Re: Helium Cars

Don Valentine

Quoting asychis@...:

In a message dated 6/2/2004 3:42:02 PM Central Standard Time,
omnibus@... writes:
No tongue in cheek at all; the helium transport cars were lighter loaded
than empty, and the weight lettering on the car reflects that.

No it doesn't! We have one at our museum, and I am very familiar with
lettering. In no way does it indicate the the light weight is more than
load limit. That is pure balderdash! You could put 4000 lbs of helium
in the
car, straight and simple. That 4000 pounds added to the total weight.

Jerry Michels

For the benefit of, er, shall we say the "lightweights" on this list
I've looked into my helium car files for a few moments. The Army Air Service
had two such cars, USQX #201 and #202, which as near as I can figure were
constructed in mid-1924. I just happen to have ACF drawings for se veral
versions of these cars received in a bunch of stuff from ACF years ago.The
preliminary drawing is dated Feb. 1924 while the last is from June. The cars
are shown in the 1931 and 1937 Carbuilders for those who wish to view them
there. The cars consist of three 54 3/4 in. O.D. by 40 ft. 4 3/4 in. long
cylinders tied onto a specially built frame with trucks having clasp brakes.
They are also listed in at least the January 1938 and April 1948 ORER's with
very little info other than a capacity of 140,000 lbs. The cars had a light
weight of 197,200 lbs and a load limit of 12,800 and a capacity, as noted, of
140,000 lbs. That represents 200,000 cubic feet of helium at 1,800 psi. While
the drawings are ACF, some references are to Midvale Steel Co. and others are
to Bethlehem Steel. I find it interesting to note that the Navy's helium cars
in the USNX #1002 - #1012 had the same 140,000 lb., or 200,000 cu.ft., capacity
but carried it in 28 cylinders of 18 1/2 in. OD by 37 ft. long. It also appears
that this Navy series of cars was added to between 1938 and 1948 while the Army
series was not. I will leave it to others to draw their own conclusions from all
this but expect Ed Hawkins may have more on the cars themselves.

Don Valentine

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