Tag Archives: Hi-Cube

Site update: 02 December – More weathering photos

I’ve completed the remaining weathering of the body of the 40 foot Hi-Cube. There may be one or two more minor tweaks that I’ll make to get that just right look, overall I am very happy with this cars look. As an experiment using multiple techniques that I’ve not used altogether before I’m very happy and will try this next on a HO scale car. Where are we up to?

Flash on showing most of the car completed
Flash on showing most of the car completed

The second round of body and roof weathering has gone on. Keeping in mind that this car ran mostly in the dryer states and most of that in Texas in my modelling location there is a preponderance of dust and rust and not a lot of rain weathering. I believe that I have another of these cars in my O scale stash and will document the weathering as I go in the next week for all of you.

Interior shot showing the walls and weahtering
Interior shot showing the walls and weathering

I am particularly pleased with the internal look of the car. I hand painted the interior since I wanted a little tooth on the interior of the car, adding some Acrylic Painting Medium to the cheapo acrylic paint to thin and help it settle.

Close up of the wall and floor weathering
Close up of the wall and floor weathering

Minor touch ups to the door openings remain, to add the dings and rusting, prevalent around boxcar doors. Overall I’m pretty happy with the outcome. There are still the trucks to do, but we’re getting close. More again soon.


Site update – November 29

I’ve been laid up the last two days due to some (hopefully) simple skin surgery to remove another unusual mole. Being unable to lift or move too much this week gave me some much-needed time to catch up on some modelling that I’ve put off for far too long. Today’s work has been added to the weathering section, and shows Atlas O’s completely incorrect model of the Cotton Belt 40 foot Hi Cube.

A little history

The real SP & SSW cars in SP class B-70-36 are both small in number and used in captive service for high volume – low weight appliance service from major appliance manufacturers to distribution centres. The cars were 40′-6″ long hi-cube box cars; they were all built by Pacific Car & Foundry in 1966 and had 5001 cubic foot capacity, Hydra-Cushion underframes and 10′-6″ Youngstown sliding doors.

Image courtesy T. E. Cobb via railgoat.railfan.net

They came to be nicknamed the “Ugly Ducklings” due their awkward appearance. Built for appliance service and used later in their life for other roles the SP cars in class B-70-36 were numbered as follows:

  • SP 659100-659111 and had DF-B loaders

The Cotton Belt cars (the highest number) in class B-70-36 were numbered as follows:

  • SSW 36014-36126 DF, DF-B, Car Pac loaders

The car being weathered, as provided by Atlas, is car number 36000 which was a wooden sheathed car of a completely different class. The car is actually a Pullman-Standard built Hi-Cube boxcar built for the D&RGW in November of 1967 (see image below). Built for Whirlpool appliance service D&RGW’s 67422 (shown below) had Equipco load dividers and was assigned to load on the Erie Lackawanna at Marion, Ohio. 67422 was also equipped with Pullman-Standard’s ‘Damage Free’ Hydroframe and was painted in the Grande’s contemporary ‘Action Road’ livery.

Image courtesy of James Belmont via railpictures.net

Weathering the model

On this model I’ve tried a multi-disciplinary approach. I’ve used just about everything in my weathering tool chest. Oils, Acrylics, RustAll and Weathering Powders. It’s a bit of an experiment in seeing how to integrate all the different techniques I’ve used. You can head on over to the new page now or take a look at a couple of images of the work today.

Early afternoon shot of the weathering on the roof
Early afternoon shot of the weathering on the roof
Lower resolution image showing the weathering on the floor
Lower resolution image showing the weathering on the floor

I’ll be posting more photos tomorrow as I work on finishing this car. Enjoy the full-page.

A Short History of the SP/SSW 40 foot Hi-cube boxcars and notes on modelling them

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 around the same era ride the rails when this article was being written.

The forty footers were a stop gap car. They allowed double (vertical) loading of refrigerators and freezers that still fit on the then current 40 foot door spacing of many warehouses. Within a short time, as new warehouses were built, and the older ones closed or rebuilt, 60ft High-Cubes, which could haul a vastly larger load became the norm. However, there is photographic evidence of the cars riding the rails until at least the beginning of august 1984. I have seen photos showing one of the cars in revenue use in the early 2000s.

Southern Pacific and Cotton Belt B-70-36 Box Cars

My interest in these cars is primarily the Southern Pacific (SP) and Cotton Belt (SSW) hi-cube box cars were all built to the same design by Pacific Car & Foundry in 1966 and 1967 featuring a 5001 cubic foot capacity, Hydra-Cushion underframes and 10′-6″ Youngstown sliding doors. These cars came to be nicknamed the “Ugly Ducklings” due their awkward  appearance.
Initially intended for appliance service, internally their dimensions were 40′-6″ long, 9’ 6” wide and 13’ high. This allowed double stacking of freezers allowing greater loads than regular boxcars. Up until their introduction the second layer of freezers were laid on their sides. This in turn led to problems with damage to the second layer due to train handling.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). 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[2].

Operationally the Cotton Belt (SSW) had the lion’s share of these 40 foot cars. It would appear that they were delivered in four 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 used from 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) failry closely
  • 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)


  1. This data was sourced from the January 1969 Official Railway Equipment Register.
  2. Source: for more information please visit: http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/
  3. http://www.ho-scaletrains.net/id28.html (updates to the site have since rendered this link inoperable, check out the wayback machine for the link to see what was their)