NYC Express Box Cars (Long)

Ron Boham <spnut@...>

I need some help on a starting point to build a couple of NYC express cars which were converted from USRA steel side rebuilds.

The cars are pictured on page 24 of RPC Volume 6. Shown are numbers 100998 and 100994, from a group rebuilt 1936-1937, with ten cars pulled and converted to express box cars 100990-100999 in 1940. I don't know the original NYC numbers, but they were rebuilt from Lot 363B, built June 1917.

The cars are 40' 6" IL, 9' 2" IW, and 10' 0" IH, four panels to either side of what is probably a six-foot door, with the characteristic USRA deep fishbelly underframe, 7-7-1 reverse-indent ends. Brakes have been converted to AB retaining the vertical hand brake shaft, with steam and signal lines and high speed trucks added for express service. No ladders on either side or ends, all grab irons, and roof style/manufacturer and roof walk material is unknown.

As I said when I began, I want to build two of these, but the further I go, the further I seem to get from my objective. The ends are a real problem--I don't know of any way to have such a weird end than to carve them or cast them. I thought I could make a start from the Tichy 4028D kit for a NYC USRA rebuild, but it is a different car: height is barely ten feet overall, much less inside, and the underframe is completely different. I looked at stealing the fishbelly underframe from a different Tichy kit, or, substituting an Accurail USRA underframe, but heavy modification would be required either way--there are too many other reasons not to start with the Tichy box.

I searched the model magazine index for a drawing or construction article, but all I found were for different cars. There were a couple articles from Prototype Modeler I was unable to look at, issues I don't have, but I couldn't find much information anywhere. I checked the NYC Historical Society web site, which is not long on information, at least for a non-member like myself.

I am now to the point I would buy a kit if someone will tell me Westerfield or Sunshine make one--hell, I'd buy r-t-r from Marklin or Lionel, if it were of the correct car. Since I don't expect an affirmative answer, can anyone cite a source for a drawing, so I don't have to guess/extrapolate measurements, and to remove an excuse not to scratchbuild one? How about the paint and lettering colors, even though I'm a long way from getting ready to paint?

Any help or directions to better reference sources will be appreciated.


Ron Boham
Ralston, NE

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