Re: Soo Line Wood Boxcars #100-444 / Accurail 7000 Series Kitbash #100-444

Dennis Storzek
 

Well, it's taken a couple days to find the article I knew was written on modeling these cars, and now the OP seems to have disappeared, but might as well get the info out there...

These are interesting cars, being rebuilt with wood sheathing so late, especially since the Soo Line had invested in quite a bit of modern shop equipment after WWII, and had essentially set up a carbuilding facility at the shop at North Fond du Lac, Wis. In 1948 they built a group of all weld GS gons that were written up in Railway Mechanical Engineer. In 1949 that started a program to build 40' boxcars to the 1948 AAR design. The carbodies were not welded, but the underframes were. That's why the wood cars are so odd. As I understand it, they got caught short when the Korean War started and couldn't source all the material they needed to keep the AAR boxcar program rolling, so they decided to use what they had on hand to keep the carbuilding program up and running. Later in 1951 they went back to building more AAR design steel cars.

Several years ago Accurail did a run of custom cars for the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society. These were understood by all parties involved to be "stand ins" as there is really no mass produced car any closer to the rather unique "sawtooth" cars that made up the bulk of the Soo Line boxcar fleet between the wars. However, the society's special projects manager, Ken Soroos, decided to modify one of the cars to more accurately model these 1950 rebuilds. The article was published in the Winter 2014 issue of The SOO, the society magazine. Back issues are available HERE
The article includes three prototype photos, all different than the one I posted a link to yesterday.

Briefly, Ken lowered the body by sawing off the entire top of the Accurail kit, substituted a diagonal panel roof, added a Kadee Apex running board and Detail Associates Equipco high power hand brake, and substituted straight sills for the fishbelly sills in the kit. The main lettering on the side of the car is printed in the correct relationship to the bottom of the body, and was able to be saved. I now wish we would have printed the end reporting marks lower on the body.

Anyway, the article is rather simplistic in deference to the general level of modeling skill in the society membership, but builds a solid model, and is certainly worth having for the photos and reproduced equipment diagram.

Dennis Storzek

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