The Pennsy Modeler

In order to portray Pennsylvania Railroad and interchange partners as accurately as possible, this blog contains articles which are essentially notes to myself, but are shared should the community desire the same information.

Articles are sorted by modification date, so if an existing article receives an update it will be presented at the top of the list again.


The Z68 was a minor class of business car on the Pennsy and were three cars authorized in the 1928 program.

No known HO scale models of this class have been produced to date.


The Z62 class included seven cars in a 1928 program. The cars were typically assigned to division superintendents.

In HO scale, the Z62 has been produced in brass by Railworks.


From a Westerfield kit...


The earliest reference to conversion of XL box cars to maintenance of way and crew cars (or camp cars as they were called by the Pennsylvania Railroad) is 1937. Blueprints were issued for standard sets of cars. One set entitled "four car unit for living quarters" included a riding car, two sleeping cars and a kitchen/dining car. Another entitled "four car unit wreck train" included a tool car, cable car, riding/locker car, and commissary car. A third showed wire train cars: a riding car with cupola and pantograph and a tool/material car. These were far from the only variations as photos reveal many others. The details, especially smoke jacks and vents were added from available supplies, resulting in standard cars on which almost nothing was standard. The Westerfield models are based on the blueprints in most cases as the plans reveal the position of internal details making the location of ventilators more precise.

Fro10062_75991_full_1.jpgm a Westerfield kit...


The Pennsylvania Railroad installed nearly 7,000 box cars in 1912-13 as an intermediate step between its steel underframe fleet of the first decade of the twentieth century and its all-steel fleet commenced in 1915. Pennsy converted 75 X23 box cars to war emergency cabin cars beginning in May 1943. Classed NX23 the cars were numbered 478520-478594. They were rebuilt consecutively at Altoona beginning May 24 and ending January 29, 1944. There were at least three physically different versions. The first car used vertical sheathing on the side and as with all subsequent cars, horizontal sheathing on the end,. A full X23 ladder was mounted to the right of the side door. Photographic evidence shows that some cars received partial (3-rung) ladders with two drop grab irons finishing the five runds. All of these cars would have been rebuilt from standard X23 box cars. A third variation used cars rebuilt with horizontal side sheathing and the removal of horizontal side braces. Such upgrades were performed on "raised roof" X23B box cars but it is certain that X23B's were not used for the cabin car conversions. No records survive to show how many of each type were built. These cars were painted freight car color on all surfaces. All extant photos show the cars originally lettered for WESTERN REGION so it is assumed that all cars were so assigned.

10059 75948 full 1

From a Westerfield kit...


The X23 camp cars were created in the early 1940's. Holes were cut in each side for four standard camp car windows. This required the removal of the horizontal ribs where the windows would be placed. Unlike the X23B revision which unbolted these ribs, the camp car conversion merely cut them off, leaving a visible flange. Full grab irons were bolted to the door and a large bar-stock step placed underneath it. The end braces were cut for the placement of a standard camp car door. Grabs were bolted to the jams and the end grabs revised. A standard platform that could be hinged up when not in use was bolted to the end sill.

 F22 435303

The F22 was a 30' heavy duty flat car, commonly used in the transport of U.S. Navy battleship guns and earning the moniker "gun flats". The F22 was nearly identical to the F23 but featured a wood deck.

An HO scale brass model has been offered by Railworks and resin kits are available from Funaro & Camerlengo. Decals have been offered by Mount Vernon Shops. A variety of wood decks and loads are offered by American Model Builders, including a naval gun barrel.

3 cars foundry photo 600 225

The following are former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars in active excursion service. RIding one of these is on my bucket list, though cost and recent Amtrak policy may shutter excursion service for good.


Frank Thomson

The Frank Thomson is one of seven cars built by Pullman to plan 4134 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The series were named after PRR presidents and feature two drawing rooms, one compartment, one double bedroom, and observation section.

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 X43a 603443

The X43 series were 40' post-war steel box cars based on an AAR design.

With more than 42,000 cars built for the American railroads and 38,000 for the Canadian roads, the postwar AAR 40' boxcar was one of the most widely used freight cars. Many of these cars saw service into the 1980s. Like their 50' design, the AAR 40' box car was modular in concept and the primary aspects of the design standard were dimensions that must be conformed to. The side panels, ends, and roofs were nothing more than component parts that could be used interchangeably.

The 50 ton postwar AAR 40 foot boc car was on illustration of a standard car in a continuing series of AAR standard designs that began in 1932. THe original 1932 AAR had a standard inside height of 9'11" and the 1937 AAR standard box car had a 10'0" inside height. In October, 1947, the Committee on Car Construction revised the inside height from 10'0" to 10'6" because there had been little demand for the 10'0" height car. Standard features of the postwar AAR 40' box car were as follows:

 PRR X38 Box Car 73863 E18850 BLT 2 42 a x

In HO scale, the X38 box car is available as a resin kit from Funaro & Camerlengo. In addition to the decals in the kits, Mount Vernon Shops offers decals for the series. .

Additional References:

Fischer, Ian, "PRR Class X37 and X38 Box Cars", The Keystone, published by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society, volume 14 number 4, Winter 1981.

 X44 604424

The X43 series were 50' post-war steel box cars based on an AAR design.

In HO scale, the X44 box car is available as a plastic kit from Atlas (formerly Branchline Trains).

 X26 518824

The X26 series were 40' World War I composite box cars based on an AAR design.

Due to a variety of door and ladder combinations within subclasses, photographs should be referenced for accurate road numbers. Photos of models cannot be trusted for legitimate road numbers, but photos of completed models are included for illustration purposes.