Originally posted on the old HVL Blog – August 10, 2010
The forty foot, 70 ton, Hi-Cube boxcars were built in the mid-1960’s specifically for high volume low weight cargo and were most often used in captive service between appliance manufacturers and distributors. They occasionally branched out into furniture and paper loads. Manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry and Pullman-Standard ultimately their small size, and the load limitations this imposed saw them leave the rails in a relatively short time. Other larger boxcars from the same period still ride the rails as this article is being written.
The forty footers lost out to the 60ft High-Cubes, which could haul a larger load. However, there is photographic evidence of the cars riding the rails until at least the beginning of august 1984. I have also seen photos showing one of the cars in revenue use in the early 2000s.
Southern Pacific and Cotton Belt B-70-36 Box Cars
Externally the cars had an overall coupled length of 45’ 5”, a maximum width of 10’ 8” and stood at their highest 16’ 10” above the rail height. It should be noted that the 1969 ORER shows the 11 SP cars one inch higher at 16’ 11”.
A roster of the class B-70-36 Hi-Cube box cars for the Southern Pacific (SP) and the St Louis Southwestern (SSW) or Cotton Belt is provided in Table 1 below:
Road Number Range Number Load Specific Data
SP 659100-659111 12 DF-B loaders
SSW 36014–36026 13 DF, DF-B, Car Pac loaders
SSW 36027–36081 54
SSW 36082–36120 39
SSW 36121-36126 6
Total Cars: 124
Table 1: Southern Pacific Railway System 40’ High-Cube data
The Cotton Belt had one other set of Hi-Cube cars (SSW 36000-36013) built. These had been rebuilt from cars in the SSW 33850-33949 series built by Pullman-Standard in 1951. The roofs were raised and they were given new 10′-6″ wide by 11′-9″ tall doors. They were converted at Pine Bluff between December 1965 and January 1966.
Operationally the Cotton Belt (SSW) had the lion’s share of these 40 foot cars. It would appear that they were delivered in different lots during 1966 and into 1967 and thus while consecutively numbered were given different listings in the ORERs of the time.
Modelling the 40 foot Hi-Cube
A word of caution
It should be noted that these cars were a minority car, and for the most part in captive service between the major white-goods manufacturers and the regional distribution locations hauling high volume low weight cargo. While mostly used during the mid to late 1960’s they appear to have all be off the roster, or at least mostly out of use by the mid 1980s.
Having said that if you have a need for or want to model these cars the details below, which were found on the Yahoo! group “Railway Operations SIG” will be of assistance to you.
- The cars manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry for Southern Pacific (SP) and the Cotton Belt (SSW) match the Athearn exterior-post model. (#1950 40′ Ob Hi Cube Box Car – PC&F for SP 659100-659111; SSW series 36014-36126, both class B-70-36)
- The Transco (ATSF), Maxson (CNW) and UP’s home built car match the Athearn plug door model; these also match the rebuilt cars of the SP. (#1960 40′ Plug Door Hi Cube Box Car – UP class B-50-4 appliance car)