Re: . . . Steel Reefers & Dreadnaught Ends

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Jeff English wrote (responding to Bill Welch):
I am wondering if anyone else has seen this configuration. My
assumption is that the builder may have using up parts, or the upper
panel could be a repair replacement.
Using up parts is the best guess I can come up with. I doubt if it
was a repair, because reefer ends tend not to get blown out.
I agree with Jeff. Looking at the box cars SP wfas building in its own shops, and purchasing ends from SRECo, it is obvious that the banana-taper ends appear in the spring of 1955, during the production of SP 's class B-50-35 cars. The earliest cars in the class have rolling-pin ends, the later ones banana-rib ends, and thereafter all ends are banana pattern. I might then guess, Bill, that those WFEX cars were built in 1955.

Can someone remind me if SRE had an official name to differentiate
these two configurations, or were they both known as "Improved
Dreadnaught" ends?
AFAIK, they did not have an official differentiation in their
nomenclature; i.e., both were called the "Improved Dreadnaught End".
Again, I think Jeff has it right; actually, SRECo called it the "Standard Improved Dreadnaught Steel End," if you want the company's own, full name.

Another curiosity I have noted with the plug door cars owned by all
four companies is that the top rib of the top panel is straight
across the bottom, giving it an incomplete look. Anyone have thoughts
why this rib took this form?
I think it was related to accommodating the mounting of handbrake
mechanisms (which later led to the rectangular top rib in my
scheme), but it's only my guess.
In Cycs and builder photos, one can see a progression, from a shorter but otherwise identical rib at the top (albeit with a flattened place for the handbrake mounting--welll shown in the 53 Cyc), to a flat-bottom rib as Bill mentions, and finally to the rectangular rib Jeff mentions.

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

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.