A Stroll Down Memory Lane...

Discussion in 'General' started by Coonskin, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi All:

    One of side-benefits that I'm going to use my Ozark layout for will be to touch base with some of my HO memories. One way I intend to do this is to have a few nostalgic pieces of rolling stock running about. I already have my C&NW "Route of the 400's" 40' boxcar that came from my original Lindberg Lines train set I received for Christmas 1962 in service once again. (This boxcar has been in service on every HO layout I've ever had. That's 57 years of service!)

    I have a memory of a piece of Frisco HO rolling stock that that may not be accurate. So, I thought I would run this memory past some of you other model railroading "old heads" to see if you can verify or correct my memory:

    We're all familiar with the ubiquitous old Athearn "Blue Box" 50' double door boxcar right? You know, this model:


    Here's my memory: I think I recall this model was also available from Athearn in the yellow Frisco "Ship It" scheme because I think I remember owning such a version way back in the late 60s early 1970s.

    AM I remembering correctly?

    OH, and I had that particular ATSF 50' double door pictured above. It was the first add-on piece of rolling stock I added to my 1962 train set. So, yes, I will eventually be acquiring one of them for this nostalgic thing I mention here!

    Anyway... am I remembering correctly concerning Athearn offering a yellow Frisco "Ship It" 50' double door?

  2. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I have nothing to offer in the way useful information but you certainly dredged up childhood memories of my most early days of electric trains. Thank you for that. Time flies and life is way too short!
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    It's gratifying to be told that my post brought back some warm memories for you. This hobby is so good at doing that.

    Every time I open a bottle of Floquil, that aroma takes me back at KC in my basement layout in the mid-1960s and I'm painting my very first custom piece: Likely an Athearn blue box SW into Jenks Blue. Further, every time I open a bottle of Solvaset, I'm back in the same basement applying Champ decals to that first custom painted Athearn.

    The same aroma of Floquil and Solvaset will also conjure up memories of Spotlight Model RR hobby shop over on Troost avenue in KCMO, for you see, I was painting and applying decals on that engine because previously I was standing at Spotlight's counter and had just learned that Jenks Blue Mop engines simply weren't available. However, the kind and patient fellows at Spotlight then took the time to explain that I could make my own Mop engines, and proceeded to explain to me the basics of how to do that.

    I think for many of us here at Frisco.org, trains truly have played (still playing) a vital role in our lives. Someone that doesn't have such a deep-seeded love for trains will never in a thousand years understand us. I don't expect them too, and it really doesn't matter that they don't.

    Trains have been an avenue of blessing in my life over and over again, and I feel the Good Lord put the love of trains in me for reasons that has taken decades for me to more fully understand. Consider:

    * Some of my very best friends in life (today) came from my love of trains. I'm talking friendships that date all the way back to 1969 and the early 70s, and many not so long. Two in particular have been among the closest friends I've ever had.

    * My love of trains was apparently the catalyst that caused several of the Frisco guys to help this young man (at the time) to learn railroading. (For which I will always be grateful.) But it wasn't just the Frisco guys. Ever since I was a kid, I've had railroaders that learned of my love of trains share of their experiences with me and gave me opportunities to experience railroading first hand in the cabs. Of course, such experiences always drove the love of trains and railroading that much deeper in me.

    * Trains played a major role in providing us a home. (That is a miraculous story of some unbelievable twists and turns that is best told another time.)

    * Trains provided additional income over the years it was an avocation for me. Additional income that we truly needed.

    * Trains eventually provided a very good income once I was in it full time.

    * Trains have provided a comfortable retirement (and I had no retirement plan/program prior to railroading) for both my wife and I. (Wife is on RR retirement, too.)

    The list truly goes on. There have been so many people associated with trains in some way that have passed through my life and made an impact in my life, sometimes by opening doors of opportunity to step into part time railroading work, and more. (It was through part-time railroading, and a friend therein, that I finally had the opportunity to go full time.)

    Are there more important things than trains in my life? Absolutely. No doubt about it: A relationship with The Creator, my wife and family, such things as that. But now that my working career is finished, I can not help but look back and be amazed at how the Good Lord used trains to help me (and us) provide for us in our path of life.

