Re: Blacksmith Car

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>


A small addition to your otherwise excellent information. The model blacksmith car goes back at least as far as Truescale, probably to around 1958 or 1959. The Truescale line of plastic MW cars was reissued by Train Miniature around 1969 or 1970.

The bits and pieces from this car would have been more appropriate in a model building.

It is interesting how some of these old models have been traded around between various producers for years. Walthers still has the tooling for the 50 to 60-year-old Truescale and TM cars. Every once and a while they find a way to squeeze a few more dollars out of them by some creative re-issue. Some Athearn cars go back to the early 1950s under the Globe name.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff ¬†ūü¶Ü

On Sun, Jun 13, 2021 at 1:06 PM Randy Hees <randyhees@...> wrote:
It appears that the "Blacksmith Car" is a myth created by the movie Union Pacific, which included such a car in their railroad equipment, that car having been built by the studio from a former Virginia and Truckee box car.   

That car was later offered as a HO model by Trains Miniature, now under control of Walthers.  The car as modeled carried a brick blacksmith's forge, with a large bellows, as well as a small hand cranked derick.  The blacksmith's work area took up almost half the car, leaving the rest for barrels and such. The reality was much more likely a portable iron forge with a Champion hand cranked blower, which would have been commercially available, and easily set up next to the repair car.  Such a forge (large enough to straighten a truss rod) and associated tools and equipment will fit in the back of a small pick-up truck (I did for a car repair/restoration at Railfair 99 in Sacramento).  The forge can be carried by two men.  We have a photo of such a forge on the SP in Oregon, being used for car repair.

The description of a "one man crew" would suggest that the repairs in place would more likely be light work, replacing a journal bearing, repairing a brake beam or rod, but with one man would not include a wheel set.  A wheel set is too heavy for one man to handle, and if an axle failed on the road, would likely call for a wreck train with a heavier derrick, with multiple men and supply of trucks and wheel sets.

The concept of a Blacksmith car makes the most sense if  the car and crew was responsible for tool maintenance during construction, not car repair.  But  it is more likely that a railroad under construction would just send light tools (shovels, rock drills, pinch bars) back to the first division point and shop where they could do the work in a better equipped permanent facility.

With all that being said I have one of the model blacksmith cars... 

Randy Hees

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