Boxcar Types by Railroad

Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:00 am

Here's that promised spinoff of the freight car distribution thread - this time, surveying boxcars by type, per railway. What's going on here should be fairly obvious, but I'll do some explaining anyways.

Initially I'm covering the January 1953 data; 1970 data will come later. I'm going to cover only the biggest railways (in terms of boxcar fleets) here, namely Pennsylvania RR, New York Central, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, Milwaukee, Baltimore & Ohio, Union Pacific, Southern, Chicago & North Western, Great Northern, Chicago Burlington & Quincy, Illinois Central and Rock Island - these are the roads that owned 20000 or more boxcars. Some smaller roads - Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line, Norfolk & Western, Virginian, etc, also used car classification systems, but overall, most roads did not.

Doing this sort of sorting is easier for some of these railways than for others: some roads used a classification system for car types - regardless of what the number series was, a car of a specific design fell under the same classification - the Pennsy is probably the most famous for this (i.e. X29). Of the roads I'm covering, car classification systems were used by the Pennsy, Southern Pacific, Baltimore & Ohio, Union Pacific and CB&Q. The New York Central used a "lot" system that's very, very confusing - it looks like a classification system at first, until you start looking closely. For the other roads, I'll be sorting by design type, assigning a semi-arbitrary classification to each car type, and listing the cars by number series.

I'm going to start, of course, with the Pennsy, and this will illustrate how I'll handle the other roads which used car classes (and for which I have full information - I don't have full info on the classification system; for those, I'll be using a hybrid of this Pennsy arrangement and the arrangement I'll be using for the non-classifying railways.


Pennsylvania Railroad, 1953 (67230 boxcars)
X29: 23548 (35%)
X31a: 7184 (10.7%)
X29b: 4470 (6.7%)
X28a: 3676 (5.5%)
X26c: 3468 (5.2%)
X43b: 2998 (4.5%)
X38: 2184 (3.2%)
X26: 2173 (3.2%)
X43c: 1498 (2.2%)
X41b: 1496 (2.2%)
X43a: 1495 (2.2%)
X37b: 1484 (2.2%)
X44: 1248 (1.9%)
X31b: 1182 (1.8%)
X37: 992 (1.5%)
X32b: 869 (1.3%)
X31c: 801 (1.2%)
X31: 749 (1.1%)
X31f: 688 (1.0%)
X32a: 682 (1.0%)
X38a: 595 (0.9%)
X29d: 585 (0.9%)
X43: 500 (0.7%)
X45: 500 (0.7%)
X41c: 498 (0.7%)
X37a: 497 (0.7%)
X33a: 296 (0.4%)
X41: 288 (0.4%)
X47: 250 (0.4%)
X41a: 199 (0.3%)
X32c: 113 (0.2%)
X25a: 103 (0.2%)
X40b: 100 (0.1%)
X32: 58 (<0.1%)
X33: 48 (<0.1%)
X25: 42 (<0.1%)
X23: 25 (<0.1%)
X32d: 10 (<0.1%)
X40: 5 (<0.1%)
X40a: 4 (<0.1%)
X23b: 3 (<0.1%)
X29c: 3 (<0.1%)
ARA: 1 (<0.1%)
X24: 1 (<0.1%)
X26a: 1 (<0.1%)
X29a: 1 (<0.1%)
X30: 1 (<0.1%)
X36: 1 (<0.1%)
X38b: 1 (<0.1%)
X40c: 1 (<0.1%)

So in looking this data over, if we apply it to the 100-boxcar fleet described in the distribution thread, according to which we need eight Pennsy boxcars, we find we need 2.8 X29 - which I would round up to three. 10.7% of 8 is 0.856, meaning, we will definitely need one X31a. 3+1=4, so half of our Pennsy boxcar fleet is covered. For the other four, pick and choose anything. I would probably add another X31a, an X26, an X43a or c, and the single X36 (which I think is a very nifty car).

Great. Now, let's look at each of these car classes, alphabetically...

Number series: 36985

There was only a single car of the 1923 ARA standard steel design, which the Pennsy took on as a tester; it was very, very similar in appearance to the X29; in model form, only a very highly detailed model would reflect the differences. In general terms, though, an X29 and a 1923 ARA car with flat panel ends and flat panel roof were close enough, that you can safely use the same model to represent both.

PRR 42302.jpg

Number series: 40023-44000 (15), 501774 (1), 510708-511157 (2), 517690 (1), 538280 (1), 556513 (1), 562289-562638 (4)

This was a VERY distinctive car - the only single-sheathed design of this appearance. In the 1930s and 1940s, this design was almost as representative of the Pennsy as the X29s were, but by the 1950s they were disappearing fast.

Number series: 103505-104256 (3)

Subvariant of the X23 design, unfortunately I have no photos or drawings of this type. I don't believe there were any other number series than the 103505-104256 series, and by 1953 only three were left.

Number series: 501022 (1)

I have no photo or drawing of this car - it was a single-car "series", a 40' single-sheathed car with double doors.

