Re: Constructing Freight Cars In 1900

Dennis Storzek

It might be an assembly line, but I douvt it is "constructing freight cars." More likely it's a rebuild program, possibly adding steel center sills. Note the cars in the background have varying degrees of damage; one has the end pushed out, likely indicating broken end posts, while the car directly behind the wagon has a sheet iron patch on the corner. The third car back on that track is way up in the air, likely on horses, and is the likely recipient of that steel centersill / bolster assembly.

There was an interesting article in the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society magazine about twenty years ago about rebuilding cars of the same era. The work was jobbed out to Manitowoc Shipbuilding.  That firm had both the wood and metal working skills to do the job, but not much track. They did, however, have lots of acreage serviced by traveling cranes, so as the rolled the cars into the program, they lifted the bodies off the trucks, then flew them out into the yard, setting the bodies in rows on horses. The trucks were gathered up and taken to the blacksmith shop for rebuilding, and later reunited with the finished bodies.


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