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Baggage #1852

Ethan Allen Baggage #1852

As part of the second-hand Heritage Fleet, Amtrak inherited several different types of baggage cars from its predecessors. A few of these cars came from the Union Pacific, in the form of 72' cars with two single doors per side. They rode on UP's standard 41-CUDO trucks, but one similar car actually had six-wheel trucks.

Beginning in the early-'90s, several Northeastern trains received baggage cars with brightly colored murals on the sides. Bike racks were installed inside the cars to attract riders wishing to bring bicycles on board the train. Two of these cars were assigned to a relatively new train, the Ethan Allen Express, which runs through upstate New York to reach Rutland, VT. The mural on these cars shows snow-capped mountain ranges with an Amtrak train rushing past.

Fortunately, Rivarossi has for many years offered a fairly accurate model of the Union Pacific baggage cars, so it works for representing car #1852 with very little modification. Even better, these models were retooled recently and include correct trucks, operating diaphragms and separate wire grab irons. However, for my model I had to shave off the molded grabs and drill holes for wire parts, and I also cut off the large molded diaphragms to replace them with the correct tubular style. I also cut .005" styrene overlays for the baggage doors to reduce their windows to the correct size, and added drip strips on the roof above the doorways. My car rides on the 41-CUDO trucks available from Train Station Products.

I airbrushed the car with Floquil Platinum Mist, the standard color for Amtrak's smooth-side cars, and also painted the underbody flat black. I added stripes from Microscale's 87-428 set and got the Amtrak logos from 87-971. I printed my own custom decals for the rest of the lettering, and also drew up artwork for the large mural on the sides. It was a challenge to get the proportions and colors right, but I'm happy with the results. After sealing the decals with Dullcote, I weathered the car by airbrushing it with thin mists of black paint. I went more heavily on the roof, since baggage cars usually run behind the engines and thus get more exhaust residue - plus they're not washed as carefully.

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Ethan Allen Express baggage #1852 sits near Proctor, VT on the New England Berkshire & Western club layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 3/22/05