In designing a boxcar interior, freight car manufacturers must balance two competing desires. The first is for a smooth interior wall, with nothing to snag, puncture or otherwise damage a load. One modern solution to this was the exterior post car, with its vertical support posts on the outside to allow for an unbroken interior surface. The second desire, however, is for wall-mounted tie-downs or other attachment devices to secure the cargo, to prevent shifting and damage en route. The waffle-side boxcar, introduced in the mid-1970s, successfully satisfied both desires.
The waffle-like bumps on the exterior of the car are actually recesses stamped into the inner wall to accommodate load-restraining devices. Thus the car presents a smooth interior wall for load safety, plus the ability to fasten load restraints almost anywhere in the car. This is especially useful for loads that, as truckers would say, “weigh out before they cube out” — i.e., reach the car’s maximum load weight with space remaining in the car, and need to be restrained so they won’t shift into the empty space and get damaged. Loads commonly handled in waffle-side boxcars include furniture, appliances, auto parts, and rolls of paper for the printing industry.
Like other modern boxcar designs, waffle-side cars lack roof walks and, with roof access no longer needed, have end ladders that run only partway up the sides, to allow crew members to ride the cars during switching moves.
The Southern Railway was one of the early adopters of the waffle-side design, taking its first delivery of 70-ton, 50’ cars from Pullman-Standard in 1974. It eventually rostered nearly 5,000 waffle-side cars, boldly emblazoned “Southern Gives a Green Light to Innovations.” Many other carriers followed suit, buying boxcars with various waffling patterns from a variety of builders. Once quite common, waffle-side cars still ply the rails today but, like other boxcars, are less often seen because containerization has taken over many of the cargos once carried in boxcars.
MTH Premier O Scale freight cars are the perfect complement to any manufacturer’s scale proportioned O Gauge locomotives. Whether you prefer to purchase cars separately or assemble a unit train, MTH Premier Rolling Stock has the cars for you in a variety of car types and paint schemes.
Virtually every sturdy car is offered in two car numbers which makes it even easier than ever to combine them into a mult-car consist. Many of MTH’s Premier Rolling Stock offerings can also operate on the tightest O Gauge curves giving them even more added versatitlity to your layout.