Worldwide Narrow Gauges > US Two Footers

Converting a Boxcar into a Single Stall Enginehouse on the J&LNG


Rick Rowlands:
A couple of years ago CSX donated a 50' plug door boxcar to the J&L Narrow Gauge.  In trying to figure out what to do with it I came up with the idea of converting it into a single stall enginehouse for the 58.  Although a bit narrow, it is probably the sturdiest and most economical structure that could be had for this purpose. 

The car was delivered by CSX to the shortline that I work for and we stuck it in a siding until it was time to move it by truck to the J&LNG.  Meanwhile, I proceeded to cut everything off the bottom of the frame, brake rigging, brackets, etc., anything that would stick down lower than the centersill and cross members.  We also installed 24" gauge rails inside the car, bolting them to the steel floor with crane rail clips.  Last Thursday it and our Erie bay window caboose (itself destined to become the general offices of the J&LNG) were loaded onto trucks and hauled to our site. 

At our site I had poured a 9' x 50' concrete pad to set the boxcar on.  We backed the trailer into position, lifted the boxcar off and set it down on the pad.  With the boxcar in place, the next phase of the project can begin.  The top of rails in the car is 20" above the pad, and with a bit of excavating I can fit a 35' transfer table that will allow us to access the boxcar, lead to the main and several other storage tracks for our equipment.  I am still working on the design of the transfer table.  I did find some 1913 era 18" I beams with beautiful JONES & LAUGHLIN roll marks to use for the table (rolled in the same plant that operated our Porters).  Once money becomes available in the summer we will start pouring concrete for the pad and perimeter walls. 

The boxcar is destined to be insulated and kept climate controlled year round so as to protect 58 from corrosion and freezing in the off season as well as provide us the option of year round operations.  I just bought an 8' x 10' insulated roll up door to install in one end of the car.

Its an odd solution to a problem, but it fits into our theme of using standard gauge equipment here.  In addition to the aforementioned caboose, we also have an 8,000 gallon tankcar to use as a water storage tank and a GE 70 ton center cab locomotive that serves as a central power house.

The attached image shows the boxcar in it's new home on the concrete pad.  The transfer table will be located in the foreground.  Our main track climbs the hill on the right and the switch into the engine facility is behind the boxcar.

Jeff Schumaker:
That is definitely an interesting use for the boxcar. You should be able to store all 3 Porters in in it. Is that the GE 70 tonner on the right side of the photo?

Jeff S.

Rick Rowlands:
The car is 50' interior length.  58 and the tender is about 35' long coupler to coupler, so about the only other thing that can stay inside with it would be the Brookville. 

When the cranes were onsite again yesterday we lifted the car up higher on cribbing so I can get underneath to spray foam the underside as well as install any conduit that will be needed.  I will jack it back down onto the pad whenever all of that work is done.  Here is a shot of the rails installed inside the car.


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