Re: PRR gun flatcars movement


Hello, Naval Gun Barrel Fans,

The previously mentioned 16" barrels stored in Hawthorne Naval
Ammunition Depot were there for a very long time. Hawthorne is about 130
Hwy miles south of Reno and was fed by an SP spur from Wabuska cut off
(following most of the old narrow gauge Carson & Colorado RR). So if the
barrels were shipped from the east via RR they could have come over the WP
or SP line from Salt Lake. A great deal of material was brought to San
Fransico by ship then transported to Hawthorne over Donner Summit to Reno
(as a remote possibility). However, they (the new 16" guns) also, may have
been originally shipped to Seattle via railroad then shipped south to
Hawthorne when they were not needed. So you may have three options to look
at west through Salt Lake, west to Seattle then south, or, remotely, via
the Pacific to Frisco then east over Donner.
I grew up in Hawthorne and was present when the barrels were loaded and
shipped north to refit one of the Iowa class BBs in the late 70s. My memory
is a bit vague, but the Government originally used a private contractor to
try to send the barrels by truck. It took a long time to find a crane heavy
enough to lift the guns. They ended up only lifting one end at a time and
the first try to set it on a heavy duty lowboy trailer (with a multitude of
axles) "crushed" the trailer and the idea of shipping them by truck.
Finally after the normal Government overspending (and oversight) they
lowered themselves enough to simply ask the people who work at Hawthorne
how to ship them by rail and they even managed to find the original
craddles. I believe that each gun took two flat cars, each car holding a
pivoting craddle for one end. It took several days to load 9 guns on 18
cars so they sat in public view for quite sometime and it was quite a sight
when they left the valley. Unfortunately, back then I was not a railfan and
the Government did not like photos taken of their operations, so I think
that the only photos of this are on the depot in Hawthorne. But maybe
somebody out there seen these guns along the rails from Hawthorne to
Seattle and took some shots.
There were only a few "new" 16" barrels stored in Hawthorne but there
were other used barrels present 14" and 16". These more than likely came
off ships stationed in the Pacific and then were shipped to Hawthorne from
some point on the west coast.

I hope this stirs up some memories that will lead to info or photos for
some great modeling.

Regards, Sam Clarke
Kadee Quality Products

At 09:58 PM 6/22/04 -0400, you wrote:
Anybody have an idea what route these 16"rifles woulda taken heading to
Nevada or California from back east??
Earl Myers

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