Present-day (2021) Source for HO Rolling Stock Storage Boxes [?]

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
My freight car collection has been gradually growing over the past 18 months, and while I should have bought storage boxes from Spring Mills Depot while they still sold them, I "snoozed" - and now I lack containers for my new acquisitions. Can any of you tell me who is currently selling reasonably-priced boxes with foam rubber padding, sized for HO-scale rolling stock?
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I use shallow plastic tubs from Walmart. I can get two or three levels of rolling stock in them. I cut out strips of cardboard to provide support for each layer. Bottom level the rolling stock sits on the plastic or a towel. The second layer is corrugated cardboard with a towel over that, same with the third layer. The corrugated cardboard strips provide the support for each layer.
 

boatwrench

Active Member
I purchased one of these back in 1987ish and it is still holding up. If you are not transporting cars to/from clubs or shows and only need something for the shelf or under the layout just the cardboard cartons work also. I have also used just cartons under the layout since the late 80s through two moves with zero damage to the cars. I did add 1/4' thick sponge foam. A-Line Storage
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Pizza boxes (unused) with foam inserts work great, are easily marked, and stack very nicely.
Computer keyboard boxes are great for longer cars.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Thanks for all your replies - Terry, Ken, 'Wrench, and Rick!

Pizza boxes (unused) with foam inserts work great, are easily marked, and stack very nicely.
Computer keyboard boxes are great for longer cars.
Yours is probably the most practical idea since I don't intend to haul any of these cars to clubs or modular setups. I did use a number of 16-inch (151/2 inch interior) pizza boxes before I invested in the SMD ones, but they had a major drawback: I could only fit a maximum of two (2) 50ft freightcars end-to-end across the inside; longer cars could only fit one-across. My fleet includes a number of 55- and 60-ft cars, so I'd like to be able to store those 2-across.

Some of the local pizza parlors serve extra-large pizzas that are 16" diameter, so they probably use boxes ~18 inches wide that could accommodate my longer intermediate length cars. Trouble is, I don't enjoy a "cozy" relationship with the managers of any of these shops - so I doubt I can just walk in and ask for a half-dozen unused extra-large boxes! So this brings up the next question: Are there places where the "average Joe" can buy unused boxes of various shapes and sizes? [EDIT: I'll visit my local UPS Store and see what size boxes they offer....]
 
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Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
Hello Ken: I have several ways that I store my HO equipment when not on the layout.

I used the larger Tupper Ware type tote containers with a lid to store my locomotive that are still i their original boxes. These plastic containers make for excellent moisture and water proof containers. Very stack-able as well.

The A Line cardboard storage containers make great storage containers, but have limited spaced and aren't cheap. I use them for rolling stock and locomotives that are without boxes.

Third, I built shelves under the layout to hold models in their boxes.

Yes, I've seen the pizza delivery boxes work great for store. The price can be right!!!

Greg
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Hi Greg,

I was looking at the A-Line boxes on their website and you're right - they are nice but very pricey! o_O Since the only thing I really need boxes for right now is stackable single-layer storage for my freight cars when off the layout, I'm going to get plain shallow carboard boxes that will allow me to store double columns of freight cars up to 62 scale-feet in length (~91/2 inches including couplers).

I also see you save your original boxes - that's great if you have the space to store them, which I do not. I've always considered my trains to be "consumables" anyway since I usually repaint them and weather them, thus knocking down a large chunk of their resale value.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Hi Greg,

I was looking at the A-Line boxes on their website and you're right - they are nice but very pricey! o_O Since the only thing I really need boxes for right now is stackable single-layer storage for my freight cars when off the layout, I'm going to get plain shallow carboard boxes that will allow me to store double columns of freight cars up to 62 scale-feet in length (~91/2 inches including couplers).

