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"Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
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   "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
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   Author  Topic: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?  (Read 306 times)
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
"Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« on: Oct 6th, 2015, 11:02pm »
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Gentlemen:
 
Strange as might seem for a lifelong railfan, I have not been anywhere near a train or a rail line in at least 12 years.
 
I know much was changing even then, and that much has changed since.
 
A good friend of mine (from Maryland) and I were recently discussing "traditional" box cars and their place in today's railroading.
 
According to him, he had heard that no new box cars have been built in at least 15 years (he has no idea how true this statement is)
 
He also visits near the CSX main through Baltimore; most of the box cars he does see are a faded rust color, and emblems (if there had been) are either totally obliterated or just faintly visible on some cars.
 
Is it safe to assume that, as was the case with the caboose a few decades back, box cars are now in their twilight years on America's railroads?
 
From fairly recent photos, I have seen more container/stack trains on the rails than "traditional" freights.......are container/stack trains now more the rule and a "traditional" freight the exception.
 
IMHO, it seems to me that, like so many other classic aspects of railroading that we once took for granted, that the time-honored box cars are heading into the sunset.
 
I can recall, years ago, where "RAILBOX" seemed to be the last gasp of "traditional" box car technology........so much has changed since then.
 
I appreciate your input and comments......thanks in advance....
 
"L.F.L"
 
 
 


« Last Edit: Oct 6th, 2015, 11:22pm by CLASSB » Logged
Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1726
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:10am »
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L.F.L., here are a couple of articles you might find useful:
 
I'm not sure how old this website is, but the photos sure seem to be less than 15 years old.  It's a "catalog" of sorts, listing boxcars available (to order?) from Greenbrier Corp.
 
http://www.gbrx.com/Box_Cars.php
 
The second is an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few months back, discussing the shortage of boxcars faced by US railroads:
 
http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-railroads-cant-keep-enough-boxcars-in-service-1434879182
 
It stands to reason that boxcars may be on their way out-- shipping containers are so much more versatile and flexible, and do not require shippers or receivers to maintain rail docks or sidings.  Boxcars were built to serve a need, and as long as they were the best available option, they flourished.  But we may have, quite simply, built a better mousetrap in the form of shipping containers, and the boxcar is no longer the best option for most applications.
 
The same cautions could be observed for the rail industry as a whole-- in the era of mergers and streamlining of operations, it does not often end well for railroads whose primary goal is To Run A Railroad.  Companies that recognize that their primary goal is to sell transportation, not Railroading (in other words, those who see a need and get creative about how to fill that need) are the ones who are much more likely to be rewarded with black ink on the bottom line.
 
Speaking of which, it seems to me that more and more freight cars in general (not just boxcars) have reporting marks ending in "x", indicating their ownership by leasing companies, rather than by the railroads themselves.  It may well be that this has proven to be of financial benefit to all parties involved.  The logistical details of such arrangements must be the purview of people smarter than me.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:21am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:27am »
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Norm:
 
Greatly appreciate the links; I've filed both and will certainly enjoy delving into them later today!
 
I see that my friend's hunch (as well as my own) was correct; "traditional" box cars are indeed now in their waning years......once upon a time, none us ever thought the day would come where the iconic caboose (red or otherwise) would one day vanish from the scene.
 
Now, a different technology has fast surpassed the humble, time-honored box car.
 
Even a die-hard varnish lover like myself can feel a great sense of loss here....the loss of what had been, ever since their origins in the 19th century.....one of the most familiar and time-honored aspects of American railroading.
 
Back in our day, watching a slow-moving "plodder"  squeal, creak, screech, rumble, and moan through a grade crossing (greatly frustrating the impatient motorists behind the wheels of their Edsel Pacers, De Soto Adventurers, and Studebaker Larks!) or, standing on a suburban station platform thrilling to the howling, growling, thrumming whine of a "hotshot" barrelling through was a most exciting and highly enjoyable pleasure.....a rolling geography lesson, to be sure, trying to see how many roads were represented in that one train!
 
And, man, the sheer pleasure of watching asthmatic switchers working the car floats in New York harbor!
 
Growing up only minutes away from both Hoboken and Jersey City during the 60's, there was never a shortage of box cars to see (the heyday of the 40 footer!)
 
Time flies......much too fast for my tastes.....
 
"L.F.L."


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 11:05am by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:42am »
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Memories of Days Gone by: (D&H at Binghamton, and ERIE at Port Jervis).......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/dh/dh-binyd-akg.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/dh/dh-binyd-bkg.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/frt/erie66659d.jpg
 
(courtesy:fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:44am by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #4 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 12:52am »
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Marion, Ohio, 1974.
 
