Re: Thickness of gondola sides


The drawing of the USRA composite gondola in the Car Cyc shows the thickness as 1 3/4"

Roger Hinman

On Apr 2, 2012, at 4:41 PM, Edward wrote:

I am curious about the thickness of the side panels of composite open cars. I am considering building a model composite gondola from scratch but I am having a problem with the materials I will need. What size scale wood would be appropriate?

When talking about the dimensions of open cars, such as hoppers and gondolas, we as modellers focus on the exterior measurements. A 40 foot car should be 40 scale feet long. But interior measurements seem to get less attention. I would think that commercial manufacturers often have to compromise and make the sides thicker for durability purposes as a scale thickness would probably be too fragile, so I cannot reverse engineer from a model.

But I have not found any discussion of the scale thickness of the walls of open cars. Drawings I have looked at sometimes give the width of the wood side planks (ie 10") but not the thickness. Would the side panels of a composite gondola be 3" thick planks or 4". I am assuming that 2" would be too thin and not stand up to wear and tear on a gondola. But at 4" the car weight would start adding up. Does anyone have any idea how thick a scale wood gondola's sides would be? I am sure construction practices varied a bit by builder and railroad but I suspect that there was probably some standard range of approved measurements.

Forgive me if this has been discussed before but I could not find any discussion about open car wood thickness when I searched in the archives. There was a discussion about flat car floors but I could find nothing about scale sides.

Ed Greason

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