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Black Boxcars in the 1950s - Picture Added

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Black Boxcars in the 1950s - Picture Added
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:26 AM

Hello all... I am suffering from a combination of lack of knowledge and lack of color photographs.

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Were many steel boxcars in the 1950s painted black? I am sure the vast majority were reddish brown, with some colorful schemes beginning to appear, but what about black?

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Black and gray have always been common colors for industrial equipment. So I can't think of an obvious reason why some boxcars weren't black, but I never seem to see models of black 40' boxcars except for the SP Overnighters.

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Thanks for the help and information.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:58 AM

The Southern Pacific had black boxcars dedicated to overnight service between Los Angeles and San Francisco 

Pictures I've seen of the pre-war cars were very plain.  The service started in 1935 and ended with the beginning of WW2.  The cars were rebuilt from single sheathed wood boxcars.  The wood sheathing was replaced by steel.   According to John Signor a colorful winged logo was designed for the service, but never applied to the cars.  There is a picture of the cars and also of the logo in his SP Coast Line book.   

The  post war black cars date from 1946, when the service was resumed.  Later the cars were painted silver. I could not find a date for the silver cars, but probably about  the same time as ts the Overnight TOFC trains were intoduced. .

 

 

 

 

SP subdiduary Northwestern Pacific may have had black boxcars.  Have not found any photos, but model companies have  some in black.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:02 PM

SeeYou190
Black and gray have always been common colors for industrial equipment. So I can't think of an obvious reason why some boxcars weren't black...

One reason may be that black-painted cars would absorb all of the colors of the spectrum and tend to have a greater interior temperature than lighter-painted cars.  I don't know what the temperature differentiation between a black and oxide red boxcar would be but I do think it would be less.  That might affect what type or limit the types of commodities one could reasonably transport in a darker-colored boxcar - particularly if they are being shipped from or shipped to warmer climates in the summer months - e.g. the southeast and southwest US.

I'm just thinking out loud so someone can correct me if I'm way off base...

Tom

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Posted by oldline1 on Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:33 PM

Most boxcars up to about 1955-56 were boxcar red or oxide red with some exceptions. The railroads made a definite change around those years to more colorful equipment and different lettering schemes. The Western Maryland went to Speed Style lettering on freight cars and diesels. The Reading also adopted Speed Style then too at least on hoppers and other freight cars.

Many "standard" paint jobs were changed or modified then too. B&O diesels traded their gray paint for blue. Many railroads completely changed color schemes and others modified what they had and some simplified them.

The only black cars I can remember were C&O boxcars beside those already mentioned above and I don't think the C&O cars came until about 1960.

oldline1

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:52 PM

The SOO Line had some steel box cars built in the 40's that were black, and I think Central of Georgia had black box cars, but they also had a large off white "football" shaped thing, too, so the whole car wasn't black.

Just kicking around in Google images, looks like the Wabash had some, and looks like the Chicago and Easttern Ill.  had some.

Kinda hard to tell, as most of the pictures are in black and white. Laugh

Mike.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:20 PM

mbinsewi
Kinda hard to tell, as most of the pictures are in black and white.

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Yeah, that is what I am running into also.

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I am building a freight car fleet of 150-200 cars. In that mix it does not sound like 2-3 black boxcars would be bad. I already have one.

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Tank cars, flat cars, and hopper cars were all commonly painted black. I don't see why a black boxcar every now and then would ruin the scene. 

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90% of the boxcar fleet is reddish brown, with just a few colorful schemes appearing on the rails.

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What do you think, will this look OK?

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:25 PM

Boxcars were originally painted "boxcar red" because it was a cheap, long-lasting paint made from natural clay that contained iron-oxide, giving the paint a rusty red hue. When artificial paint came along, railroads continued to use the same color, probably as much out of habit as anything. 

Not sure if this was a factor, but for many steam-era railroads, cars were sort of "color coded". Typical would be something like:

Flatcars/Boxcars: Boxcar Red

Reefers: Yellow sides; Boxcar Red roof/ends

Open Hoppers/Gondolas: Black

Covered Hoppers: Gray

Cabooses: Body, bright red; roof, black.

