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1876 New York Central & Hudson River RR 29' Boxcar kit in HO scale

Actual assembled and painted / decaled car kit shown.  Kit includes detail parts from Tichy Train Group, Trucks from Tahoe Model Works and custom Decals from Rail Graphics. Couplers not included.

This car would have been a common sight anywhere in the Eastern and Midwestern US from the early 1880's through the turn of the century, and many were likely out in the far west, carrying finished products to the frontier states.  In fact, one of our customers has found evidence that cars like this showed up regularly on the Colorado Midland RR in the 1891 - 1893 period!  It's very likely cars of this design would have served under any of the New York Central System partners, including the Boston and Albany (as pictured above), the Big Four and others.  Some of these cars had a permanently installed grain door (a solid barrier to keep the fine grain from pressing on the outside doors, making them impossible to open) so it's very likely to have been used for that service throughout the Midwest in its time, especially for loads returning east.  It's possible other roads might have owned some secondhand as well.

About the "Diamond S" herald...

On a fallen flags website I recently found a notation about New York Central cars in the 1920's that bore an "S-" before the car number. The notation indicated that the S meant they were 'System' cars, and could be used by or routed over any subsidiary of the NYC (Boston & Albany, Michigan Central, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie) as though it was a car belonging to the subsidiary. I think it's possible the "Diamond S" herald of the NYC&HR era might have meant the same thing. It was an era when Fast Freight lines* were at the height of their popularity, even though the basics of the car service rules as we know them today were already forming. An obvious special marking that would indicate to yard crews the car could be used as a home road car on any NYC&HR subsidiary makes sense, particularly when many of these people might have been immigrants who were illiterate or could not read English.

* In the mid 19th century most freight cars did not leave home rails. If a load had to be shipped offline, the loaded car went to the closest interchange point with another railroad and was unloaded at a freight house, then the freight was reloaded into a home car of the next road to continue on its way. This caused delays, damage and often exposed the cargo to theft. At some point an alternative called the Fast Freight Line was developed. For extra fees, a loaded line car could be sent over any other road that was a member of the fast freight line without being subject to unloading and reloading when changing railroads. Cars from each member railroad were kept in a pool that any member RR could use for line traffic, and painted to advertise the line.  This was a popular and lucrative service for the member roads, and most roads were participants in several different lines offering fast and secure service to reach different destinations. AAR car service rules requiring railroads to handle any through cars offered to them, and requiring them to be returned in a timely manner, eventually ended the practice.

This car design comes from a technical drawing in the book The American Railroad Freight Car by John H. White Jr.  Its capacity was around 20 to 25 tons, and while its design is somewhat unique in terms of the running board integrated into the roof, it is a fairly common car in size and appearance.  Those wishing to give it a different look and feel could easily add a separate roofwalk, and end or side ladders.  The NYC&HR used grabirons on the ends to reach the vertical brake staff on the car.

Model Features

This model kit features a one-piece body casting to make assembly easy and fast.  All necessary parts are included; including wire for brake staffs, grabirons, stirrup steps, monofilament for truss rods, and a brake system kit from Tichy Train Group.
The car body includes stops on the inside that help the builder seat the floor properly without a lot of trimming and fitting. 
Skill level This model should be easily built by someone with moderate resin kit building skills, and present a slight challenge to the novice.

This NYC&HR boxcar will be available with two different custom decal sets prepared by Rail Graphics.  One set (#110) will include an extra "Diamond S" herald and a five-digit car number.  The other (#111) will be for a car with ordinary markings and a four-digit car number.  Both are correct numbers and lettering matching the 1892 ORER listings for cars of this type on the NYC&HR.

As far as I have been able to determine, The Diamond S cars were part of some sort of special service, probably similar to that of a fast freight line.  They were listed and numbered separately in the ORER car listing and had their own contact and address in the special instructions for reporting mileage and repairs to.  Unfortunately that's all I really know.  I'd very much like to know more about Diamond S service cars if anyone can shed more light on it.

Couplers are NOT included. 

Last update:  February 24, 2014