Express Boxcars

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu May 26 11:14:54 EDT 2011

I'm a little late on this thread, because I have been out of town for about a
week. Since nobody seems to have the whole story, I will add this: they are
either B5's or B6's (Note the continuous side sill.) and are obviously in
temporary passenger service for the Christmas mail rush. In the late '40's and
early '50's, N&W would take a number of CLEAN boxcars before each Christmas
rush, add signal and steam lines, as well as marker lamp brackets, and give them
numbers in the 240 and above series. They were not repainted; just renumbered
and lettered for storage mail. (This was written up in the December 1954 N&W
Magazine, complete with picture.) After the rush, the cars from that year were
returned to freight service. They got their original numbers back and presumably
the steam and signal lines were removed. The next Christmas, Roanoke started all
over again. Seems like a lot of work, but that was the way N&W did things back
then. My guess is that the cars in the picture are B6's from series 43500-43999,
which Roanoke built in 1946-47, as they would have been among the newest box
cars on the road at the time of the photo (and thus, the cleanest available) 

I am surprised that few people on the mailing list remember seeing this first
hand; but then, I am getting old!

Jim Nichols
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list