Re: TH&B USRA 40-ton boxcar

mel perry

the NWP comes to mind
mel perry

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019, 3:18 PM Bill Welch <fgexbill@...> wrote:

I am very interested in the history of the Forty-Foot boxcar, the car type that composed the bulk of America’s freight car fleet from at least the early 1920’s into the 1950’s and one of my goals is to model every example of the 40-foot types in-service during my modeling date of October 1955. To date my only model of a USRA 40-ton Double Sheathed boxcar has been an M&StL model, which technically I think were gone from The Louie’s roster by 1953. I have always planned to build at least two more but had not settled on which ones. I had Westy kits for both CB&Q and GN but since buying these years ago I have built several models of cars for both these roads and found myself bored by the prospect of building two more models to represent them. Many of the 40-ton cars were rebuilt into steel sheathed cars so my choices were somewhat limited but I found two candidates that appealed to me—SP&S and TH&B.

I remembered when building the M&StL model that the sides and ends were built around the underframe. I don’t like this approach so I assembled the sides and ends into a rectangle and then using one of Westy’s new roof frames I assembled the roof, widening it slightly with styrene shim because I have noticed these prototypes had fascia boards along the top of the sides and the edges of the roof lapped over these fascia trim pieces. Further the sheet metal on the roof is bent over the roof edge and covers some of the fascia boards and I intended to model these two details. The side view photo shows the effect.

These TH&B cars were ex-New York Central cars rebuilt in the TH&B shops in 1943 to replace or supplement the TH&B’s aging fleet of Dominion 36-foot boxcars. In the rebuilding the shops added sort of a base for the right end grabs that form the ladder. I used .020 x .020 styrene for these. They also changed the doors with what I now think were secondhand doors from 50-ton USRA 50-ton cars (source unknown but maybe NYC). I gritted my teeth as I cut off the existing door supports. Then I clinched my jaw as I carved off the horizontal metal steel strap. Clinching my jaw worked as I managed not to gouge the door and did a decent job re-scribing where I removed the brace. I made new “L” section braces by first using CA to glue a narrow strip of 0.005 styrene in place. After this had cured I took another section of 0.005 styrene and with it butted on edge against the section already in place secured with careful applications of Tamiya Extra Thin glue. Then I added a thin bead of CA on the lower of this assembly. The rivets on the “L” section brace are harvested from an Athearn boxcar. I harvested the lower door rollers from Tichy’s USRA doors, thinning them slightly before using CA to secure them in place.

I am not sure how many 40-ton USRA boxcars had metal flashing applied above the door track at some point but both the SP&S and TH&B did and so I used 0.005 sheet styrene cut into strips to make these, griping them between two straight edges to bend them. One TH&B photo I had from Jack Parker’s Photo Collection shows some interesting tabs along the lower edge so I added these using more .005-styrene (very curious what the thinking was for adding these tabs).

The TH&B applied Ajax powered handbrakes. I am waiting to fix the brake wheel in place until I build a new wood Running Board since it will be easier to fit the end supports in place without the wheel in the way. I scratch built the Placard Boards. Use this link to access and download more photos of the model:

Bill Welch
PS: Unless Rapido changes the door as I have, their model will be wrong.


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