The late steam era freight cars tended to be a mixture of boring freight car red colors with only reefers adding a splash of excitement. There were exceptions of course. One of my all-time favorite is the Muncie & Western yellow boxcar with the big mason jar on the door. The exterior post construction and yellow color will attract attention to the train as it goes by. The car has a lot of very unique details as a result of the Mather Company design. The Mather Stock Car Company built a large number of single sheathed boxcars that were leased to a number of railroads. The M&W cars came in two flavors. They had 75 that were 8’5″ interior height and the other group of 25 were 9’11” interior height. This last group of cars is the subject of the build. Check out the excerpt from the Official Railroad Equipment Register (ORER). It shows this group and the interior and exterior dimensions. This information along with photos allowed me to “engineer” the model. I was able to get some field notes from a friend who found a Chicago & Illinois Midland inside a barn in Indiana. It provided answers to basic design features of the Mather design.
I created a working drawing to allow me to design the car side and end. The side design was developed by counting boards and make an estimate of the board width. Door opening and truck/bolster location helped define location of the vertical posts. Scaling a photo allowed me to locate the diagonal channels. One interesting detail of Mather car construction was that the vertical posts were made from riveting two angles together to form a “Z” shape used by most exterior post design. Mather liked to use standard structural shapes rather than custom drawn shapes like the major car builders preferred.
The model is nearly complete in this view. I still have to finish roof details and stirrups for the sides. The picture shown below highlights the riveted side stakes.
The one thing about this project is the fact that you will drill a lot of holes to add Grandt #9 1″ nuts and bolts to the side stakes and corner posts. In addition, there are a large number of Tichy .025″ styrene rivets used on “steel to steel” connections. I did use a compact drill press to sink all the holes on the sides and ends prior to assembly.
Another interesting detail is the roof design on these Mather cars. They are a patented design of interlocking stamped steel parts. The patent is not very clear on the design. The late Richard Hendrickson helped Life Like Trains when they offered their HO models. I suspect he had an excellent understanding of the original design. As a result I based my roof on the Life Like model. I am sure that someone will produce a photo of a car roof just when I finished the project.
Here is the broadside that I used to develop the design. I am building this car with a K brake system like in the photo. The model is destined to go to a friend.
Single sheathed cars are not good subjects for brass models. Typical brass models represent the siding with “V” groove. The appearance is less than realistic. It reminds me of a HO scale model. This aspect alone has driven me to develop a board by board construction to represent the prototype accurately. I had Evergreen Scale Models cut me custom strips to accurately represent the siding. This way the board count is correct is correct on my models.
I will share more of the build as I complete the car.