40 foot cars

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Jorge, Apr 5, 2003.

  1. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello.

    I'm in the process of building a switching layout set in the 1970's and I was wondering when were cars of 36 to 40 feet in length officially removed from service? I have a grain elevator which is the main focal point of the layout and I would like to use a fleet of Athearn 40ft grain boxcars. Also were there any instances where these cars were kept in service because of a special situation?

    Thanks
    Jorge
    USA
  2. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't speak for the U.S. roads, however, I have seen 40ft boxcars in revenue service on the Canadian Pacific as recently as mid 1991 and I also recall a 36ft Fowler outside brace boxcar in revenue service in Cranbrook in 1975.
    The common practice for most railroads is to turn some of their older equipment in work service cars and CP is no exception. The last time I saw a 36ft boxcar in work service was when a large block of them were cleared out of Cranbrook during late 1989 (probably being sent to Calgary for scrapping).
    There are still plenty of 40ft boxcars being used in work service though.

    Terry
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Terry.

    Thank you for your help. I am assuming these 40 ft cars that you saw in revenue service on the CP in 1991 were grain boxcars?

    Thanks
    Jorge
    USA
  4. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    By 1991, any remaining grain boxcars were being used on the praries on branchlines with light trackage. The last 40ft boxcars I saw in revenue service were being used for Lumber (double door or plug/sliding door) and I also saw a few in explosive service when we had a few C.I.L. explosive munufacturing plants here on Vancouver Island.
    The last one I remember seeing was in 1991, on a wayfreight in Courtney. It was a plug door model, still in CP Script and carrying explosive placards on both sides and ends.

    Terry
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,707
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that by 1970, box cars had been replaced by covered hoppers for grain service.
  6. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Again, speaking for only what I know of the Canadian Pacific, I decided to check some references in my library and came up with the following:
    In the early 1970's CP modified and renumbered a large group of boxcars into the series 108000-125600 and dedicated them to branchline grain service.
    The reason being that there were a few thousand miles (yes, thousand) of branchlines built with rail and bridges too light to accomodate the weight of the new covered hoppers that CP and CN were purchasing.
    Under the Crowsnest Pass agreemnt, CP was required (actually they were mandated) to keep operating these branchlines and service the hundreds of grain elevators on them.
    For the railroads, it was cheaper to upgrade the boxcars than to re-lay heavier track and build heavier bridges on those branchlines.
    The cars were hauled to locations where they could have their loads transfered to the larger 100 ton grain hoppers for shipment to tidewater.
    once the Crow agreement was repealed in the early 1980's, grain started to move from these areas by truck and CP started to abandon the branchlines and the grain boxcars were removed from service.
    Also included in the fleet were 250 modified plug door boxcars in the series 143000-143249 some of which were used in that service untill 1989.
    CP also dedicated several of their 40 ft, 8ft 7in inside hight boxcars (Miniboxes) to grain service late in their lives and, according to my railway equipment register (October, 1972), 1315 cars remained in service, while Richard Yaremko's book Canadian Rail Car Pictorial, Vol 1 states that there were only 229 remaining by January 1975 and according to my 1984 register, all had been removed from revinue service.

    Terry
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you Russ and Terry you guys have been most helpful! I will be getting a fleet of Athearn 40ft grain boxcars.:D
  8. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anytime Jorge.
    BTW, Just out of curiosity, I decided to have a quick leaf through my copy of Rob Leachman's excellent book "Northwest Passage" (Hundman Publications Company, 1998), on the Burlington Northern in the Pacific Northwest, and I found 3 pictures:
    #1: PP:24, A shot of 2 F's and 5 Geeps hauling a very long string of grain boxcars into Reardan Washington in October of 1980 with the following "Quote": An anachronism in the 1980's, 40-foot boxcars equipped with grain doors required slow and laborious means of loading and unloading compared to covered hoppers. Their use persisted only where track conditions prohibited use of the covered hoppers and for short hauls such as from the Palouse to the Pacific Coast ports "end Quote".
    #2: PP:26, A shot of a long string of 40ft grain boxes being puled by 2 GP9's on BN's Mansfield branch on August 1 1983.
    #3: PP120, A grain drag near Wishram, Washington with mixed Grain hoppers and 40 ft grain boxes pulled by an F9a, C-424, and 2 RS11's on June 9th, 1979.
    Happy modeling!:)

    Terry
  9. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you very much Terry. Those lashups that you mentioned that you saw in the Northern Pacific book soon very cool. :D
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello.

