Bob McGlone and I are pleased to announce our latest limited edition HO kit for a turn-of-the-century C&O Coal and Grain boxcar and grain boxcar, the first time this kit has ever been produced by anyone. Photos of the prototype and of two of our pilot models from the kit can be seen in the "Photos" section under C&O 1886 coal and grain boxcar kit.
The prototype for this car built for the specific purpose of hauling the unusual combination of coal and grain was built as a lot of 100 by the Pullman Company in 1889 for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Besides the 2 normal side loading doors, the cars had 4 additional high side doors for leading coal and grain along with end doors to facilitate lumber loading. The theory was that coal would be loaded into the cars at the mines and once unloaded for the return trip the car could be loaded with grain and other typical boxcar loads doubling its usage compared to a typical coal hopper car. To support this, the interior of the car was fully lined to the roof to facilitate sweeping out the car after the coal load was unloaded. All of the car's 8 doors were the `flush fit into the sides' type with the six side doors opening to the left and the two end doors opening to the right to avoid hitting the brake platforms. All of these doors definitely gave these cars a distinctly different look from standard boxcars.
The C&O numbered the 100 cars from 5000 to 5099 each with a capacity of 60000 pounds and a 4-truss rod wood underframe 34'6" over the frame length. The cars were built with arch bar trucks and without air brakes, although the cars did have hand brakes on both sets of trucks and two brake staffs. The capacity of the cars at 60000lbs was high for the time for boxcars when a 50000 lbs capacity was the norm.
We have very little information about the history of these cars during their lifetime on the C&O. They show up in the 5000 5099 number series in an 1891 ORER and are listed without air brakes but later in the 1890's these cars were updated with them. An 1899 ORER and again in the February 1901 edition has these box cars lumped together in the number grouping 5000 to 6999. All these cars are listed as having air brakes, 60000 lbs capacity, and the same dimensions. This is probably not quite accurate as the C&O just lumped them all together as they were cars of the same capacity and `mostly' of the same size. Consequently we don't know if other cars in this series had the high side grain and coal doors. We also suspect, based on other C&O boxcars of the same era with air brakes, that at the time of having the air brakes added, the cars lost the end brake staff on the A end of the car. In the 1905 ORER C&O lumps together boxcars 4300 9999. It is reasonable to expect that these cars would still be in the group then on the roster. But the last ORER we have access to in 1913 doesn't seem to show a class of 34' long 60000 lbs boxcars at all so perhaps these cars are gone by then.
The model was designed from plans originally published in the Railroad Gazette of Feb 1 1889 [thanks to Cyril Durrenberger for a copy] and later redrawn for a Railroad Model Craftsman Planbook. The kit is up to our usual high standards of completeness and includes a one-piece body with all door hardware cast in, floor, bolsters, end platforms, and bolsters cast in resin; Tahoe trucks, Walthers Proto couplers, Tichy K Brake, turnbuckles, steps and grabirons, PSC brakewheels, and truss rod line, wire, and styrene strips. Decal lettering to replicate the prototype as shown by car #5006 was custom-made for this kit by Railgraphics and includes lettering for cars numbered 5006, 5047, and 5083 as well as other possibilities by "cut and paste" with the numbers. Although we have seen no photos of the cars after air brakes were added, two additional `air brake' lettering decals have also been included as it was customary practice in the era to add this lettering once the brakes were upgraded.
The price of the kit complete is $41 with 1st class mail shipping of $2.75 for one kit and $3.35 for two. More than two kits because of the weight must go via priority mail and the rate will be based on where you live. We are now taking reservations for the kit which we anticipate will be ready to ship by mid-May at the latest. Please contact John at jcan2x@...
with your reservation request and as always thanks so much for your continued support of our efforts to keep 1900 alive!
Virginia Foundry and Model Works
John Canfield and Bob McGlone props.