Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pullman-Standard 1937 AAR Standard Box Cars

Yes, another rabbit hole...

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Volume 35 recently came out, and it's incredible. The entire 385 pages are on the 1937 AAR Standard Box Car, with lots of new information. Of course, the best part of these books are the hundreds of photos.

As is my usual nature, as I go through a book like this, I start to compile information that will be useful for modeling. In this case, looking at the minutia that differentiates the various prototypes. I decided to start with the Pullman-Standard built cars, and I'll work my way through other builders.

This is primarily a post to dump the information I'm gathering so I can come back to it later when I start building/modifying these cars (I have quite a few RTR ones already, of course). In the listings I've included the number of cars built by P-S along with the total number of 1937 AAR Standard box cars rostered by that road. I don't know when I'll get to the rest of the cars built by other roads.

Ever since Ted Culotta's Essential Freight Cars #40: Early PS-1 Box Cars (RMC January 2008), I had come to the conclusion that the particular shape of the side sill tabs that he modeled was a P-S trait. I'm not the only one, obviously, Ryan Mendell has produced these in resin and are available from National Scale Car Company

While these are minor details, these are the sort of things that differentiate one car from another, and also become a spotting feature when looking at photos. It can also be used to identify which models that are available are the best starting point. My plan is to start with decorated models where I can. RTR or kits are fine with me, I have no problem modifying either. 

Along with these side sill tabs, the Pullman-Standard built cars all have the following characteristics in common, unless otherwise noted.

SREM Improved Solid Steel roofs or C-H Dry Lading Riveted Roofs.
Many modelers prefer the tooling of the Red Caboose 'Rectangular Panel' Roof, although as the article now makes clear, there were at least two roofs manufactured to this design. The SREM Improved Solid Steel Roof, and the Chicago-Hutchins Dry Lading Riveted Roof made under license from SREM. As I work on models, I'll settle on the Intermountain for one type, and Red Caboose for the other. Most likely I will use the more readily available Intermountain roof for the SREM roofs (since it was far more common), and the Red Caboose one for the C-H.


5/7/5 Youngtown Door on mid-level door track

The doors were manufactured in three panels, riveted together. The numbers refer to the number of corrugations in each panel, starting with the top panel, but not counting the corrugation that forms the frame of the door itself. On these particular doors, the riveted joint is on the flat panel between corrugations. The Intermountain and Red Caboose doors are both a good match.


If you examine pictures of box cars from this era, the lower door track is mounted in one of three locations. The first, which is what is done on all of the available models, has the lower door track mounted along the bottom of the center sill itself. While a few of the P-S built cars for KCS and Southern have this configuration, most have a lower door track mounted slightly lower, with a visible gap between the bottom of the side sill and the door track. A third variation, which doesn't appear on any of these cars, has the lower door track attached near or at the bottom of the stiffening panel that is mounted below the side sill.


The door stops on the IMWX/Red Caboose cars are a better match for most of the cars. But if they need to be changed, or for cars that I build with the Intermountain model, National Scale Car Company has resin door stops available.


Ajax Power Handbrakes

These are the most common handbrakes applied to 1937 AAR Standard box cars. The handbrake is the type that has all eight spokes connected from the outer wheel to the center post. They are available from numerous companies, but the most readily available ones at this time (and probably the best casting) are from Kadee.


Of the other brake wheels needed, Kadee also makes the Equipco, Miner, and Universal handbrakes.


3D printed Klasing handbrakes are available from Resin Car Works, and a prototype of a different one has been produced by Kadee, hopefully to be available soon. If you were lucky enough to get some of the ones we made at True Line Trains, those work too.


Detail Associates manufactured a Ureco handbrake, although it's not a match for the SP cars. I'm not aware of any other Ureco handbrake right now.

7-Rung Ladders

This is the most common configuration, with 7 rungs on both the side and end ladders. Some have 8 rung ladders, and a few have 7 rung ladders on the side, with 6 rung on the ends. I haven't started digging through all of the options out there, since Intermountain, Red Caboose, Branchline (now Atlas), and others are probably appropriate. But the biggest addition to the ladder options available is the Yarmouth Model Works etched ladder kits.

