ExactRail’s 40-foot ribside boxcar model replicates The Milwaukee Road’s 3,898-cubic-foot capacity prototype. This was a steel construction sliding door boxcar built before World War II. The cars served the road in many capacities and enjoyed long service lives that saw some survive through the end of The Milwaukee Road in the mid-1980s.
There have been a handful of models produced in HO over the years that replicate this interesting looking prototype, which is easily identified by its horizontal ribs running on the sides of the car. In addition to 40-foot examples, The Milwaukee Road also owned 50-foot boxcars that shared this general design appearance.
ExactRail’s effort is easily one of the best reproductions of this style boxcar. The model resides in the hobby manufacturer’s Platinum series, and includes fine detailing and numerous separate parts for its asking price (this release sold direct from ExactRail for $44.99). The fully assembled HO boxcar rides on Barber S-2 friction-style truck sideframes, which come color-matched to the plastic body shell replicating the prototype appearance. The car is fitted with ExactRail’s excellent 33-inch metal wheels (correct for this 50-ton car) and you’ll find body-mounted Kadee-made scale-head knuckle couplers. End details include a delicate and scale-looking coupler cut lever, a pair of grab irons along the frame, and a trainline hose (appearing in black with silver tip) attached to the coupler pocket. The wood-plank running boards include individual board detail, allowing you to see between the trio of boards running the length of the roof. The ends of the running boards include fine posts mounted to the car end extending up to the underside of the boards, and L-shape grab irons are separate details on the corners of the rooftop running boards. The ends and doors include separate tack boards. The group of models shown in this review covers the major differences in lettering and decoration provided in this production.