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I have seen boxcars with cardboard accross the doorsways to keep shifting loads from falling out when the doors were opened at its desstnation. I have seen grain in gunny sacks in boxcars with no paper. But i NEVER SAW ONE WITH THE PAPER ACSOSS THE DOORWAY AND GRAIN ON THE FLOOR. tHEY PROBABLY DID SHIP SOMETHINGS THAT WAY. i HAVE SEEN OLD 20' INTERMODAL CONTAINERS USED TO HAUL GRAIN.

This was a common practice at grain elevators, especially when harvests were heavy and covered hoppers for grain in short supply. 


In my area, Southern used to have 40' and 50' box cars with roof hatches primarily used in kaolin service.  Near my house, there's a feldspar mine that utilized 50' box cars on several occasions to ship bulk feldspar.  Only saw that occur once or twice and these cars had paper stretched from side to side at the door opening.  For the most part, bulk moved in covered hoppers and bags in box cars.  Now it's over the road and double stacks.

Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:
Originally Posted by overlandflyer:

boxcar grain door...


grain door


I thought those were for loading lumber?

looks like you are correct.  i just bought this car last weekend and it looks like the builder, though getting the details correct, passed along some wrong information.


searching for "boxcar lumber door", ... sure enough, this page came up...


appreciate the information, now you can return to grain doors.


A few thoughts on grain and lumber doors...


First, thanks to Clem for posting photos of his Signode grain doors.  They were cardboard doors that were commonly used in the later years of box car grain shipments.


And thanks to Old Goat for the views of historic grain handling practices from the Film Board of Canada.  The 1981 film shows the end of the boxcar era of grain handling including the installation of a later type of grain door.


The 1955 film shows the older method of installing a grain door in a boxcar, individual nailed in boards.  It also shows a hydraulic ram pushing in the gain door for unloading at a terminal elevator as well as a car tipper in action.  Large terminal elevators used car tippers to reduce the labor needed to unload bulk grain from a box car.


Box cars were the most common method used to handle bulk loads that needed weather protection until the middle of the 20th century.  In the late 1930s seventy ton covered hoppers came into use for bulk cement and other dense dry products.  Higher volume 70 ton covered hoppers entered the grain market in the 1950s but most grain moved in box cars in the US until the advent of 100 ton covered hoppers in the 1960s. 


Lumber doors were common features found on the A ends of boxcars built before WW II for the railroads serving the pacific northwest.  They were an important feature thanks to the prominence of the lumber industry and the prevalence of balloon framing in building construction.  Balloon framing uses vertical members that run all the way from the sill plate to the top plate and requires very long lumber for constructing two and three story buildings.  To allow the hand loading of lumber over 24 feet in length into a 40 foot box car with a single six foot side door a lumber door was added on the A end of the car to allow longer pieces of lumber to be poked out the end until the side door was cleared and the lumber was then placed inside the car. 


After WW II platform construction became the norm for wood frame buildings.  Platform construction erects one story at a time and only requires lumber as long as an individual story is tall.  The term "stud" for an 8 foot 2x4 came from Ben Cheney, a Tacoma, Washington mill owner.  Cheney was looking for a product to make out of the substantial amount of wood in the slabs left over from making railroad ties in his mill.  Eight foot pieces of lumber had been known as "shorts".  Cheney called his 8 foot lumber "studs" and labeled them with a Belgian draft horse.


Here Ben Cheney stands at center as a forklift carries a load of Cheney Studs to a waiting boxcar.



The prevalence of shorter lumber and the cost of hand loading after WW II ended the need for lumber doors on box cars.  Forklift loading was fast and economical and lumber shippers soon wanted double door box cars.  But the railroads serving pacific northwest lumber mills also served grain shippers that in the late 50s and early 60s still needed box cars.  And so the combination door boxcar was born.  A six foot center sliding door could be boarded up or "coopered" for grain shipment and an off center 8 foot plug door provided a 14 foot wide opening for fork lift loading of lumber and other goods.



So far we have the Weaver Milwaukee Road rib side 40 foot car and the Atlas Trainman 50 foot composite side box car with A end lumber doors.  We are still waiting for the first mass produced O scale combination door box car. 

Last edited by Ted Hikel

More thanks to "Old Goat".  Only once have I had a chance to get out on the Alberta

prairie and photo some "prairie sentinals", in the well known dark red.  That was

during a circa-1980 trip to the Calgary Stampede rodeo.  I already have more kitbashed and scratchbuilt grain elevator modela than can possibly go on the layout, but am looking for more, including photos of an unusual one that stood north of Terre

Haute, Ind.  Wonder if Keil-Line still offers the grain doors?

I bought these Keil Line grain doors years ago and completely forgot where. Probably in southeast Michigan or northwest Ohio. Best guess to find them now would be P&D Hobby in Roseville Michigan.

   They are thin card stock. I don't have a printer to try and make copies. I have some people coming over tomorrow, maybe one of them can help.  




OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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