Modeling Tropicana reefer cars

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Red Caboose N-scale Tropicana 53′ Reefers on a PONX siding.

Tropicana reefer cars and the “Juice Train”

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Union Pacific power pulling a line of Tropicana reefers through City Park

I used to have a white Tropicana reefer as part of my pre-storm rolling stock. Naturally, I picked up a couple of Tropicana reefers quickly when I came back to N-scale. I figured that I would use a bit of license to explain the Tropicana cars running through Milneburg. As of this morning, license is no longer necessary!

As I parked at my usual railfanning spot for the Crescent (#20) this morning, I was greeted with some UP power. These locomotives pulled a number of Tropicana reefers. I’m not sure if it was a true “Juice Train,” but it was all Tropicana, at least back to east of Bayou St. John. So, now I can boldly go to Hub Hobby Shop and buy a few more of these cars.

Weathering

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“Juice Train” reefers in New Orleans

My Tropicana reefers look wonderful. The prototypes are a bit more worse for the wear. They’re weathered, and a number of them have been tagged. I’ll start with an undecorated reefer, weathering it a bit. Once I get the hang of the technique, I’ll try my hand on one or two juice cars. There’s something about the brand-new look, though, that makes me want to keep at least the orange car untouched.

Graffiti

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Graffiti on locomotive and Tropicana reefer

This may be where I experiment with custom decals. Rather than buying commercial graffiti, I’m going to try to isolate some of the graffiti from the photos in GIMP or Inkscape, then send them out to a decal-printing service. Same goes for the UP power. I see these units all the time, around East Bridge Junction, bringing cars back and forth from the UP yard in Avondale. It’s a decent-sized yard that supported Avondale Shipyards for years. The shipyard, which built commercial and military ships for decades, is currently closed. The rail yard is still very busy, though. Since the yard is right next to the Huey P. Long Bridge, there’s a lot of back-and-forth traffic.