Box Car #357

Dateline: May 2000

In May, 2000 after returning from the Mid-South meet in Tennessee, I decided to begin work on a utility box car for the DAMAR railroad. This car will be the fuel and tools cars for the DAMAR Southern Railroad. It will carry a 30# LP tank in the front end, a tool box in the midsection and a compressed air tank, 12V compressor, and battery in the tail section. The compressed air will be used for the braking system on the Shay. The battery will run the compressor and other electrical systems. See the links below for pictures of the work in progress.


Work begins on the box car. The framing steel is cut and welded together. The center rail is cut and attached to the sub-frame. Next, work will start on the box car walls and roof sections.


Over the Memorial Day weekend, significant progress was made. The box car walls were all constructed. The exterior of the box car has had its trim added to it as well. The non-functional door has been constructed and attached. The walls have been assembled and attached to the steel sub-frame. The sub-frame was also mounted atop the trucks. The interior and exterior surfaces have all been primed and are now ready for final paint and decals. The removable roof, while glued up, is still awaiting its trim and paint. Couplers are also on-order.


Some progress has been made. Most of the painting is done, the roof walkway is installed, and the grab irons are installed. The interior is complete less the purchase of the LP tank. Here are some new pictures.


The completed box car (less decals and heralds) was given its first test runs today at the Fairfield Railroad of Wayne and Barb Lass. The initial run was hampered by several derailments. Observations showed that the long rigid frame was causing the front truck to be lifted from track in certain uneven conditions. Spacers were added to increase the amount of side-to-side rocking allowed and the problem was corrected. No further derailments occurred. The trials were considered a success.


The box car was completed today. The only remaining “to do” items are purchasing and installing the LP tank and hoses. This will probably not happen for several months. The decals from Miracle Railroad Products (770-987-5982) were applied today and look great. It is amazing how a few decals and heralds put the finishing touches on a model car. Have a look.


The box car interior has been upgraded. Upgraded items include a new electrical distribution panel, switch panel, new onboard air compressor (12VDC), interior lighting, and LP regulator. Compressed air brakes have also been installed and plumbed. No further modifications are planned for the near future.


Several minor changes have been made to the boxcar in preparation of its first official use away from its home track at Fairfield Railroad. A voltmeter was installed to monitor the battery and a relay was installed to run the air pump. On Thursday, May 3, 2001, the boxcar along with DAMAR’s caboose #213, will travel to MidSouth Railroad in Columbia TN for its annual 3-day spring meet. It should be an exciting time as the boxcar, along with Fairfield’s new Pacific locomotive named “Lady Barbara”, travels the rails together.


Success! I took the box car to the recent Midsouth meet so Wayne could use it behind his 4-6-2 Pacific “Lady Barbara”. The weather was outstanding and the running nearly flawless. No problems we experienced with the boxcar in any way. It left the track only once due to a gauge problem in the yard track.