Re: ATSF Bx-3/6

Richard Hendrickson

From Steve Shaffer:

I am completing one of Westerfield's Bx-3/6 modern boxcar kits #3651. This
car has the AB brakes and corrugated door. I need specific car numbers that
were in service in the 1950's, a source of photographs would also be
helpful. Of my reference books, the most helpful has been Ellington, Berry
and Martens book Stock Cars of the Santa Fe Railway. Which has a short
history of the Bx-3/6 class cars. It says that in 1951 200 Bx-6 cars were
converted to general merchandise service by upgrading to Ajax and AB brakes
to comply with ICC directives. They were renumbered to 40800 through 40999.
Number 40807 was retired in 1973. It also says that number 120530 the last
survivor of the original number series retired in 1969.

What does general merchandise service mean?
This statement in Ellington, et. al. is confusing, if not downright
misleading. But remember that the book was written many years ago when
much less prototype information was in circulation than is available today.
The photos I have of the cars in the 40800-40999 series (one of which dates
from 1952, shortly after the car was renumbered) show them as being
assigned to zinc concentrate service with the outer side sheathing stripped

Would car number 120530 still have had KC brakes and vertical brake staff?
It might have had still had a vertical staff handbrake - few, if any, of
these had power brakes retro-fitted - but certainly not KC air brakes by
1969, since all cars in interchange were required by the AAR to have AB
brakes after 8/53.

There aren't many in-service photos of these cars that date from the 1950s.
The only one I have is a George Sisk photo from the Charles Winters
collection dated 6/8/50 of Bx-6 120913 which shows the car with corrugated
doors, KC brakes and a well weathered paint job that had to have been
applied before mid-1938 since it still had the "&" in the reporting marks.
If you're modeling a date later in the decade, you can safely assume that
any Bx-3 or Bx-6 which survived the stock car and zinc concentrate car
rebuilding programs would have had AB/vertical staff brakes. By 1965 only
two cars of these classes remained in revenue service, 120530 and 116279,
and as they obviously survived through the 1950s in their original form
(apart from doors and air brakes), either number would serve your purpose.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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