Southern 40' Flat Cars

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


I've been looking for Southern 40' flat cars for my small layout. I would love one of the Lenoir-built 1926 flats with the shallow fishbelly sides. I know these were once offered by one of the smaller resin manufacturers, but are no longer around.

While looking through the Southern's 1962 general arrangement drawings at , I stumbled on two other possibilities.

Drawing 50 is for a 50-ton fishbelly car with a 40' 6" length over the end sills, and 12 stake pockets. Truck centers are 30' 5 1/2". These were numbered 116600-116699 and 116700-116849. Both blocks were built by AC&F in 1925. The trucks are listed as "cast steel", and are on drawing SF-2259. There were still 155 of these left in 1958.

Drawing 51 is also a 50-ton fishbelly car with a 41' 6" length over the end sills, and 12 stake pockets. The truck center is a slightly longer 31' 5 1/2". This group was 116850-117349 built by the Southern itself in 1926. The drawing does not specify the type of trucks; the type is simply listed as "old". There were 308 left in 1958.

I am interested in these cars because the drawings are visually similar to the Red Caboose 42' flatcar, right down to the 12 stake pockets. According to Richard Hendrickson's article in the January 1997 RMJ, cars built to, or similar to, the USRA design ranged from 40' even to 43', with all sorts of lengths in between. It is perhaps telling that no Southern cars appear on his list. Are they all that different?

It appears that there are some minor differences in the pocket spacing over the trucks, but this could be changed, or it might not be worth monkeying with. I definitely favor the 116850 block as a better choice by length. Perhaps some of our Southern gurus might comment on the suitability of the RC model for a layout-quality representation.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

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