Association of American Railroads had been establishing design standards
for freight cars
since the early part of the century. Each new design standard meant
higher capacity, lighter, more durable cars. The 1937 standard 40'
box car featured an interior height of 10'. Just prior to America's
entry into the war, there was a push for an even larger interior height
for the AAR standard. The first cars that would eventually be termed
1944 AAR, were actually built in 1941 but the war delayed its declaration
as the standard. The new taller cars required a new design of end.
Corrugated metal ends had been used since the days when wood side
cars dominated for a very good reason, shifting loads would burst
through wooden ends during sudden starts and stops! These corrugated
panels were stamped in two sections, split horizontally down the middle.
The 1937 standard had 5 ribs on one half and 4 ribs on the other --
creating what is called a 5-4 Dreadnaught end. The slightly taller
1944 model required something a little different.
The lower panel has 4 ribs while the upper panel has 3 then a space
and a final rectangular rib at the top. Called a 4-3-1 (or R-3-4)
Improved Dreadnaught end, this design would dominate new box car construction
for years. Compare Intermountain's
40' box car with the deLuxe car to see the differences between the
1937 and 1944 AAR standards. Like
automobiles, freight cars are equipped with the parts from various
sub-contractors. While ACF, Magor, or Pullman Standard may build the
car, it might have doors from Youngstown, hardware from Camel, brakes
from Westinghouse, and a roof walk from Apex. Youngstown was the most
widely used door in railroading and is recreated on the deLuxe model.
Other brands including Superior, Creco, and Camel combined did not
approach the number of Youngstown doors in service. The six foot opening
was the most common.