By Railroad Model Craftsman Staff
Now at your favorite hobby dealer are Southern Pacific B-50-15 boxcars in a multitude of detail configurations, paint schemes and lettering variations from Rapido Trains.
Beginning in 1925, the Southern Pacific built nearly 5,000 40’ outside braced wood boxcars in two classes – B-50-15 and the B-50-16. These cars were built to nearly identical designs, the primary difference being in the ends used. The 3900 cars in the earlier B-50-15 class used corrugated steel ends, while the 1003 cars in class B-50-16 had “Dreadnaught” ends. Both groups of cars used a variety of different roofs, with the Murphy radial roof and the Viking roof being the most common. In fact, nearly all B-50-16s received Viking roofs. Most of these cars were delivered with T-section trucks, though many were later upgraded with “Bettendorf”-style trucks.
Starting in the 1930s, the Southern Pacific started a program of replacing the wooden sides with steel sheet sides inside of the side bracing for both classes. This program continued on and off for many years, and not all cars were rebuilt. Over the years these cars wore many different number series and Southern Pacific paint schemes with 250 cars remaining in service as late as 1970!
Rapido’s new HO scale model of these iconic SP boxcars features sides in either wood and steel styles, Viking or Murphy roofs, corrugated or Dreadnaught-style ends, separately applied ladders and grab irons, metal stirrup steps, T-section trucks, machined metal wheelsets and more. Both K-brake and AB-brake details are provided where appropriate. Available now at your dealers at $54.95 MSRP each and also in 3-packs and 6-packs in multiple road numbers.
SP 9420 is a B-50-15 with steel sides and Viking roof. Finished in SP’s special paint scheme of black with Daylight Orange for its expedited Overnight trains, this car was part of the exclusive fleet that provided door-to-door service between San Francisco and Los Angeles until World War II.
Rapido B-50-15 SP 37821 wears SP’s later 1946 black and yellow livery for its SP Overnight service that was restarted after World War II.
Some B-50-15s were assigned for service on passenger and mail trains, in a green scheme such as SP 9010 shown above. As with SP 37821 and 9420, this car is equipped with a Viking roof. All cars shown are available now at your favorite dealer while supplies last.