B2 Steel boxcar 5000-5499, vermilion red with Empire Builder script, St. Cloud 1955, HO Scale

B2 Steel boxcar 5000-5499, vermilion red with Empire Builder script, St. Cloud 1955, HO Scale

Regular price $54.95 $0.00 Unit price per

B2 10' 6" IH 40' 6" IL Steel boxcar 5000-5499, vermilion red with Empire Builder script to right of door, St. Cloud built 1955, HO Scale.

These ready-to-run HO scale models of Great Northern 10’ 6” inside height, 40’ 6” inside length, 3900 cubic foot box cars by Rapido are correctly numbered in series 21450 to 21939 built at St. Cloud in 1953 with early dreadnaught ends, and 5000-5499 built at St. Cloud in 1955 with late dreadnaught ends.

These cars provided 3900 cubic feet of space compared with 10’ 2” IH, 3715 cubic feet for cars built in 1949 and 1951. These 10’ 6” cars feature a straight side sill that give the cars a husky look that is visibly different than their predecessors. They were painted mineral red when built.

Cars have the correct hand brake for each road number. All of the lettering, numbering, and dates on each paint scheme is appropriate for the time period in which the car would have been painted or repainted. Each of the paint schemes offered is supported by photographic evidence.

Rapido’s models are equipped with correct Youngstown doors and are correctly numbered to match the style of end. Both end styles are available painted mineral red as built.

Rapido and our GNRHS Model Development Team have worked diligently to create the most accurate mass produced Great Northern boxcar model to date.

This model is painted in vermilion red paint scheme with Great Northern to the right of the door in Empire Builder script.

Early end styles, cars 21450 to 21939, are available in mineral red, in vermilion red with Empire Builder script to the left of the door, in glacier green and in the orange and green DF-2 paint schemes.

Late end styles, cars 5000-5499, are also available in mineral red, in Big Sky Blue, and in vermillion with slanted Great Northern to the right of the door.

When production of these cars ended in 1955 the 950 cars of this design were about 4% of the Great Northern’s box car roster. Most of them lasted beyond the BN merger. If you are modeling 1952-1970, and even a decade or so beyond, you should have some of these cars in your fleet.

See GNRHS Reference Sheet 61.


Boxcars dominated the Great Northern’s car fleet for decades. They were used to haul anything that had to be protected from the weather. Grain was the traffic that paid the GN’s bills and grain was hauled in boxcars. Grain originated from Montana east of the Rocky Mountains eastward along the entire railway to Minneapolis, and from central Montana and Eastern Washington to export elevators on the Lower Columbia River and Puget Sound. Lumber moved eastward from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana in box cars. Lumber was long haul traffic that generated good revenue per carload. Less than Carload and carload merchandise was an important commodity group due to its high revenue. Boxcar loads of merchandise moved predominately westward on the GN.

Great Northern began to build its fleet of 40-foot box cars at the turn of the Twentieth Century. By 1917 the railway had purchased 22,666 40-foot wooden underframe box cars of 80,000 pound and 2,687 cubic feet capacity. Of these, 8,860 had drop bottoms for transportation of bulk coal. Side doors were 5’ 5” wide. 

After the United States entered WW I in April 1917, American producers flooded the ports of New York and New Jersey with supplies for England and France much faster than water carriers could remove them. Up to 180,000 cars, including many tens of thousands of boxcars, plugged the ports and the rail lines leading to them as far west as Pittsburg and Buffalo, creating a car shortage in the rest of the country. Rather than help unclog the ports, the Federal Government took over the railroads on December 26, 1917 and created a new bureaucracy, the USRA, to operate them.

Great Northern received 1,500 USRA box cars in 1919, numbered 23494 to 24993 which were the GN’s first steel under fame box cars. Inside length was 40’ 6” compared to GN’s previous cars that were 40’ IL. Doors were 6’ wide, rather than GN’s previous 5’ 5” standard. The 40’ 6” IL and six-foot-wide doors would become GN and industry standard dimensions until the end of production of 40-foot box cars.

Beginning in 1937 and continuing through 1942, the Great Northern bought 8,000 ARA design cars of 10’ 0” inside height and 3712 cubic feet capacity with tongue and grove sides from commercial car builders. Capacity of these cars was nominally 100,000 pounds.

Then in 1944, 1945, and 1947 the Great Northern built 1,875 plywood sided cars of 10’ 0” inside height and 3727 cubic feet capacity at St. Cloud. Capacity of these cars was nominally 100,000 pounds.

Great Northern built its first all steel box cars at St. Cloud in 1948, cars 10900 to 11874, and express box cars 2525-2549. Great Northern was the last major railroad to adopt all steel box car construction. All 4,975 40-6 Inside Length box cars built from 1948 to 1951 had 12 steel panels per side, tabbed side sills and inside height of either 10’ or 10-2. Great Northern built another 1,000 12 panel cars numbered 20500 to 21449 in 1952 that were 10’ 6” IH and had tabbed sills. The cars we are now offering, 21450 to 21939 and 5000 to 5499, had straight side sills, which made them visibly different from their tabbed sill predecessors.