40' Boxcar Rebuild

Discussion in 'Freight Equipment' started by JimB, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. JimB

    JimB Member

    There is an interesting article in the March 09 RR Model Craftsman, p52 by Greg Martin. He rebuilds a 40' KCS boxcar similar to the way the railroad might have done it, placing an AAR body on a USRA underframe. This is supposed to replicate "kits" made by Youngstown, and others, that were sold to various railroads. My questions: 1) Would this method be an accurate representation of the way Frisco did any of their rebuilds? 2) What is the significance of the slightly different style "Dreadnaught" (or 'Dreadnought') ends? I see some with 4/4, 4/5 and other patterns of corrigation?
    Thanks, Jim
  2. gna

    gna Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Hi Jim--

    I was really interested in that article, too, because I'd like to build some of the Frisco USRA double sheath rebuilds.

    Unfortunately, I don't think the Frisco rebuilds were an AAR body on a USRA underframe. Rather, they put new sides on the USRA underframe and kept the ends. There are some pictures on the Springfield Greene site of the process:

    Here's a finished car in a different paint scheme:

    Notice how they don't really look like a AAR box, but slab sides overlapping the ends. It looks very unusual, so RMCs car is not quite the same.

    As far as the ends, if you look at the pictures of the end of the cars, note the pattern of five corrugations, then a row of rivets, then 5 more corrugations, then a row of rivets, the five more. This was a Murphy 5/5/5 end, found on USRA boxcars

    Compare it to this car, with a different corrugation pattern and a 4/4 end:

    I believe that is a Pullman-Standard End. Dreadnought ends were similar, but were made by Standard Railway Equipment Mfg. Co.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2009
  3. JimB

    JimB Member

    Gary -
    Thank you! By studying your post and looking at the similarities (and lack of same) it is easier to see the difference in the way Frisco went about rebuilding the older USRA cars. I assume (dangerous), then, they were not the standard AAR height (10'6"?), but if they kept the same ends would have had to keep the old height of the car as well.

    I was searching "boxcar ends" on Google and came across this article


    which is geared toward S scale, but has a nice history of some of the changes that were made in the way the 40' car was built and rebuilt by the various car builders and roads over the years. I can see the need to dig deeper before I start gluing parts.

    It's interesting, but there is just something about a 40' boxcar that is very pleasant to look at! I've tried to determine if it is in some way tied to the "golden section" measurement, but I don't see a relationship. Anyway, thanks alot for the info.

  4. gna

    gna Member Frisco.org Supporter


    That's a good article. I notice there's a link to the steam era freight cars site at the end, http://www.steamfreightcars.com/index.html, which is another good site but can be a little overwhelming.

    The DS cars are here:
    Accurail makes a kit of the original cars in HO, #4615. I think someone makes a kit of the rebuilds, but I can't remember who. I'll poke around or maybe someone else like will jump in.

    I agree, the 40' foot car is very pleasing, especially for guys like me with small layouts! I like the Accurail kits, (I'm on a budget) but tonight I was trying to figure out if the Bowser 40' kit (3-1041) is supposed to be an AAR car:
  5. gna

    gna Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Sunshine Models made a couple of Resin kits, 4.1 and 4.2, that were Frisco 12700 car rebuilds, but the kits are discontinued. Maybe someone else makes one now, or someone else knows of something out there.
  6. JimB

    JimB Member

    Gary -

    Also, what about this offering? (it says "LAF" 1/48. i was under the impression this slanting Fast Frisco Freight date was more like 1951?) I really like the AAR design, but it looks like all the Frisco AAR's were originally built that way, as opposed to being rebuilt into that style. Is that correct?


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
  7. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    My SLSF freight car diagrams are incomplete, so I'm not sure of many things about the Frisco's freight car fleet. However, it is my impression that the 1937 AAR 10' cars the Frisco had, like the Red Caboose car you referenced above, were all either built new by the builders, or built new from kits by the Frisco itself. This is the same RC car (different number, SLSF 145554) that I just built and posted a pic of in the "two neat kits" thread. Nice looking car.

