Re: Boxcar Production During the WWII Years

Ed Hawkins

On Jul 16, 2013, at 5:58 AM, Todd Horton wrote:

I ran across something that caught my interest. During the WWII era
there were boxcars produced using both steel and wood siding. The "war
emergency" boxcars that I was interested in were single sheathed 40'
cars built in 1944. It had never dawned on me that there were steel
side cars being produced during this same year. What was the reason
for the "war emergency" cars being built with wood sides vs. steel
cars being built the same year? I would have assumed the war
production board (WPB) would have had a say so in the construction
techniques during this era. The WPD wasn't dissolved until Nov 1945.
Each order of composite or steel cars built during this period of 1942,
1943, and into 1944 likely has it's own story depending on the overall
timing, the builder's capabilities at the time, the availability of
steel, and the actions & decisions of the WPB. One factor was during
this time a substantial portion of some car builder's facilities were
revamped to produce military equipment, so freight car production was
affected. During this time, numerous freight car orders were simply

An example for which I have some data is the CG order for 100 steel box
cars placed Feb. 13, 1942, with ACF and assigned lot 2491. Yet we know
that lot 2491 was built as emergency composite box cars. The builder's
photo of 41056 (41000-41099) was dated 2-44, a full two years after the
order was placed.

The cars were intended to be all-steel 1937 AAR box cars. An ACF
general arrangement drawing number 61-3114, dated April 1942, was
generated fairly quickly for lot 2491 and shows an all-steel car.
However, the drawing wasn't used as production of all-steel cars wasn't
approved. It wasn't until 1-1/2 years later when a new general
arrangement drawing number 61-5414 was generated on 10/20/43 along with
a number of other drawings dated in October 1943 for the side
construction and various other steel parts for emergency composite box
cars. A lettering drawing was dated 11/18/43. Construction of the cars
was completed a few months later with delivery in early 1944.

The exact reasons for the delay isn't known, however, correspondence
between ACF and CG would help to define the specific dates and reasons
why decisions were made if that correspondence could be retrieved.
Ed Hawkins

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