Re: Branchline AAR boxcar

Ed Hawkins

On Feb 2, 2007, at 6:51 PM, Richard Hendrickson wrote:

On Feb 2, 2007, at 2:02 PM, Camas74 wrote:

> In looking at the end ladders supplied with the branchline kit and
> referencing protoype photos of NP boxcars, it looks to me like the
> ladders are the same width as the side ladders...
> All my photos are at an angle however so I can't be sure one way or
> the other...Can someone enlighten me if the branchline end ladders
> accurate, either for the NP or other RR's cars of this type???
To which Richard replied:

I've always been puzzled about why the BLT end ladders are narrower
than the side ladders. There may have been prototype cars on which
that was true, but if so I'm not aware of it. And I have several
photos that clearly show the end ladders on the NP's post-WW-II AAR
cars to be the same width as the side ladders.

Richard Hendrickson
Matt and Richard,
Side and end ladders came in multiple ways for the 10'-6" IH AAR box
cars built from 1945 to 1960. Cars of this type built in "Richard's
era" of October 1947 and before often had side and end ladders of the
same width. Side ladders were commonly, but not universally, 18-1/2"
apart (measurement between the rung bolt head centers). Some cars built
during the 1945-1960 period had end ladders 2" narrower than the side
ladders. There were other fractional differences in widths.

Complicating the matter for modelers and manufacturers of plastic
"standard" AAR box cars, during the 1950s the bottom part of the end
ladders were sometimes flared on one side (like Kadee tooled for PS-1
box cars), and there were at least two variations of this arrangement
I've found. Common examples of these end ladders have the top 5 rungs
at 16-1/2" wide and the bottom 2 rungs at 18-1/2" wide (again, measured
to the bolt centers). Additional variations included the common use of
both 7-rung and 8-rung ladders, different types of ladder rungs, each
with different methods of attachment, and different rung spacing. For
example, 18-3/8" spacing was common for 7-rung ladders but was not a
universal dimension.

When Branchline Trains tooled their "standard" AAR 50' and 40'
Blueprint Series AAR box cars, they had numerous challenges that
resulted in having to make judgment calls and compromises on the many
variations found in the technical data and photographs they used. I can
vividly recall conversations with Bill Schneider when we discussed
variations of side and end ladders. Bill kept reminding me about the
tooling cost that needed to be kept within reason. Originally BLT
settled on one set of 7-rung ladders that they tooled, and they chose
to have the end ladders narrower than the side ladders. With some
"encouragement" they later produced a set of 8-rung ladders.
Ed Hawkins

Join to automatically receive all group messages.