Re: B&O M-15k, M-15L & M-53 Wagontop Boxcars

anthony wagner

My thanks to all who replied to my request for assistance. My intention in re-constructing these models is to make them "layout level". I'm an NYC modeler and the gentleman for whom I am finishing these cars is a Pennsy modeler and we plan a joint operation somewhere in the wilds of central Pennsylvania where both roads were active circa 1949. The joint roster will reflect a lot of open top cars from both roads plus those of primarily eastern connections, and merchandise cars(box, reefer, tank) for other industries in the area, also heavily slanted toward eastern roads, but with some western road cars represented as well. My thrust is to make the B&O wagontops presentable without going into a lot of extra detailing and if the M-15 sides need to be altered it may be easier to simply make both cars M-53s. I have not been able to find a good prototype Photo of a pre-1950s M-15 so far without spending a lot of money, but further help in that direction would
certainly be appreciated. Tony Wagner

--- On Mon, 4/27/09, rwitt_2000 <> wrote:

From: rwitt_2000 <>
Subject: [STMFC] Re: B&O M-15k, M-15L & M-53 Wagontop Boxcars
Date: Monday, April 27, 2009, 10:56 PM
Bruce Griffin wrote:


I may be splitting subclass hairs, but the M-15k and
M-15l were
"wagontops" on the original M-15 frames so they
were much narrower than
the M-53 frames. They had indentations below each panel to
match the
frame to the body and looked very different than the later
M-15n etc
sublcasses that got new frames added to the "new"
bodies, leaving almost
nothing of the original M-15 boxcar (some ladders, maybe).
These were
in the M-15n plus range of sublcasses.

The M-15k (single door) and M-15l (double door)
covered wagon or wagon
top cars were coompleted in the 30's (I think) before
the M-53 boxcars
which were the wagon top on a new frame with duryea. They
are not very
interchangeable as the intersection of the body and the
frame is very

It should be OK to use the West Shore M-53 kit
with modifications
model the M-15K because information on the
blueprints states that
body panels and end sheets are the same for the
M-15K and M-53.

Bob Witt
Indianapolis, Indiana


I have the blueprints and there are plate steel pieces
shared for the
class M-15K and M-53. Both classes of cars were being built
in 1937. I
don't have any records from the cars shops to determine
if there was
overlap in their construction. I have another question
off-line so I
will will take fresh look at the blueprints and will
compile a list of
the primary body parts common to both classes.

I was very surprised to discovered this information as I
was paging
through the blueprints. If one looks carefully at the
photos one can see
that the main side sheets extend from the roof seam to a
point well
above the car floor. What the drawings tell us is that the
length and
width of this piece of steel is the same for both the M-15K
and the
M-53. On the M-15's the original side sill was a
pressed steel shape
with a cross-section in the shape of a Zee. The M-15K has
filler pieces
of steel with an "L" shape to attach the bottom
of the side sheets to
the top of the Zee of the original side sill connecting the
new side
sheets with the original underframe. This junction provides
the water
tight seal at the bottom of the side and a place to rest
the ends of the
wood boards for the floor. For the M-53 the sheets are the
length to complete the car body by attaching them to the
underframes supplied by Bethlehem Steel. The
underconstruction photos of
the M-53 clearing show the underframes with wide
"side-sills" extending
well above the level of the floor of the car. Photos would
be helpful I
will see if I have some that can be posted.

Yes, the original M-15 fish-belly underframes are narrower
and I assumed
that Tony is aware of that and intended to modify the M-53
body to fit
the narrow underframe based upon photos and articles in the
model press.

I hope these comments help clarify the similarities between
wagon-top car bodies for these two classes of B&O

Bob Witt
Indianapolis, Indiana

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