Re: Freight Car Wheels

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

A.T. Kott said:
Tony - I did not know you are a metallurgist!! I have a couple of
questions for you regarding "wrought steel wheels" - how the heck did
they make them? Were they forged hot between dies? Is that what the
term "wrought" means?
"Wrought" means any kind of working. And yes, the wheels are forged in dies.

In one of my previous rambling posts, I discussed casting of trailing
truck sideframes and cracking. It was my understanding from
somewhere that "cast steel wheels" suffered from the same cracking
problems until just prior to WWII. At that time, foundries figured
out how to design and cool them properly so that they were not prone
to cracks.
I doubt this story very much. Cast steel sideframes for freight and passenger trucks were being marketed shortly after 1900, and were entirely competent castings by 1920. The same is true, after all, for locomotive frame components, drivers, cylinders, and other large and critical steel castings. That a foundry could not "figure out" how to cast a symmetrical shape like a wheel without cracking as late as World War II is just not remotely credible.

Also, someone mentioned that 1" wear was a lot on a freight car
wheel . . . The
flange depth on a wheel at the condemning limit was 1-1/2".
So, I guess that 1/2" of tread wear into the chilled iron wheel
perimeter would be the maximum allowable wear.
I think an inch is about the upper limit. Convert that to pounds on four 33-inch wheels and you'll be surprised at the number.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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