The Eastman Car Company designed, leased, and operated numerous insulated box cars in conjunction with a number of New England and Canadian railroads.  These cars featured underslung kerosene heaters, and were used in potato and other produce service.

Original Series

The Maine Central Railroad purchased two orders of such cars in 1910 and 1912.  The first lot was built by the Laconia Car Company and placed in the 65001-65500 series.  The cars featured a steel underframe with wooden superstructure.  The underframe was a design shared by other New England road's house cars, and was common on cars built at Keith Car Company, of Sagamore, MA, including the MEC's 1425-1449 series of dairy cars built the same year.  With straight center sills and side sills that terminated at the body bolsters, the design also featured a tapered pressed steel end sill; this combination of readily visible features facilitates the identification of these cars even when road name and number cannot be discerned in photos.  The cars were equipped with plug doors opening to the right.

All photos Laconia Car Co photo, Laconia, NH, Wayne Gebhardt collection unless noted

North Adams, MA, no date, Brent Michiels collection (Note late teen's rectangular herald.  There is another blurrier image of a 65001 series XI with this herald on page 71 of Maine Central Railroad: Mountain Division, with a date of 10/27/17.)

The second order of Eastman Heater cars two years later came from Keith.  This lot was numbered in the following 65501-66000 series, sharing the basic construction of wooden superstructure on a steel underframe.  However, these cars had a fishbelly center sills and rolled steel end sills.  Unlike the previous series, these had left-opening sliding doors with interior swinging doors.



Rebuilt as Box Cars

MEC Equipment Diagrams, B&MRRHS collection

Rahway, NJ, 3-3-30, Leslie Jones, Boston Public Library collection

Portland, ME, 1929, Leslie Jones, Boston Public Library collection


Posted 2/11/20.  Maintained by Earl Tuson