Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals

gary laakso

I understood that the Milwaukee was one of the first railroads to place
roller bearings on its heavy weight passenger cars. Does anyone know if
the use of roller bearings included express reefers on the Milwaukee?

[Original Message]
From: al_brown03 <>
To: <>
Date: 8/27/2005 10:04:07 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals

In his Wheeling & Lake Erie book (p 59), John Corns shows three early
applications of roller bearings. In 1925, roller bearing arch bar
trucks were applied to a boxcar (one of those bizarre W&LE 27000-
series single-sheathed cars). A test was run, comparing its rolling
qualities to those of a sister car with friction bearings, which
suggests that said qualities weren't well known.

At the same time or a little earlier, roller bearing arch bars were
applied to a company-service flat car. The car was rebuilt from a
gondola in 1917; Corns doesn't say exactly when the roller bearing
trucks were applied.

Also in 1925, the Timken "lightweight inboard bearing truck" (looks
like a modern passenger-car truck) was applied to a W&LE "X29" box.

Apparently there was resistance to accept roller-bearing trucks in
interchange, hence they were applied more widely at first to passenger
equipment and cabooses than to freight cars.

Why W&LE? I *think* Timken, of Canton, Ohio, was a shipper.
Interesting W&LE got out front on this technology: they were said to
have the busiest unsignalled main line in the country, and were
notorious for not painting depots!

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

--- In, Anthony Thompson <thompson@s...> wrote:
Bill Dixon wrote:
Although roller bearings we developed quite early I don't think the
metallurgical technology was up to producing the type of metals
for railway quality bearings until around WW II.
Baloney. The steels used after the war for bearings are the
as in the 1920s. And the locomotives and cars which did receive
bearings in the 1930s performed just fine. Railroads just didn't
to use them (or perhaps, feel willing to pay for them).

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@s...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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