CNJ Boxcar #24165

Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) #24165 was built in 1948 by American Car & Foundry (ACF). It is a 1944 AAR-designed 40’ boxcar, one of 500 cars built on the same CNJ order. 

There are currently no restored CNJ boxcars in the state of New Jersey. This class of boxcar is significant as boxcars with 10’0” inside height (such as this one) haven’t been preserved in large numbers. While the AAR began building 10’6” inside height cars in 1942, the 1944-design models such as this were shorter to meet the needs of the Eastern roads, most of which had exact copies of this model. The famous New York Central Pacemaker fleet were primarily of this design, as were 500 cars painted in the Lackawanna's famous "Route of Phoebe Snow" billboards.

This car is also significant as it is one of the only surviving pieces of equipment ordered new for the short-lived Central Railroad Company of Pennsylvania (CRP), and it is fitted with very rare “CRR OF PA” trucks. In an attempt to avoid the state of New Jersey taxing the revenues of the CNJ's operations in Pennsylvania, the CNJ transferred its Pennsylvania operations to an operating subsidiary, The Central Railroad Company of Pennsylvania (CRP), on August 5, 1946. However, this operating arrangement was rejected in court on December 1, 1952, and at 12:01 AM on January 1, 1953, the former CRP operations in Pennsylvania became the CNJ Pennsylvania Division.

At the cease of CRP operations, the car’s ownership was transferred to the CNJ.  The car did not take part in the Conrail merger in 1976, and was instead sold to Malt Products Corporation in Saddle Brook, NJ in the early 1970s and used to store drums of food-grade phosphoric acid. It was donated by Malt Products to the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey (URHS).

Since the car was no longer owned by a railroad after the early 1970s, it was spared from the upgrades and rebuilds that many of these cars endured during that decade. It remains as one of the most original and complete 1940s boxcars in existence.

That being said, the car has been in storage for almost 20 years, and was used as a storage container for 20 years prior to that. The wooden floor and walls are rotted and all require complete replacement. However, the steel structure of the car, including framework, walls, and ceiling, remain almost completely intact, with only minor repairs necessary.

The Tri-State Railway Historical Society has adopted the car as a restoration project, while the URHS retains ownership. Tri-State will complete restoration and build a railroad exhibit inside the car that will be open to the public.

Sister car No. 22650 illustrates No. 24165's appearance when new in 1948. (Mike DelVecchio collection)

CNJ 40' boxcar paint diagram. (courtesy Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's Flags, Diamonds & Statues magazine)

Sister car No. 23517 shows the layout of lettering on our No. 24165. (courtesy Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's Flags, Diamonds & Statues magazine)

These 40' CNJ boxcars were still running in their original lettering as late as 1979, as evidenced by this photo. (Bob Wilt photo)

The interior of the boxcar on May 15, 2016 after cleaning. This car will get all new wood walls and floors. (Rudy Garbely photo)

CNJ No. 24165 as it appeared on October 9, 2014. There's still a lot of work to be done, but you can see the hint of the 1960s-era CNJ herald through the old paint! (Rudy Garbely photo)

 

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