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Greenville Steel Car Company 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car

Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!

Our first image shows off the “group of 9” NEW schemes for our January 2023 production. Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and to order!

During the 1960s, the most radical freight car designs employed the extreme height clearances offered by Plate F car designs. In 1964, no car type articulated this extreme more than the 86-foot, purpose-built “Auto Parts” boxcars. These large boxcars became fixtures on the rails all over North American mainlines, riding hot trains to deliver components vital to the productivity of auto plants. While several car builders offered 86’ auto parts boxcars, the most prolific builder of the double plug door design was Greenville Steel Car Company of Greenville PA. More than 4,400 of these cars were acquired by most major railroads, and they were assigned to pools where multiple railroad’s cars served a specific shipper or shippers. Original utilization of these cars was for Ford, Pontiac, and Chrysler, as well as deliveries from 3rd party parts suppliers to the auto plants. Greenville’s 1964-1978 production was the longest run for this car type, with many still in service today.

Tangent Scale Models offers high-end HO models of the Greenville 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car in HO scale! This is not just a single box car model, but instead a system of 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car models.

Our January 2023 release replicates an important group of Greenville cars: over one-quarter of Greenville’s production was built between 1977-1978. These 1977-1978 cars are distinctive, with five grab irons on each side and corresponding ladders/grab iron configurations on the ends. This is the tenth Greenville body style in our line (yes TENTH, you read that right), including multiple specific body variations, four different brake layouts (two brake systems), four different draft gear combinations, and three underframe styles which incorporate Center-of-Car Cushioning and End-Of-Car Cushioning options.

More about the models in a moment – let’s start with the 1977-1978 prototypes! One of the most distinctive railroad logos to come out of the 1970s: the Ann Arbor “Ferry in the Fog.” Built in November of 1978, this group of 20 cars represents the final Greenville 86’ boxcars built. They were leased by the Michigan Interstate, who operated the State of Michigan-owned Ann Arbor at this time. The cars worked out of Ford’s Saline, Michigan plant, carrying chrome and trim parts around to Ford assembly plants and parts warehouses. These prototypes were built with the late-Greenville body with 5 grab irons on the left and right sides of the car. The car is equipped with body-mounted brake rigging hanging down from the underframe and 100-Ton trucks with rotating Timken roller bearing caps. The Freightmaster End-Of-Car Cushioning details really pop, since Ann Arbor painted the face of the striker orange.

One of Indiana Hi-Rail Corporation’s operations included the ex-NYC line that served the Connersville Indiana Ford plant, producer of air conditioning parts. The IHRC assumed the lease of the Ann Arbor cars pictured above in 1983, patching them with the Indiana Hi-Rail logo and substantial amounts of orange paint. From there, the cars continued to work, serving in the Ford parts supply pool to assembly plants.

MSDR assumed the lease of the above ex-Ann Arbor cars in 1994 from a failing Indiana Hi-Rail Corporation. The cars were patched again with new MSDR reporting marks and numbers, but still served in the Ford parts pool doing exactly what they were designed to do: carry auto parts. The cars were modified with patched out IHRC logos, CAPY data and newly-applied door inspection dates. The end crossover platforms were also replaced to a Morton style.

Here is an example of a 1978-built Greenville 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car right after delivery, in Canadian National paint! CN rostered three orders of Greenville cars, but this order for 80 cars in 1978 was the largest. The 1978 cars have body-mounted brake gear and End-of-Car Cushioning components, along with that signature 5-grab iron body that makes them stand out from any other style of 86’ Greenville box car. Some of these cars have lasted in their original CNA brown delivery scheme for a long time – we can verify an example to at least 2016!

This Chessie C&O order was huge – 275 cars were delivered in October and November of 1977. They featured the late Greenville phase details with 5 grab irons at the left and right corners of the body. These prototypes really stood out with that fantastic Chessie C&O blue, white “excess height” end painting, and galvanized silver roof. The cars included exact and accurate Chessie C&O data, as applied by Greenville, including metric units! These cars featured body-mounted brake rods, Gypsum-style crossover platforms and 100-Ton “Low Profile” Barber S-2-C Roller Bearing Trucks with accurate rotating Timken caps.

While there were several different Conrail repaint schemes applied to Greenville boxcars, this is the only Conrail-purchased scheme! Also, this is the longest serving Conrail Greenville auto parts car. This 1978 Greenville order is significant, numbering 312 cars. The CR cars feature body-mounted brake gear with all those visible rods and assemblies hanging below the car side. Did you notice the “third arm” mechanisms at the top of each door?

The NW rostered several Greenville series, but the 1978 order was the biggest. In fact, this 1978 B-138 class of 317 cars was the biggest Greenville order of any railroad! The bold NW graphics are almost understated on a boxcar of this size, but this paint scheme is one example that literally defines modern auto parts trains. These NW cars featured the late-Greenville body with 5 grab irons on each side along with body mounted brake gear.

