Re: ADMIN: Freight Car Terminology

Paul Hillman

Here! Here! Mike. Well said, my man!!!
Paul Hillman

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2015 7:23 PM
Subject: [STMFC] ADMIN: Freight Car Terminology


Given the rather high interest in the issue of the STMFC using "correct"
railroad terminology, I will note one of the primary rules and objectives of
the STMFC:

"Emphasis is to be placed on the study of the prototype with
a goal of producing models of them with as great a degree of accuracy as

It would seem, therefore, that, in order to achieve this accuracy, it would
be advantageous to use accurate railroad terminology, particularly if one
wanted others to understand their efforts. One problem with that is
that over the years, those with less than adequate knowledge of real
railroads have presented
their own views on what some aspects of railroad terminology should be. Thus
we have terms like "Outside braced" [ which seems to be a good term because
it is descriptive but it is NOT a real railroad term ], roof walk [ which
also seems more descriptive than
"running board" { I mean, do you have to run on the damned thing?} ] but
again is NOT a real railroad term.
Who can foget the arguments concerning the terms "friction bearing", "solid
bearing" and "plain bearing" trucks.? I mean, how and why was the term
"friction bearing" ever allowed to grow in use? And, then...ohhhh noooo...we
have no less than Ralph Johnson, Chief Engineer of Baldwin Locomotive Works
refer on page 183 of his book The Steam Locomotive to both "solid bearing"
and "friction bearing" while discribing the same thing.

Some of this can be confusing. Thus, we have an extremely knowledgeable
passenger car guru complain to me about using the model railroad term
developed by Kalmbach..."turn out". Well, for those curious, the book
Elements of Railroad Track and Construction by Wilson, published in 1915 [ a
bit before Kalmbach's model railroading activities ] contains fully 69 pages
in two chapter on "turnouts" associated with real railroads.

And then there's the case of the brakeman hollering at another brakeman
standing by a switch stand as a string of frt cars nears his turnout, "Throw
the damned switch!" So, do we use the term "turnout" or "damned switch"?

So, do we use engineering terms or operations terms? Maybe it depends on the
situation. At any rate, given the authority granted to me, I
will monitor the terms we use. Certainly STMFC management is not going to
enforce the use of "correct" terminology [ at this time ] because , for one
thing, STMFC
management might...gasp...not know it. I mean, while the term "Northern"
might be correct when referring to some 4-8-4 steam locos, it definitely is
not correct to refer to a UP 4-8-4 [ FEF ] and no UP engineer would
use the term "Big Boy", using instead the term "4000". Current STMFC mgt
knows these differences but members might not or be expected to.
Nevertheless, I would
think that those using "correct" terminology would be given credit while
those not...would suffer accordingly. I mean, given that you might consider
yourself having a closer association with someone in operations and,
therefore, you might choose to use their terms, the STMFC is much closer to
freight car construction and its terms rather than ops and theirs.

Mike Brock

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