Large cube box cars seemed to be everywhere in the 1970s, and thanks to Tangent Scale Models, highly detailed models from Greenville Steel Car Co. 86ft tall cubes can also ride on your HO layout.
These monster cars were products of the 1960s, when the bigger the better and efficiency was the watchword of American companies. Earlier methods of moving auto parts required specially equipped boxcars, which were actually only suitable for one type of load. As car manufacturers in the 1950s began to make annual changes to the styling of their cars, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s began to expand their lines into compact, mid-size and full-size automobiles, wagons cutlery that could only carry one type of room. fell out of favor.
The design of loads suitable for pallets and “baskets” that can be loaded by forklift into large boxcars allows these larger varieties of parts to be transported more safely and efficiently. Pallets and baskets arrived around the time that many boxcars were reaching the end of their useful life, so it made sense to develop cars that could better serve the auto industry.
The first on the scene were 60-foot auto parts cars, which were used for higher density parts such as engines, transmissions and axles. But less dense items, such as body panels and interior parts, filled 60-foot cars long before their load capacity was reached.
Ford worked with American Car & Foundry (ACF) to develop larger cars that could better match the weight and volume of the load. The result was an 85-foot prototype car with a volume of 10,000 cubic feet and a height of 17 feet (a large cube indeed!).
In addition to ACF, other large cube car makers were Greenville Steel Car Co., Pullman-Standard, and Thrall. Production cars were 86 feet long and had four or eight doors (two pairs per side). Greenville built more than 4,400 of these cars between 1964 and 1978 for several railroads to operate in collective service. Some of these cars are still in service.
Our Tangent samples are decorated in Penn Central and Erie Lacka-wanna paint schemes as delivered and represent some of the many variations Tangent has designed in their Big Cube boxcars.
Our two cars each have different damping systems, the center of the car on the PC car and the end of the car on the EL car.
Our samples also show the two types of trucks designed for these cars: 70 ton S-2A Barber trucks or 100 ton “low profile” S-2-C Barber trucks. The cars are fitted with 33 ″ or 36 ″ wheels, as appropriate. Backer irons, cross platforms, brake gear and door hardware are just part of the plethora of parts applied separately on these models.
Our models featured opaque paint – Penn Central Deepwater Green or Boxcar Red for the EL car, both with metallic gray doors. All prints were crisp and readable under magnification. The Penn Central car is a car delivered to the railroad in October 1968, originally painted in PC colors, rather than a repainted car from Pennsylvania or New York Central.
The EL car is one of the first lots of 100 cars that Greenville delivered to Erie Lackawanna in 1965. Erie Lackawanna returned to Greenville in 1966 for 143 more cars, making it one of the biggest high- lists. Greenville cubes.
Both cars were inches from a drawing I found in the 1974 Cyclopedia Centennial Edition Car and Locomotive by Simmons-Boardman. The location of the PC car lettering matches a photo in the 1970 Cyclopedia Car and Locomotive. The lettering on the EL car matches the photos in the EL Color Guide for Cargo and Passenger Equipment by Larry DeYoung (Morning Sun Books, 1995).
I tested the cars on the Atlas no. 4 and no. 6 switches on my shelf layout and had no difficulty pushing or pulling the cars through the crossings and into each of the yard and branch tracks. Models are designed to operate on curves with a minimum radius of 24 ″, but will look best on much wider curves in the 40 ″ radius range.
The CNC turned metal axles with rotating bearing caps were all gauge and the Kadee scale couplers were mounted at the correct height. The cars weigh 8.1 (EL) and 8.2 (PC) ounces, making them about 1 ounce heavier than the requested weight of 7 ounces in the National Model Railroad Association’s Recommended Practice 20.1.
As a 1970s railroad fan, I was excited to see these cars. They are beautifully detailed and work well, and I can’t wait to see these eye-catching paint schemes on my future layout. Maybe there is also a place for a few on your miniature railroad.
Facts and characteristics
Price: $ 54.95
Tangent scale models
P.O. Box 6514
Asheville, North Carolina 28816
Time: 1964 to present, according to the paint scheme
Road names: Penn Central; Erie Lackawanna; Baltimore and Ohio; Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Conrail; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton; Missouri Pacific; Ry. from South ; and Wabash
• CNC machined metal wheels 33 ″ or 36 ″ depending on the case, in gauge
• Kadee ladder couplers at the correct height
• Several details specific to the prototype applied in the factory
• Two options of truck brake beam parts
• Weight: 8.2 ounces (1.2 ounces too heavy based on the NMRA RP-20.1)