    Sorry to bother you again Terry, but does the book say how long it took to unload grain from a boxcar?:confused:

    Thanks
    Jorge
  11. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is nothing said as to how long it would take, however, they had temporary grain doors constructed from wood that were kept in place by the car's main doors and to unload them, you had to slide back the main door and remove (smash?) the temporary door to allow the grain to flow out.
    At some locations there were "rockers" that would move the car from side to side and possibly end to end. Once there was enough room, a couple of workers got in with shovels and grain scoops to manually remove the grain that would not come out on it's owm (about half).
    It took at least a few hours to unload a car.

    Terry
  12. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Questions for Terry

    Jorge, I hope you don't mind if I throw a couple questions of my own into this thread.

    Terry, I'm modelling CN and CP in the mid 1950s and plan to have a large concrete grain elevator on my layout. It's a malting operation so the grain would be barley.

    My first question concerns how the grain was removed from the boxcars. Did they have roof hatches, or did they open the doors and have the grain spill out into a holding area of some kind, or ?

    The second question is when were covered hoppers introduced for grain?

    Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

    cheers
    :) Val
  13. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not certain about CN Val, however, CP started using cylindrical grain hoppers starting about 1968. Prior to that, pretty much all of CP's covered hoppers were used for shipment of products such as cement, potash, fertilizer, salt, flower, sugar, etc.
    Also, CP started using their slab side covered hoppers (smooth canadians) in about 1947 and I would think that CN started about the same time.

    Terry
  14. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello.

    Val your input is helpful as the questions you asked were my next questions to ask.

    Jorge:D
  15. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks a lot Terry!:D :D :D

    cheers
    Val
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,707
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had not realised that railroads were required by law to service grain elevators on light weight branchline track that wouldn't handle covered hoppers. I would think that the railroads would convert to covered hoppers as soon as they could since unoading the boxcars was so labor intensive. I'm not sure how the box cars were loaded. I suspect that they may have had some sort of chute that would "blow" the grain in.
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello.

    Yes Russ you are correct. Grain was blown into the car via a small hatch a the top of the door.

    Cheers,
    Jorge
  18. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think that any US roads were ever mandated to service lightweight branchlines into the 1980's, and any which did, probably did so because there was additional traffic apart from grain, although not enough to facilitate a rebuilding.
    Here in Canada however, the Canadian Pacific signed an agreement in the early part of last century (someone might know for sure and correct me if i'm wrong) with the government and grain farmers, setting a fixed rate to move grain to tidewater. This was called the Crowsnest Pass Agreement and it called for the railway to haul the grain at this fixed rate (The Crow Rate) for perpetuaty, in other words, forever.
    Its a sure bet that when the rate was set, the railway was taking the grain farmers to the cleaners, however, as the years passed, operating costs for the railway increased and, eventually it became unprofitable, more so, on lightweight branchlines where grain was the only traffic, labor costs to ship by boxcar were excessive and the cost of rebuilding these branchlines was even more excessive.
    The railway went to court to have the agreement repealed but it took several years, during which time they were required to continue servicing these branchlines.
    Once the agreement was repealed in the early 1980's, CP arranged to have grain delivered by truck to reloads on the line where the heavier grain hoppers could load it and CP then started to abandon these lightweight branchline and the 40ft grain boxcar fleet passed into oblivion.
    I'm not sure if the CN was part of the deal and, again, maybe someone who knows more about the subject can clarify this and maybe even correct me if I have made any errors or omissions.
    The grain was loaded from the elevators by means of a pipe that could be "aimed" in order to direct the grain through the top of the grain door into the ends of the cars first and moving toward the center.

    Cheers

    Terry
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,135
    Likes Received:
    0
    I saw a grain boxcar being unloaded in my hometown in the late 50s. I was impressed because I'd never seen boards across the door before.
    It was on one of the team tracks. I don't remember what the were doing to unload it, or if it had just been opened up. Certainly, there was no fancy equipment there.
    The boards are backed, on the inside, with a brown paper wrapper. I've got a kit for them in my storage somewhere.