Boxcabs Continuation Page 5
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Updated:  16 Nov 2003, 18:20  ET
{restored some missing images 31 Jan 03}
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S. Berliner, III's

BOXCABS Continuation Page 5

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing

"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher


Pneumatic, and Steam Boxcabs!

(Page separated out from Page 2 on 27 Feb 99)

(Electric Boxcabs page separated out from Page 5 on 07 Jan 00)

There are now more than fifty (50) BOXCAB pages;
see the main Boxcabs page and the Boxcabs INDEX.

This site has now been visited times since the counter was installed.

BOXCAB BIBLIOGRAPHY moved to end of Continuation Page 3.


{severely curtailed to make space}

  TEXAS-MEXICAN BOXCABS (moved to its own page on 12 Apr 03.   rev.gif (12 Apr 03)


   (separated out from this page on 07 Jan 00)
Piedmont & Northern #5103

ELECTRIC BOXCABS - There were (and even are) jillions and zillions of other boxcab electrics; the Pennsy specialized in them and the Great Northern wasn't far behind.  However, this page overloaded, so I've separated out the electric boxcabs and created a new page, ELECTRIC BOXCABS, et seq.

OLD LINKS now directed to ELECTRIC BOXCABS Page:

MILW #102000.

Piedmont & Northern #5103 N&W's ELECTRIC BOXGON!

Odd Boxcabs

The first really "odd" production boxcabs were probably the New York Central's multiplicity of oil-electric and straight electric units, from the third-rail electric S- and T-motors through a wide variety of Tri-Power units that ran off their diesels, off third rail, or off batteries (briefly).  Here's a crop from a larger William R. Rinn photo of Harmon yard ca. Dec 1949, on an Audio Visual Designs postcard, showing a very interesting group of boxcabs:  S-motors #131 and #120, what appears to be a 1526-series tri-power unit hidden behind them, T-motor #259, and tri-power unit #539.  Not a bad lineup for a boxcab fan(atic)!

49 NYC Harmon boxcabs
(Image cropped from '49 W. W. Rinn photo on Audio Visual Designs postcard)

An Air Boxcab
?  Yes, Virginia, there WAS an Air Boxcab.  More accurately, it was a Diesel-Pneumatic (or compressed air) locomotive, sort of vaguely like a boxcab, with huge radiators and cabs at each end.  Little known, except to nuts like me, it suddenly hit the RR consciousness when Märklin came out with an HO (1:87.1) model of it, AND then a Z (1:220) version for their 2000 Insider Model (which I got on 03 Mar 01).  See the writeup (which inexplicably vanished from this page) on my Z-Scale Page 6.  In brief, however, a huge diesel turned a large compressor which drove the unjacketed (but otherwise normal) cylinders of a standard 4-6-4T steam-style chassis.

Z V-32 Diesel-Compr. Air Loco
(Image courtesy of the Berlinerwerke-Z -
which, in itself, should tell you something!)

Here, for comparison, is the actual new (Mar 01) Märklin #88065 Insider Model of the V 32 001 in Z:

#88065 Z V 32 001
(Photo 03 Mar 01 by and © Copyright 2001 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Here is the amazing STEAM BOXCAB predecessor to B&O #195 (ex-#1), which replaced it in 1925.  It ran in Manhattan until it was replaced by boxcab #1.  "This late Civil War era locomotive (an 1865 'Jersey Greenback' rebuilt in 1889 for use in NY City) was still in active service on Staten Island up to 1946.  It was the oldest steam locomotive in regular service on a Class I railroad at the time."

B&O #316 Steam Boxcab
B&O 1865 Boxcab Steamer #316
Info and image from, and thanks to, Ed Bommer of Cooperstown, New York.

Ed Bommer also writes (slightly edited) that:

"#316 worked on Manhattan Island (NY City) from 1889 'til the delivery of boxcab diesel #1 in 1925.  Then it went to work on Staten Island.

I believe that when #1 had to be shopped for any reason (servicing, maintenance, wheel truing, etc.) #316 was snuck back to the City by barge on a dark night to do its thing 'til #1 got back to work.  There was no substitute locomotive for # 1 at the time.

