No. 23: Steam Era Freight Cars – NYC Rebuilt Box Car

This is a former NYC box car, probably from NYC 152000-153769, Lot 657-B, rebuilt by Despatch shops in 1936-1937 from one of NYC’s large fleet of single-sheathed box and automobile cars, commonly referred to as “1916 Cars”. Ultimately Central rebuilt about 5,800 of the 1916 cars into box cars and an additional 2,400 cars into automobile cars.


The early history of these rebuilds is nicely covered in Ted Culotta’s new series of books, Focus on Freight Cars, Volume 7.  According to Ted, Central rebuilt over 5,800 of the ‘1916’ double sheathed automobile cars into all-steel box cars, featuring indented Murphy ends (leftover from the original cars, but heightened) and an inset lower side sill with numerous fixtures connecting the sill to the underframe. At ten feet interior height, they were interesting and different cars.

I found this extant car at the CSX yard in Greencastle, Indiana, near the former NYC brick depot, in 2009. The car was obviously transferred to maintenance of way service by NYC, or PC, or Conrail at some point in its life. The underframe still carried a partial maintenance of way car series number, but apart from there are no clues as to which series this car originally belonged to, or when the car was transferred to maintenance service.


Photos of the B end are included below.  You can see the rebuilt, three-piece ends and other details.  the coupler is broken and the wood running board is long rotted away, but the car still looks like it’s in pretty good shape.  The lower photo depicts a Morton brake step.  This car is ready for restoration.



Below is a pretty rare detail, not often seen.  Note that the straps and hand-grabs are secured to the car end with square nuts.


The view below is the attachment of the uncoupling device to the car end.  The poling pocket is just out of view to the left.


The B end coupler pocket and brake gear bell crank are shown in this photo below.





Finally, the AAR trucks–original to the rebuilt car–are below.  They are still looking pretty darn good.


Sunshine produced a nice HO scale model, but as far as I know no one else has ever produced a car of this prototype in any scale. This prototype would be a great re-boot in HO and also in O scale. Like every other general service box car they could be seen anywhere in the US or Canada.

I hope you find these photos helpful!

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