I’ve always liked the look of all-door boxcars. No one has made a great all-door boxcar, but Walthers makes a pretty good one, and with a few upgrades, they are pretty presentable. I model the closing era of widespread use of the all-door boxcar (1982), but since I like them, they are frequent visitors to the Rails West layout.
Here are a couple of prototype images courtesy of RRPictureAchives.NET—
Click here for more prototype images, including a picture of the orange Lignum car I have modelled above.
The following passage is from an excellent article on the development of the all-door boxcar from Trainweb.org–
The all-door boxcar looked like a common boxcar, but the sides of the car consisted of four large doors that could be passed over one another, giving the loader or unloader access to the entire length of the car. The manufacturer was intrigued, and a prototype was built to test the car type out. The car arrived in McCloud for testing, and everyone involved was impressed with the car type. A total of 100 cars were ordered. U.S. Plywood, the railroad’s corporate parent, actually owned the cars, as they could control their movement and use a lot more effectively than the railroad could.
The all-door design pioneered by the McCloud/U.S. Plywood cars were actually the second attempt at creating an all-door boxcar. The Southern Railroad had a series of all-door cars a few years earlier than the McCloud cars came along, but the key difference was that the Southern cars used roll-up doors instead of sliding doors. The roll-up version of the all-door car did not achieve the same level of commercial success as the sliding door version of the car.
The all-door boxcar initially caught on, and many timber companies and railroads throughout the United States and Canada purchased such cars. However, the sliding panels added substantially to the maintenance needs (and expense) of the cars. A general movement in the lumber industry to packaged lumber loads made the use of flatcars practical, and by the late 1970’s most all-door boxcars were withdrawn from service. A few can still be seen operating today, but they are few and far between.
Again, I model the closing days of the life of these cars, so mine are pretty beat up but still attractive in their own way.
Here is a picture of a Walther’s stock model–
Not bad, but the fat stirrups are a major problem.
With some weathering, scale wheels and coupler, new stirrups, ACI plate, more modern lube stencil, and wheel inspection dot, it is not bad. I am glad Walthers offers this car.
The Brooks-Scanlon cars were a little newer and typically cleaner.
This car obviously is a little older.
With just a little work, you can create nice models to depict the closing days of the all-door boxcar. I have more to come just waiting on the work bench!