Re: Photo: UP "See Though" Boxcar 195220

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford


The Wathers car was actually a copy of John Allen's design from the early 1960s. IIRC, he had two built to fit an Athearn 40' boxcar shell, and could change the body to keep his operators on their toes. If the ball rolled into a spring metal tongue at either end of the car, a light would flash. If the impact was extreme, the ball dropped into a catch point at the end of the track and the light stayed on. 

Another funzie that was commercially available in the 1970s was an underframe with a flywheel connected to one of the truck axles by a rubber band. This also was meant to fit under an Athearn or Roundhouse boxcar body. Supposedly you could kick the car loose and it would coast into a siding. I had two and they not only didn't live up to their hype, but also the truck with the rubber band had a restricted radius, making the car was prone to derailments. 

Let it be known that I got rid of these turkeys many, many years ago.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 6:10 PM Steven D Johnson <tenncentralrwy@...> wrote:



This looks to me to be an impact demonstration car.  L&N’s South Louisville Shop built one out of an old single-sheathed 40 ft boxcar in late 1955.  This car toured the L&N system to promote loss and damage prevention through safe coupling speeds.  On one side of the car, a large speedometer with a plexiglass dial and indicator registered coupling speeds up to 15 mph.  (The speedometer has its metal covering on in the attached photo, which is dated September 1960).  On the same side at floor level, a scale, marked in feet and inches, extended the length of the car, and served to show much of the “load” had shifted.  The “load” consisted of an old lathe and air pump, weighing 9,600 lbs, mounted on wooden skids.  The car also featured electric lights and was equipped with a gasoline-powered motor/generator.  This was quite an attractive car, painted in L&N’s passenger car blue, silver and yellow/gold lettering and striping, and the “steam era” L&N herald.


Many may remember the old Walther’s “Tongue-In-Cheek” HO model of an impact demo car.  As I recall, it had a steel ball bearing riding on a piece of N-scale (?) track inside the car, with a warning light that was activated by rough coupling.


Steve Johnson

Nashville, TN


From: [] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2020 11:27 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Photo: UP "See Though" Boxcar 195220


Photo: UP "See Though" Boxcar 195220

A 1953 photo from the Temple University Libraries:

This photo can be enlarged quite a bit.

I know other railroads had similar cars. Does anyone know more about the history of this car?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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