    Fellows, when kept in perspective, this is a great hobby, and if you will allow it to, it can bring life long friends and more into your life.

    Wow... didn't mean to type all that out... but I did... so I'll let it stand and post it.

    All fer now.

  4. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Here here! There’s no other hobby with the depth of model railroading.
  5. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    True dat on the depth of model RR-ing, Jim.

    The Athearn car memory...

    Okay, I'm beginning to think I've mixed some memories. (Sometimes it's like my brain has a mind of its own!)

    What I MAY be remembering is an Athearn 50' double door boxcar in the KATY "Sloan Yellow" scheme (was there an Athearn Sloan Yellow Katy box?), and my yellow Frisco "Ship It" memory may be of an Athearn 50' plug door car that I painted and decaled way back when.

    This aspect of model railroading is a different kind of fun! I already can see that there are several "nostalgia" cars that I would like to eventually find, acquire, and put into service:

    * The Athearn ATSF "Shock Control" 50 double door box.

    * IF it was an Athearn Sloan Yellow "Katy" 50' double door... then one of those.

    * An MDC/Roundhouse 50' plug door in UP's "Automated Railway" scheme (if that scheme proves to be within my current chosen era).

    * Three more Lindberg Lines cars: The Rock Island flatcar w/crated load, C&NW gondola, GN stock car. (These were also part of my Lindberg Lines set that I received for Christmas in 1962.)

    * Any other car that appeals to my nostalgia!

    On that last point, I already have a small fleet of Varney metal cars in service... 'cause I like 'em! I get good vibes looking at them. Here's a few (not been weathered yet)...


    All fer now!

  6. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    Indeed you are correct. Not only did Athearn do the 50-foot dbl door box in yellow, it also did a 40-foot box in “oxide” (brown). I was very surprised when they appeared at Spotlight Model Railroad Shop in KC. Based on old pics, I’d date them circa, 66-68. The yellow box was rather expensive at $3.50.

  7. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Andre -

    I'll hold you to that story regarding railroading providing you a happy home...

    Reading this reminded me that I have a picture of my first layout and all the cars that were on it. Most were Tyco locomotives including the pride of the "fleet" being the Alco Seaboard 1776 locomotive with matching Frisco caboose. The only other Frisco car I remember owning in the early years was the Tyco double-deck Auto Loader in orange.

    I remember using a Testor rattle can of Competition Orange and White to convert a SOO locomotive to Frisco. So crude, but it was perfect through my 10 year old eyes!

    Wouldn't mind going back with the knowledge I have now. Don't we all...

  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Oh joy! I'm not senile after all!

    Thanks for the info and proof-positive picture, Karl!

    I can't remember the exact time frame on my yellow "Ship It" dbl door box, but I think I purchased it in '69.

    I did not know Athearn also did a 40' brown "Ship" It box.

    I suspect the yellow box will be somewhat "collectable" and harder to find than the other more common stuff I want to find/acquire. However, I will now start watching the Bay, and for sure, will keep an eye out at this Saturday's train meet I will be attending. (First train meet in well over a decade!)

    The Athearn ATSF "Shock Control" 50' dbl door is common as dirt. I'm watching one now on the Bay.

    Wouldn't mind having one of the Athearn 40' brown "Ship It's" too.

    UPDATE: Ha! Already found one of the 40' Ship It's on the Bay and have put in a bid.

    Now, as I was saying...

    I do like the ability to use my HO layout/modeling to also produce some warm fuzzies in the memory department.

    Here's a pic of the three Lindberg Lines cars I am also watching for:


    The above are part of my Lindberg Lines collection, but belong in my replacement Lindberg Lines set that is like my original set that I received for Christmas '62. Here's a pic of the set the above cars belong to, so I won't be breaking up the set in order to run the cars on the layout:

    The box top w/cover art for above:


    Like I said... this nostalgia thing is a fun sideline to go alongside my more "serious" diesel era modeling.

    All fer now!

  9. Good stuff Andre.
    Karl beat me to it but you are correct. We have one of those here too. It has brass wheels in it.
    I also have a UP version from my dad I plan to paint as a Frisco project. I soaked it in brake fluid for a few months to even start getting little paint flakes off it. Incredibly hard paint. Yes months not days.
  10. John I had the same set. I got mine with Kellogg’s box tops. It had that Alco and Frisco caboose. The auto rack, a cattle car and a PC centerflow. With some track and an AHM little power pack.
  11. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Deal on the story about the acquisition of our home sometime. It's crazy the way God works at times!

