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Model Information: Single Sliding Door Rib Side Without Roofwalk FMC. Originally designed by MDC Roundhouse. This tooling was acquired by Athearn in June of 2004 and re-released under the Athearn name. The MDC releases referred to this tooling as "FMC 50 Foot Boxcar - Single Door". Athearn refers to them as "FMC 5347 Box Car(sic)", but they are the same model.
The MDC Roundhouse releases typically came as kits (though some later releases were RTR) with an unpainted pewter underframe and truck-mounted couplers and blackened low-profile metal wheels. The Athearn releases have a nicer set of wheels (also low-profile). The Athearn models are always Ready-to-Run (RTR). The Athearn models have painted (black) underframes that are also metal (likely pewter or whatever MDC used). Athearn moved the couplers to become body-mounted and changed the coupling system from Rapido to McHenry. After inspecting them closely, I am not sure they can be swapped for MTL couplers without filing off part of the underframe, but I could be wrong. This presents a problem as McHenry couplers don't always play well with other couplers on long consists where that is a lot of force on each coupling point. The body has remained unchanged with the only detail part being the brake wheel.
The newer releases of this body style (as of 2017) market this boxcar as specifically modelling the FMC 5347 prototype.
The main difference between the 5077 cu. ft cars built by FMC vs the 5277-5347 cu. ft cars built by the same manufacturers is the overall height of the car, the smaller 5077 cars were Plate B while the larger 5277-5347 cars were Plate C.
Road Name History:
The concept behind RailBox, as evidenced by their slogan "Next Load, Any Road!" was that since Railbox was owned by many of the railroads as a privately owned cooperative, their boxcars were not subject to load/empty rules. Railbox cars could be assigned for service anywhere in Canada, Mexico and the United States on lines where an AAR Plate-C loading gauge is permitted. Railbox purchased boxcars from many Manufacturers including American Car and Foundry (ACF), Farmers Machinery Company (FMC), and Pullman-Standard (P-S).
Under the ICC car routing rules in effect at the time, cars owned by operating companies were supposed to be routed back to their owning road as soon as possible or the host road would have to pay demurrage(car storage and handling) charges. This was the cause a shortage of available cars and not an actual shortage of boxcars numerically. As empty cars were required to be routed back to their home railroad instead of being loaded and routed to another destination.
RailBox cars are all boxcars and are painted yellow with black doors. RailBox cars had a bold graphic side logo, which was a stylized X made of red and blue intertwined arrows to symbolize free flow. During the 1970s many railroads had old fleets of railcars. Due to the poor financial state of many railroads these cars were dirty and grimy. Railbox cars stood out with their bright yellow paint and large logos. The company's car reporting marks, as noted above, ended in the letter "X". Under FRA designation reporting marks ending in "X" are assigned to private owner cars.
As of 2015, many RailBox cars are still in service. The rise of intermodal containerized freight (which began in the late 1980s and early 1990s) has reduced the demand for full carload boxcar service. Also deregulation in the 1980s eliminated the legacy car routing rules, reaching its peak with the elimination of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995.
RailBox (and the similar Railgon Company) are currently subsidiaries of TTX Company.
Unlike many of their contemporaries which contracted with European firms to produce their products, MDC made their own toolings. They made several popular body styles and produced them for road names that many other vendors (even Micro-Trains) wouldn't touch. This made them popular with modelers. Also, their un-assembled "kits" permitted a lower price point so they were popular with "runners" as well as "modelers".
Of particular interest was the attention given to modern 50 foot steel boxcars. They made some attempt to accurately mold the differences into distinct models to represent each of the major prototype manufacturers products. They have distinct toolings not only for the different products from FMC, BFF and PS, but also multiple models for each of these manufacturers including "standard" vs "Youngstown" doors and "waffle" vs. "rib" sides. In total they produced 13 different versions of the 50 foot steel boxcar.
Item created by: gdm on 2018-04-25 09:32:16
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