SAL Rebuilt Lumber Box Cars

Guy Wilber

The Seaboard Air Line put its first rebuilt SS 40 foot box car with 20 foot door openings into service in February of 1956. The doors were arranged allowing openings from the end to the center of the car and positioned on opposite ends of side A and B resulting in open access to the full length of the car. The car was designed by SAL Mechanical Engineer E. L. Cook and built at the shops in Portsmouth, VA., and rebuilt from a 40’-6” single sheathed car. The special doors were supplied by Youngstown.

The car was built to accommodate the increasing growth of packaged lumber coupled with the mechanical loading and unloading (via forklift). The original test of the car was routed from Franklin, VA, to Wickliffe, OH, over the Seaboard, Pennsylvania and Nickel Plate. The load contained 25,000 board feet of kiln dried dressed pine in packaged units weighing from 3,300 to 7,260 pounds. Mechanical loading was done in less than 70 minutes saving an estimated 16-18 man hours required to load a car board by board.

Success of the car and the overall operation led to a subsequent rebuilding of ten more cars of similar design beginning in November of 1957. The second group was built with an increased inside height resulting in a door opening height 22 inches more than the original.

The articles within “The Southern Lumberman” offer no information as to numbering of the cars. Would anyone here have additional information, photos and/or diagrams of these cars?

Thank You for your consideration,

Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada

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