PRR 35883.jpg

Number series: 31001-36958 (17), 83829-84463 (8), 88435 (1), 88440 (1), 93101-93641 (2), 517800-518211 (5), 539547 (1), 539703 (1), 556902 (1), 562746-563167 (3), 596554 (1), 596807 (1)

A forerunner of the X29 design, only a handful left by 1953.

(more to come later - I'm off to get ready to go to the show!)
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:56 am

PRR 538598.jpg

Number series: 512008 (1), 512012 (1), 538503-538814 (24), 556705 (1), 556769 (1), 563170-564259 (53), 598001 (1), 598004-598433 (21)

Double-door automobile boxcar version of the X25 design; like the X25, only a handful were left in service by 1953.

PRR 564287 - 2.jpg

Number series: 37100-39865 (614), 44001-46725 (511), 83398-83571 (44), 86798-86900 (28), 93901-93923 (13), 97805-97948 (28), 511396-511430 (8), 512067 (1), 512069 (1), 518218-518944 (186), 530076-530079 (3), 531195-531198 (3), 540003-540768;540770-540798 (172), 549203-549282 (21), 564271-566088 (467), 596001-596449 (95), 598438-598453 (6)

Standard 40' USRA single-sheath design (actual USRA car with 5-5-5 ends, not a clone).

Number series: 540769 (1)

No info other than that it was converted from a standard X26.

PRR 104260.jpg

Number series: 104260-107759 (3468)

Rebuilt from X26-class single-sheathed cars with steel sides and increased inside height - note the extra blank panel on the end above the topmost ribs. Railways very commonly rebuilt USRA double-sheathed cars with steel sides etc, doing so with the single-sheathed cars was less common. USRA rebuilds are extremely interesting, as no two railways did it quite the same way.

Number series: 120012-125000 (3676)

Unfortunately I have no photos or diagrams of this class.

PRR 569091 - 2.jpg

Number series: 49314-57641 (6886), 90633-92500 (1446), 93996-96126 (1547), 97949-103323 (4225), 502000-505948 (2962), 566091-574090 (6482)

This car defines the Pennsy like no other car - the Pennsy had more of this class of car than many other "large" railroads had cars of all types put together! Some X29s had the flat-plate end and flat-plate roof like the car in the photo, some had 3/4 inverse Dreadnaught ends and panel roofs or radial roofs, so there was some variety within the class as well. I have a number of X29 photos, if anyone is interested in more.

Number series: 49300 (1)

Single-car "class" dimensionally the same as an X29 with flat end and roof; I'm not sure how it was different enough from a regular X29 to warrant it being classified in its own class. Unfortunately, I have no photos; the class diagram is marked "X29, X29a", so that's not much help...

PRR 30001.jpg

Number series: 26501-31000 (4470)

X29s rebuilt to 10' 5" inside height, with raised panel roof and 1-3-4 Improved Dreadnaught ends.
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:18 am

Number series: 93654-93656 (3)

Another oddity - dimensionally the same as a standard X29. No further info however, other than dimensional information.

Number series: 25501-26500 (585)

Unfortunately I have no photos, but dimensional info suggests this is another group of X29 rebuilds, this time to 10' 6" inside height with 8' doors (as opposed to the 7' doors on the X29b); the door width is one of the differences between the X29b and X29d. Lacking a photo, it's not certain, but likely that these also received 1-3-4 Improved Dreadnaught ends.

PRR 59861.jpg

Number series: 59861 (1)

During the Depression, the Pennsylvania built an experimental 70 foot round-roof, car no. 59861. The photo showed the car with full dimensional data, but no PRR identification. (The reporting marks were "Experimental.") However, it was listed in 1949 as a regular 50-ton box car, 70 ft. 6 ins. long inside, 10 feet high inside, with 12 foot wide doorways. It was class X30. (I think I read somewhere it was built solely to haul American-LaFrance fire trucks from the Pennsy's Elmira, NY branch.). Still in service in 1953, probably still hauling fire trucks - by then, it had received regular Pennsylvania reporting marks, instead of the "Experimental" lettering.

PRR 60101.jpg
PRR 60101.jpg (22.91 KiB) Viewed 2435 times

Number series: 59873-60110 (35), 60224-60720 (210), 69504-69997 (504)

The first series of Pennsy's "other" distinctive boxcar, the so-called "round-roof cars". Unfortunately, of this class I only have this one small photo...

PRR 68074 - 2.jpg

Number series: 67400-68999 (1579), 69000-69499 (496), 70000-70399 (393), 76400-81099 (4638), 81100-81199 (99), 120003-120011 (9)

After the X31 was put into service, lessons learned led to the introduction of the definitive iteration of the X31 design, the X31a. A very distinctive car - a few railroads operated cars of this design, too (notably the Norfolk & Western and Detroit Toledo & Ironton; the Northern Pacific received some second-hand in the mid 1950s). Some, such as the 69000-69499 series, were double-door cars. (Definitely a car that will have to be drawn up in CAD, or otherwise produced in TT - these operated well into the 1970s with Penn Central, a few even into the Conrail era).

