Tim VanMersbergen’s X43 Boxcars – 2017 Chicagoland RPM

Tim VanMersbergen delivered an excellent presentation covering a number of 40′ boxcars from the ’60s an ’70s at the 2017 Chicagoland RPM. Rounding out the presentation, he also had the models on display so that the final results could be seen in the flesh, so to speak. There were a few cars in Tim’s presentation that I’m interested in building, maybe over the winter this year, and the Penn Central X43D and X43E boxcars are among those. I’m lifting directly from the literature Tim shared at his presentation to provide all of the pertinent historical and modelling information on these cars.

Both series of boxcars were rebuilt at Hollidaysburg in 1969 by having new side sills and door reinforcement gussets added, running boards removed, handbrakes lowered and ladders cut down. The Penn Central X43D cars were originally built for the Hew Haven in 1947-48 and numbered in the 33500-34499 series. These were 10’6″ IH PS-1 boxcars with 7′ doors. After the 1969 rebuild, they were numbered in the PC 127000-127083 series. Tim built his model from an Intermountain 7′ door PS-1. He modified the ends and roof, used styrene for the door gussets and side sills, lowered the hand brake and ladders, and used an Accurail door.

Tim VanMersbergen’s PC x43D boxcar


Tim VanMersbergen’s X43D boxcar


Penn Central’s X43E boxcars are from the New Haven’s 34500-35999 series. They were 10’0″ IH PS-1 boxcars with 7′ doors. After the rebuild, they were numbered in the PC 127084-127299 series. Tim started with the Intermountain 1937 10′ boxcar and then removed the rivets, shortened and modified the Intermountain PS-1 ends and roof, added styrene side sills and door gussets, used archer weld seams and Accurail panel doors.

Tim VanMersbergen’s X43E boxcar
Tim VanMersbergen’s X43E boxcar

Tim used Scalecoat paint and Microscale decals to finish the cars, and I think they look great. The 1970 ODER showed 84 X43D and 219 X43E cars still in service. I’ll need a number of these cars, so I’ll probably go with the proportion of the actual fleet, favouring the X43E by a factor of four.

I’m stoked about the fact that I was able to take home information from my first RPM conference that I can put to use right away.




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