Coil up to around 1955 was shipped in either box cars, in the case of cold-rolled finished sheet, or commonly uncovered in gons with 3 or so over each truck, in the case of unfinished hot-rolled sheet. A lot of experiments were conducted from late forties, through mid-fifties, to see if they could come up with the means to top load (as opposed to box car use) either gons or flats, first using things like treated kraft paper or canvas tarpaulins, to cover the new larger, heavier coils. None of that worked very well. Early designs of either floating or fixed racks or skids were pretty primitive and required much disposable blocking and/or untested skid designs. From about 1954 on, the RRs started was design war of competing designs, most using skids and covers, of which there were many patents floated. NKP was a big practitioner of early coil accommodation. Smaller coils were accommodated by re-construction of gons to include raised sides and removable roofs. There are many photos out there, but they take some time to find.
I am slowly putting together an article or two on this subject, and have been researching it for a while. There is also a bit on this in the PRR gon book.
Let me know if you have further questions. I do have some more photos. BTW, ATSF, CB&Q, WP, and other mid-to-western roads were interested.
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2017 11:11 AM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] [STMFC] Shipping Steel by rail in 1955
Good morning group, our group was discussing shipping steel by rail Sunday. We've all see coiled steel in gondolas in the present day and as far back as the 60's. But none of us can remember seeing coiled steel in gondolas around 1955. I've been searching online but with no luck. We are all midwest to western modelers if that makes any difference. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Steven E. Cerka
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