Skip to main content

Does anyone know of any 3 rail PRR P5a Boxcabs (not modifieds) which aren't susceptible to zinc pest? I know MTH had at least 3 runs of the modified bodies, but AFAIK, only the 20-5619-1 as a Boxcab, which has known zinc pest problems, and purchasing one would be a crapshoot as to if it would fall apart. I believe 3rd Rail may have made a brass version, but I'm not really sure. It's an engine I'd love to have, but I'd rather not just flush my money down the toilet.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

@Danr posted:

I would love to have a boxcab P5.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any MTH units were produced that do not have zinc pest.  The brass version was produced several years ago but it appears to have been a limited run and those who have them aren’t giving them up.

I have two MTH Boxcabs from the original run. And, a P5a modified. All three show no signs of Zinc Pest,  and have been in regular use. In fact they are on the cover of the NMRA 2022 calendar:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...9#157970176466551609

Both Sunset and Overland made P5a Box cabs and Modifieds in brass.  As Bob said, the Sunsets were available in 2 and 3 rail. Overland 2 rail only.

Last edited by John Sethian
@Prr7688 posted:

Small correction, it was 2020 V2 catalog (not V1).

Three road numbers were released, I have placed the links to the product pages below.

Cab no. 4763

Cab no. 4710

Cab no. 4703

According to MTH's new bi-monthly shipping updates from 12/15/2021, these are due at MTH by New Years.

Pretty impressive that 13 years later, they're only $50 more (list). Really nice looking, providing they're not stuck in a container somewhere off the coast of California...

@Prr7688 posted:

3rd rail is closer to the "as-built" with the (non-painted) alum. handlrails.

When the P5a's were new, did they have maroon roofs (similar to PRR steam cab roofs)? I've seen illustrations of them with maroon roofs, but not sure if that is 'artistic expression'

I've never seen a photograph of a P5a box cab with a maroon roof.  In general the use of maroon on cab roofs on PRR locomotives during the steam era is greatly exaggerated in the modeling world.  Then again to be fair, color photographs of P5s in general are not very common especially early in their careers.

More often I have seen black roofs as lots of tar was used on the roofs to keep the notoriously leaky cabs from leaking even worse!

Generous amounts of fresh black paint was also used on the frames near the end of their service to hide the cracks from the inspectors.

@Prr7688 posted:

MTH 2020 V1 catalog had P5a boxcabs which are supposed to arrive at dealers this month.

Hopefully they were mindful with the castings and there is no zinc in them that would cause future problems.

When those arrive I am hopeful the replacement sheets for the ZincPestr ones will also arrive. We were told MTH would replace those shells with the next run of Boxcabs.

@GG1 4877 posted:

I've never seen a photograph of a P5a box cab with a maroon roof.  In general the use of maroon on cab roofs on PRR locomotives during the steam era is greatly exaggerated in the modeling world.  Then again to be fair, color photographs of P5s in general are not very common especially early in their careers.

More often I have seen black roofs as lots of tar was used on the roofs to keep the notoriously leaky cabs from leaking even worse!

Generous amounts of fresh black paint was also used on the frames near the end of their service to hide the cracks from the inspectors.

Good points, I figured the roofs were black but thought I would ask the expert! Broadway Limited Exports run of the P5's in HO scale had maroon roofs so perhaps one of the real P5's got this beauty treatment

Last year for Christmas, I received a great book on the P5's: Pennsy's P5 Electrics by PRRTHS at $10 it's a great bargain and dives into the development and testing of the P5's - including the troubles with the frame cracks, axle cracks, problems getting the equalizer bars just right, and problems with lateral movement of the leading truck due to too much weight on the drivers. Worth checking out if you haven't read it already.

That 3rd rail model you have sure is gorgeous.

Last edited by Prr7688
@RJT posted:

When those arrive I am hopeful the replacement sheets for the ZincPestr ones will also arrive. We were told MTH would replace those shells with the next run of Boxcabs.

I am "on the list" I have been in contact with Midge many times over the last 5 years regarding this issue. Midge emailed me just before she left to let me know that MTH still plans on taking care of this issue.

@jini5 posted:

I am "on the list" I have been in contact with Midge many times over the last 5 years regarding this issue. Midge emailed me just before she left to let me know that MTH still plans on taking care of this issue.

All my electrics have been in storage for several years.  I did not know about my P5a boxcab issue until just recently when I read about it here on the forum.  I wonder who replaced Midge that I can talk to to get on the list?  Better call.

