Vertical Ribs


I think I'm more confused on the question of vertically-ribbed boxcar ends
than I was when I first discovered them. What exactly was what?

The simplest one is the "Atlas" end, illustrated in a drawing in the 1928
CBC. This was three panels, the center panel being narrower than the other
two, and having only one wide rib, the two outer panels having an equal
number of ribs, the inner ones narrower than the center rib, but wider
than the outer ribs. However, I have not seen this end on any photo of any

The Pere Marquette book shows several cars with vertically-ribbed ends,
most with two panels of 8 extruding ribs each (though one, in the class
diagram, shows 8 ribs on the left hand panel and 7 on the right side). The
book, and the class diagrams for these cars, refer to these as 'Murphy'
ends. The book also mentions Vulcan ends in a photo caption (p66), saying
"Another type of vertical-rib steel end of the era was the Vulcan end,
which had fewer ribs of greater thickness, all protruding inward."

I have seen photos of W&LE boxcars of the 27000 series with
inward-protruding vertically-ribbed ends, two panels with 6 ribs each; I
was told that the W&LE book (John B. Corns, vol. 2) says "...the
corrugations on the 4-section Murphy car ends of the first fifty cars
[29000 series] were turned inward, almost as if the end panels had been
installed backwards." This confuses me, as there are, on the photos, only
two panels visible. (I had a thought that perhaps Corns is referring to
4-panel inverse Hutchins ends?). I have seen an end similar to the
W&LE-type 6-rib inward end on Michigan Central boxcar no. 99999 - almost
identical, except for having two panels of 7 ribs each, all inwards as on
the W&LE cars.

Lastly there are the vertically-ribbed ends on Piedmont & Northern
boxcars. I have so far seen only one photo of a car so equipped, in the
February 1957 issue of Semaphore (P&N company magazine). Unfortunately
that's in a box at my dad's house (just recently moved house yet again) so
I can't count the ribs, but I recall them as being either 14 or 16 ribs in
total on two panels, extruding ribs like on the PM cars. This car is
either number 1101 or 1111; it's difficult to make out on the photo,
though I'm tending towards thinking it's 1111. I've seen written that P&N
1108 had Vulcan ends (assuming this to refer to the vertically-ribbed end
as on 1111), but the photo of 1108, post-rebuild, in the April 1957
Semaphore shows it with a Hutchins end. I have seen no other reports or
photos of P&N cars with such ends.

Beyond the W&LE, MCRR, P&N and PM, I have not seen or heard of reference
to any other railway owning boxcars with vertically-ribbed ends. And,
those which I have seen vary greatly from one to the next, it seeming that
only the PM and the P&N shared a similar design.

Does anyone have info to clarify this question (or info to further confuse

Frank Valoczy
Vancouver, BC

----- - Rails along the Fraser - Rail Photos

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