The delivery in 1940 of SIRT's GE diesel loco would have provided a substitute for #1 (now #195) when needed.  The #316 would then remain on Staten Island.  SIRT's GE no doubt filled in for the #195 after its unscheduled dip in the Hudson and recovery at the Clifton Shops during the War.

WWII maintained the need for steam on Staten Island.  Daniel Willard, President of the B&O and chair of rail service coordination for the Federal government's war effort, had arranged that SIRT would handle all East coast hospital trains.  New York was only East Coast port of call for hospital ships serving the European Theatre of the War and Staten Island's piers at Stapleton were closest to NY Harbor's entry.

These hospital {trains}, as well as the troop and POW trains also handled on the SIRT, required steam for heat on the cars.  This kept #316 and other steam locos alive and well for quite a while into the 1940's." - Thanks, Ed!

The New York Central also had one or more boxcab Shay steamers for use on NY city streets:

NYC Boxcab Shay #1896
NYC 1923 Boxcab Shay #1896
Image from The Shay Guru.

They ran with a man on horseback, carring a red or white flag, preceding them down the street; I've seen a great photo of this somewhere.

In addition, Tom Lawson advises (13 Feb 99) that the Union Freight R.R. had big 3-truck, 70-Ton Climax geared steam boxcabs running on Boston streets into the '40s.

From Ed Vasser's fabulous compilation of Climax locos, here are the three likely units [all standard gauge, class C, 80-ton (Ed' s Climax Roster line numbers noted)]:

C/N 1617, built  2/1923, UFRR #8 (Roster Line 15),
C/N 1664, built  2/1925, UFRR #7 (Roster Line 17), and
C/N 1682, built 11/1928, UFRR #4 (Roster Line 17)

{ Can anyone furnish pictures, please?}

Well, for one thing, Ed Vasser, himself, did; here, from his page on the Class A Climax locomotives used by Nicholas W. Heinemann on his operations in Colegrove and Crosby, Pennsylvania, is the engineer's side view of one of those Boxcab Steam Climaxes:

Heinemann Cl A Climax Boxcab
[Image from E. Vasser Climax site, credited to Julia Gallop - all rights reserved to source.]
{My thanks to Gerold Eckl for spotting this!}

Ed writes, "Note the Climax style headlight mounted on the smoke box and the bell mounted on the roof.  There are narrow doors on either side of the smoke box and at the water tank end of the cab.  The first panel on either side of the cab by the boiler slides open to allow loading of the wood fuel used."  He further advises that a "steam siphon hose was used to add water to the locomotive."  I note that one Henemann Class A Climax loco, s/n 1613 (not necessarily a boxcab), was built 6/1923 at 22 tons for 3' gauge (Roster 15).

[Climax made 6-cylinder distillate engines used on the Porter 22½-ton boxcabs and end-cabs.]

Oops!  Lee Snover advises I have my Climaxii mixed; the Climax Manufacturing Co., of Corry, Pennsylvania, was the steam locomotive builder, while the Climax Engine Manufacturing Co. (later a division of Waukesha Motor Co., of Clinton, Iowa) was the maker of distillate engines for the Porter boxcabs.  Thanks, Lee!

Of course, there were zillions of steam dummies like #316 for use on city streets which resulted in steam boxcabs of sorts; that's what the NYC Shay was, really.

My all-time favo(u)rite STEAM BOXCAB has to be Tom Oversluizen's 1/7-scale Dutch steam dummy, which he runs at the Long Island Live Steamers; I call her "Lil' Green" and here she is on the LILS main with Tom at the helm:

Tom Oversluizen's 1/7-scale Steam Boxcab
Cropped 26 Feb 00 from 1976 image courtesy of Tom Oversluizen, 2000; all rights reserved.

What you can't see on this shot is that every single detail is there and WORKS, even down to tiny handles, hatches, and toolboxes!

