Modernized 50 plug door boxcars

Discussion in 'Boxcars' started by cthart, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. cthart

    cthart Member


    I'm making one of these:

    The instructions say that you can leave off the roofwalk if you're modeling a modernized car.

    Would this be somewhat prototypical for this car? At least plausible?

    Can I plausibly put rollerbearing trucks (Accurail) underneath?

    I model the period 1978-82.


  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Colin, I'd think that both modifications would be plausible for your era. I don't think it would have been out-of-the-ordinary to still see boxcars in the late 70s with running boards still attached, but I think that the lack of running boards topside would signify the late 70s/early 80s much better.

    I'm hoping that our resident truck expert (Ken Wulfert) can add his 2 cents on the type of trucks. Roller bearing trucks do seem like they'd be a good fit.

    Any others?

    Best Regards,
  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Do a search in on "GARX". You will see a discussion in one of my postings about the trucks on the SLSF and QA&P GARX Branchline insulated plug door cars.

    The Frisco GARX car came with Barber S2 "friction bearing" trucks. The Branchline kit truck is correct for this car. The QA&P GARX car, however, is different - it came with Chrysler FR-5 "friction bearing" trucks, and the kit supplied truck is incorrect. Unfortunately, no HO truck exists for the Chrysler truck. What I did on my models of these two cars was to use a National B-1 on the QA&P car so its truck looks different.

    See RP Cyc volume 4 for a descriptions and pics of these trucks.

    I've not seen any photos of these cars "modernized", so it is hard to answer your question with any hard evidence. However, it is certainly possible they were modernized, and in so doing, had their roof walks and tall ladders removed, brake wheel relocated, and roller bearing trucks substituted. Go ahead and do it if you wish - it's your railroad!

    Logical roller bearing trucks to substitute would be either the ASF A-3 Ride Control with roller bearings, or the Barber S2 with roller bearings. Both were Frisco favorites. Kato makes the latter truck in HO, and I think Kadee has both of them in their new line of trucks. If you are not worried about the little details, the Accurail roller bearing truck will be fine - few, if any, will notice any differences. I've not received any formal complaints that my QA&P GARX is sitting on National B-1's!

    Just my thoughts.

  4. nickmolo

    nickmolo Member


    These cars were on lease from the 1950s. None were around in Frisco service past the sixties, either off-lease or scraped by your era of interest. If you wanted modern plug door cars see for General American RBLs that lasting well into the 2000s, then these are the cars.

    Regards, Nick Molo, moloco
  5. cthart

    cthart Member

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the responses!

    So the answer seems to be: Prototypical, no. Plausible, yes (to an extent).

    I'll think about it :)


  6. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    The GARX cars were unusual in that they were insulated, but not reefers. They were, I think, for a specific bit of bridge traffic between railroads, hence the cars were leased (GARX, not SLSF). A bunch of railroads had these cars - at least Branchline made the model for several different roads.

    Probably when the business went away, the SLSF ended the leases, and the cars went away.

  7. nickmolo

    nickmolo Member


    No it is prototypical, it's just not for your era of interest.

  8. nickmolo

    nickmolo Member


    They are reefers just not mechanical or ice reefers, but passive reefers, therefore the mech. designation RB.

    These cars could have moved across as bridge traffic, but it would be part of a pool in a specific service. Temperature sensitive lading would be typical, like canned goods or beer. The cars were leased for reasons, one the likely hood of continued need for a specific shipper which was uncertain, two
    the cars were "new" to the world of railroad business so it was easier to lease just in case, three leases also allows the RR to take them for a test drive before purchasing.

    In actual fact the business did not go away, because the Frisco did lease NACC cars a couple years after which had improvements in the way of better cushioning (not Duryea) and better loaders suited to customers. Then in 1962 frisco purchased their own RBLs from General American, so I speculate that traffic actually grew and grew, right up to the beige PCF RBLs that were used for Schlitz service in the early seventies and beyond.

    Frisco was in the forefront of RBL purchases, able to capitlize on the higher per diem and useage charges that these CADILLACs of the boxcar world commanded. With Frisco's knack for excellent service this would have been a winning combination.


  9. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Nick - Agree with the designations and what you are saying. But, I still say even though they carried the RB designation, you can't honestly call the GARX's a refrigerator because all they had was insulation, no refrigeration unit. In the same sense, I wouldn't call a thermos bottle a refrigerator either.

    But, they certainly were designed for and used for temperature sensitive ladings.


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