Re: Truck Color


Dennis Storzek
 

I just looked through my copy of the Soo Line freightcar book, and it reinforced my impression that the proper color for steam era freightcar trucks is GRUNGE COLOR. Plain journal bearings were lubed with oil, not grease, and it was a total loss system; that is, the carmen added oil, but never drained any out. There was no seal around the axle at the back of the box, just a wooden dust guard to keep dirt out of the box. The oil that worked its way to the back of the bearing was slung off the axle onto the face of the wheel, where it attracted dirt. This mix was then slung off the wheel, where it got on everything in the vicinity. After cars were in service for a few years, it's pretty hard to tell what color they were originally.

I seem to recall that Pullman-Standard painted trucks with 'truck paint', a thin bodied black. unless instructed otherwise. Other builders were likely similar. Some railroads specified that the trucks be painted body color, others, such as the Soo, didn't care, and new cars came with black trucks. However, the railroad's own shops saw things differently, and painted the trucks on re-painted cars body color, because it required no masking. So, one railroad, two different standards. In service, they all quickly turned the same color anyway.

Dennis Storzek

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