RAILC X 40b 3w

Over the years, many lettering "schemes" have graced the sides of the Pennsy's vast fleet of rolling stock used in freight revenue service. This is a brief summary of an article by Brady McGuire which originally appeared in the Summer 1988 (Vol.21 No.2) issue of The Keystone, published by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. I highly recommend referring to the original text which contained much more information, prototype photos as examples, and official painting and lettering diagrams.

For modeling purposes, please remember that a particular scheme could be seen well after the period indicated below for the scheme. The period indicated represents what scheme would be applied to a car if painted during the period in question. But many cars, especially gondolas, were rarely repainted. For instance, a Circle Keystone gondola might be seen well into the 1960s...or even today!

Lettering banners and slogans were periodic modifications to lettering schemes which were not tied to a specific scheme but rather to a type of service or concept. For example, "Merchandise Service" or "Buy War Bonds".

 

Lettering Schemes

Note that on some classes of cars, the norm of lettering to a particular side of the car is not mandatory and may appear on the opposite side.


"NO KEYSTONE, PHASE 1" -- 1876-1898
P.R.R. INITIALS ONLY

Abbreviated "NK1", this scheme featured the P.R.R. initials and road number in small letters placed on the upper left of the side of the car. This scheme was known to have been placed on subsidiary lines and on freight forwarding/fast freight company heralds such as UNION LINES, GREAT SOUTHERN DISPATCH, ANCHOR LINE, and EMPIRE LINE.


WEST 2301"NO KEYSTONE, PHASE 2" -- 1898-1906
PENNSYLVANIA ROADNAME APPEARS

Abbreviated "NK2", this scheme saw the P.R.R. initials and road number lowered and moved to the center of the left half of the car. Additionally, PENNSYLVANIA was added to the upper center of the right half of the car, with a horizontal bar underneath.

Photo is an HO scale Class GL/GLCA hopper car from Westerfield.


3881596 de20d32c 71c7 4bdc bdd7 b3f5954ca3e0"NO KEYSTONE, PHASE 3" -- 1906-1926
P.R.R. INITIALS DISAPPEAR

Designated "NK3", the P.R.R. initials were removed. The PENNSYLVANIA is lowered to the center of the right side of the car, with the horizontal bar remaining underneath. The road number is moved from the left side to the right, underneath the horizontal bar.

Photo is an HO scale Class H21a hopper car from Bowser.


WEST 1351"NO KEYSTONE, PHASE 4" -- 1926-1930
SECOND HORIZONTAL BAR ADDED

The "NK4" scheme essentially had the lettering in the same place as in "NK3", but the horizontal bar was moved from below the PENNSYLVANIA to above it and just as wide. A new, second horizontal bar was added below the road number.

Photo is an HO scale Class XL box car from Westerfield.


WEST 6151"CIRCLE KEYSTONE" -- 1930-EARLY 1954
FIRST KEYSTONE MONOGRAM

The "CK" scheme was essentially the "NK4" scheme with the Circle Keystone herald added to the side opposite the PENNSYLVANIA and road number, for balance. Though there were several revisions, the final size was a 21" keystone inside a 28" circle.

Photo is an HO scale Class X25 steel box car from Westerfield.


"SHADOW KEYSTONE, PHASE 1a" -- MID 1954-LATE 1954
SCRIPT NUMERALS

The Shadow Keystone scheme saw the replacement of the 28" Circle Keystone with a huge 57" billboard-style keystone. The horizontal bars are removed and the road number appears in script in "SK1a". The script road numbers were sometimes referred to as "Calendar Numbers". This scheme was first applied in February 1954.

RDCAB RC 7024"SHADOW KEYSTONE, PHASE 1B" -- MID 1954-LATE 1957
ROMAN SERIF STYLE NUMERALS

The "SK1b" scheme was the same as "SK1a" except that the script road numbers were replaced with roman serif numbers. This scheme was first applied in August 1954.

Photo is an HO scale Class X29 box car from Red Caboose.


"SHADOW KEYSTONE, PHASE 2a" -- LATE 1957-MID 1960
SERIF REPORTING MARKS ADDED

The "SK2a" scheme was first applied in November 1957. The PRR reporting marks were added between the PENNSYLVANIA and the road number. Otherwise the same as "SK1b".


BOWSR 55302"SHADOW KEYSTONE, PHASE 2b" -- MID 1960-MID 1961
GOTHIC REPORTING MARKS REPLACE SERIF

The "SK2b" scheme was first applied in June 1960. The PRR reporting marks were now in gothic style numbers rather than serif style.

Photo is an HO scale Class X31 box car from Bowser.


BOWSR 54058"PLAIN KEYSTONE" -- LATE 1961-1968
LARGE GOTHIC REPORTING MARKS

In the "PK" scheme, the PENNSYLVANIA roadname is removed, leaving only the PRR reporting marks and road number. The shadow is removed from behind the keystone as well.

Photo is an HO scale Class H21a hopper car from Bowser.

 

Banners & Slogans

RDCAB RC 7028RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY -- 1930-1954

Applied to approximately 800 X29's only.

Photo is an HO scale Class X29 box car from Red Caboose.


3878455 36919261 f6c4 4282 8c6a 7c1653f23a1eCOAL GOES TO WAR

Intro date unknown. Prevailing opinion is that these were quickly painted over after the war.

Photo is an HO scale Class H21a hopper car from Bowser.


RDCAB RC 7030BUY WAR BONDS -- ????-????

(Need data.)

Photo is an HO scale Class X29 box car from Red Caboose.


RAILC X 40b 3wMERCHANDISE SERVICE, PHASE 1 -- AUGUST 1947-JANUARY 1950

Featured fancy aluminum band and Circle Keystone. Applied to 100 X40b's, 300 X41b's, and some of the early X29 rebuilds.

Photo is an HO scale Class X40b box car from Rail Classics.


RDCAB RC 7026MERCHANDISE SERVICE, PHASE 2 -- JANUARY 1950-MAY 1954

Featured plain white band and Circle Keystone. Applied to some X29's.

Photo is an HO scale Class X29 box car from Red Caboose.


MERCHANDISE SERVICE, PHASE 3 -- MAY 1954-NOVEMBER 1957

Featured plain white band and Shadow Keystone. Applied to some X29's and X40b's.

03DSC08129DON'T STAND ME STILL!!! -- AUGUST 1955

Applied to 500 X29d rebuilds only.

CUSHIONED CAR -- JANUARY 1963-1968

Applied to cushioned cars only.

AUTOMOBILES -- 1906-1947

Applied to double door cars only.

INSULATED -- 1960-1968

Applied to insulated cars only.

DBF, DF, QL, PC, SL, LD, ST/B -- 1959-1968

Loading device emblems applied as appropriate.