As part of the booming housing industry of the 1960’s and 1970’s, railways needed to move more building materials, and prior to bulkhead flatcar and centre beam flats becoming popular starting in the 1970’s, the double door boxcar was a cheap and easy way to transport lumber and other wood products. The wider door widths (typically 12′ and greater openings for double door cars, and 8’+ for single door cars) allowed loading pallets or bundles by forklift, easier than the old fashioned method of loading wood piece by piece through a narrower single 6′ door. And as the auto industry was switching to shipping automobiles on long 89′ “autoracks”, old double door “auto boxcars” (some with Evans autoloaders) were being re-purposed for other tasks like general freight service – and lumber hauling!
CP had a number of those 40′ auto boxes (some with end doors) that they re-purposed for other uses including lumber, but the car in question here was one of a few lots of regular single 6′ door 40′ boxcars CP had rebuilt starting in the 1960’s with double doors for wider door openings to haul lumber. This particular series was rebuilt in 1968 and 1971, and renumbered 298000-298185, being repainted into the then-new CP Rail action red livery with multimark. Most were given the early livery version of this scheme, with the sill painted black (that was later dropped a few years later) and, early 298000’s feature the standard CP “B-end only” multimark, which resulted in the lettering and roadnumber on one side being squeezed into the space between the end of the car and new door (as seen in the header image above).
* Prototype car showing the other non-squeezed side: CP 298002 on Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery
Photos of later cars suggest CP reverted to its later “left side both sides” multimark application on both sides after, likely done on boxcars to avoid painting the multimark over the tall end ladders many 40′ and 50′ boxcars had for roofwalk access.
* Later prototype car showing the multimark on the A-end (“left side both sides”) rather than the B-end: CP 298074 on Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery
The 298000-series were relatively simple conversions, with another 6′ door added to the “left” of the existing 6′ door (sometimes the door styles didn’t exactly match, notably the door lever setup at the bottom), extra door tracks for the extra doors, modifying with a new side sill running the length of the bolsters and adding door gussets around the corners of the door openings for added strength. The cars were also “modernized” at this time, losing their roofwalks, having the A-end tall ladders cut down, getting the standard B-end roof grab for the existing tall ladders, and receiving handrails added to span the middle of the ends.
This is one build I’d suggest most with moderate-easy skill level attempt, as it’s really not that hard – you just need to scratchbuild a few parts from styrene – and gives you a unique version of a car not offered as RTR (accurately of course – many manufacturers paint generic cars up as stand-ins).
The starting point of this model is an Intermountain 40′ “modified” AAR boxcar (10’6″ height), with 4/4 IDE ends and 8-rug ladders (most Canadian 40’ers had 8-rug ladders). You could get an undecorated kit, or an RTR version and strip it down easily in 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol which removes most Intermountain paint after a 2-3 hour soaking and toothbrush scrubbing. You’ll also need another set of doors – the same Youngstown style as found in the kit, or the later Youngstown design with the bar at the bottom and door handle in the middle (as found in some Branchline kits).
Start with the basics: glue the ends on and the underframe to the bottom of the car. It’s best to make the body modifications first before building up the car further. The major one is trimming off all the lower sill area and lower door tracks to give you a clean smooth surface to glue a new sill on. I like to carefully shave off and save the door stops for reuse later. The new sill was fabricated from 0.010″ sheet styrene, it’s about 12mm long and 4mm thick. It was glued on the old sill slightly higher than the bottom of the car. After dry, I re-enforced the back with thick bits of styrene so the new thin styrene sill wouldn’t warp or bend when handled.
The lower door track was cut from 0.020″ sheet styrene, about 1mm thick and 8.5cm long (top door track is same length, and about the thickness of 0.010″ styrene). The door in its opening can be used to gauge how high or low the door track needs to be.
The top can be extended with styrene strip cut to the same or similar thickness to the stock door strip, and glued on. If you’re iffy about being able to match the stock door track, you can shave it off and replace the whole door track with a thin strip of styrene.
Sills, door tracks, and doors installed!
A view of the built-up car showing the backs of the new sills re-enforced in between the old sills with bits of styrene.
That’s most of the hard work. Once your door tracks are set up, you can glue the main door in, and glue the added one to the left of it (leaving the vertical door sill stop in place between both. It’s best to sand or shave off the panel rivet strips the door will be covering first, to get a more flush fit.
Some cars have both the same style of doors, some have an older and newer style – it’s usually best to consult prototype photos, as cars may have been rebuilt from different series. Most I’ve seen photos of appear to have the “main” 6′ door a newer style Youngstown, and the added 6′ door an older style (although early ones appear to have both as early style doors). As well, the ends on most of these cars I’ve seen are IDE (Improved Dreadnaught End – the style included with the undecorated kit) and raised-panel roofs (although some may have the later diagonal-panel roofs – always consult prototype photos).
With the doors glued on, the corner door opening gussets (4 per door) can be made out of 0.010″ sheet styrene, cut to prototype appearance, and glued on. Note, the bottom ones extend below the door track, so additional bits need to be cut to fit down there. The notchings in those can be made with a sharp pointed tool or bit. Also, the top door slider hardware was fashioned from yet more bits of 0.010″ styrene strip. Good time to apply tack boards too:
We have doors! Note, the lower parts of the bottom gussets below the door track have yet to be installed in this photo.
Now you can start to detail and build up the car, if you haven’t already. Set up the coupler pockets by drilling and tapping them and the underframe for 2-56 screws (note, don’t glue the coupler boxes on yet – you may need to add a shim or two to adjust coupler height). At this point, I add the underframe details, and then the body/end details including grabs, ladders, brake rigging setup, etc (I typically relocate the side grabs lower as they seem a bit high on the sides of the IMRC cars, and replace the stock square stirrup steps below them with ones bent from metal). Note: you may want to leave off the tall ladders until decalling is done, paint them separately and apply them later.
