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Spring Mills Depot HO scale canstock boxcar

Read this review from Model Railroader
Spring Mills Depot canstock boxcar
Spring Mills Depot canstock boxcar
At first glance, this Baltimore & Ohio model looks like a boxcar with off-center doors. However, it’s actually a specialized heavy-duty car designed to haul coils of thin aluminum or tin used to manufacture cans for the food industry.

The prototype.
In the late 1960s, the B&O’s mechanical engineers were trying to develop a more efficient way to handle heavy coils of thin sheet metal called canstock. Despite their weight, the coils of canstock were easily damaged if the load shifted.
Working with Pullman-Standard (PS)in 1972, the B&O bought 75 heavy-duty 50-foot boxcars with offset doorways 12'-6" wide. One door opened to the right and the other to the left, so each had unique latching hardware. A translucent roof panel was used near the B end of the car to admit light to the interior of the car for the loading crew.

This arrangement let a forklift truck place a pair of 56" coils on the car centerline at the B end so they could then be secured with a heavy-duty bulkhead. A second pair of coils could then be placed and similarly secured. Two more coils were placed and secured at the A end, while the final pair of coils fit in the doorway without trapping the forklift.
The original cars had a translucent roof panel to provide light to the interior
The original cars had a translucent roof panel to provide light to the interior.
In later years, many of the cars were shopped and repainted, and the translucent roof panel was replaced. During the CSX era, all cars received new doors.

The model. Spring Mills Depot has chosen four versions of this PS canstock car as its first HO scale models. The models offered include the original B&O car, an early Chessie System car with the simulated translucent roof panel, a later Chessie car with an all-steel roof, and a recent CSX car with an all-steel roof and CSX-style doors. Six car numbers are offered in each version.

Our B&O sample came fully assembled. It has a molded plastic body shell with excellent detail. Formed wire grab irons, corner steps, end ladders, and see-through etched-metal end platforms are individually applied.

The body shell is smoothly painted and crisply lettered. The tiny lettering of numerous data panels is clearly printed and legible under magnification.

The underbody is superbly detailed with a complete air brake system that has all of the prototype’s piping and actuating rods. Extended sills are provided to simulate a (non-operating) cushion underframe.

Kadee couplers are mounted in the extended sills and secured with small screws. The coupler height is a match to the National Model Railroad Association standards gauge.

Rigid-frame acetal plastic trucks are provided, and they have RP-25 contour wheelsets with needle-point axles. This combination is quite free-rolling.

Our model has weight hidden inside the car to produce an overall weight of 4½ ounces. That’s close to the National Model Railroad Association’s Recommended Practice 20.1.

Only 75 of the PS canstock cars were ever built. However, Internet photo sites show them operating almost anywhere from coast to coast delivering canstock to food processing plants.

Considering all of the excellent work on these models, Spring Mills Depot has set its production standards at a very high level. These unusual canstock cars are an impressive beginning for a new company.
Price: decorated models, $49.95; undecorated kit, $39.95

Spring Mills Depot
P.O. Box 1616
Spring Mills, MD 21158

Road names: original B&O car with billboard lettering, early Chessie System car with translucent roof panel, Chessie car with all-steel roof, and later CSX car with all-steel roof and new side doors (six car numbers each)

Era: 1972 to present

  • Brake system and underbody detail
  • Kadee magnetic knuckle couplers
  • See-through etched-metal crossover platforms
  • Simulated translucent roof panel (where applicable)
  • Wire grab irons and uncoupling levers

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