Re: PRR X29 Box To SAL Ventilated REA Box?

Todd Horton

For what it's worth one of these (SAL Express) cars still exist in North Ga. Not sure if there's any else around but one for sure survived
Todd Horton

From: Benjamin Hom
To: "STMFC@..."
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] RE: PRR X29 Box To SAL Ventilated REA Box?
John Degnan asked:
"Wondering about how similar PRR's X-29 [sic] boxes may have been to SAL's Ventilated REA boxes?  In S scale, SSA (S Scale America) offers a model of PRR's X-29 [sic] box that might be a good starting point for modeling the SAL REA Vent's if they are similar enough."
Andy Sperandeo replied:
"I didn't notice anyone else mentioning this, so I'll point out that the SAL ventilated express boxcars were actually variants of the 1932 ARA boxcar design. They were originally built as members of SAL class B6, and 55 were converted to express service between 1943 and 1954.
The takeaway is that I think the X29-to-B6 express variant conversion in HO resulted in a believable model, and I don't see why the same thing couldn't be done in S scale. I don't think I've ever photographed my car, but it did appear in a Model Railroader video segment I did featuring a variety of mail and express cars."
I disagree with Andy regarding this conversion, because there are more issues than the different underframes.  The SAL carsides have the single row of rivets of the 1932 ARA design instead of the double row of rivets of the X29/1923 proposed-ARA design, and the X29 carbody is 9 inches shorter than the SAL prototype (8 ft 7 in IH vs 9 ft 4 in IH).  This is a very noticeable difference in HO scale, much less S.
That being said, it looks like you're caught between a rock and a hard place in S scale - start with an X29 kit and end up with a "short man in drag" model, or start with the Pacific Rail Shops 1937 AAR boxcar with square corner ends, cut it down in height by 6 inches, and scratchbuild new sides and ends, which will give you a better model but require a lot work than slapping side tabs and ventilators on the X29.
Ultimately, it's up to you.  Your mileage may vary.
Ben Hom

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