I have long wanted this Railway Express Agency steel reefer. It was built new for REA in 1955. They could be found anywhere on any almost any railroad. It is a very popular car in the model railroad world. Pretty much every other scale has it except S. I hope that changes at some point.
When it was mentioned to me that a converted troop sleeper that does exist in S Scale could be a REA BX boxcar it really got my attention. This photo is from the top page 85 of Vic Roseman’s Railway Express Agency book.
I got a converted troop sleeper boxcar and dove right in on building it which eventually turned out to not be a good idea. By the time the car was ready for paint I could only find the one photo from Vic’s book, and according to Vic, it very likely did not exist as shown in the above photo in the mid 1950s – my era of modeling. It was a 1960s car. I should know better than to build a project from just one undated photo. Winging it is not my usual build practice but I did it anyway. Good enough.
So – this car has a bit of “modelers license” involved because really I wanted the earlier Railway Express Agency paint scheme. It is more accurate for the 1960s REA X logo era as shown in the photo.
This is the car I started with, imported by River Raisin Models http://riverraisinmodels.com/index.html in 2003. It has the interesting Allied express trucks on the car which had to be changed to Bettendorf for this build. I stripped the primer to made the modifications easier.
Since it was not a “big build”, I did not take any in progress photos. There was not much to see.
This is ready for paint. The changes from the car above should be apparent. Most of the work was in the door area. I enlarged the door opening, and made new doors which were a challenge. It is a thin “U” shape which had to be precision bent to an accurate size with my Micromark shear/break machine. That does not do anything precision easily. There was 12 pieces of brass cut to get 2 good doors. The real car must have had a different door at one time which is why there is a top door track. Some extra grab irons were added. I moved the large express car style stirrup step from the right side to the left side of the door.
When I got the car it was lettered for New York Central so that had to go. The first paint was Tru Color REA Green which I found out was not the correct color for the early scheme. This is considered Apple Green - OK color but wrong. I blasted the car for the second time.
Up next was Tru Color Hunter Green. For some reason the paint bubbled up under the REA logo decal. I blasted the car again and painted Scalecoat Hunter Green which was is on the car now. The car was blasted 4 times and painted 3 times – I am glad it is done.
The decals are a mix of Des Plaines Hobbies REA-2 set and Microscale Roman Alphabet set.
The underbody remains as built by River Raisin except adding draft gear and moving the stirrup steps.
In 2018 River Raisin Models made a REA Reefer. Photos of my cars are here.
All photos and content © Lanes Trains 2005-2018