    Custom jobs when we wuz kids:

    OH, how well do I understand those memories! I recall during one of our trips from KC to AR and back (to see relatives) I saw my first white KCS unit. This would have been? (Whenever the white started appearing.) Anyway, I was so pumped by seeing those new engines in startling white that when I got home, I took a surplus Lionel HO GP7 (Santa Fe) and sprayed it flat white, cut some "KCS" letters from some masking tape I'd sprayed with flat red spray-painted masking tape, stuck it to the sides and presto: A KCS engine! Never mind that there weren't any white GP7's yet... nor never mind the rather crude result.. I was having a ton of fun!

    Go back with our knowledge now?

    Hm... I dunno'... I'd probably mess up my fun be getting too picky. In the mid-70s on thru the 80s, I went through a spells that where I was being too anal about details and such, and it was sort of taking the fun out of it. SO, as it is, I have a bunch of non-encumbered memories of simply enjoying model trains and having fun. Times were simpler to us then. Sure, our skills were lacking... but our imagination and immersion made up for it in spades. Now I try to hit a personally acceptable balance of detailing... and letting my imagination and immersion make up the difference. So far it's working!

  12. Like you guys, I think back to projects of my youth and laugh knowing how crude they really were. Testors spray cans and Polly S for everything else. Scotch tape to mask. Oh my... I sure ruined alot of stuff but at the time thought I was John Allen. I have always been able to seek out a project way over my head. HA
  13. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Just snagged one of the above Athearn 40' brown "Ship It's" off'n the Bay.

    Though it was not a "nostalgia" driven purchase... it will save time compared to the need to paint/decal in order to get more 40' "Ship It's" runnin' about in the Ozarks!

  14. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I'm thinkin Accurail has some descent 40 footers too.
    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  15. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Tom!

    Yes, they do! I will eventually be purchasing some of their offerings, but they won't be nostalgia driven purchases, but more of neccessity.


    I snagged another nostalgic piece! Made an offer on this and got it reasonably priced. This is just like the my first Athearn car that I added to my Christmas 1962 set. It even has the sprung metal trucks like mine did in '62! (Early '63?)


    Still watching for the yellow "Ship It" box.

  16. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    What about those crude Zamac pot metal engines, lumps of metal that sort of looked like steam engines and had a starting speed of 15 scale mph. I had the Mantua mikado and Shifter, and 2 Roundhouse SP 0-6-0’s, plus a couple of “Aristo-Craft” engines ( remember those?). Untold riches when I had to mow lawns and save forever for anything. I brush painted and hand lettered all those babies, thinking also that I too was another John Allen.

    In the early 60s, almost no one ran diesels on serious model railroads. Steam had only been dead for 5 or 10 years and everyone was still in shock; mourning and crying, including me to this very day. I remember in 1963, Trains Magazine put out an all diesel issue. They’d been doing all- steam issues for some time. Some one sent a photo in of the diesel issue torn in half along with a letter of rage . Another guy wrote an article for MR about why he liked diesels and got only slightly warmer reception.

    Brass steam engines were for the gods only. Every month , MR and RMC had PFM and Akane ads showing beautiful engines for $49.95. It would have been easier to fly to Mars than own one. Those engines were the stuff of teenage model railroad dreams.

    And do you remember how costly the changeover to Kadee couplers was, and how long it took? Three or four cars at a time as you could afford it, along with “conversion” cars with a Kadee on one end and a horn hook on the other. I hadn’t figured out yet that could trim down the horn hook, center it, and it would match with a Kadee.

    And oh yes, the smell of Floquil Paint, Walthers Goo, and wet “Perma-Scene” meant “Warning!!!! Extreme fun in area!!!!!”
  17. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    Sirfoldalot and Joe Lovett like this.
  18. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  19. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    These were the first cars in addition to my train set. Man. I still miss them


    Attached Files:

  20. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I just ordered that MCRR gon, Andre, thanks!
    Sirfoldalot and Joe Lovett like this.

Share This Page