Great Northern 1952/3 rebuilt 50' SS auto car boxcar

Andy Carlson

The Great Northern had 1000s of early 1920s wood side box cars which had fishbelly structured underframes and early style of steel ends. In 1952 the GN initiated a rebuild of these cars into more useful all steel 8' single door box cars. The wood siding, flooring doors and roof were jettisoned to the trash heap. New riveted sides with post war Youngstown steel doors and a diagonal panel steel roof were placed onto the existing fish belly under frame and 6/5/5 Murphy corrugated ends. The cars were not heightened and remained at pre-rebuilt 10'0" IH.
Inline image

Bill Welch's  HO model from years ago.

The initial rebuilds were painted into the then standard GN Mineral Red scheme with a side ways facing goat. Early on quite a few were equipped with load dividers and were painted into at least 3 Orange and Green "loader" schemes. Even later, many received Vermillian red in slant serif and EB lettering plus Big Sky Blue and many Glacier Green schemes were done as well.

My work on this series of rebuilds was done years ago. At the time I was making these molds Bill Welch asked for a pair of sides as he had a Westerfield 1925 50' SS autocar, which were the types used for the rebuilding. I eventually tried an experimental technique to have the roof integrate the inclusion of the top gable shaped portion of the 6/5/5 corrugated ends. The end just needed to be horizontally flat across the top. While making the fit of the roof to the sides critically exact, the difficult-at-times of fitting roofs, sides and ends together with no gaps was made much easier.

I had made  a longer wheelbase fish belly under frame back then getting the striker distance to bolster center to 5'0".  I was to learn years later that GN did lots of modifications to the under frame for the rebuildings. Floor stringers which were not on the 1925 floors were added, along with cross-ties and cross member which the originals did not have any of either. I have started adding these structural additions to my stretched frame.

After some other current works which are placed ahead of this project are done I will complete the molds for this GN 50' rebuild box car. I am planning on making 10 casting sets which will be offered to the STMFC list at that time. If anyone wishes to have me reserve a non-obligated one of these cars for later purchase, feel free to ask. I am not accepting any up front money for these. Please note that these are not one-piece bodies.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA