Donald B. Valentine
There are several htings that stand out to me in this photo. Since the tank car is the primary reason the photo has been posted let's take it first. Were the walkways for this car designed by Rube Goldberg out on a drunk or some kindergarten kid? I look at the four straps around the tank and underframe and really wonder how well they could hold things together in ANY accident, let along
one in which the car was rolled over. Then I not the two 1/2 circumferential straps, one on either side of the dome to help support
the walkway. Noting two nuts on the underside of each strap supporting said walkway I presume it is only two boards wide. But
look at all of these pieces attached to the four circumferential and two 1/2 circumferential straps. There appear to be no rivets or
bolts showing to make this connection. Could it have been done by welding at this early period? Perhaps it's the lighting and the
shadows but I am really curious about this in the teens, judging by the May 1913 builders date on the Lackawanna GM class gon.
And look at the gon itself! When I think of gons from this time frame the ubiquitous Pennsy G22 gons always come to mind but
this Lackawanna gon appears to be constructed like a battleship in comparison! The heavy fishbelly underframe and the number
and spacing of side braces shown give it a very substantially constructed look even if lumber is used for the sheathing. There must
be a minimum of 15 on each side if not 16. Then there are the strap metal stake pockets bolted to the wood sheathing that always
look so neat on some of the early gons. I'd love to find the blueprints for that early gon as it would make an excellent model subject. Then I scroll to the far right and look at the Reading boxcar, all steel even at this early date. This and the gon make the
TKX tank car and old Pennsy boxcar look rather puny in construction to my eye. The Bettendorf T-section trucks on the gon lend to that impression as well when compared to the arch bar trucks looking like they came from the local smithy under the tack car.
Perhaps a different view of things, Don Valentine