@GG1 4877 posted:

I've never seen a photograph of a P5a box cab with a maroon roof.  In general the use of maroon on cab roofs on PRR locomotives during the steam era is greatly exaggerated in the modeling world.  Then again to be fair, color photographs of P5s in general are not very common especially early in their careers.



I think your final point would be the telling one here. If they did have the maroon roofs, it was in the early 30's, and there weren't a lot of folks running around with color film yet.

The Keystone Modeler, put out by the PRR Technical & Historical Society, usually points out inaccuracies in models they review, and yet in 2 articles about BLI's P5a model, no complaints are lodged about the ones with maroon roofs. Could be an oversite, could be they don't know, or they could be correct. They (BLI) did have both early passenger (with steam generator stack) and freight (without) models, both with the maroon roofs (as well as later, all DGLE versions).

@CAPPilot posted:

All my electrics have been in storage for several years.  I did not know about my P5a boxcab issue until just recently when I read about it here on the forum.  I wonder who replaced Midge that I can talk to to get on the list?  Better call.

No one person replace Midge. I emaileded the new parts company several months back and brought the shell issue to their attention. They replied that the list still existed and the plan was still in place to replace the shells.Unfortunately my PC crushed and I lost that email so I do not have the gents name but as we are now having this discussion I will reach out to him again through the parts website as I did last Tim. I have been forwarding the emails to several folks on this forum Nita Griffin being one and can't find the other persons name.

@GG1 4877 posted:

I've never seen a photograph of a P5a box cab with a maroon roof.  In general the use of maroon on cab roofs on PRR locomotives during the steam era is greatly exaggerated in the modeling world.  Then again to be fair, color photographs of P5s in general are not very common especially early in their careers.

More often I have seen black roofs as lots of tar was used on the roofs to keep the notoriously leaky cabs from leaking even worse!

Generous amounts of fresh black paint was also used on the frames near the end of their service to hide the cracks from the inspectors.

Not to hide, “enhance” the cracks. LOL. When I would pick up a motor in sunny side you would see lots of paint cans.

@CAPPilot posted:

My bad - I have been procrastinating and never contacted MTH.  I assume I can just go to there parts page and order it?

Ron: I would contact MTH through the PArts Website and see if they can add your name to the list. I am sure they know how many were sold and but with the bad shells and pepper planning would consider that number and figure they were all questionable. Never hurts to try.

Hi Russell,

It is true that MTH Electric Trains was making extra shells this past run for people with cracking shells. It is also true that they only made enough for the people that had contacted them before that build was made. They should be coming this spring, but all are spoken for.



I finally got around to contacting MTH parts and sales on March 21, 2022, and the message above was what I got back.

I have three Box Cab units from the 2008 run that are cracking so I guess I'm SOL.



If anyone else contacts them and receives a different response, please post it so we can all see it. Thanks



Russ

Last edited by pennsyfanman

As a conclusion to my issue with the MTH P5a Zinc Rot  and the question posted about the differences between the old shell and the replacement shell. Rich at MTH requested if I would send my P5a to them so they can replace the shell and create and document the procedure for installing the replacement shell and include the procedure with the replacement shells being sent out.  Currently MTH has my P5a and is doing just that with it. I am currently on vacation and when we return home I will reach out to MTH to have the unit returned to me. Everything I have heard from MTH on this issue is they are standing behind the replacement 100% and am looking forward to getting mine back.

Any new updates or are they still giving you the runaround?

Mine has been replaced MTH arranged for me to ship it to them to use as the proto type as the new shells are equipped with PS3 LED lighting and the old shells are PS2 non LED.  Other than that you would need to reach out to Rich Foster at MTH as I am no longer tracking the issue. I do know that there have been several folks that have received replacement shells.

Finally came across an MTH P5a without zinc pest! Saw one listed on the big auction site as a 20-5138-1, which wasn't one of the 2008 units (or any other other MTH product). The cab number (4703) matched the new 20-5738-1, so I figured it might have been a typo on the lister's part. I messaged them to confirm, and they replied that it was indeed a 20-5738-1. Managed to get it for around what that big Georgia forum sponsor tries to sell crumbling 2008 ones (with "cracked paint", as they list them) for...

20221219_17442220221219_174448

Interesting note, the box it was shipped to me in had a tag on it from a previous recipient, Harry Hieke. Not this engine, as it hadn't been released yet when the tag was dated, but it seems the previous owner had sent an engine to Harry, and gotten it back (there was another tag dated later addressed to the owner).

Attachments

Images (2)
  • 20221219_174422
  • 20221219_174448
Last edited by Magicland

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×