Like the Lehigh Valley and other struggling railroads in the 1970's, the Erie Lackawanna turned to USRE in Washington, IN for boxcars which could help them service their shippers without having to buy a fleet of new rolling stock. 400 40' boxcars from a variety of origins were leased to the EL, with many of them lasting into Conrail. By 1980, only 6 of the USRE cars were still on the roster, working mostly in bagged flour service out of Buffalo NY, along with additional rebuilds done at the EL's shops in Meadville, PA.
50940 was modeled as close to prototype as possible referencing a Ron Hawkins photo on Railcarphotos.com ( http://www.railcarphotos.com/pix/37/EL%2050940_Anaheim%20CA_Ron%20Hawkins_1977-12-09_37932.jpg ), starting with a Branchline undecorated USRA 40' kit. The doors were scratchbuilt from styrene, along with new door tracks and sills. The ladders and details all match whats visible in the prototype, including the National B-1 trucks, which are quite unique in appearance.
The model was painted using Scalecoat II Boxcar red mixed with a small amount of white paint to pre-fade the car. The only correct decal set for these is Prime Mover's set PMD 044, and it makes all the difference in getting the model to look right. It was then weathered with a india ink wash prior to the usual guache, watercolor, and oil paints. This car would be on its last legs after 1980 but I'm going to assume that it was still earning its keep around 1981.