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Tangent HO scale PRR class X58 50-foot boxcar

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine
Tangent HO scale 50-foot boxcar

You don’t usually think of ribs when you think of Pennsylvania, and that’s as true of the state as it is of the railroad and its boxcars.

But Tangent Scale Models has produced a fine model of one of the rare examples of PRR exterior side post boxcars, the class X58. This was the only modern PRR boxcar with such posts.

Built at the railroad’s Samuel Rea Shops in Hollidaysburg, Pa., the 50-foot cars were destined for hauling food products. The smooth inside surfaces and load-control devices helped ensure the cargo would survive any rough handling during railroad maneuvers.

In addition to load control devices from Evans and Equipco, the cars were also fitted with cushion underframes, either Hydra-Cushion or Keystone. Plug doors provided a smooth surface at the openings. The doors were 10'-6" wide to allow forklift operators easy access to the cargo.

The insulated cars were built in two orders: one in 1964 was for 400 cars, numbered 112000-112399, and the second in 1965 for 678 cars in series 117813-118490.

Tangent HO scale 50-foot boxcar
The underframe includes complete brake piping and rigging, and the center sill is detailed with Keystone cushion underframe components on our sample.

Tangent’s HO scale model captures all these details very well. The plug doors have separately applied locking bars and roller assemblies. Running boards and crossover platforms are etched metal, and the grab irons are formed wire.

Our sample of an as-built PRR model has running boards and high-mounted brake gear with ladders to match. Tangent also offers models decorated for Penn Central, Conrail, and Norfolk Southern.

The PC cars have no running boards, Hydra-Cushion underframes, and lowered brakewheels and ladders. The NS cars represent cars that were repainted from Conrail, and have their roofwalk removed and the ladders shortened on the A-end of the car. The brakewheel and ladders were left in their as-built positions on the B-end of the cars.

The dimensions on the models match the PRR freight car diagram for the class X58 that I found on Rob’s Pennsy Page at All of the lettering matched photos I found in the PRR Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Vol. 1, 2, and 3 (Morning Sun Books). All but the tiniest lettering on the black equipment plates on the side sills was legible under magnification.

The boxcars performed well on the Wisconsin & Southern Troy branch of the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy, Model Railroader’s club layout.

If you’re modeling the last half of the 20th century, through to the beginning of the 21st, there’s probably a place for these finely detailed cars on your layout.

Price: $44.95

Tangent Scale Models
P.O. Box 6514
Asheville, NC 28816

Road names
Pennsylvania, Penn Central, Conrail, Norfolk Southern. Also available painted PRR freight car red, PC green, and Conrail red, and undecorated kits.

Era: 1965 to early 2000s

▪▪Wire grab irons and “trombone-style” uncoupling levers ▪▪Separate air hoses
▪▪Near-scale” extended draft gear box with side “key” detail
▪▪Kadee no. 158 scale couplers at correct height
▪▪33" metal wheels, in gauge, in ASF 70-ton roller bearing trucks
▪▪Weight: 4.7 ounces (0.2 ounce heavy based on National Model Railroad Association recommended practice 20.1)

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