Canadian National Combo Door Boxcars



By Jeremy Fleming with information provided by NC Models





Rapido recently announced the Trenton Works 60-foot 6348 cu. ft. combo door boxcars, and it seems there is a bit of confusion between it and the NSC 5304 cu. ft. combo door cars that we launched in June. We’ve received quite a few questions such as:

“Didn’t you already announce this car?”

“Why do I need two similar combo door boxcars for the same railroad?”

“Why aren’t you doing them in N scale?”

“If hydrogen is extremely flammable and fire needs oxygen to burn, why do we combine those two elements to put OUT fires?”

Well, we’re here to tell you that these are in fact two rather different cars, so let’s get right into it!




NSC 5304



Still rocking that O.G. green door at 26! Keith MacCauley Photo


These cars were built by National Steel Car in Hamilton, Ontario in 1972. They were originally designated for carrying lumber and other specialty wood products, as indicated by their striking green doors. They were also unique in the sense that they came in at an unconventional boxcar length of 52’ 8”. While some retained their green doors until their retirement in the mid-2000s, many were repainted all-mineral brown in the late 1980s and were entered into general service. Anyone modeling the early 70s to the mid-2000s needs at least a couple of these on their layouts, as they could be seen all across the North American rail network. If your focus is CN, well, you’ll be needing more than a couple!



The sun is setting on this car in this 2005 photo - both literally and figuratively! Courtesy David Graham -


In addition to the as-delivered scheme and repaints previously mentioned, we’re also offering this car as a two-pack in the very colourful and distinctive Expo 86 liveries, as well as the neat monochromatic CN North America scheme, which was a one-off repaint in the early 90s.


Here’s a repaint, with some additional “crowd-sourced” repainting. C’mon guys, these tags are pretty lame; at least put some effort into your misdemeanours! Dan Darnell photo.


Note that while other manufacturers have released similar-looking cars in the 557xxx number series, they are prototypically inaccurate and are stand-ins at best. Our model is the real deal and we’ve given this quintessential Canadian car the love it deserves!



Trenton Works 6348



So clean you could eat off it! Mike Rose Photo, courtesy White River Productions.


This long ‘n low 60-foot car with its signature fishbelly sills was produced by Trenton Works in Trenton, Nova Scotia between December 1993 and February 1994. Like the NSC 5304, It is also a combo-door boxcar built primarily for lumber service, but that’s where the similarities end. For one, it’s nearly 20% longer! Second, it’s got those thick and juicy side ribs. Third, this car is still plentiful on the rails today, and will continue to be for the next twenty years. 


Do not try to eat off this car, however. You’ll…regret it. Josh Andercheck photo.


Usually loaded at sawmills in British Columbia, Quebec, and New Brunswick, they can be found in every corner of North America from the biggest Class 1s to the smallest shortlines, even down into Mexico. In fact, if you look on, you’ll see that the majority of the photos are from outside of Canada. So while it’s a uniquely Canadian car, it’s been everywhere, man. It’s been to:

Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota

Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota

Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma

Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Poloma…

Sorry, got off track there. Apologies to the Man in Black. Back to the topic at hand…

If you’re a modern mid-90s to present modeler, you will definitely need at least one. If you model lumber operations specifically, then a bunch of these will make a fantastic complement to our NSC centerbeams and Marine Industries bulkhead flats. If your timeframe happens to cover that decade or so from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, then running them alongside the NSC 5304s would also be very appropriate! 


A hat trick of Canadian lumber cars! How appropriate, eh? NC Models photo.


We’re offering them in three different paint schemes including the large noodle delivery scheme, large noodle with conspicuity markings (appropriate for 2005+), and the late 2000s website scheme repaints. We’ll also be offering them painted and unlettered if you want one for your Railroad of Lies™.


All…my…friends…know the low rider… NC Models photo.


So hopefully this shines a little light on the differences between these two Canadian National combo door boxcars, and explains why you might need one, the other, or BOTH! In order to give this project some breathing room and build up prototype awareness, we’ve pushed the Trenton works car order deadline back to May 15, 2024. The NSC 5304 is in production now but is still available for preorder in limited quantities either directly from us or through your preferred dealer, wherever they may be located. Places like:

Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana

Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana

Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa…




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