This CSXT car is the most modern incarnation of the CSXT scheme we have found yet applied to Greenville 86’ boxcars, starting in 2019. For those keeping score, this is a former Chessie C&O 1978 car, with its 5-grab body style and body mounted brake hardware. The times, they are a-changin, and this car has an updated appearance for 2019-2020+ layouts. Notice the lack of a COTS panel on the paint job, vertical conspicuity striping, the correct placement of the large tackboard near the reporting marks, and the modification of the “third arm” layout on the left hand door. Those yellow-painted grab irons look classy!

The first Greenville cars were built in 1964 and featured rooftop running boards (“roofwalks”) which were removed during the year 1965. Here is an example of a PRR prototype car modified in 1965, with the removal of the roof running board, the lowering of the brakewheel housing and removal of high grab irons and end ladders. If you look closely, you can see all of these “remnants” on the sides and ends of the prototype. The roof features the old bolt locations of the running board supports! PRR purchased a large group of 145 cars prior to the PC merger. Painted in the characteristic PRR freight car red colors with large PRR keystone and gold “Cushioned Load” stenciling, these cars were seen widely.

This Conrail (CR) Ex-PRR X60C Patch 1976+ can trace its heritage back to the 1964-built PRR X60C class shown above. It represents one of the former PRR-painted cars that has been quickly “banditized” with Conrail reporting marks and road numbers, a common practice in the early years of Conrail. These banditized stencils were applied to only a subset of the car fleet, and they always make very interesting models and weathering projects. These cars feature the “remnants” of the grab irons on the sides and ends of the model, as well as the roof details of a car that had a running-board at one time.

Another eye-catching scheme was found on the Illinois Central Gulf cars. ICG had three distinct orders of Greenville double-door boxcars, and this group represents the 1977 delivery cars, the second of the three orders. The 1977 cars have body-mounted brake gear and End-of-Car Cushioning components. These stunning orange replicas include a 10-foot I-ball logo, large Illinois Central Gulf lettering, plus white “Cushion Car” stenciling. These cars are a little different from some of the more traditional auto parts cars, as their return route stenciling directs them to “ICG RR, Centralia Illinois” – an artwork detail that we replicate faithfully! Fun fact: Centralia, Illinois was home to Rockwell International, a manufacturer of fiberglass automotive and truck parts.

N&W was the largest original purchaser of Greenville 86’ auto parts boxcars from multiple eras, and these cars literally went everywhere. This Norfolk Southern (NW) B20 Repaint cars were painted in NS brown paint in 1989 complete with the NS logo stenciling in white. This 1965-built Greenville group features Center-of-Car Cushioning details, a Hydra-Cushion cylinder and truck mounted brake hardware. The B20 class rides on 70-Ton Barber S-2A Roller Bearing Trucks, with 33” wheels and accurate rotating “Timken” roller bearing caps. As a reminder, These beauties are available with six road numbers!

The sixth-largest fleet of originally painted Greenville 86-foot auto parts cars was Erie Lackawanna. The first of four Erie Lackawanna orders was delivered in 1965, this group of 100 cars featured Center-of-Car Cushioning with truck mounted brakes. This car includes the large spelled out Erie Lackawanna on the left side of the car, and a large gold “Cushioned Car” and large white Erie Lackawanna diamond logo at the right side of the car. This Erie Lackawanna offering was part of the Ford’s Chicago Stamping Pool, resulting in an accurate Chicago Heights, Illinois return route stencil.

Here is an example of a 1969-built Greenville 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car right after delivery, in Baltimore & Ohio paint! This car is from the first Baltimore & Ohio order of Greenville 86’ Double-Door box cars. Representing B&O’s first order of cars, which were initially assigned to Pontiac service, these cars also include the glorious yellow “script” “Cushion Underframe” stenciling so commonly found on the railroad’s pre-Chessie boxcars. All of that beautiful B&O car data is present, from the intricate “Cushion Underframe” script to the tiniest “Freightmaster” branded cushioning badge on the end of the car. This 1969-built Greenville car features Apex style crossover platforms and a Universal hand brake housing. Check out those 100-Ton “Low Profile” Barber S-2-C Roller Bearing Trucks, with 36” wheels and Timken rotating caps.

The Penn Central (PC) auto parts cars were certainly memorable when it came to stencil lettering and the large worms adorned on the side of the car. The 1968 PC green paint looks sharp, with the contrasting aluminum doors. These Greenville-painted original PC cars were classed as X-60M, and were built in October 1968. The “When Empty Return to” stenciling is to Chicago Heights IL, again representing the service to/from the Ford Chicago Stamping Plant. PC-distinctive details stand out on this replica, including a gorgeous Peacock 850 hand brake and Morton crossover platforms. This PC car was photographed in Toronto on CN.