How classic scenes such as this were taken for granted.....
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/loco/el0814agd.jpg
 
(courtesy:fallenflags.org)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #5 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 10:23am »
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Also of interest.....
 
http://www.american-rails.com/freight-cars.html
 
http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/about/roster/x54.shtml
 
(courtesy:
 
AmericanRails.com
 
RR Museum of PA)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #6 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:15pm »
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Bygone scenes of once-commonplace SF freights (Cajon Pass, 1966/Joilet, 1980)
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/atsf/atsf-CPft-rsa.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/atsf/atsf-frtjol-abw.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:21pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #7 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:29pm »
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Classic CNJ......
 
*I also recall a few very weathered and rusted ex-CNJ box cars on a spur down at the Pine Creek Central (Allaire State Park), back in the mid-90's......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/cnj/cnj20512akg.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:40pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #8 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:50pm »
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This rundown, but still charming NYC freight house recalls a long ago era where countless cities and towns around the country featured one (or sometimes more) freight houses.........
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/nyc-unkfh-jpa.jpg
 
(courtesy:fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:51pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #9 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 2:58pm »
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As a young boy, back in the early/mid 1960's "floating freight trains" could be found throughout NY Harbor, and were always interesting to watch!
 
Hard to believe that, today, only one such operation remains in NY Harbor.....I sure miss those wonderful days.....
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/frt/dlw-carflt-ajc.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)
 


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 10:09pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #10 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 7:34pm »
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"TAKE A RIDE ON THE READING" Unknown location, circa-1970's)......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/rdg/rdg18212akg.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #11 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 8:30pm »
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A few examples from CSX (too bad that graffiti has never gone out of style).......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/csx/csxt158690jca.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/csx/csxt158695akg.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/csx/csxt158693agd.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 8:31pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #12 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 8:49pm »
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"Traditional" B&O/C&O boxcars.......cars like these were among the most commonplace pieces of freight rolling stock, back in the day.....everyone knew what a "boxcar" was.
 
Today, like so many classic components of American railroading we once thought of as "permanent" (semaphores/cabooses/heavyweight commuter cars/interlocking towers), the box cars of yore are indeed an endangered species these days......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/bo/bo299755arc.jpg
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/co/co024311tba.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


« Last Edit: Oct 7th, 2015, 8:51pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #13 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 9:59pm »
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Newark, NJ, 1979.
 
This ex-PC boxcar seems to have had some sort of rough encounter.....
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/pc/pc209035akg.jpg
 
(courtesy: nycsubway.org)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #14 on: Oct 7th, 2015, 10:07pm »
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Columbus, Ohio, 1971.
 
This ex-PRR "CAB" (Classic American Boxcar) is still proudly displaying the fabled Pennsy Keystone, three years into the P-C merger.....
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/prr/prr108075wba.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #15 on: Oct 8th, 2015, 12:45pm »
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Though the subject of this undated photo is a wrecked ex-ERIE "Stillwell" coach, it also is a scene that nostalgically recalls the era of the "CAB" (Classic American Boxcar)
 
The humble E-L caboose at right further dates this classic scene.....
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/pax/el-yard4.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
 
« Reply #16 on: Oct 10th, 2015, 1:40pm »
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One of the all-time classics....."GREAT NORTHERN".......
 
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gn/gn17703rsa.jpg
 
(courtesy: fallenflags.org)


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NEFAN
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Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
  NYSW_503_Susie-Q_boxcar_Little_Ferry_NJ_1979.jpg - 30716 Bytes
« Reply #17 on: Oct 12th, 2015, 10:25am »
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I am a big fan of the 40 foot boxcar which seemed to be used much more for advertising by the railroads than the later 50 footers.
 
Back in the day you could watch a freight pass and see many different railroads represented in the boxcars. I would always look for the obscure short line car.
 
Today with containers and bulk freight, the RR boxcar is becoming a rare sight. The 60 foot car may be the last type for this rolling stock.  
 
One of my all time favorites from an advertising stand point - Suzy -Q
 


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/RollingStock/NYSW_503_Susie-Q_boxcar_Little_Ferry_NJ_1979.jpg
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NEFAN
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Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
  Santa_Fe_refrigeration_Chicago_Ill_1086.jpg - 39892 Bytes
« Reply #18 on: Oct 12th, 2015, 10:32am »
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A 50 footer. The Santa Fe was always larger than life. - no little reporting marks here.
 
Billboard style.


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NEFAN
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Re: "Traditional" box cars today: vanishing vistas?
  Union_Pacific_Box_Car_Denville_NJ_985.jpg - 85607 Bytes
« Reply #19 on: Oct 12th, 2015, 10:35am »
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Union Pacific Bravado - We Can Handle It!

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/RollingStock/Union_Pacific_Box_Car_Denville_NJ_985.jpg
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