Original N&W Boxcars

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 2 08:20:33 EDT 2020


AFAIK, the N&W designed their own freight cars; these designs were built
either by N&W, or by outside vendors, such as Greenville, to the N&W
specs.  There were a few exceptions.  During World War I N&W received USRA
single sheathed boxcars which were classed BK.  Sometime after the war N&W
modernized these cars, most notably by replacing the roof with a radial

In addition to the BK, N&W also had a 3 bay hopper car that was of war
emergency design, the H-4. I believe these originally had wood sheathed
sides with steel bracing; the wood sheathing was eventually replaced by
steel.  Also, the G-4 gondola class had similar history and fate.

The USRA and war emergency designs allowed for a basic common design that
could be built by anyone.  Over the years the ARA, then AAR, developed
standard designs; the use of common components and assembly line production
appealed to a number or railroads.  However, N&W was happy with their
engineering department and soldiered on with their designs. And some of the
N&W designs were based, or influenced, by PRR designs.  The original B-1
and B-2, as well as HC-1 are examples.

N&W did purchase the PS-1 boxcars (Class B-8 40' and Class B-9 50'), and
PS-2 (Class HC-7) covered hoppers in the 1950s; remember that diesels were
coming, or had arrived, with their emphasis on standardization.  N&W
continued to rebuild a lot of its freight equipment to take advantage of
tax and accounting benefits that were still available at that time.

There is a resin kit available for the N&W B-5 boxcar from Yarmouth Model
Works, http://www.yarmouthmodelworks.com/index.php/ResinModelKits/Index.
An interesting model you might consider is the N&W Class B-7 or B-7a.
These were rebuilt from N&W boxcars using the original, but refurbished
underframes, but with new bodies; there is a 6 inch height difference in
the classes and the body is basically an AAR 1937 or AAR 1944 design, which
you could obtain in HO scale.  The ends are kind of funky and would be a
neat scratch building exercise.

So most the drawings of boxcars in the Archives are "original" N&W designs;
not all were built in N&W shops, but all were built to N&W specs.  Hope
this helps.

Jim Brewer

On Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 7:23 AM NW Modeling List via NW-Modeling-List <
nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

> Last year at the convention in Roanoke, Jim Nichols stated that the N&W
> never bought a bo60'sxcar until the PS-1 in the 60s (?).  In other words,
> we never bought an AAR.
> Could someone point me to an original class of boxcar?  I don't know a
> side sill from a ...well you get the idea.  I can look at a drawing and see
> differences but I just don't know the terminology to say "Oh I see..." from
> descriptions.  I just would like to attempt to build so I can have a
> genuine N&W boxcar.
> I did a search in the Archives for Boxcars built in Roanoke Shops and got
> B6 and B7 etc.  Most of the B7 seem to have been transformed into tool cars
> and bunks for MOW.  Those look like fun too.
> Appreciate any input...including how to make the dreadnaught ends from
> scratch...I can envision Evergreen halfrounds sharpened in a drill
> press...those tiny ones facing toward the center look really delicate...Dad
> always said Nothing beats a try but a failure...I think that means I won't
> know till I try something.
> Thank you,
> Mike Shockley
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