Re: A point of order - war board cousins

Richard Hendrickson

On Sep 15, 2005, at 5:41 PM, Bob Webber wrote:

...[T]he more germane point to this list .... is war board requirements relative
to new designs and non-strategic materials and such.

It would seem likely that there would be analogous cases of freight
cars that are close cousins (we know of the mill gons and the 40's
gons as two examples). The 40 foot cars have been done last year by
Sunshine. Are there then other cars that would make sense from a
manufacturer point of view...?
Bob is apparently unaware that the AAR Car Construction Committee took on the project, just before the US entered WW II, of designating "recommended practice" freight car designs which represented the best current car building practice and had already been built, so that they could be quickly ordered into production to meet wartime freight car shortages without additional design/tooling. These designs, adopted in October, 1941, were all shown in both drawings and photos in the 1943 and 1946 Car Builders' Cyclopedias. They included a 41'6" 50 ton solid bottom gondola (built by Bethlehem for the Atlantic Coast Line), a 41' 50 ton drop bottom GS gondola (built by GATC for the Illinois Central), a 52'6" 70 ton drop end mill gondola (built by Bethlehem for the Lehigh Valley), a 65'6" 70 ton drop end mill gondola (built by GATC for the Santa Fe), a 53'6" 50 ton riveted flat car (built by Pullman-Standard for the Union Pacific), a 53'6" 70 ton riveted flat car (built by Greenville for the Erie), and a 50' 70 ton flat car with one piece cast steel underframe (the Pennsylvania RR class F30A). No box cars or hopper cars were designated because AAR standard designs already existed for these car types.

Within months, the AAR standard and recommended practice designs were reworked to employ wood instead of sheet steel for side sheathing, slope sheets, floor stringers, etc. and became the composite "war emergency" designs that were built in limited numbers during World War II.

Some AAR "recommended practice" designs continued to be built in sizable numbers after World War II ended. Both the 50 and 70 ton flat cars were built for many owners in the late '40s and '50s, as was the 65'6" mill gondola. The 50 ton flat has been modeled in HO scale by Life-Like, the 70 ton flat in resin by Sunshine, and the 65'6" mill gondola is coming soon from Athearn. Several RRs also ordered copies, or near copies, of the 41'6" solid bottom gondolas (modeled by, or coming soon from, Sunshine in resin) and a few got copies of the Bethlehem 52'6" mill gons, though the Greenville design originally built for Erie (and modeled in HO scale by Life-Like was vastly more popular). The drop bottom gons were built in large numbers for the SP and UP, and are modeled both by Detail Associates and Red Caboose. On the other hand, the only taker of Pennsy F30A design flat cars was the Lehigh Valley (50 cars).

Richard Hendrickson

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