Tom advises that she is called a "Dutch Steam Tram Engine" and that there were many companies operating these tramways in Holland (1880-1930) which were used as a means of local transportation, from farm to market and such,usually at the side of existing roads.  Normally they were a one-man operation.  He choose a rather big one (21 tons) for this model that operated on standard gauge.  There were several that operated on as small as 75cm {30"} gauge.  Tom was lucky to see some of them during the war years when they were put back in service to provide some form of transportation because of the lack of liquid fuels.  This model is named "Verhoop" because of the valve gear developed by a Dutch engineer of that name especially for these small inside-cylindered engines.  It looks a bit like Joy gear but is much better.  Her scale is basically 1/8 but, to make her a little stronger, Tom made her at an actual 1/7.  She weighs 225 lbs.  Tom built her with running on the LILS track in mind and she didn't let him down!  Water is carried in her side tanks (1 gallon) and coal is usually stacked in briquettes on the foot plate (full size).  He feeds her with two injectors and a steam pump.  He ran her for 20 years on the LILS track but now she is ready for an overhaul and a paint job.

(Text edited slightly from information provided by Tom Oversluizen.)

Westmodel makes a wild variety of unique etched-brass models in Z scale (1:220) and other scales and teases us with a line drawing of a 1904 Prussian State Railway 4-4-4 STEAM BOXCAB (with a BOXCAB TENDER, no less!), that beat all other steam boxcabs all hollow! Wow, would I ever love to have THAT one in Z!

1904 Prussian State Rwy Steam Boxcab
(Image from Westmodel by specific permission - all rights reserved to Westmodel.)
[Thumbnail image - click on the photo for a larger image.]

They DO make a similar unit, their #10050 in HO, the Prussian S9 loco in the Kuhn-Wittfeld version, with TWO box cabs (so to speak - "teilverkleidet" - "partially disguised"):

Prussian State Rwy Steamer w/ Box Cab
(Image from Westmodel by specific permission - all rights reserved to Westmodel.)
[Thumbnail image - click on the photo for a larger image.]

They are BOTH S9s, the fully-enclosed one is #561 and the dual-cab one is #562; Douglas Self {see also below} has a page on them at The Prussian State Railway Cabforward Locomotives, and allowed me to reproduce these old photos of them:   new.gif (08 Apr 03) and   rev.gif (12 Apr 03)

Prussian State Rwy S9 #561

Prussian State Rwy S9 #562
(photos lightened from very dark images courtesy of D. Self - all rights reserved)
{see also below}

As a courtesy to my Uruguaian e-friend, Sr. Benoit (he of the Uruguaian shovelnose boxcabs), I am posting here photos of a pair of 1921 STEAM RAILCARS (rebuilt with IC engines), supplied by the New York firm of Geo. E. Nolan Incorporated of 50 East 42nd Street, NY.  Can anyone supply information about the firm or who built these cars?  No. 101 was scrapped but No. 102 is preserved as a classroom in a school.  They are not really boxcab locomotives but my curiosity is piqued.  Here they are, probably being rebuilt from steamers, ca. 16 Apr 22, prior to their 14 May 22 inaugural run (and an awful reproduction of that photo from a newspaper, showing more of these incredible radiators!):

1921 Uru. 101/102 16Apr22 ph 1921 Uru. 101/102 16Apr22 news
(Images from Sr. Benoit.)

The two were received in January, 1921, and entered service on the Montevideo-Santiago Vazquez line on 14 May 1922; here are another shot dated 12 Nov 22 (but almost certainly taken the same day as the above - note all the junk laying around on the ground) of their fitting out/rebuilding and a grainy news photo of their inauguration:

1921 Uru. 101/102 12Nov22 inaug. 1921 Uru. 101/102 14May22 inaug.
(Images from Sr. Benoit.)

However, in October of that same year, both units were stored because they turned out to be highly unreliable and not suitable for a short line of 20 km (12½ miles); their steam pressure was too high.  They were stored until 1929 when they were converted to petrol-electric and run on other lines owned by the State Railway.  In 1948, both of them were converted to diesel-electric railcars.  In 1963, they were converted into a two-car diesel electric railcar (Buda engine).  Car 101 had the engine and car 102 was a cab car (trailer) only.  These photos show them in service at Sayago:

1921 Uru. 101/102 Sayago 1 1921 Uru. 101/102 Sayoag 2
(Images from Sr. Benoit.)

Can anyone help identify the sources of these railcars?

