Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals

Paul Hillman

I just wonder if there is a statistic available about the percentage of US freight cars that had roller-journals and solid or friction journals in 1960. Because, as a kid in the 50's & 60's I spent a lot of time around the railroads and RR yards and remember seeing the RR men opening the journal-covers and inspecting the bearings and "oiling" them, etc. To my remembrance there weren't many roller-journals on freight-cars. To me, then, they were still a "newish" device.

Back then we lived in Dolton, Illinois where 7 RR's crossed; the IC, IHB, NYC, PRR, B&OCT, C&EI & C&WI. I got to see a lot of different equipment. Wish I'd taken more photos, but I was only 15 & 16 yrs. old. Did a lot of mental-noting though.

One night in 1960, a friend of mine & I hopped a slow-moving IHB east-bound freight in Dolton. It was snowing and we got into an empty gondola. The train went further than I thought it would and we wound up at some junction and the train stopped. As we hid in the gon to escape detection, I still remember hearing the journal-inspectors opening and closing the journal-covers, hearing them "clank" back shut. Seemed like they did about the whole cut of cars as I recall. We were there quite awhile hearing their inspections before the train rolled again.

The train wound up going all the way to Inland Steel in Indiana and we wound up getting a ride back in the wood, kerosene-lanterned caboose. (Another story!)

Paul Hillman

----- Original Message -----
From: Eric<>
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 3:15 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Solid, Roller & Friction Bearing Journals

Paul Hillman wrote:

"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".)"

Someone in accounting figured out that it was cheaper to use the bearings than it was to pay an
employee to maintain them. That they contributed to the resale value of the truck unlike money
'wasted' paying an employee maintaining them.

Eric Petersson

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