Like the Canadian National did during the period 1929-1931, the Canadian Pacific Railway bolstered its box car fleet by building a significant number of cars to a single design during the same time period, punctuated as well by the economic fallout of the start of the Depression. The box cars built by the Canadian Pacific broke new ground in terms of design by incorporating tabbed side sills at the bolsters and crossbearers. While I have yet to find any documentation to definitively substantiate the theory, the minibox appears to have been a precursor to the 1932 American Railway Association standard box car design. The CP cars eliminated the use of channel side sills, common to all 1920s era ARA designs, which rendered the side sheathing extremely susceptible to corrosion due to moisture being trapped between the steel side sheathing and the channels. The 1932 design also incorporated tabbed side sills at the bolsters, crossbearers and crossties. However, the center sill of the 1932 ARA design was markedly different from that of the previous ARA designs and the CP minibox. The earlier designs employed two channels that were connected via a cap that was riveted to the top of both channels, while the 1932 ARA design employed two zee-sections that were welded together along an adjacent edge. In addition, the 1932 ARA box car design was able to effect a weight reduction that was not present in the CP minibox. Thus, the minibox can be considered an evolutionary step towards the 1932 ARA car, not a revolutionary leap.
The CP built 7,500 cars to this design. They all featured a diminutive interior height of 8'7", five foot wide Youngstown corrugated steel doors with Camel No. 50 rollers, Murphy radial roofs, Dreadnaught ends with indented corrugations with a pronounced flat bulge section where the two end panels were joined, KC brakes and Jemco hand brakes. As mentioned previously, they had very noticeable tabs at the body bolsters (above the trucks) and at the side sills under the doors. A small number of cars were built with lumber doors. As delivered, the cars had a single grab on the left end of the side. Starting in the late 1930s cars began to receive a second grab, AB brakes and Ajax hand brakes. Because of the low interior height and the narrow five foot door openings, they have been dubbed by historians and modelers as the minibox.
As delivered, the cars sported the spartan CP scheme with block CANADIAN PACIFIC on the left car side above the reporting marks. In 1947, some received the short-lived Spans the World logo depicting a globe with three different modes of transportation. In 1951, the CP rolled out the stepped CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY scheme. In 1954, another new scheme was introduced. This time, a large script Canadian Pacific was placed across the three panels to the left of the ladder. It is not clear if any of the cars in revenue service received the red scheme with the CP Multi Mark logo.
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