When New York Central 41788 was built in the Despatch Shops at East Rochester, New York and began service in 1956 it was used as an automobile hauler before today’s multi-level auto racks were first used in the 1970s. Penn Central, the conglomerate railroad company formed by the merger between NYC and the Pennsylvania Railroad, reconditioned the car at the Sam Rea Car Shop in Hollidaysburg, PA in December of 1975 and placed the it into general freight service as PC 184301. Upon closer inspection, local rail fans found graffiti inside the door of the car to indicate the boxcar was in service at the Miller brewery outside Syracuse, NY in 1977. After which the car found its way to Shippensburg, PA where it sat dormant for forty years and forgotten by the railroad at a loading dock at foundry Domestic Castings which went out of business in 2015. Pallets found inside the foundry at the time indicate the car may have been used to store pallets of sand.
Amazingly, as the plant was undergoing demolition, the 50’ car was untouched. It came to the attention of the local rails to trail group and with the assistance of local rail buffs and was moved from the siding it sat on that had been cut off from the rest of the world when Conrail pulled the rails through town and moved to the trail head near downtown a couple blocks away in October, 2017.
It sits today awaiting its next assignment as a visitor center to interpret the story of the railroad and its importance to the Cumberland Valley and Shippensburg along the former right of way it once traveled. It has been blasted, primed and meticulously repainted to show off the appearance as it would have looked fresh out of the shop in 1975.