Sunday, August 8, 2021

Freight Car Storage

The  Minneapolis & Northland & Railroad Company (M&N) like the Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern on which it is loosely based, is a bridge route connecting the Great Northern (GN) in Minneapolis, the Chicago And North Western (C&NW) in Little Chicago, The Milwaukee Road (MILW) in Northfield and the Chicago Great Western (CGW) in Randolph.  I call them working or “live” interchanges as each operating session thirty or more new cars come on the M&N railroad via these interchanges and cars from a previous operating  session leave the railroad.  The cars entering the M&N via the Interchanges come out of original or other storage boxes or go into their original boxes or other boxes for storage when leaving the railroad.

GN Interchange track is against backdrop
with Dawkins siding next to it
 for overflow if required.
(click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

CNW Interchange with a table leaf 
flip up extension.

West MILW Interchange.
An East MILW Interchange (no photo) holds six cars.

CGW Interchange currently holds four cars.
If flip up extension is added it will hold another four cars.

Any freight car we build requires a storage location if not on the railroad.  All freight cars not on the  Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company or in display cases are stored in their original boxes with the exception of resin cars or those purchased with no box.  Original resin car boxes in my opinion take up too much storage space.  Therefore, resin cars and cars not having original boxes are normally stored in Athearn boxes.  Why?  In the early years of the M&N when adding resin or cars without original boxes and purchasing only forty foot freight cars I decided I liked the Athearn and Train-Miniature boxes size to store them in best.

I first thought I would make my own boxes and I did make some.  The boxes were made from cardboard and paper corners applied with Elmer’s white glue.

Pattern for boxes I made
(click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

Boxes with first insets I made and used.
Inserts I decided were too time consuming to make.

Some of the boxes I made and continue to use
on empty box storage shelf.

After making some boxes I decided that time I spent making boxes would be better spent working on the railroad or equipment.  Therefore, I contacted Athearn and purchased 100 boxes.  After several years passed I purchased another 100 boxes from Athearn.  Additional cases of empty Athearn boxes came my way when a local hobby shop owner offered them to me when closing his shop.

Boxes purchased from Atheran

In addition to the exterior of the car storage container, in my case boxes, the interior is also important.  The car has to be protected or cushioned from movement during handling.  After using tissue paper, paper towel, foam, and bubble wrap and having or finding issues with each, I finally settled on a combination of foam and cardboard.  The foam of various thickness covers the length on one side of the box on which the trucks of the freight car rest.  At times, foam is also used to fill extra space in a box.  If foam is considered a problem a strip of cardboard can cover the foam.  The car is held in place in the box with cardboard strips cut 1 1/2 inches wide on a paper cutter.  The card board strips are bent to shape and cut to fit as shown in the photo below.

Car storage boxes I made
 with foam and cardboard strips.

Resin cars in Athearn car storage boxes
with foam and cardboard strips.

Resin car in Athearn car storage box 
with foam and cardboard strips.

Strips only with no foam is an option.

Of course, the empty or filled car boxes also require storage.  For M&N Interchange freight car box storage I have cabinets with shelves with a shelf designated for each Interchange except for the CGW Interchange which to date is on a shelf under the railroad.  One shelf is also designated for empty boxes that contained cars moved onto the railroad via interchanges.  The car cards for the cars stored in boxes on shelves in the cabinets are in a file drawer in a separate location.

Storage cabinet for car boxes.
Open bottom section of cabinet
is for empty car boxes.

CGW Interchange shelf storage below railroad.

The storage system I have described for the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company has and continues working well for me.  A safe storage system you might consider for your freight cars if looking for a freight car storage system.

And, if you do not have an Interchange on your railroad I would encourage to add one , two if possible, to enhance operation.  With two interchanges any type car can move from one Interchange to another Interchange (off- line to off-line).  The off-line to off-line car movement enables that car we just like, want and hard to justify, be run on the railroad.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.


1 comment:

  1. Thanx... very helpful tips... for when I get organized.