Number series: 61102-62799 (1182)

Double-door version of the X31a, apparently somehow different enough from the double-door X31a cars to warrant their own subclass...

PRR 60993.jpg
PRR 60993.jpg (18.39 KiB) Viewed 2435 times

Number series: 60800-61099 (298), 62800-63309 (503)

Another double-door version of the X31a design...

PRR 81468.jpg

Number series: 81200-81899 (688)

Very distinct from other X31 subclasses due to the so-called "turtleback" roof - a very nifty car!

(to be continued)
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:22 pm

PRR 60112.jpg

Number series: X32: 60112-60171 (58)

50' version of the X31 round-roof car, with end doors.

PRR 58800.jpg

Number series: 58800-59449 (634), 59450-59499 (48)

Like X32, but without end doors.

PRR 48302.jpg

Number series: 48300-49299 (869)

Like X32 (no end doors) but with 14' double-doors instead of 12' double doors; 10 cars in the number series have 7' (single) doors - see X32d entry.

Number series: 48186-48299 (113)

No photo unfortunately - similar to X32b, not sure as to the difference.

PRR 49123.jpg
PRR 49123.jpg (20.9 KiB) Viewed 2422 times

Number series: 48300-49299 (10 cars: 48316, 48369, 48390, 48785, 48850, 48971, 49013, 49123, 49157, 49287)

Like X32b but with single 7' door instead of double 14' door.

Number series: 60172-60221 (48)

Another 50' round-roof boxcar with 12' double doors and end doors. No idea how they're different from X32-types.

PRR 59606.jpg
PRR 59606.jpg (13.74 KiB) Viewed 2422 times

Number series: 59500-59799 (296)

Dimensionally virtually the same as the X33 class. No idea how they differ from those, though.
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Arseny » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:52 am

But how this classification corresponds with the boxcars available in TT?
Is any of these "Xnn" boxcars the same as the Gold Coast's "AAR type" steel boxcar?
(it seems to me that it is looking like the X29b... no?)

Or maybe PVM's boxcars?..
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:35 am

Modelling Pennsy boxcars in TT is... to put it mildly, difficult at the moment. The only one doable right now is the X26 using this PVM kit: (but, in the kit, the ends are quite wrong, and I don't know about how accurate it is in terms of dimensions. If you can overlook that and be satisfied with something that generally looks like an X26, then the PVM kit will do the job).

The X29b is too different from the 1937 AAR design to use the Gold Coast car: the X29b is 6" taller, the doors are 2' wider, the ends are completely different, and the sill (look at the bottom edge of the side) is straight on the X29b, whereas the 1937 AAR car has tabs.

I've put the Pere Marquette gondola on hold as of Sunday evening, when I started working on the CAD for the X29. After working on that gon and the BL2 stuff, this shouldn't be a difficult project. And, I'm doing it in a "modular" fashion, so I'll easily be able to modify it to make X29s with different doors, ends or roofs, and also easily fix it to be a 1932 ARA standard car (which was used in large numbers by 20 different railways)...

...but I digress. The X26 is doable now, the X29 will have a reasonably accurate model in the near future. After the X29 is done I'm going to finish the gon and then tackle a couple other freight cars first, but one or another of the X31 variants (a or f, probably) is also on my list of Things To Do.
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Arseny » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:55 am

Marquette wrote:I've put the Pere Marquette gondola on hold as of Sunday evening, when I started working on the CAD for the X29

When I was 10 years old, I owned the BTTB TT-scale railroad; I had a lot of 2-axle boxcars, but only 1 gondola. And my friend had the H0-scale railroad with a lot of gondolas, so he could put some cargo in his wagons! In summer he made a sort of "garden railroad"; he made a railroad to chicken coop and transported a real grain for the chickens!... :smile:
It was a great frustration for me...

...Since that time I prefer gondolas or open hoppers... :lol:
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby Marquette » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:17 am

Nice! That's brilliant.

Me, I'm a nut for boxcars and tank cars, anything else is just a nuisance! ;)

But now bedtime! Tomorrow I'll continue with the Pennsy boxcars...
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Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby scaro » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:59 am

Marquette wrote:Modelling Pennsy boxcars in TT is... to put it mildly, difficult at the moment.

I agree. In fact, without roofwalks and similar etches for brake wheels etc, they are all pretty hard.

I can’t see the point in doing something that will be less detailed than N scale; to me the opportunity for detail work is the point of TT.

From blowing up online images, I deduce that Gold Coast use plain wood roofwalks -not really what I want.

I have not heard back from Plano yet. The only other source is Gold Medal Models and they weren’t responsive. I think I will put plans for dabbling in US outline on hold until it's resolved, realising that may be a long time but I can’t see the point otherwise. I could buy a home etching kit, in fact, I’d really like to get into that, but it is not something I have space for at the moment. Oddly enough this is one of the things where Aussie modelling is easier ... Apex pattern is less common and the diamond pattern mesh generally used is widely available from architectural modelling suppliers.

Last edited by scaro on Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Boxcar Types by Railroad

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:33 am

Are box cars classified as "Xnn" in general?
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