GN Steel Baggage Mail and Express (BME) Car – HO Scale
Produced by NKP Car Company
GN Steel Baggage Mail and Express Car #52-71
This kit represents the steel baggage, mail and express (BME) cars delivered to the GN by ACF in 1918. They were delivered as 300-319 and were renumbered 52-71 in 1926. They replaced the wood BME cars in the 72-93 series (also available as a kit from the GNRHS Store). They served on the mainline passenger and mail trains until being rebuilt into mail storage or baggage and express cars during 1957-1965. Most survived into the BN merger. The kit had the parts needed for the clerestory as it appeared after about 1940. The earlier clerestory arrangement is visible in various earlier photos and in the drawing on pages 4 and 5 of GNRHS Reference Sheet 100 (December 1985). Parts for the earlier clerestory are available from Bethlehem Car Works, as noted in the instruction sheet. During the period of the Oriental Limited of the 1920s the cars were painted with the lighter olive green with a dark green roof and many had “Oriental Limited” on the lighter green letterboard. Many received “Empire Builder” lettering after 1929; photographic evidence suggests that the cars with lower numbers received Empire Builder lettering, while the others had “Great Northern” lettering. Eventually all probably received Great Northern lettering for service on the heavyweight Oriental Limited of 1947-1951 and the Fast Mail. All were repainted in orange and green after 1951. Eleven of the 20 cars in this series lasted in revenue service into the 1960s, and were assigned to various of the GN secondary passenger trains (including the Cascadian, the Winnipeg Limited and the Badger and Gopher). All had been rebuilt into mail storage or baggage and express cars by 1965.
The kit has etched brass sides, and includes Branchline 6-wheel trucks with Intermountain 36” wheels.
Information on these cars (including their rebuildings) can be found, as noted above, in GNRHS Reference Sheet 100 (December 1985).