Thursday, January 30, 2014

Freight Cars: Modeler’s resources for Reading Cars

Why does a Santa Fe Modeler care about a Reading car?  Where can he find info on one that he does find interesting?  Stuff comes from other places, shippers load that stuff in box cars, those box cars are what’s available where the stuff is being shipped.  In my case, WWII is using everything that can turn a wheel and then some.  Lots of foreign cars will be in the area you model.  Sometimes you find a picture that shows one of these foreign cars.  I just recently found some photos of Valley Division subjects for sale on eBay.  One of the photos showed a portion of a Reading box car with the dimensional data clearly visible. 

Those Data are:
12 – 2
 9 – 10
Inside Length
36 – 2
Inside Width
 8 - 7
Inside Height
 8 – 1
Cubic Feet
Repack Date

I looked in the 1953 ORER and discovered two series of box cars that match this data, 4000-4999 and 10500-11549.  From the photo, these are class XMr.
An inquiry to the STMFC yahoo group led to a couple of references to a website devoted to the Reading with lots of information.

When you open up the modeling references and drill down to the box car page you click on the XMr class and are rewarded with a highly detailed PDF at

Compiled by John W. Hall, this document gives you the number of cars in service each year, details of what kind of roof, ends, doors and trucks were used.  And if you keep scrolling (the document is 87 pages) you come to a section that lists the build and retired dates by car number.  So, from this source, I see that I have a choice of nearly all car numbers in both series that were operating in my modeling era.  From John’s freight car data, our car had ARCH BAR trucks, was 85,000# 2515 Cu.Ft. capacity, had a Double Sheathed Wood Body, Steel Underframe, Murphy Steel Ends and a 6' wide door.  Built with Wood Roof and Wood Doors, many replaced in late 20's and early 30's with Steel Roof and Steel Doors.  It was 37'11" over end sills.  So far, I have not found a kit of the XMr, but according to a STMFC post, Funaro & Camerlengo may produce one if they can get 100 pre-orders.  Failing that, one could fudge the similar XMp kit that they produce that is the same inside length but 4 inches longer over the end sills.  

You would have to be careful to choose a car modified with the steel roof and Ajax brake wheel, but you could have a credible model.  And all this from a set of dimensional data in a picture of a Santa Fe Consolidation in Richmond.

John Barry
Cameron Park, CA

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