Keep in mind that these were pooled boxcars which means you might consider buying cars in a variety of road names. Again, the pools for these cars mean that the cars were roamers – don’t just look for cars from “your” railroad!

Here is an example of a 1969 photo from Buffalo, showing some of the wonderful roadname variety mentioned here, including PRR, L&N, NYC, ATSF, CBQ, NW, CBQ, CNW, and UP, all in one photo!

Our focus today is with the double plug door box cars from Greenville. The “other” 86′ Greenville auto parts cars – the quad door cars (four doors visible on one side) – represented 8% of the overall Greenville Steel Car production. We have more body variations in progress, including the quad-door cars for GM and Oldsmobile service (original assignments which changed with time) as well as other double-door variants!

Now, for the models! The Tangent Scale Models Greenville 86′ Double Plug Door Box Car system continues the design and operational standards set by previous models in the Tangent product line. Our product builds up to seven major build variations (yes SEVEN, you read that right), including three specific body variations, four different brake layouts (two brake systems), five different draft gear combinations, and three underframe styles which incorporate Center-of-Car Cushioning and End-Of-Car Cushioning options. The Tangent Greenville 86’ box car includes a 70-ton or 100-ton truck option, with selections appropriate for each paint scheme, and both include “spinning” roller bearing caps. Finally, our cars are weighted properly and come with Kadee® couplers mounted in specially-designed coupler pockets which means they operate as good as they look. Due to the car’s size, we recommend curves of 24” or larger for these models.

Below you can see the different underframe variations we have built up to reflect the different underframe, center of car or end of car cushioning, and associated brake system changes.

Click the paint schemes in the grid at right to view more model photos and buy!

The Tangent Greenville 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car system is a state of the art, dimensionally-accurate scale replica that was tooled to Greenville Steel Car plans and verified with field measurements. Our model comes with highly accurate “true-to-life” colors and “hyper-accurate” lettering including exact stenciling, fonts, and lettering placement. Our Greenville 86’ system of models offers a multitude of detail variations and phases to replicate the many different Greenville Steel Car offerings. A quick synopsis of our era and railroad-specific detail variations include:

• Body shells with or without overlapping side panels
• EOCC (end of car cushioning) or COCC (center of car cushioning) “near scale”draft gear variations with genuine Kadee® scale couplers
• Separate flexible rubber air hoses
• Roofs with running board supports remaining in place (1965+ appearance since the running boards were gone by 1966) and roofs without running board supports (1965+ Greenville production)
• Under car brake system variations
• “See through” etched metal end crossover platforms in three possible options: Gypsum, Apex, or Morton
• Side tack board types/sizes and locations
• Seven prototypically-accurate brake stands (Ajax, Universal, Equipco, Miner 6600, Champion-Peacock, Elcon-National, Peacock 850)
• Two possible handbrake “brake wheel” options
• Optional 3rd door arm hinge parts to be configured one of three ways
• Two brand new truck sideframes: 70-Ton Barber S-2A Roller Bearing Truck or a 100-Ton “Low Profile” Barber S-2-C Roller Bearing Truck (outlined at the end of this press release)
• 33” or 36” wheels, as applicable to each model
• Two brand new truck brake beam part options
• Three brand new “rotating” roller bearing truck cap options
• Recommended age 14 years and older

Finally, check out the TRUCKS on these cars! Our new Greenville 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Car models feature one of two new truck options – either a 70-Ton Barber S-2A Roller Bearing Truck or a 100-Ton “Low Profile” Barber S-2-C Roller Bearing Truck.

Here is the 70-Ton Barber S-2A Roller Bearing Truck:

Here is the 100-Ton “Low Profile” Barber S-2-C Roller Bearing Truck:

These all-new truck options are systems of their own! They include your choice of 3 different “rotating” roller bearing caps and 3 different wheel options. Each truck also has the option of two separate brake beam parts, either for body-mounted brake systems (which are our standard offering), or for truck-mounted brake systems (available as a swap-in part). Our trucks and parts are available separately, and our RTR-cars come equipped with the correct configurations of trucks and parts!

With accurate roadname and era-specific details, genuine Kadee couplers, and all-metal wheels, we provide you with a high-value model that will provide you with years of enjoyment and curb-appeal. Pricing for RTR models is $54.95, with quantity discounts for direct purchases from Tangent Scale Models.

Click the paint schemes in the grid at right to view more photos and buy!

For Greenville Steel Car Company 86’ High Cube Double Plug Door Box Cars sold out at Tangent but possibly available in stores, please click here.