Home Open Account Help 150 users online

Eastern Railroad Discussion > Tobacco Box Cars

Date: 12/23/07 16:09
Tobacco Box Cars
Author: AMRAIL

More years ago than I like to admit I used to see special boxcars next to a tobacco warehouse in Lexington, KY. Up near the roof there was a sloping panel between the roof and the sides. It had round windows in it. Does anyone know if this type of car is still being used? Does anyone have photos they would post? Also, as far as I know, no model railroad manufacturer has ever released a model of this special car.

Date: 12/23/07 17:06
Re: Tobacco Box Cars
Author: zars

They are called tobacco hogshead cars, the Southern Railway rostered them, and they made it at least to the early Norfolk Southern era. I do not know if they still run any; that was a very specialized and seasonal commodity. If they do, they may be used in a different service now, or in MofW use.

Check out this web site for images:


Some of the images show them painted into the early "Southern" version of the NS paint scheme.

NS did not initially paint their freight cars with the NS "catfish" logo; but with a common "stealth" scheme with "Norfolk and Western" and "Southern" spelled out and NW/SOU reporting marks.

Quality Craft models (now Weaver Scale Models) used to have wood kits of these cars in HO scale; but after looking at their web site, I was not able to find them for sale any more. You might luck into one at a train show or on Ebay.

Date: 12/23/07 17:07
Re: Tobacco Box Cars
Author: tomd

These were called hogshead tobacco cars. Southern Railway was the only rail road that used these cars.

There are some photos of them on my Southern Railway web page


Here are some other photos from Southern Railway Ties' Magazines


Back in the late 60's or early 70's Ambroid produced a wooden kit #2-6, they appear on EBay every so often.
Here is a link on another forum from a couple of years ago where I posted a copy of the Ambroid insructions
There are a couple for sale on this web site

There was also an article in Model Railroader 3 or 4 years ago, if I remember correctly, on building one.

Hope this is what you are looking for.


Tom Daspit
Morgan Hill, CA
Tom's Trains

Date: 12/23/07 17:08
Re: Tobacco Box Cars
Author: Robbman

They were used up to a year or so ago to haal tires out of Danville, VA. After that, they were corralled to the Park St yard in Roanoke and presumably sold for scrap.

One is 'preserved' at Bramwell, WV...

Date: 12/23/07 17:12
Re: Tobacco Box Cars
Author: JET

Here is one sitting at Peru, IN August 1990. I thought the cars were converted from tobacco to hauling tires.


Date: 12/23/07 17:50
Re: Tobacco Box Cars
Author: Lackawanna484

tomd Wrote:
> These were called hogshead tobacco cars. Southern
> Railway was the only rail road that used these
> cars.
> There are some photos of them on my Southern
> Railway web page
> Tom

That's great info, thanks for sharing it.

These are huge cars. The Ties article says they were built with 10,000 cubic feet, intended for large quantities of lightweight commodities.


"The car was designed by Southern Railway. It has an inside length of 84 ft. -4 in., and a width of 9 ft. -6 in. That's almost as much floor area as there is in many small houses. The inside height of the car to the top of the door opening is 9 ft. from where a slope roof rises to a maximum height of 11 ft. -10 in. Over- all length is 92 ft. -11/2 in. It's big.

So big, in fact, that skylights, five at each end, have been placed in the roof to provide illumination in the deep recesses of the car's interior. Southern knows of no other case in which this has been necessary.

Loads carried in the car are protected against excessive shocks of any kind in transit by Southern's Super- Cushion under frame developed after research which Southern initiated.

Loading and unloading moves along quickly through the wide door openings. They permit easy access for fork-lift trucks and similar mechanical loading equipment, another cost-reducing factor for users of the car.

The car as shown was loaded with 94 hogsheads of cured leaf tobacco. A conventional 40 ft. box car carries 38 but tobacco shippers haven't been using them very extensively. Their unit costs of transportation were generally cheaper by another mode of transportation. "

Date: 12/23/07 17:54
Author: MTMEngineer

A "hogshead" is a fairly large wooden barrel. There are various definitions of its size, but the wooden barrel industry never established uniform standards. My firm would have considered a barrel somewhere in the range of 45 to 60 gallons capacity to be a hogshead.

The attached Wikipedia reference gives several standards, but I note they are for "tight" cooperage - barrels for liquids. Tobacco was actually packaged it "slack" cooperage, which may or may not have been defined differently, depending upon the shop.

(Among my other experiences, I'm a retired cooper)


Date: 12/23/07 18:06
Author: mully

I had never seen one in NS paint till that one above. I always liked them thought they were so different. Does anyone make a HO model of them?


Date: 12/23/07 18:24
Author: CShaveRR

If they were built in 1961, they're definitely old enough to be scrapped.

Hard to believe that they had a 10,000-cuft capacity, because they weren't taller than hi-cube box cars (were they?), and were a couple of feet shorter in length.

I wonder if you could scrap them by setting fire to one end...

[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0845 seconds