Re: Freight Car Measurements

Charles Hostetler

--- In STMFC@..., "Ed" <lehighman@...> wrote:

I have been researching older ORER's with idea of scratch building some cars that are not available commercially. Most of the measurements are self evident except for the outside length. What are the reference points for this measurement? Is it the end of the bulkheads, the end of the coupler boxes, the end of the couplers, something else? If it is not the end of the bulkheads, how does one use the ORER data to build a car?

Ed Robinson


Coincidentally, I spent part of the day trying to figure this out myself. I started the hard (but rather enjoyable) way by looking at a "Plan and Sections" diagram of a UP B-50-24 box car (Car Builder's Cyc, 1946, page 399, Figure 3.24) which indicates that the length over end sills is 40' 8 1/4", while the length over strikers is 41' 8 1/2". The Jan. 1958 ORER lists 41' 9" , which appears to correspond to the length over strikers. I looked at several other diagrams and compared them to the ORER listing with similar results.

Then I did what I should have done in the first place and looked at the ORER Section called "Key Pages for Standard Headings In Registration Pages" (its in the back, in the Editorial Section). This is what it says:

"Dimensions - Outside - Length.

In columns 7 or h, under this heading, will be inserted outside length of car in feet and inches, in even inches (fraction of an inch to be added when an even inch is exceeded, making figure reported next higher even inch). Measurement should be taken between coupler striking castings (see Diagrams, Figures 5a, 5b, and 5c.)"

So the measurement is over the strikers.

I found in order to get things working correctly you need more than just info from the ORER. I think you also need a photograph you can work with, a knowledge of some standard car building practices, an idea of what materials you are going to work with, and some details about the coupler box you will be mounting. I found this an extremely interesting process and am preparing a blog post about it which I will share shortly when its finished. It took me several iterations, but I finally produced a side drawing of an EJ&E gon that looked in proportion, had the coupler height correct, room for the floor and weight, and the height of the top of the car and the IH correct. The bolster center was 5'6" from the striker, and the ribs and rivet patterns matched up with the bolster and the angles of the fishbelly.

Excuse me for running on, but I really was impressed with the amount of consideration that manufacturers must give to a host of details to get a car that looks right, runs right, and can be built out of real-world materials...


Charles Hostetler

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