Thursday, December 26, 2019

Project #1 - ATSF Bx-11, 12, and 13 rebuilds

Merry Day After Christmas!

We continue our look at our first project. More cars!

The Santa Fe Bx-11, 12 and 13 classes continued in service as built until the early '40s, when some alterations were made to many, but not all, of the cars.

Bx-11 and -12 Rebuilding Begins - 8" Height Increase

ATSF Bx-11 124528 with 8" extended roof in New Britain, CT.
Kent Cochrane photo c1946/7

In 1941, the Santa Fe started a program to increase the interior capacity of the Bx-11 class and some Bx-12 box cars. This involved spacers on the sides of the cars, and extending the end (with a flat steel panel) by 8" resulting in an increasing the interior height to 10'0". The roof was replaced with a Murphy Rectangular Panel roof. Cars also received AB brakes if they hadn't already.

About half the class was modified in this way, along with 39 of the Bx-12 cars.

The difference in height is subtle, particularly in photos from a low angle. It's clearly recognizable from the end, however, due to the extended end panel.

Bx-11 and -12 Rebuilding - 12" Height Increase

ATSF Bx-12 212708 with 12" extension. Courtesy Bob's photos.

In 1943, they altered the modifications to raise the roof a full 12" to a 10'6" interior height. In addition to the larger spacers, the extra panel at the top of the side now included an extra corrugation. Usually this was another indented Dreadnaught corrugation, but in some cases it was a standard Dreadnaught panel, where the corrugation juts out from the steel panel.

Due to the height of the new extensions at the eave, five hat-section stiffeners were applied. All of the remaining Bx-11 cars, and most of the Bx-12 cars received these modifications. In 1944 the project was phased out as it became clear that the war restrictions were being lifted, so not all Bx-12s received the modifications, and none of the Bx-13 class cars did.

Starting in 1945, the Santa Fe started renumbering the cars with the 12" extended roofs into the 210000-211049 series (Bx-11) and 211051-214549 series (Bx-12). The original series for these classes retained both the cars with the 8" extended roofs, and those cars that had not been modified.

211050 was a Bx-12 with the 12" roof extension but with plywood sides applied.

There is no mistaking a Bx-11 or -12 with the 12" height extension. It makes for an interesting car in a consist, visible even when looking down the length of a train, much like picking out B&O wagontop cars or Milwaukee rib side cars.

Steel Rebuilds

ATSF Bx-11 19938 rebuilt with steel sides.
Courtesy of Santa Fe Railroad Historical and Modeling Society.

The Santa Fe rebuilt thousands of older box cars with steel sides, and it meant they remained in service much longer than similar cars on other roads.

From the side the steel rebuilds resemble any other Modified 1937 AAR Standard or Postwar AAR Standard box car with a quick glance. With a closer look, the notched end and the narrow underframe gives it away as a rebuilt car. But it's the end that really gives away their heritage, with the indented Dreadnaught ends of the original cars, plus the top panel with the extra corrugation making it clear that this was once a rebuilt Bx-11 or -12 box car.

These cars carried the more modern Santa Fe schemes, with many serving in revenue until the mid-'70s, nearly 60 years after their introduction.


Project #1 includes all of these cars too.
  1. ATSF 124000-125999 Bx-11 class
  2. ATSF 126000-129499 Bx-12 class
  3. ATSF 135000-135999 Bx-13 class
  4. RI 141000-142999 series tall Pratt truss box cars
  5. ATSF Bx-11/12 classes with 8" extended roof
  6. ATSF Bx-11/12 classes with 12" extended roof
  7. ATSF Bx-11/12/13 classes rebuilt with steel sides
Don't forget, these will be injection-molded plastic models, available RTR or as kits. Parts too.


More info on the web:
Ted Culotta featured some slides given to him by Jack Burgess of a Bx-12 on his blog.

If you are modeling in O-scale, decals (along with some information and nice photos) are available at the Protocraft site. As they note, Southern Car & Foundry makes O-scale resin kits, but they have been out of stock for a while. Here's Gene Deimling's description of building one, also with some more great prototype photos.


  1. Randy, we need to talk at Cocoa Beach. I have imported the live lists into Excel and can trace the remembering of the 21xxxx cars back to their original 12xxxx numbers. Another variation wit decent photos are the group of original height cars modified with a pair of roof hatches for cement loading by 1943. They continued in that service out of Victorville into at least the 50's.

  2. I look forward to it, that would be very helpful. See you there!