ACL 2-bay covered hopper car color : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I realize that many if not most ACL 2-bay covered hopper cars were painted gray with black lettering. However, I have a two black-and-white J. Parker Lamb photos that show an ACL ACF-type (maybe build by Pullman Standard) two-bay covered hopper car immediately behind 3 Geeps and an F-unit just south of Spartansburg, SC. THe lettering is obviously white and the carbody color darker. I cannot make out the car number but here is what I can discern: #552# It may be 85525.

My question is, what was the color of the carbody? I have heard talk that some of the ACL's cars of this type were dark gray. Bowser recently painted their model boxcar red with white lettering based upon information in a Railroad Model Craftsman article of several years back.

Please advise. Jim Six

-- Jim Six (, June 05, 1998


Actually the standard scheme from about 1953 on was always dark gray with white lettering. The gray with black lettering was used beginning with ACL's first L-1 cov. hops. of 1941 and up through an order delivered in 1950. There was a period in 1965 or so where ACL experimented on a few cars with green lettering instead of white, evidently to see if this would show through the heavy crud buildups any better, but they went back to white. In 1966 and 67 ACL had a group of the 1953 L-4 cov. hops. rebuilt in kind at Chicago Freight Car, and these came back in the new beige body/black lettering scheme that had been introduced in 1964 on the first of the PS-2 2929 cu.ft. 3-bay cov. hops.

The confusion between gray and red may have occurred because ACL's phosphate cov. hops. used in the Bone Valley were indeed "Mulberry Red," a somewhat more maroon shade of boxcar red, with white lettering. We've been told that Bowser will change the body color to the correct gray in subsequent runs.

-- Larry Goolsby (, June 05, 1998.

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