I also see you save your original boxes - that's great if you have the space to store them, which I do not. I've always considered my trains to be "consumables" anyway since I usually repaint them and weather them, thus knocking down a large chunk of their resale value.
Just remember, over time, cardboard deteriorates and eventually falls apart, usually when you getting things ready to go to a train show or an op session.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Just remember, over time, cardboard deteriorates and eventually falls apart, usually when you getting things ready to go to a train show or an op session.
Understood! But I'm sure that environment (temp/humidity) plays a major role in cardboard longevity. I'm storing my off-layout locomotives in cardboard boxes that date back to 1998, when I had to dismantle my old layout for the move to my present location, and these are still in excellent shape - probably because they have been kept in climate-controlled spaces over the decades.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
This is the box that my bathroom taps came in, I’d think most plumbing stores would throw them away. There’s usually another autorack where the flat car is.
My keyboard boxes (not shown) came from a school that had just replaced all their computers and had dozens.

View attachment 122570
Rick, it's great that you were able to stumble onto that high-volume supply of keyboard boxes! I [unfortunately] don't know of any schools or other establishments that I could walk into today, that have that many leftover boxes - hence my chosen solution (described below).
 

Boris

Beach Bum
Not for nothing, I have most of the boxes the loco or car came in, and store them in those footlocker sized plastic containers, that HD and Lowes sell.
They are secure, water proof, and easy to handle and fit nicely under the layout. My oldest freight caars, Athearn YB and Round House, from the mid 1960s, no longer have the original box, so they go into a padded shoe box, which in turn goes into the plastic container. This is very effective, until I forget where the car is.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Ok gang, here's what I wound up doing...

On Wednesday afternoon I visited my local UPS Store and bought five boxes that were sized 24"x18"x6". Just a tad deeper than what I originally wanted, but I can still stack all five boxes on a rolling platform under the layout. [And as I mentioned previously, these boxes are only intended for storing my freight cars off-layout, NOT for transporting them - I will use the SMD boxes if that need arises.] On Thursday morning, I went to the nearest JoAnne Fabrics store and bought a 72 -inch long roll of 1" thick cushioning foam which I cut into sheets to line the bottoms of each box.

What I decided to do was try to put like-sized cars and types in their own boxes, rather than randomly as they previously had been. I focused on getting all of my 50ft-and-under length cars into the UPS boxes while saving the SMD boxes for the longer ones.

Here is a UPS box filled with 50ft boxcars, with a bit of leftover space for the only 4 propane tank cars I have in my roster:
FullyPackedBox.jpg


Here is why I wanted boxes that were at least 24" long, so I could easily fit in up to 3 columns of cars at least 50ft long, plus couplers. Shorter cars, such as 3-bay coal hoppers, can fit 4 columns across.

The UPS boxes, even though they are deeper than desired, can still be stacked up to five high (although I only needed four) and easily rolled under my benchwork:
StackEmHigh.jpg


With all of my shorter cars packed into the UPS boxes by size and type, I gained space in the SMD boxes for longer cars like my 86ft Hi-Cubes and 89ft auto racks:
SMD_BoxFullOfHyCubes.jpg


Finally, to make each car easier to locate when I want to put them back on the layout, I exported my JMRI cars roster to an Excel spreadsheet, sorted them by road number, and added a column at the far left for filling-in the box numbers of where I stored them:
RosterSheetsWithBoxNumbers.jpg


I numbered the UPS boxes in the "100" series to easily differentiate them from the SMD boxes.

P.S. As a result of optimizing the storage of my shorter freight cars, I wound up with three (3) leftover empty SMD boxes that I can use if I ever need to haul any trains to be operated on a modular club layout.
 
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TLOC

Well-Known Member
Since you are stacking. I believe the USPS large flat rate box maybe something you like. Free at the USPS offices and generally found in the lobby. They also have a shoebox size flat rate box but that one, at least at my Post Office, has to be asked for. No limits and the Medium flat rate box maybe useable too. Make sure they are the free flat rate box as they also have priority mail boxes you have to pay for.

TomO
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
I’d say that’s a pretty great solution!
So, three mt boxes eh? Time to go shopping! ;)
Too late Rick, the MB Klein gift certificate my daughter gave me has been used up, and MHO already knows that the Stimulus check is coming and has other plans for it...
 

Ash Pit

Active Member
Pizza boxes (unused) with foam inserts work great, are easily marked, and stack very nicely.
Computer keyboard boxes are great for longer cars.
Rico, Speaking from memory, only, I don't think a Pizza Box will work for HO rolling stock. The last time I brought a Pizza home the box was maybe only 1 inch in height. Am I wrong?
 
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