I haven't determined which ladders I prefer yet.


Pullman-Standard 1937 AAR Standard Box Car Variation #1

In addition to the characteristics listed above, these cars all have 

  • 4/5 Dreadnaught Z-bar (square corner) ends with poling pockets
  • Wood running boards

Because of the z-bar corner ends, the Red Caboose (now Intermountain) square corner models are the only starting point. However, there are some shortcomings. The poling pockets for most of the Pullman-Standard cars are more of an indentation on the tab at the bottom of the end, than a raised flange. However, the model is of the raised flange type.

The ATSF cars had Duryea Underframes. There are a couple of versions available on the market now, but the ones from Speedwitch Media are the correct ones for these cars.


I am not aware of a Pullman-Standard flat panel roof that is available for the Soo cars.


Intermountain finally announced their first run of the square corner cars about a year ago. They are still taking reservations, which means they haven't received enough orders yet. A number of those are non-P-S prototypes, but of these Southern, T&P, SP, and SOO are included

A couple of the C&O cars are in the P-S number range incorrectly include Viking roofs. That's easy to replace, and you can save the Viking roof for something else.

Likewise the SOO cars lack the P-S flat roof, but should one become available it's also easy to replace. I highly recommend placing orders for any/all of these so these excellent models will continue to be produced (ideally in undecorated kits too).

  • ATSF 136000-134999 (Bx-26)(500 of 2,503) 9'-7" IH, 5/6/5 Youngtown, high door track (no gap), Duryea Underframes, 7/6
  • ATSF 136500-137999 (Bx-27)(1,500 of 2,503) Duryea Underframe, 7/6
  • C&O 4500-4999, 11000-11999 (500 of 4,000)  C-H Dry Lading, 8/8, no poling pockets
  • KCS 17000-17449 (450 of 750) 9'-8" IH, 5/6/5 Youngstown, high door track (no gap), 7/6, no poling pockets
  • SOO 136000-136198 (100) high door track (no gap), P-S Flat roof, early Universal, wood, 7/6 or 7?
  • Southern 10000-12022, 13043-14395 (3,377 of 5,897) C-H Dry Lading, High door track (no gap), Ajax, Miner or Universal
  • Southern (CNO&TP) 261000-262036 (1,1037 of 1,537) C-H Dry Lading, High door track (no gap), Miner
  • Southern (AGS) 306000-307021 (1,022 of 1,022) C-H Dry Lading, High door track (no gap), Ajax or Miner
  • SP 32770-33269 (B-50-18)(500 of 1,750) C-H Dry Lading, Klasing, Universal, or Ureco
  • SP 37840-38089 (B-50-19)(250 of 1,000) C-H Dry Lading, Ureco
  • T&P 40000-40499 (500 of 1,000) Union Duplex fixtures (National Scale Car minikit)
  • T&P 40500-40999 (500 of 1,000) Union Duplex fixtures (National Scale Car minikit)(Mount Vernon Car, but same tabs)

Pullman-Standard 1937 AAR Standard Box Car Variation #2

These cars all have 4/5 Dreadnaught W-section (round) corner ends with poling pockets.


For this group, the Intermountain models are a better match due to the way they tooled the ends, particularly the poling pockets. 