Stix
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Posted by NWP SWP on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:34 PM

I can attest in the summer here in the deep south anything black or dark colored gets red hot it's curious why the overnight cars would be black I would think they'd be a lighter color for visibility reasons, I believe NW had black cars don't quote me though, Central of Georgia cars were black with a silver football? I have a model that's purple yes purple, with a silver football?

That SP overnight logo with the wings is pretty stylin'

NWP (the prototype not my version) had oxide red, grayish moss green, and a blackish green overnight boxcars, that's from color photos/models I found through a Google search...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Senior, living with Aspergers, and President of the NWP-SWP System.

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:35 PM

Some of the McGinnis scheme boxcars on the NH and B&M were black.

Also some L&NE.

 

Ed

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Posted by dti406 on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:48 PM

Here are a few Black Boxcars I have researched and painted:

[

Previous posted was correct, 1960 Repaint.

1964 Boxcar

New Have Scheme from the mid to late 1950's.

Then in the 70's Came the N&W and SCL with a lot of black boxcars.

A partial Blue and Black car:

Rick Jesionowski

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 11, 2018 3:28 PM

SeeYou190
What do you think, will this look OK? .

I would say, judging by the replies you've gotten since you asked this, it would be perfectly fine.

Mike.

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:56 PM
    It is good to see you are interested in a prototypical color mix for your boxcar fleet.  Out of all the cars mentioned, for a railroad set in August 1954, the only car that may be accurate in black would be the Lehigh and New England.  The LNE cars I saw were low height cars similar to the Pennsy X-29.  The SP Overnight cars were captive, used only on SP rails.  The C&O cars appeared later in 1957. The New Haven cars in appeared in 1955.  Central of Georgia received their "football" or "watermelon" 50 foot PS-1 boxcars in 1954 so, one of them might be appropriate as a brand new car.  Atlantic Coast Line's black "Another Cushioned Load" 50 foot PS-1s began arriving in 1962 and Seaboard Coast Line wasn't formed until 1967 which rules out both ACL and "Service Customers Like", or "Smooth Cushioned Load".  Norfolk and Western didn't begin painting cars in the black NW scheme until 1971 so, in keeping with your 1954 timeline, maybe a CofG (Kadee) and LNE (Red Caboose/Intermountain) would be appropriate for your railroad.  It is good to see someone with an interest in the color of the cars on their railroad.  Too many otherwise fine model railroads look like a box of Crayola crayons or a paint store color chart ,instead of a believable transportation system.
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Posted by Uncle_Bob on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:30 PM

IIRC, the Georgia Railroad and I think the A&WP had some boxcars that were silver with black ends, roofs, and the right-most panel on either side, where the ladders were.  Not exactly what you were asking about, I guess.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:50 PM

NHTX
It is good to see you are interested in a prototypical color mix for your boxcar fleet.

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Yes, I am trying very hard to get the "mixture" of equipment believable. Not just colors, but the ratio of PS-1 boxcars to USRA single sheathed cars still in service. Covered hoppers and the proper tank cars.

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Since I am freelancing everything, the actual railroads that had black boxcars does not matter, just as to whether or not they actually existed.

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I know I have too many PS-1's, but that is because the Kadee model is just so darned good. I have too few open top hoppers, but I don't like them all that much. I am assuming my customer base does not require much coal or gravel.

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Thanks! I appreciate all the help.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:02 AM

You know, I am starting to come to the conclusion that I need every Morning Sun freight car color book they have ever published.  But even if I could afford (and find!) them all, where would I put them?

Dave Nelson

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:56 PM

This is a picture of one of the black boxcars.

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To my eye, it looks OK for the 1950s. Certainly not a common color scheme, but I don't think it looks out of place or will ruin the scene.

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I also went with red roof and ends. Not bright red, but a lighter shade of mineral red. I made the color by adding just a touch of brown to Model Master British Crimson.

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I really like the way this car turned out.

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What are your thoughts?

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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