Here, from Dick Bolt's collection, is Boston & Albany's "Berkshire":   new.gif (31 Jan 03)

B&A Berkshire

She's probably an inspection engine, but she's got a boxy cab, eh?  Dig that boarding ladder fo'ard!

For the N&W's #7 electric BOXGON (or whatever they call it?), see Electric Boxcabs.


Few boxcabs were odder, as a sizeable group, than those bought or assembled by the Texas-Mexican Railway, originally a U.S. RR (1856) which later ran from Corpus Christi into Mexico (1877), then was acquired by the Mexican government (Ferrocarriles de Mexico, ca. 1900), sold to Transportaçion Maritima Mexicana (in 1982), and finally acquired (49%) by the KCS (in 1995) and still running!  Starting with seven (7) boxcabs from Whitcomb with DeLaVergne engines, #501-507, delivered from Jul through Sep 1939, B&M #1141, a St. Louis Car Co. railcar with a Cooper-Bessemer engine, #508, two Baldwin boxcabs with Baldwin engines, #509-510; they finally ended up with two more St. Louis Car Co. units with Cooper-Bessemer engines in Jul 46, #700A/B, and two again in Aug 47, #701A/B, all with Westinghouse gear.  By then, several endcab units had also appeared, but not before these boxcabs were renumbered so many times I can't really follow it and some renumbered back again, and some were converted to endcabs and at least one converted back to a boxcab, and paired units broken up and single units paired , etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum!  Do you wonder I call them odd?

All of this is spelled out in excruciating detail in Extra 2200 South ("a quarterly magazine dedicated to railroad diesel locomotives in North America"), Issue No. 42, Sep-Oct 73 (out of print).

This page overloaded, so I moved the Tex-Mex coverage to its own page.   rev.gif (12 Apr 03)

Now for some even odder boxcabs:

First, we'll go back to the beginnnings.  Thanks once more to Mark Laundry; we now have a photo and description of the 1924 Russian Lomonosov boxcab locomotive; from the comprehensive "The European Railway Picture Gallery" on "The European Railway Server" of Marco van Uden, here it is:   new.gif

1924 Lomonosov
(Photographer unknown - scanned by Oleg Izmerov, ,
from The European Railway Picture Gallery, linked above.)
[Thumbnail image - click on photo for larger image.]

I have had a photo of the insides of the engine but had not published it because it did not show the boxcab, itself; here it is:

1924 Lomonosov
(Photo from Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20.)

There seems to be some disagreement as to what firm built this loco; Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20, in the 1927 section, states that the loco was built by the Hohenzollern Locomotive Works while most other accounts (including The European Railway Picture Gallery account) have it built by Esslingen Machine Works.  Of course, Esslingen may well have been a subsidiary of Hohenzollern.  I have told that V 32 001 was NOT built by Esslingen, but by MAN under contract to Esslingen, so who knows?

The Gallery's text, paraphrased:  E_el-2 (at first classed as Yu_e-001) is one of the oldest diesel-electric locomotives in the world.  It was designed in Russia by Professor Yu. Lomonosov, and built in November 1924 at the Esslingen plant in Germany for the Russian railways.  From 1925 on, E_el-2 was in Russia, used with experimental trains near Moscow.  In 1928 the diesel cooling system was modernized and E_el-2 was used by the Middle-Asian Railroad in Russia.  It endured very hard service in deserts, mountains, and the great arid steppes.  The E_el-2 was proof of the possibilities and future of diesel locomotives {ALCo might dispute that}.  It worked trains for nearly 30 years.  It was only taken out off service in 1954.  Technical parameters:  1,200 hp MAN Diesel 6V45/42, traction power: 900 hp/axle, 1-5-1 (2-10-2), traction generator: BBC, 800 kW, traction motors: 5*142 kW, tractive force: 15200 kg \{\}, full weight: 124,8 \{\} tons, length: 14,2 m \{\}, height: 5,2 m \{\}, width: 3,1 m \{\}, traction wheel dia.: 1,22 m \{\}.