    Perhaps others in frisco.org who are more well versed on Frisco freight car details can confirm, or correct, this.

    My SLSF 145554 shows "Blt New 10-40" and a re-weigh date of "SP 1-54" (re-weighed by the SP).

    I do know that the Frisco cars, as is the RC model, were the square corner post version of the 1937 AAR. There also was a rounded corner post version, using "W" columns, that some other roads used.

  8. JimB

    JimB Member

    Ken -

    It was your post of that great looking model that set me looking at the RC website. Beautiful car!

    The more I try to understand the evolution of the 40' box the more complicated the subject gets. A rough count on the various posts and links, if I interpret them correctly, suggests AT LEAST 7 different builders, 3 different rebuild stages, numerous paint/repaint schemes (I have no idea how many) and who knows how many other permutations that are involved. Of course, it's not that I NEED to understand it to have a few sitting around on sidings of my, as-yet-to-be-built 1950 Spgfd layout, I just happen to think these are great looking cars, and find them quite fascinating!

    - Jim
  9. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim -

    Thanks. I have often said how much I enjoy Red Caboose kits. I've had great luck with them, and I've built many. Others are good, too, however. I'm glad to see they all have discovered the SLSF and are having success with kits decorated for our favorite road.

    I understand the Red Caboose 1937 AAR 10' box car kit dies are the old IMWX dies. Somehow, IMWX, who no longer exists, led to both InterMountain and Red Caboose. Good deal for us.

    I'm interested to see from your post that the RC 1937 AAR Frisco car currently offered is a different number series and has some different markings - i.e., "LAF 1/48". I might have to grab one of those to add to my already overcrowded sidings and yards! After all, one can never get enough Frisco cars.

  10. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    This is a pretty good discussion especially because I am weak in this area (one of many weaknesses). Here are my questions.

    1. Did any the double sheathed cars make it into my time period 1947-50?

    2. If so, what would you use as the basis for a Frisco model, the Ertl car?

    3. Did the Frisco really use the slanted script "Frisco Faster Freight" on 145000 (RC) and 51000 (Bowser) number series cars? I am only familiar with the single PS-1 car (17???) that Kadee reproduced. I have been told that the Frisco only did one car with the slanted script FFF but if there are others could you post the photos?

    Thanks for the info.

    Ship IT on the Frisco!

  11. gna

    gna Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim, I don't know--I'm weak on paint schemes. I thought I read somewhere that that scheme was from '55 or so, but you may be right--it could be '51. Maybe Ken can help us.

    I liked Ken's and Rick's cars, too, on that other thread--wish my hobby shop carried more Frisco.

    Rick, I'm with you--I get turned around pretty quick when it comes to freight cars.

    As far as the Double sheath cars, I know Frisco rebuilt most of them in the '30s, but a few escaped. I think Karl posted a picture of one here not long ago (opens another tab)--Yeah, here it is:

    Chris also had a thread on rebuilding the DS cars, too:

    On my railroad, I have a few original condition DS cars. I use the Accurail car, but Tichy apparently makes one too. I didn't know Ertl had one.
  12. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I don't know either. Can anyone help on what SLSF box car series carried the sloping "Frisco Fast Freight" logo?

    That paint scheme was certainly on SLSF 17549, a 40ft PS-1 built in June, 1951. That car was the second Frisco PS-1 model that Kadee released, and I know it was based on good photo documentation. I've seen the prototype pic somewhere in a publication - probably in an early RP Cyc.

    As to the use of that slogan on other SLSF box cars, I don't know for sure. I just assumed it was used on several during its time before the "Ship it" scheme. I would think (hope?) Red Caboose had some documentation, as they have generally been pretty good about how their cars are marked. Bowser I'm less confident of - Bowser has some strange looking lettering and numbering fonts on their car as well.

