I’ve started another CNR boxcar project as I continue to diversify the fleet on my layout. This time, I’m creating some credible stand-ins for the CNR 470000-series of USRA rebuilt boxcars.
According to the Canadian Rail Car Pictorial – an excellent series of softcover books for any student of Canadian freight cars – these were the CNR’s first all-steel boxcars. There were 250 in the class, rebuilt for CNR from ex-Grand Trunk auto boxes in 1936. The Grand Trunk Western did the work.
My donor car for this is a USRA rebuilt from S Helper Service. I picked up five of these a while ago from my friend Simon Parent, because they are too new for his layout. As with the three single sheathed CNR boxcars I did back in 2013, these will be close-enough models – suitable stand-ins for the prototype. There are discrepancies – notably in the pattern of the stamped ribs on the ends (the prototype is 7/8, while the model is 5/5/5) – but I can live with those.
I decided that I’d upgrade a few details on the model, starting with the roof walks. The lateral roof walks at the ends of the car had boards running parallel to the ends, instead of parallel to the longitudinal roof walk. So, I removed these and their supports:
(“Wow!” I hear some of you exclaim from the other end of the Internet. “What the heck is that thing stuck on the end of the car?” That’s a Hi-Rail coupler. My buddy Chris Abbott refers to them as “Knock’em-Sock’em Robot” couplers, and they’re huge. But here’s a cool thing – they make great handles while working on the car. I will replace this monstrosity with a Kadee 808 in due course.)
When I went to remove the longitudinal roof walk, I found I couldn’t do so without damaging the car. I’m not sure what glue was used at the factory, but this wasn’t going anywhere. In the end, I sanded the top of the plastic roof walk to remove the rivet detail, then glued strips of 1×6 scale lumber over top. With those in place, I then fabricated new lateral roof walks from 2×6 scale lumber and brass strip.
I was able to re-use the car’s L-shaped grab iron on each lateral roof walk.
Turning to the under frame, I removed the K-brake and replaced it with AB brake components from BTS – catalogue number 02301. These are beautiful detailing kits. I added some phosphor bronze wire and Builders In Scale chain to complete the detailing belowdecks.
Not shown in the above photo, but visible in the first picture in this post, are the BTS air hoses (part 02302) and some (HO scale) A-Line stirrup steps. These are a little narrower than the prototype’s stirrups, but the same height – and they’re much finer looking than the clunky stirrups that were cast as part of the body side.
(I wish someone would do suitable, metal stirrups in S – but I suspect if the market was there, somebody would have by now…)
With the addition of Kadee coupler boxes in place of those Hi-Rail couplers, this car is ready for the paint shop and I’m one step closer to adding a new class of CNR boxcar to the layout.
One down – four to go!