The photo shows E_el-2 after the first test in Esslingen, on 06 Nov 1924, with the designers and guests near the locomotive.

Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20 also shows, in the 1927 section, an almost identical loco built with a gear transmission and magnetic clutches:

Geared Lomonosov
(Photo from Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20.)

Geared Lomonosov dwg
(Drawings from Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20.)

It also shows a line drawing of an early version of the diesel-pneumatic V 32 001 and a photo, otherwise unidentified, of a German diesel locomotive with an exhaust gas transmission {turbine?}:

Early drawing of V 32 Exhaust Gas Xmission Loco
(Drawings and photo from Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20.)

Douglas Self {see also above} has a page on the V 32 001 at A German Diesel-Pneumatic Locomotive and kindly allowed me to reproduce the photos here:   new.gif (12 Apr 03)

V 32 001 undressed a

V 32 001 undressed b

V 32 001 dressed c
(photos lightened from very dark images courtesy of D. Self - all rights reserved)

Also in the 1927 section of Train Shed No. 20, Waterbury Tool Company also had a hand at a boxcab loco {who didn't?}; No. 1, a small (19' 6") gasoline-engined unit with a variable-speed oil transmission (how civilized - a forerunner of Chrysler's Fluid Drive), utilizing a Waterbury swash-plate hydraulic pump and motor and built by The Universal Engineering Corporation.  This loco would appear to be Canadian, the cars immediately behind are a Canadian Government Railways stock car and several heavily-loaded Grand Trunk gons:

Universal/Waterbury Oil-Drive Loco
(Photo from Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20.)

note-rt.gif Missing English-measure dimensions will be restored momentarily.

Here is either a motor car with a box cab or a boxcab with a motor; I'm not sure which; it looks like a boxcab that slipped backwards on its chassis (maybe the traction motor blower blew too hard or the radiator fan blew backwards?):

1923 BLW Dinger Sugar/Java gas

This unit hummed along at the Dinger Sugar Mill in Java; did that make it a "Humdinger"?

[Otherwise, I'd call it a "Bummer Hummer"!]

And here is the sad case of an Alaskan boxcab loco which lost BOTH its motor AND its boxcab, went totally loco, and then went completely to the dogs!

Seward Pen. 3' dog car

(both images from Bruce Pryor's Narrow Gauge Pictures From Off The Beaten Path site).


[Yes, I know; I'm pushing the envelope, here!]

{Or should I say I'm stepping "outside the box"?}

Relax - relief is only a moment away; here is what looks so much like like an odd boxcab locomotive:

B&O CT Trm Spdr 4 - Wayner 38b
(from Railroad Work Equipment and Special Service Cars, Robert J. Wayner, NY, ca. 1989)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image.]

It really isn't; it's B&O Chicago Terminal Speeder #4, a perfectly ordinary track speeder with a box body on it.
  new.gif (16 Nov 03)

There was nothing funny about 9/11/01, but a spate of anti-terrorist humor arose that is unparalleled for originality and cleverness (laughter IS the best medicine).  Here's a picture that someone sent me on the Web that actually turns out to be a terrorist boxcab:

Terrorist Boxcab

Don't let appearances deceive you; the motive power is NOT a Mother Hubbard but a true camelback.
Notice that it's a Stealth Camel; no shadow!
Notice also the small as{h} hopper under the back end.

There are now more than fifty (50) BOXCAB pages;
see the main Boxcabs page and the Boxcabs INDEX.

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S. Berliner, III

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To tour the Boxcabs pages in sequence, the arrows take you from the previous page, to the Boxcabs index, the first Boxcabs page, and on to continuation pages 3 and 4, then 100-tonner LIRR #401 and her sisters, survivor boxcabs (with map) and survivor notes, survivor CNJ #1000 (the very first), Ingersoll-Rand boxcabs (with instruction manual), other (non-ALCo/GE/I-R) boxcabs, Baldwin-Westinghouse boxcabs, odd boxcabs, and finally model boxcabs.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 - All rights reserved.

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