    Can any of your freight car experts help on this question?


    ps - Regarding the Frisco USRA double sheathed box cars, both the Accurail (decorated kit) and the Tichy (undecorated kit) cars are pretty nice. Accurail, good as their products are for the money, has never worried too much about pure fidelity to the prototype in their decoration - but this car looks good. You will need to add roof grabirons, though. Why they left those off this model is a mystery.

    Probably the best HO Frisco double sheathed USRA box is to be found from Westerfield - their kit 3810. Very well researched, well documented, well done, nice decals. Still available last time I checked (I bought a second one about two years ago, haven't built it yet).
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
  13. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Here is the Ertl car, tell me what you think. Sometimes these can be picked up for $10-15 on Ebay.

    Ship IT on the Frisco!


    Attached Files:

  14. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter

    As far as the USRA double sheaths surviving, from what I have managed to find there where about 837 that where not rebuilt still in service in 1948. There where a handful of cars that remained as DS but recieved youngstown doors and Union Duplex fixtures. An example of this is on page 45 of issue 16 of Railroad Prototype Cyclopedia, the example show was captured in 1952. It is difficult to track down individual cars that missed the rebuild program as they are intermixed with those that where rebuilt.

    Sunshine did a early run of the USRA rebuilds they where hard to come by so I made a master so I could get a few. Wouldn't you know Sunshine has decided to rerun the car, so they should be currently available. I know the slanted triple F scheme was applied to at least one USRA rebuild as I seen a photo of it. FYI in a forthcoming issue of Scalerails (NMRA) there is a short article regarding the rebuilds as well as a scale drawing of the cars.

  15. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    I actually picked up one of these ages ago that has been pretty slow. I just need to move to the paint shop and decal it.

    Back to the question at hand: the notes with the original Sunshine kit indicates that

    "The Frisco steel side rebuils...were constructed at Springfield in 1935, '37 and '41 and possibly in some of the intervening years. By 1947, there were some 2 4097 rebuilts within the block [127000-130499]. The roof of the wood side cars-Hutchins 20 gauge dry lading or Murphy improved Pivoted-was merely reconditioned. The 5/5/5 Murphy ends remained and 8 section steel sides and Camel doors were applied. Full AB Brake systems were applied on all cars. The Frisco rebuilds different one from another only in application of side ladders and bracket style grab irons on the '41 cars, compared to drop grab irons in both places on the earlier cars."

    Rick for an original the Ertl car looks good enough to me. Hadn't even thought of it as a candidate.
  16. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Chris -

    I have the Sunshine #4.2 SLSF steel side rebuild kit, the first Sunshine kit I ever bought. It is still in the box! I gotta get off my duff!

    Is this the one you built?

  17. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    That is the one, Ken! I've had to graft on a Tichy roofwalk - can't remember if I broke or lost the resin one that came with the kit, but it'll do.

    I need to get some photos of it as-is and get a movin' on the paint job.

    Best Regards,
  18. JimB

    JimB Member

    Earlier, Ken Said:

    "Probably the best HO Frisco double sheathed USRA box is to be found from Westerfield - their kit 3810. Very well researched, well documented, well done, nice decals."

    (I haven't figured out how to reference previous posts in a reply).

    While looking around the Westerfield website, i noted Kit # 3860 is of a DS 40' kit of the modernized Rebuild from 1930 that (according to Westerfield) ran till the 1950's. The price is a bit steep, but it is still available.


    - Jim
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
  19. gna

    gna Member Frisco.org Supporter

    That's a nice looking car--looks better than the Accurail. I didn't know Ertl made freight cars--I thought they did diecast cars, trucks, etc.

    I'll go look for some on eBay. (Don't let my wife know...)
  20. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim - Neat. I wasn't aware of this second Westerfield Frisco USRA DS. I'll take a look. Like Sunshine's kits, Westerfield is on the expensive side, but they are very nice.


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