Boxcar.  The paint color is dupi color red primer.  Same as one of my test paint colors for SR&RL cars

Honestly, I have no idea the date of the paint scheme.

I’m planning to model 1912-1914 time frame.  So I took a look at the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) for 1912.  (FYI:  Many ORER’s were scanned in for google docs you can find them by searching and including google docs in the search string).  Here is the ORER I found:   https://books.google.com/books?id=tboMAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

If you’ve never looked at an ORER, you will find a “Index of Railroads” in the first few pages (This was after the powers of attorney pages).  It will list each railroad and a page number.  One can than use that page number to find the page for the railroad.  The page number does not correspond to the PDF’s digital page number.  So it can take a bit of scrolling to find the proper page.

MEC listing in Index of Railroads (around page 15 in ORER)

The Maine Central pages seem to be 340 to 341.  So I scrolled down to those pages.  It’s hard to read the page numbers in the book as they are cut off in the scan.

First page MEC ORER entry for Dec 1912

First page MEC ORER entry for Dec 1912

According to PLW, the S-scale, box cars are roughly 6 5/8″ long, or roughly 35′.  The number on the pilot model is 1897, but others are in the 8000 series.  In the 1912 ORER, the 1800’s are used for coal hoppers, so that number does not seem appropriate for my time frame.  Possibly it is correct for an earlier time frame.  The 1912 ORER lists 8001-10400 as 36′ box cars (actually 36′ 9″ outside length and note that 9818 had an end door), so I’ll go with 8000 numbers.  The length is off by a bit more than one foot, and I do not know if the lettering is accurate for 1912, but who cares, close enough.

So I’m picking 8015 and 8301 for my two cars.  Hopefully no one else picks my numbers, that way I can pick up an additional car and not have a conflict.

Test cuts of NYC box car

Additionally, I’ll order an NYC car with number 53504

I plan to rotate standard gauge cars on and off the layout in Farmington.  My hope is to have the waybills for the SR&RL cars have a specific standard gauge car to deliver to.  2-3 SR&RL cars will be billed to a standard gauge car.  Think of each standard gauge car as a unique industry in Farmington and what’s even better, the industries in Farmington will change location between or even during an operating session.  The Farmington switcher (SR&RL #7) will have to deliver to make multiple spots at a standard gauge car to fill it up (or unload).  Then the standard gauge car will be moved off layout.  This should make the Farmington switcher a full filling job to work.

In addition to the two MEC cars and the NYC car, I plan to order two undecorated cars.  Looking through the SR&RL books, it seems that B&M, Erie, CV, and other boxcars game to Farmington.

Like most PLW offerings, I expect the standard gauge cars to have limited availability.  Reruns would depend on demand.


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3 Responses to S-scale boxcars for Farmington: What MEC Numbers

  1. Chris says:


    Very nice modeling on your blog! I’m interested in these PLW cars (for S scale) and was wondering how I can find out more about them.


    • narrowtracks says:


      Glad you like the modeling you see. Portland Locomotives has a web site. There is a link on the right side of this page or you can use this URL: http://www.portlandlocomotiveworks.com/contact/. Try using the contact page and let me know if you cannot get through. PLW’s web site seems to be out of date. That is not surprising as PLW is a small shop and web marketing in the their focus. PLW produces small runs limited runs, often only 10-15 pieces. The models are announced on the “Portland Locomotive Works” yahoogroup.
      Supposedly PLW is going to the 2017 O/S scale show in Indianapolis in 2 weeks (Sept 23th weekend)


      • Chris says:

        Thanks! I was able to get a hold of Gary and ordered a train’s worth of boxcars for my own future standard gauge interchange. I like your thoughts on operating that area, by the way.


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