billboard boxcars for tobacco shipments : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I would like to know if any members have knowledge about whether RJ Reynolds, American Tobacco, etc. ever had "billboard boxcars" for transporting cured tobacco from eastern North Carolina to their cigarette factories. I'm wondering if there was ever a prototype of some sort for the Lionel 1977 "tobacco road" series of cars. RJR's research library is too...pre-occupied to provide any help. Anybody out there ever see real boxcars with tobacco advertising?

-- neville patterson (, April 11, 2000


Thanks very much for the replies and the information. I remember being intrigued by the A&EC boxcar at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer a couple of years ago, took a close up photo of the herald, and plan to use that car on my 0-27 layout with plenty of ACL and SAL boxes as well. Wish I could get to the event there in June and meet you Larry, but I'll make it some other time. Regards.

-- neville patterson (, April 13, 2000.

While not "billboard" cars, the Atlantic & East Carolina (a Southern Ry. affiliate) had 40' boxcars with a round tobacco leaf herald. These showed up sometimes on the ACL and SAL, although whether in tobacco service or not, I don't know.

-- Larry Goolsby (, April 12, 2000.

To answer your question directly, NO!, There were no "billboard" tobacco boxcars. The I.C.C. outlawed billboard advertising on common user cars in 1935. The Lionel cars were produced for toy collectors and are not prototype. There have been similar series of toys produced in 0 and H0 scales for the U.S. States(Bi-Cent.), soft drinks, ball teams, etc., and none are prototypical. Given what happened to boxcars lettered for Miller Beer in the 1970's(not common carrier), I'd doubt that the tobacco producers would entertained the idea of advertising what the boxcars contents were. The Miller cars were a magnet for thieves, who broke in for the beer. The cars were rather quickly repainted. If you are a model railroad operator, use plain everyday ACL or SAL boxcars for your tobacco traffic.

-- Tom Underwood (, April 12, 2000.

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