I’m in the process of gathering photos of G43A gondolas so that I have an example to follow before I start weathering them. I’m aiming to depict a range of years on my layout, instead of a specific date, and that era can generally be described as the last few years of the PC era. Something like 1973 to April 1 1976.
With that guideline in mind, I’ve been assuming that some of my PC rolling stock should look pretty clean. The featured image for this post is a Jim Sands photo from 1968 showing a freshly repainted G43A gondola. Most photos of PC rolling stock that are available on the internet show the equipment in deplorable condition. It seems like people were less interested in photographing PC until they were in danger of being repainted into Conrail livery.
My assumption that, because my modelling era is a time period when the cars were still relatively newly repainted, they would have to be in relatively decent condition (at least as far as the paint is concerned). It seems that my assumption is too general.
In the two photos below, take note of the condition of the G43A gondolas which are pretty rusty. The first photo was taken in 1974, the second in 1983. Clearly, the second photo depicts a pretty trashed gondola, but even in the first photo, the gondola has started to have its paint knocked off. The car was probably repainted into PC paint only 4 to 6 years prior. Gondolas take a beating, so they look rough pretty quickly after a repaint.
For reference, check out the entire collection of PC rolling stock at RRPictureArchives.