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South Jersey S Scale Modelers

B&O Express Cars


These are 2 cars I have wanted to make for a long time. I have a “Railway Express Agency” and head end car thing. There is not a lot of room on my layout for switching so I will switch the REA cars to the REA building. There are also not many cars that are blue so that adds to the variety.


Finding photos of the C-16 and C-17 cars on the internet proved to be almost impossible.



This is an Overland B&O M-53 boxcar imported in 1984. When the B&O the converted M-53 to REA express service they became class C-16. For modeling purposes the conversion from M-53 to C-16 is rather minor. I just added cut levers brass draft gear, air, signal and steam lines. The door tracks could be better but I left them as is.


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This is the M-53 right out of the box.

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Ready For Paint 10-5-20

Note the cut lever brackets. They are the first parts I ever made in about 1992.


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B&O Blue

The “correct” B&O Blue turned out to be an expensive issue. I bought Scalecoat which looked to be a bit purple to me. It did however match a B&O F7 very well I just upgraded before this project. I got 4 bottles of Tru Color “Bando Blue” (B & O Blue) because I was building 3 locos next and wanted them to match. The Tru Color was a very dark blue. I next got white figuring ½ bottle mixed into 4 bottles of blue would be good. NO! It was too light then. It took 4 more bottles of Bando Blue to darken it back up. So that is 3 bottles of Scalecoat then 9 bottles of Tru Color easily totaling over $50.00. I bought my local train store out of Bando Blue. I was done! Paint them! It might not be a “perfect” match but good enough. I found what different light sources did to these cars going from too light to dark blue. I am really not a fan of custom colors. There will be no chance of touch up in the future.



The decal set I planned on using for both cars was a generic passenger set. There was nothing in the set specifically for decaling these cars. I started decaling the C-16 first but quickly ran into big problems getting the lettering to fit between the ribs so I switched to the C-17 and completed it. The C-17 is pretty close but not perfect. There were a lot of rivets on the body of the C-17 to use for references making applying the thin striping not a big problem. I wanted to continue with the same decal set on the C-16 because I really wanted it to match the C-17 but that was not going to happen. There was no ampersand (&) in the set so that was the deciding factor. I stripped off the decals I started on the C-16 with Scotch tape. Luckily I did not have to repaint the car as I thought might happen. I used a decal set I had Jerry Glow make for me in 2012! That was a set specifically measured for the C-16 and went on very well. Jerry’s decals were the best! So spacing and layout is very good but the colors don’t match. Oh well… There is only so much I can do.


Completed 10-9-20

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This is a River Raisin Model troop sleeper converted to BX boxcar. The Troop Sleeper, Troop kitchen and BX boxcar were imported in 2003. The B&O purchased 100 WWII surplus troop sleepers from the US Government for the bargain price of $2880.00 when new boxcars would be over $5000.00. I already made a slightly less than accurate REA BX boxcar here. This car will be a bit better.


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This is the BX boxcar right out of the box. Even though it was primed I stripped it to make the soldering modifications easier.

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Shiny brass is obviously the new parts. I removed the original large center stirrup steps and added smaller stirrups. I moved the hand grab iron from the right side to the left side of the door. I then filled the 2 holes with .020 brass wire to look like rivets that should have been there. Note the brass draft gear. I made that old school before 3D designing and printing 25 years ago. It might not be 100% accurate for this car but is better than the stock Kadee plastic draft gear. The original door was really a shallow recessed channel. I just sheared 2 pieces of brass sheet and laminated on top of the original door. I thought that was a novel solution. I am keeping the Allied trucks even though the real trucks were problematic at high speeds. I think they are different looking. I added cut levers, new air, and signal and steam lines. After paint I realized the center door seam of the 2 sheets I cut was actually not very noticeable.  If I filed a slight bevel on that edge it would have made a gap. 1 side is more pronounced than the other so that is what is running facing me!


Ready For Paint 10-5-20

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Completed 10-8-20

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Updated 10-9-20

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