Studying photos, the brake retainer valve that typically ran up alongside the brake rigging by the brake wheel appears have been relocated to the bottom side sills for easier crew access (another modification made over time), so that part can be left off and the holes filled/sanded smooth.
A few modifications need to be added during the detailing step: both the A-end (non brakewheel end) ladders need to be cut down to half-height, and have the upper body holes plugged. This was done when the roofwalk was removed and roof access was no longer needed.
The end horizontal handrails CP “modernized” many of its cars with need to be fabricated and installed. The end handrail mounts were made from thin strips of 0.010″ styrene, drilled for handrails bent of 0.010″ brass wire, and glued spanning ribs. Note that the A-end handrail setup spans 3 mounts from the ladder (and eyebolt can be bent from wire to fasten to the middle one), where the B-end handrail spands 2 mounts and stops at the brake rigging.
* Typical CP 40′ boxcar modernized A-end detail: CP 56561 A-end detail on Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery
* Typical CP 40′ boxcar modernized B-end detail: CP 261189 B-end detail on Canadian Freight Railcar Gallery
Also important, the B-end roof grab and brackets, added since high ladders were still kept on the B-end for the high-mounted brakewheel after the roofwalk was removed. The roof grab on the B-end was first setup with three 0.010″ strips glued on to the roof, representing the brackets or strapping that the grab was typically mounted to (I glued them directly to the roof for more durability, but on the prototype they were often bolted to the sides of the car and hovered above the roof). Two of those curved down over the top roof chord of the boxcar by the tall side ladder, the other just curved down to the side of the roof. After the glue dried, those were then drilled and a handrail made from 0.010″ or 0.015″ wire was bent and glued in (with another eyebolt bent out of wire to mount it to the corner strap).
Showing the roof grab setup, with roofs posed on a similar car.
A final last-minute addition often missed on cars missing roofwalks: Drill two holes at the top middle of the ends and use Detail Associates NBW castings to represent where the old end roofwalk supports (that were torched off) were bolted to the tops of the ends (the brown plastic NBW parts are visible below).
B-end in its “paint me” phase.
A-end in its “paint me” phase.
Prime and paint with the paints of your choice. For this specimen, it received a coat of TLT grey as primer, and then TLT Action Red. The bottom was masked off with yellow Tamiya modeling tape (excellent for going around bumpy surfaces) and sprayed TLT Warm Black. The underframe received a mix of brown/black weathering, as a fresh red underframe just looks silly on any car.
At this point before decalling, I masked off and sprayed the multimarks on the side of the car. Some people prefer decalling, but by painting them on you can get around the roughest and bumpiest surfaces, and not worry about distorting the decal, air bubbles, multiple applications of decal settling solution, etc. For advice on that, have a look at the *multimark spraying tutorial*. If you’re doing an early version with both multimarks at the B-end, You can carefully mask around the ladders and spray around them (if you opted not to leave them off). If you’re doing the typical “left side both side” variant most CP cars later got, some minor masking around a grab or two may be needed. Once all that’s done, give it a gloss or semi-gloss coat of clear in preparation for decalling.
Part of the process of spraying on the multimarks – see link above for how-to.
Masking off the bottom with Tamiya tape to paint the sill black.
Red body painted, black sill painted, multimark masked and sprayed.
This is gonna be fun.
Decal with the decals of your choice. For this particular car, after masking and spraying the multimarks, I used mostly CDS dry-transfer decals for a typical CP Rail 40′ boxcar.
Rub rub rub your boat. Or something. First rub-ons applied with not-that-sticky clear tape.
It can be tricky applying separate digits on straight using CDS dry transfer decals, as you only really get one shot and must have them lined up straight or you’ll need to remove them (tape works good) and buy another set to reapply (CDS sets typically don’t have spares – one decal set is usually enough to do one car). What I do is stick down a piece of tape on a clean desk surface, apply and line up digits on that using a pin or x-acto knife tip. Once everything looks straight and spaced properly, apply it to the car double- and triple-checking the lettering is oriented straight and in the position, and then rubbing to transfer the lettering.
Side roadnumber lined up and spaced properly on tape, ready for application to body and transfer.
One easy d’oh mistake with this is applying the dry transfer decal-first on the tape instead of backing-first. The lettering is usually more hazy when viewed from the backing surface (that you want to stick to the tape) vs the decal surface (that must face the surface of the model), and orientation of letters and numbers can be a dead giveaway.
Some other bits and pieces came from Microscale (ACI/Kar Track plates, “Keep off Roof” yellow box by the B-end side ladder only). Also applied were rectangular reflective triangles from a Black Cat set (4 per side, one of which is on the multimark and invisible), as well as round dots on both sides of the sill to show the location of the retaining valve.
And That’s a Wrap
Seal with clear, apply any other missing parts like trucks, couplers (check height and shim coupler box if needed), do any remaining paint touch-ups, weight to NMRA standards, weather as desired or leave backshop-fresh, and put it to work hauling lumber, or posed at your local lumber dealer’s siding or team track.
CP 298008 B-end view, fin! Note, multimarks both at B-end, and lettering that just fits between the door and A-end on this side.
CP 298008 A-end view, fin. Some metal 33″ IMRC wheelsets would later be swapped in for the stock plastic ones. Interestingly, the undecorated kit came with Accurail truck frames, slightly different from the ones IMRC provides on their RTR cars.
Checking the weight before hitting the road for its first load.
More boxcar madness to follow.