Re: Essential freight cars in RMC

Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>

Andy Miller wrote:

If this is a poll, you have my vote. Hear, hear, K8s, K8s, K8s!

And how about X29Bs. There are rumors that F&C will do one this year. It
appears that C&BT is long forgotten.
Nonsense! If you remember Ted Culotta's Introduction to "The Essential Freight Car" series on page 79 of the April 2003 RMC, "Essential Freight Cars ... should be present on almost ALL steam/diesel transition or first or early second diesel-era layouts ...." Since when could a PRR stock car appear on RR's on the West Coast in any quantity to justify a western RR modeler to waste his time and resources on a PRR stock car at the expense of other freight cars which would be far more appropriate to appear on his layout?

I'm not saying that a PRR K8 is not an appropriate prototype to model, but it would be foolish for a manufacturer to rely on many Western RR modelers to buy a K8 model. The market would be restricted to eastern RR modelers including the SPF's.

A boxcar such as the X29 is different than a stock car because of the variety of commodities that a boxcar could carry versus the relatively few which a stock car could. Boxcars regularly traveled to all parts of the nation, and when they were emptied, a large percentage of them were reloaded, and sent elsewhere. Stock Cars were essentially a rural to urban movement with few possible return loads. Also, LA slaughterhouses (or feedlots) did not buy much livestock from Pennsylvania.

The last paragraph of Ted's introduction said "This series will not focus on cars that were not widely interchanged, however. An example would be the N&W H2/H2a/H3 hoppers which were built in vast numbers, but tended to stay on the home road." I beg to differ with Ted's statement that N&W's hoppers were mostly "stay at homes." For most years in the 1940-60 Era, the daily average of cars on the N&W were fewer that the number of hoppers the N&W owned. which infers that N&W hoppers were interchanged with other railroads (in 1947, the N&W delivered over 195,000 loaded cars to the PRR at Columbus OH: - most of them N&W hoppers - because of Car Service Rule C-411, it can be assumed that any loaded N&W hopper east of the Rockies was loaded with coal from N&W's territory).

The movement of N&W hoppers off-road, however, was mostly restricted to nearby roads. The occasional N&W hopper did go over UP's Sherman Hill, but it was a rarity - estimated to be about one every 2,000 freight cars. Now if a Sherman Hill modeler has 2,000 cars on his layout, he may be justified in having one N&W hopper.

The use of the adjective "essential" may be unfortunate which some have applied locally or regionally. A better adjective may be "universal" or "ubiquitous." In the context of Ted's series, the cars to be discussed were, in large part, designs developed either by individual RR's (or private car lines) themselves, by an association committee, or a manufacturer. These designs had to be produced in large enough quantities so as any modeler could justify having them on his layout regardless of where the prototype for that layout was located. Once in service, cars of the particular design could appear in revenue service on any railroad - real railroads, unlike some modelers, usually hauled cars for a purpose.

Most of the series that Ted has discussed have been boxcars for good reason. Other cars within car types which could be discussed would be eastern fixed bottom gons in steel service, tank cars owned generically by the large car lines and long haul produce reefers. General Flat Cars were also widely dispersed, but the total of these in service barely exceeded the number of X29's which were in service in 1947.

Tim Gilbert

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