Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals

Tom Jones III <tomtherailnut@...>

More like the application of fuel prices and safety issues (i.e., liability
claims) that moved railroads to roller bearings.

Fuel at the time that article was written (1903) was virtually a zero cost
item for many railroads, so starting a heavy train and keeping it going with
the attendant friction from solid bearings, and the additional fuel expense
was not a biggie. For some railroads, simply taking the coal from one of
their own mines and moving it to the coaling towers was the sole additional
expense. Modernly, its too bad you can't burn coal in Diesels . . . shipping
by train would be much cheaper!

Additionally, solid bearings have a cute propensity of overheating when
poorly lubed and catching the train on fire, or at least melting off the
axle end once in a while. Roller bearings also fail from lack of
maintenance, but they don't require an inspection at every stop, oiling on a
regular basis, people to go out and fill the waste and oil box on the
journals, piles of cotton waste and gallons of spilled oil everywhere with
the EPA looking over your shoulder, and on and on and on. Finally, spun off
axle ends still happen, but not nearly as frequently as with solid bearings.

The final straw was that the cost of copper and other metals used to cast
solid bearing brass (actually a form of bronze) became higher and higher
while the cost of machined steel got lower and lower. There was simply no
longer an economic reason to go for the less safe, higher friction,
relatively higher cost solid bearings.

So, you are right - its ALWAYS the money!

Tom Jones III

----- Original Message -----
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals


Something happened in later years for the ultimate conversion to
roller-journals, probably a significant reduction in costs in
applying them to 100's of thousands of freight-cars?? (It's ALWAYS
about the "money".)

Paul Hillman

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