  • A&WP 37300-37339 (65 of 65) 40 in Aluminum and black paint, Miner, Apex
  • CG 4500-4749, 6000-6149, 6500-6999 (900 of 1100) Equipco, Miner or Universal, Apex, Youngstown or 7-Panel Superior
  • CR/COPR 4000-4009 (10 of 10) 7-panel Creco, wood, 8/8
  • D&M 2700-2704 (5 of 205) 7-panel Creco, wood, 8/8
  • ERIE 79000-79199 (200 of 1,200) Viking, Apex 8/8
  • GA 19900-19974 (75 of 75) Miner, Apex
  • NH 31000-32999 (1,500 of 2,500)(3) Youngstown or 7-Panel Superior, Miner, Klasing, Ajax, Apex
  • NP 15000-15499, 17000-17899 (1,400 of 3,000) Youngstown or Creco, Ajax, Wood, 8/8
  • P&LE 30500-30999 (500 of 1,900) High door track (no gap), roping staples, Equipco or Superior, wood
  • SAL 19500-19999, 22200-22499 (750 of 750) Youngstown or 7-Panel Superior, Apex or Gypsum
  • Southern 14396-15895 (1,500 of 5,897) High door track (no gap), Miner or Universal, Morton
  • SP 82990-83239 (B-50-21) (250 of 1,000) Equipco, Apex
  • SP 95520-95863 (B-50-23) (344 of 1,744) Klasing, Apex
  • TNO 54600-54849 (250 of 750) Equipco, Apex
  • WLE 23000-23499 (500 of 1,002) Youngstown or 7-Panel Superior, roping staples, Flat roof, wood (Ralston Steel Car Co, but same tabs)
  • WofA 17300-17359 (60 of 60) Aluminum and black sides, Miner, Apex


Pullman-Standard 1937 AAR Standard Box Car Variation #3

These are the same as the Variation #2, except that they lack poling pockets.


The IMWX/Red Caboose, now Intermountain cars are probably a better starting point, since the poling pockets on these models is of the raised flange type and will be easier to eliminate. In most cases, only the left side tab is on the end, since that's where the uncoupling lever is attached. So the right side tab is removed, leaving a small portion for the attachment of the end grab iron.

Many of these cars have roping staples. See photos for the placement. Most are under the side sill, but the P&LE ones are mounted horizontally on the bolster tabs.


  • C&O 3500-3699, 10500-10749, 11000-11999 (1,450 of 4,000) roping staples, Apex
  • CIL 9000-9449 (450 of 925) 7-panel Superior, roping staples, wood
  • L&N 90000-90499, 91000-91343 (844 of 1344) Miner or Univesal, Apex
  • M&StL 50400-50498 (even) (50 of 1650) Equipco, Apex
  • NC&StL 18500-18999 (500) Miner, Apex
  • PM 83650-83799, 84300-84399 (150 of 800) 7-panel Creco or Youngstown, roping staples, Apex


Pullman-Standard 1937 AAR Standard Box Car Variation #4

Although the majority of 1937 AAR Standard box cars were built with SREM Dreadnaught ends, they weren't required. Pullman-Standard produced their own 4/5 corrugated ends which were used on these cars. These are often known as carbuilder's or car builder's ends.

There are two variations of these ends. On the TC/WLE (later NKP) version, the large corrugations terminate at the corner of the end. On the CGW version, the corrugations terminate before the corner of the ends.

These are the easiest to model, provided you purchased the resin kits/minikits when available. Otherwise you have a bit of work to do. None of them were built in large quantities, but they are interesting cars. The TC/WLE cars also use the P-S flat roof. The WLE cars were eventually lettered for NKP c1949-61.


CGW 91000-02149 (250 of 250) 4/5 P-S end, Equipco, Wood, pp Resin Car Works minikit

NKP 2400-24501 (up to 302 of that group out of 3,675) ex-WLE cars

TC 7900-7999 (100 of 100) 4/5 P-S end, 7-panel Creco, P-S flat roof, Miner, Wood  Southbound Model Works

WLE 24200-24501 (302 of 1,002) 4/5 P-S end, P-S flat roof, roping staples, Equipco, wood, no poling pockets Southbound Model Works

The Southbound Model Works cars were originally from Smoky Mountain Model Works. They are incorrectly noted as 'PS-0' box cars. The 'PS-0' designation is a modeler/historian notation that refers to early welded cars (presumably predecessors of the PS-1 box car) that Pullman-Standard produced with the same type of ends (although some were 5/5 instead of 4/5 ends). B&LE, CGW, NKP, PM, and WLE versions of these welded box cars are available from Funaro & Camerlengo.

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