LowCube Scrap Gons
By Pat Durand
When the Alaska Railroad created the 8000 class HiCube box cars in 1973 a by product was what can only be called LowCube Scrap Gons. You can learn all about the process by reading the history of the HiCube cars. While not confirmed, we surmise there were about 30 cars built because we have photos of numbers ranging from 8003 to 8027.
When the section from the windows up was removed from the donor cars, the remaining portions were put to work in some unique ways. Shane Durand photographed two of the lower portion car bodies in 1993 when they were finally being removed from the Anchorage rail yard and sent to scrap. For many years these car bodies had been set up against the hillside behind the diesel shop and provided open storage platforms. They were painted in the ARR structure color.
At this time I have no photos, but reportedly the bottom section of several donor cars were used for a one way trip to the steel mill with scrap loads. Old doors and roof sections were used to bridge the door openings and remains of the excess roofs and general scrap were loaded aboard. With out the car's box structure for strength, loading was reduced and concentrated over the bolsters.
With the left over portions of two HiCube cars that I built from the plastic Troop Sleeper kits several years ago, I created the two LowCube Scrap Gons pictured here in HO scale.
Photo courtesy of Shane Durand