Our 50’ modern boxcar is modeled on the fleet of cars originally built for Railbox service in the 1970s and early 1980s. Formed in 1974 as a subsidiary of Trailer Train Company (now TTX Company), Railbox did for box cars what Trailer Train had done earlier for piggybacking: established a pool of cars that could be used by all member railroads, without the burden of routing rules that prioritized empty cars for return to their home railroad. With its slogan of “Next Load, Any Road!”, Railbox strove to minimize empty backhauls and keep loaded cars flowing wherever needed, throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The initial 1974 Railbox order was for 10,000 boxcars with the reporting marks RBOX, supplied by a variety of car builders including Pullman-Standard, American Car and Foundry, and FMC. The 50’ RBOX cars exemplified modern box car design at the time: welded rather than riveted construction; exterior support posts to maximize interior space and provide a smooth interior wall; and a lack of roof walks, which had been outlawed in the 1960s for safety reasons. With roof access no longer needed, the cars’ end ladders only went partway up the sides, to allow crew members to ride the cars during switching moves.
Beginning in the 1980s, the need for box cars — once a mainstay of American freight trains — began to shrink as loads that had formerly moved in box cars shifted over to containers. Many Railbox cars were sold off to other railroads and repainted in a variety of paint schemes. Although the earliest RBOX cars are approaching the end of their legal 40-year service life, many are still plying the rails for various owners, and TTX Company still supplies 50’ and 60’ RailBox boxcars throughout North America.
High quality, traditionally sized RailKing Freight Cars provide detailed bodies and colorful paint schemes for the O Gauge railroader. MTH makes an enormous variety of RailKing Freight Cars, including many different car types and roadnames. No matter what era or part of the country you are modeling, RailKing is sure to have something for you.