Sunshine will Release Quanah Acme & Pacific Box Cars in Naperville

QA&P Double Sheathed Box Car (photo courtesy of Sunshine Models)

The Quanah, Acme and Pacific’s signature box car will be released by Sunshine at the 2002 Prototype Modelers Seminar in Naperville, IL. These double sheathed, wood end cars in the 500-524 series made up the major portion of this famous west Texas shortline’s fleet in the late Steam Era. Each of the two lettering versions sells for $32.

The purchase of the QA&P’s signature box cars was authorized in early 1915 and they became the mainstay of the road’s fleet. In 1941, all twenty-five cars were in service. There were twenty-three in 1948 and twenty-one in 1953.

The Quanah signature box cars retained the design features of the ‘Teens and were never rebuilt with steel components. By the late Steam Era their wood frame, wood sheathing and massive fishbelly center sill underframe were a delightful anachronism. The QA&P cars came with arch bar trucks. Photos from the Forties show Andrews trucks in use, as arch bar trucks had been outlawed for use in interchange.

The Quanah, Acme and Pacific was called the Quanah Route after the Comanche chief Quanah Parker and the town named after him. Chief Quanah was the son of a Nacona band chief and a white mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, captured in an 1836 Indian raid. He was recognized for bringing peace to the area following the Comanche wars in the late 19th Century.

During the Thirties, the Frisco gained control of the QA&P. The Quanah Route continued to operate independently, but benefited from transcontinental traffic generated by the Frisco.

Due to the Quanah’s independent operations, its cars continued to reflect the distinctive lettering of this small road. The QA&P cars bore its notable company herald to the right of the door, which consisted of a rendition od Quanah Parker with a single feather in the ‘Q’ of ‘Quanah Route’. In the late Steam Era, the cars could be seen with either the unique QA&P weight and dimensional data lettering or the Frisco’s. The QA&P lettering and herald were white. The cars were painted a bright, almost caboose red and the trucks were black.

The Quanah, Acme and Pacific connected at the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas with the Frisco’s line from Oklahoma City southwestward through Lawton, OK. The QA&P proceeded south for twenty miles to the Fort Worth & Denver crossing at Quanah, then west to Acme, where gypsum was processed. It crossed the mesquite covered range lands and canyons of west Texas and arrived on the southern high plains of the Panhandle. In the process, the road rose from 1,570 feet elevation at Quanah to 3,180 feet on the Staked Plains of west Texas.

The ambition of the QA&P was to build to El Paso, TX – a desire never fulfilled. Instead, its construction ended at Floydada, north of Lubbock and south of Amarillo where it met a branch of the Santa Fe.

The Frisco-controlled QA&P promoted itself as a bridge between the Frisco and the Santa Fe for Midwest to Pacific Coast traffic. Floydada was an alternative to the Frisco-Santa Fe interchange of St. Louis/Memphis to West Coast traffic at Avard in northwestern Oklahoma. Use of the QA&P interchange improved the Frisco division of rates by four percentage points. World War II made this bridge a necessity, quadrupling the tonnage of the QA&P. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, four transcontinental freights traversed the QA&P. By 1973, all transcontinental traffic was rerouted via Avard.

Aside from the latter day bridge and auto traffic, the road largely depended on plaster and wall board from the gypsum plant at Acme, cattle from the west Texas range and cotton from the high plains for most of its life. The population of the territory diminished dramatically from the 1930’s on due to the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II and the mechanization of agriculture.

As with Chief Quanah Parketr, who retired to Fort Sill, OK where the government built a large house with a veranda for him and his several wives, the QA&P retired gracefully in 1981. The Red River to Quanah segment remains part of the BNSF.

The Sunshine kits use gray urethane vacuum castings. Kits include proprietary decals and all detailing parts (except trucks and couplers). Four pages of instructions and a four page Prototype Data Sheet are included. The correct trucks and authentic chalkmarks are available separately.

Two versions of the QA&P signature box cars are available. One includes the weight and dimensional data lettering applied by the QA&P and the other is the lettering applied by the parent Frisco. Either kit sells for $32.

For a more detailed discussion of the history, full description of the kits and an order form, send an SSAE to Sunshine Models.

Kits are available directly from Sunshine Models, Box 4997, Springfield, MO 65808. Shipping is $4 for up to five kits in the U.S. Missouri residents add 6.6% sales tax.