Jan 31, 2002
Starting in 1963 in their Holidaysburg Car Shops, the Pennsylvania Railroad began building one of their largest classes of boxcars--the 50' X58. By the time of the Penn Central merger, over 2,000 X58 and X58-subclasses were roaming the rails. The PRR passed on nearly all of these cars to the PC, which later passed them onto Conrail in 1976. Many of these boxcars can still be seen all across the country in a number of paint schemes and body variations.
A quick overview of these cars shows that they are all 50'8" rib-sided boxcars, with 10'6" centered plug doors, 20" travel cushioned underframes for shock control, and 70-ton roller bearing trucks with 33" wheels. Subclass variations occur depending on internal equipment and assignments. The following is a brief overview of the X58 subclasses:
Since the X58 is one of the oldest boxcar classes still in use on Conrail, several body and paint-scheme variations have occurred over the years. The PRR originally built these cars with full height ladders, upper-position brake wheels, and roofwalks. As railroads began 'modernizing' their rolling stock during the late 1960s and 1970s, roofwalks were removed. Many cars also had their brake wheel lowered and ladders shortened to half-height.
But many cars have retained their higher position brake wheel. These cars also retain two full-height ladders in order to reach the wheel, one ladder on the side and one ladder on the rear. These cars also retain the roof grabs by the wheel. Of course there are exceptions. CR 368090 has a lowered wheel but retains its full-height ladder. These variations make the cars interesting to model.
When you check out the X58 photos on the next page, notice the number of paint-scheme variations on the cars. For example, the Pennsy applied 'DF,' 'DFB,' or 'LD' markings when needed. PC seemed to have just one basic scheme, while Conrail seems to have had a number of scheme and paint-out variations.
So while the X58 appears to simply be a plain Conrail boxcar class, there are many choices to be made. You can literally model a small fleet of X58's and never have two identical cars!
The detailed rosters below are based on an October 1991 Official Railway Equipment Register and reflect those roadnames that were in service at that time. I have made every effort to check them for accuracy, though cars that were taken off roster might still appear in service several years later. Plus many errors crept into Conrail's rolling stock fleet over the years. Please use these rosters only as a guide for your modeling efforts, combining them with photographic evidence.
Photos for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image.
Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.