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March 1995 - Page 20


R OU N D-TOP
doors, b e considered a n X3 1 A if it did n ' t have auto loaders. S upport for this idea can be found in the late 1 930s and early 1 940s when loader systems were removed from many existing X3 1 s and the cars were renumbered i nto a new series and reclassified X 3 1 A. But by the m id- 1 940s, the removal of auto loaders from X3 1 s no longer resulted i n reclassification of the cars.

TA BLE 1 O rders for X31 Box Cars as Reported by Rai lway Age
Y ear Ordered Class X31 B

X31

X3 1 A

X3 1 C

B u ilder

T he Last Auto Racks
D uring the early 1 940s, the number of X 3 1 cars equipped with auto loaders dec l i ned by about one-third. This was not surprisi ng, for while demand increased for the Jeep-hauling X3 1 F design, the war effort had stopped domestic auto production. After the war, the number of auto loader equipped cars didn't materially i ncrease, with one exception. In the l ate 1 940s, several small British sport auto mobiles such as the Austin Healey began to be i mported to America, undoubtedly because of the popularity they had gained w i th American soldiers stationed i n England during the war. Approximately 40 cars in class X3 1 C were equipped w i th loader systems for these m i n iature cars. While normal X3 1 C auto loader cars could hold fou r full-sized American vehicles, these i mports could be fit eight to a box car. The 1 950s saw a further decline i n auto loader-equipped X 3 1 class cars, and by 1 960, only 553 cars remained. Many of these may wel l have been i n general service a n d just had not been shopped to remove the loader equip ment. Competition from auto-haul i ng trucks and newer/larger auto parts box cars led to the fast retirement of most of the remaining fleet of 40-foot round roof cars in the early 1 960s. A few cars survived in company service until fairly recent years, while another 54 cars from the X 3 1 B/X3 1 C classes were con verted to stock cars i n 1 960.

1 932 1 934 1 934 1 934 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935 1 935
T otals

250 500 500 2 ,500 1 , 200 800 700 1 ,000 800 700 600 400 250 250
1 ,250 7 ,200 1 ,200 8 00

C ompany Shops Company Shops Company Shops Company Shops Company Shops Company Shops Company Shops Pressed Steel Car Co. Amer. Car & F oundry Pul lman Standard Bethlehem Steel Car Co. General American Ralston Steel Car Co. Greenville Steel Car Co.

Class Total

1 0,450*

' Order not accounted for: 1 0 X 31 Cs added to the series in 1 937.

M od i fications
A c ouple of small groups of X3 1 As received alterations duri ng thei r l i fe . The first such change resulted in sub class X3 1 D. These six double-door cars had their roofs replaced with a three piece removable roof in 1 937. Apparently the experiment fai led to work out as p l anned, and all six cars were returned to their original configu ration by 1 938.

X3 1 C 60873 . Well-si lhouetted by a late wi nter snow, we can see clearly the cen ter floor tubes on this former auto loader equ i pped car. By the time this car was photographed in Buffalo, New York, on February 2 3 , 1 952, the auto loaders had been removed, but as often happened, the a ppenda g es of the auto loader sys tem remained. - Photo courtesy the PRRTH&S
A nother such alteration of si ngle door X3 1 As began in J 9 58 and resulted in at least one car recei ving class X 3 1 G. The X3 1 G had four covered hopper styl e roof hatches installed, two at each end of the car. The interior wal l s and floor were steel-sheathed, and door bul kheads i nstalled so the car could transport coal tar. The lone X3 1 G l asted as the only car in the sub-class until 1 967, but four other X3 1 As received

s i milar alterations without being reclassed in 1 966. When the lone X3 1 G was retired, a fifth X 3 1 A was converted to replace it.

P a i n ti n g a n d Letterin g
The proper lettering of models of the X 3 1 classes was researched extensively by PRRT&HS member Brady McGuire in his article published in The Keystone ( Vo!. 2 1 , No. 2 , Summer 1 988). From their first construction until early 1 954, cars were painted in what is commonly referred to as "the ball keystone" scheme, which inc luded a 28-inch circ l e keystone stencil, a n d "PEI\SYLVA N I A " i n 7-inch characters. Modelers should note that many decal sets in the past have been i ncorrectly suppl ied with a 30-i nch circle keystone. Cars i n auto-

P AGE 20

RAILMODEL J OURNAL - MARCH 1 995

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