Saturday, April 9, 2016

Accurail’s new 36’ box car

Eric Hansmann has posted another installment of prototype information for Accurail’s forthcoming 36 foot box car kits on his Design, Build, Op blog. (
 Ray Breyer has done a great job again with a summary of prototypes for the 1400 series straight sill version with metal ends.  Ray gives some information as to how many cars of a given prototype survived at certain dates.  That is very helpful for determining how many of a given road name existed at that point in time.  But it doesn’t tell you about the rest of the fleet and how likely it would be to see any short box cars at that point.  My recent work on the January 1945 Official Railway Equipment Register (you can read about it here: gives a ready reference to how common the less than 40 foot car was.

Source: Jan 45 ORER

US XM less than 40':   57,917
NA XM less than 40': 119,727

Total US cars all types: 2,049,963          2.8%
Total North America:     2,236,560          5.4%

Total US Box, Auto & Vent:  742,117     7.8%
Total NA Box, Auto & Vent:  867,504   13.8%

Total US Box & Auto: 729,388                7.9%  
Total US Box & Auto: 845,775              14.0%

Total US Box: 614,603                            9.4%
Total NA Box: 735,724                          16.3%

The US fleet at the beginning of the last year of WWII was nearly 10% of the XM box cars registered in the ORER. 

The number of short auto cars was much lower, 1642 of 113,11 US auto cars, or 1.5%.

The total short XM and XA percentage was 8.2% of the US and 14.2% of the North American the Box and Auto fleet.  The percentage of short house cars should be larger also, but I don’t have a summary of ventilator car lengths, only the VA totals.  A significant portion was less than 40 feet though.

The pending K brake interchange ban, availability of steel for post war car construction, and the condition of a lot of these older, smaller capacity cars led to the rapid retirement of most of them in the period after WWII.  That said, a number of them soldiered on into the 60’s, so this is a very useful series of models to bring needed diversity to your transition era and earlier model fleets.

Washington DC

9 April 2016

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