Re: Photos: Wabash

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>

Allen and friends,

I saved this photo to my desktop and lightened it a bit with Photoshop to see the trucks. They are a very interesting heavy-duty Andrews type with outside hung brakes shoes. They appear to have standard journal box covers, but I would not be surprised if these hide roller bearings. Note the extremely large brake reservoir. Helium is really a heavy gas when condensed, so this car (and the successor cars we are more familiar with) had to be really beefy.

Somewhere I found plans for this car from an article in a 1940s modeling book. Sadly, I can't find same. I probably threw them away because I would never have a use for a car like this. I remember that the tanks were turned from hardwood dowels on a lathe.

The car carries U.S. Army Quartermaster markings. What would the Army do with helium, you ask. Weather balloons come to mind.

My 1958 ORER does not show any USQX cars. All Department of the Army cars are listed as USAX, and I find no helium cars listed. There are lot of specialty tank cars in small lots carrying some pretty sinister-sounding chemicals like chlorine and white phosphorus. Nor are any helium cars listed for the Navy under USNX (curious, because the Navy was still flying blimps at that time). All the helium cars I could find are listed under MAHX reporting marks for the Bureau of Mines Activity, Amarillo, Texas. They list 3 cars at 182,500 cu. ft. and a 14000 capacity, which might be the former Quartermaster cars. All the rest are over 200,000 feet and have a 20000 capacity, which are probably variations on the cars with which we are familiar as once offered by AHM.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 5/13/19 10:22 PM, Allen Rueter via Groups.Io wrote:
even more freight cars by
searching the Herald Review forĀ  just Wabash
there's helium cars from 1931
Allen Rueter
StLouis MO

This is a link to forty-five photos of the Wabash yards from the files of the Decatur Herald-Review:

Mostly long shots. Some photos are dated and some show freight cars with fair detail.

Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts

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