Thursday, February 4, 2021

When is a Monon Box Car not a Monon Box Car?


John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

This photo was recently posted at the Barriger's flickr site. It immediately grabbed my attention because I knew from the car number and details that it was not a Monon car. CIL 9147 was a 1937 AAR-design car, like CIL 9157 shown below. Monon's 1947-built cars were different, as well, with welded sides and Improved Dreadnaught ends with full-width top ribs and that group of cars also had either Superior or Improved Youngstown doors. I love this type of challenge. Fortunately, I knew immediately what it was, but as an A+ geometry student in high school, I like working through the proof.

This is what CIL 9147 would have looked like, including the National B-1 trucks:

Big Four Graphics

Here are the details that I used to arrive at the real prototype (highlighted in the image below):

  • "Bow-tie" arrangement of rivets at the bolsters
  • Pre-war Youngstown doors
  • Abbreviated top rib in Improved Dreadnaught ends
  • "Kinked" right ladder stile
  • Capacity data fully spelled out, along with type style

The conclusion: CIL 9147 was actually a CB&Q postwar car from the XM-32 family of box cars (note that while the prototype shown below has Improved Youngstown doors, there were cars in this group with pre-war Youngstown doors; I just don't have a good photo of one!) The Monon marketing team no doubt doctored the photo to promote their service to Old Forester. Case closed... Columbo solves the crime again! Book 'em Danno

Al Hoffman Collection


  1. What a fun post! I am in the midst of learning as much as I can about various freight car types as I track down background and history for the cars seen in photos I have for the RR I model (Georgetown Branch of the B&O). I'm somewhat of a newbie at this, but over the last few months have been digging in hard to try to correlate the cars seen in photos to what HO scale models are available to try to get close to having those prototype cars on my layout. Really enjoyed your sleuthing and post!

  2. One more piece of evidence: the 8-rung ladders.

  3. Hi Ted, Would you allow us to include this article in the Zephyr publication?


Comments always welcome!