Seaboard box car : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

At a recent train show I saw [and should have bought] a Seaboard box car that advertised the "Route of the Robert E. Lee". The car was an HO product, but I don't remember the manufacturer. Can you tell me about the model and/or information about trains heralding the Civil War. I am also a fan of the history of the War Between the States, and I now regret the fact that I didn't buy that box car when I had the chance. Help - please. JWL

-- Jim Leach (, July 16, 2000


A photo of a round top box car bearing the inscription "Route of the Robert E. Lee may be found on page 180 of the Seaboard Air Line Album by Langley, Beckum, Tidwell. If you want, I will make a copy of that photo and send it to you.

The Robert E. Lee was originally named the "Atlanta-Birmingham Special", and it ran between Washington DC and its namesake cities. After the Seaboard air conditioned some of its 1926 built ACF coaches in the 807-826 series at Pullman in 1934-35, it added these cars to the consist of that train and renamed it the Robert E. Lee, and also extended through car service to New York. These cars were further rebuilt by Portsmouth Shops in 1936-37 with reclining seats. The Robert E. Lee was the "name" train on this route until May 18, 1947, when the "Silver Comet" went into service between New York and Birmingham. The Robert E. Lee was downgraded into a train called the "Cotton Blossom" and it eventually became a nameless passenger, mail and express train. The Seaboard actively advertised the Robert E. Lee as its train to the "Industrial South", the name it gave to the Birmingham area.

As further information, photos of the Seaboard coaches as they looked in the Pullman shops just after they were air conditioned can be found in Dave Randall's "Selected Pullman Heavyweight Cars". The book also includes photos of Seaboard combines, diners and parlor/diner/observations after they were air conditioned by Pullman, as well as photos of the Pullman baggage lounge cars which ran on the Orange Blossom Special and were later purchased by the Seaboard and converted into baggage dormitory cars, Pullmans which were AC'd for the Orange Blossom Special, and the C&O car "Ashland" which was renamed "Augusta" in 1940 and which was then sold to the ACL in 1944 as their Augusta-a heavyweight diner lounge.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, July 19, 2000.

Jim - You can check out Bowsers Web site at: On the home page Click-on H0 cars and on H0 cars page scroll down to the group of boxes and Click-on X-31 single door boxcar. They didn't have a photo for the R. E. LEE SAL car, but did have one of the SILVER METEOR version. Bowser can also be e-mailed at and I can tell you that you'll a fairly quick respose. As you may tell, I'm a happy customer.

-- Tom Underwood (, July 16, 2000.

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