Re-number boxcars - by yours truly!
The following step-by-step directions are intended to serve as a narrative and visual guide for expanding any boxcar fleet. Any road name or model could be substituted, or any products can be used. There is no intended promotion of any one manufacturer, nor is this necessarily the "best" way to go about re-numbering cars. As I have selected a railroad that has a very limited amount of commercially available rolling stock and motive power, I have been "forced" to solve things on my own...and I wanted to share my experience.

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Step 1: Purchase box cars
Roundhouse Products manufactures a nice model of a 50' Ann Arbor Railroad boxcar in the orange Ferry-in-the-fog scheme, road number 5016. I have collected over 30 of these cars, and each one has been re-numbered.

Roundhouse models about to be tweaked

According to the Annie's freight car history book  there were two series of these cars. No's 5000-5099 and No's 5100-5199. The 5100 series was the only one featuring the "Cushion Service" lettering, so the Roundhouse model has the wrong series number. 

Step 2: Create new numbers
After realizing the Roundhouse number was wrong, I bought some decal paper at a hobby store and printed a complete set of new numbers, including end-reporting marks.  

box car modifications under way

To get the right size numbers, I just used a size 8 font in an Excel spreadsheet, then scaled it down until it looked right. Then I made 4 sets of 5100-5199, just to have extras for when I made an inevitable mistake.
Step 3: Remove & apply numbers
I used a chisel point X-acto knife to gently scrape away the factory applied "5016" number. Then I carefully cut out and applied the new numbers from my decal sheet.

two more for the Annie fleet

#5140 and 5176 are now ready to join the fleet! This is a VERY simple project that will allow you to easily expand your roster.
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site updated: 01/11/12