Re: Quick end of wooden coal cars on the C&O Rwy

George Courtney

There was a Depression in the United States beginning in 1920 and not ending fully until 1922. While World War I demand could have kept those wooden hoppers in use, the sharp fall off of demand and government bailout money could have been the reason for retiring unneeded wooden cars and buying steel ones.
The Great Depression beginning in 1930 overshadows the much shorter Depression of 1920.

George Courtney

--- In STMFC@..., water.kresse@... wrote:

Early in this steam-era FC list period questions.

While looking pictures taken at blast furnaces located along the C&O, one still sees "old" 30 - 42.5-ton wooden hopper cars carrying iron ore or limestone up on the furnace stock trestles in 1922.  (The 1922  ORERs shows over 2,000 wooden hopper-bottom gons in their fleet and in late 1923 only a few hundred were remaining)   In 1923, they are virtually gone.  Looking at their 1922 annual report the Feds apparently had to provide low-interest loans to the railroads, which had been under their control, through a Transportation act of 1920 for replacing or the betterment of their rolling stock and locomotives used in the war effort.


Did the USRA or some other federal organization require the railroads had to keep their aging wood-constructed fleet until the war was over just to keep them from using steel that was being rationed for non-war materials such as building new cars ?  Even before the war, the C&O knew it had a " compatibility problem" with a mixed fleet of wooden and steel "battleships" in their operations.  Most of these coal cars had already gone through major repairs receiving steel center-sill end-stubs.  Most flat-bottom gons had received full steel center-sills.

The C&O had its fleet of "modern" post-1905 blt composite steel-underframe, wooden upper-structure 55-ton gondola cars that carried coal to the HV Toledo coal-dumpers.

D id other railroads keep wooden open-top cars this long?

Thanks for feedback in advance.

Al Kresse

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