Sunday 29 December 2019

CN Rymal Pt. 13: Freight Cars Part 3 - Boxcars

It’s fascinating to reflect upon how indispensable the commonplace boxcar once was. The rudimentary shoebox on wheels once carried a myriad of items that are now conveyed by dedicated purpose freight cars including automobiles (bi/tri-level autoracks), grain (covered hopper cars), and lumber (bulkhead/centerbeam flat cars). Historically, the only commodity not routinely shipped in a boxcar was liquids, although livestock like boxcars were once used to ship barrels of crude oil in 1860’s Pennsylvania.
The former H&NW line would of course witness the passage of a variety of boxcar types over the years, both for on line customers and as part of through/bridge traffic. The included selection of boxcar geometries, sorted by age, are all of so called ‘double-sheathed’ structure; inside post side construction/steel outer side sheets/wood interior lining in between the posts. A generational phenomenon, this was the conventional form of boxcar construction over the build period which stretches from the early 1940’s to the mid 1970’s. Like all freight cars, boxcars are subject to AAR Mechanical Designation. Boxcars are ‘X’ Type; the following types are depicted (from
XL: Loader Equipped Box Car. Similar in design to "XM", with steel perforated side walls or equipped with interior side rails for securement of certain types of lading and/or permanently attached movable bulkheads
XM: Boxcar. A house car for general service and especially for lading requiring protection from the weather and equipped with side or side and end doors
XP: Boxcar similar in design to "XM", but which is specially equipped for a specific commodity loading and not suitable for general commodity loading
CN 583793 (XM) was a forty-foot-long boxcar originally constructed by Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) (lot 1498) as single door (6 ft.) CN 481023 in March of 1943. It was converted to the configuration shown in December of 1969. Note that both the roof walk-less boxcar and trailing flat car are still equipped with friction bearing trucks. Remarkably, friction bearing trucks were not prohibited from interchange until January 1, 1994. Most likely, both the double-door boxcar and empty flatcar were involved in the delivery of wood products to Penn Lumber (see CN Rymal Pt. 4).
CN 575203 (XM) was a forty-foot-long single door boxcar built by CCF (lot 1822) in October of 1948 as CN 528045. It was converted in 1967; 6 ft. door to 9 ft. door. The roof walk removal/shortened ladder modification most likely occurred at a later date. A 1966 rule change eliminated high mounted hand brakes and roof walks on new boxcars. Removal of roof walks and shortening of ladders on existing cars was phased in over time.
CNA 794312 (XL) was built by Pullman-Standard (lot 9470) in June of 1970 by Pullman-Standard at their Michigan City plant. Originally GTW 309000 - 309261 series, it was renumbered between 1974 and 1982. The ‘CNA’ reporting mark denotes US manufacture/international/US domestic service. Guessing that bridge traffic movement explains its inclusion in the consist.
CN 557420 (XP) was a 52’-8” long combination door boxcar constructed by National Steel Car (NSC) (lot P.6340) in January of 1973. By AAR Office Manual Rule 88, unless Rebuilt or qualified to EXS (EXtended Service) status, this car would have been removed from interchange prior to the end of 2013 (forty year rule). Freight cars manufactured after July 1st, 1974 are eligible to continue in service for fifty years. In conjunction with the EXPO 86 ‘World Exposition on Transportation and Communication’ held in Vancouver, BC, CN decorated several pieces of equipment.
See for additional information on the specially decorated boxcars.
CN 557498 (XP) was constructed by NSC (lot P.6720) in March of 1974.