Re: left side grabs

Ed Hawkins

On Sunday, January 29, 2006, at 04:59 AM, pierreoliver2003 wrote:

I'm running into conflicting information within my resources here. Is
there a standard height from the rails for the left side grabs on the
1937 AAR boxcar? If so what is it?
Pierre OLiver
Short answer - there are variations on the vertical positioning of the
grabs (both sides and ends) on 1937 AAR box cars.

Longer answer - the 1937 AAR box car drawing in the 1940 CBC does not
specify a height measured from the top of the rail (or any other point
of reference) for the end and side grabs. The drawing specifies a
25-1/4" center line vertical dimension between the two side grabs. From
what I've been able to determine, the lower side grab was usually (but
not always) positioned at the same height as the end grab. In the AAR
drawing having 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, the end grab is shown centered on
the second main corrugation from the end sill. This is the location on
the Red Caboose (formerly IMWX) model. This arrangement seems to be
common, but not universal by any means. There's also the fact that 1937
AAR box cars had different types of ends and this affects the location
of the grabs.

Numerous 1937 AAR box cars had their end grabs and lower side grabs in
a different position, vertically positioned lower than the center line
of the second corrugation on a 4/5 Dreadnaught End. In these cases the
left portion of the end grab was typically mounted to a strap that
extended downward from the grab and attached to the lowest corrugation
on a 4/5 Dreadnaught End. This arrangement is apparent on cars of the
Van Swearingen roads C&O, NKP, PM as well as M&StL and CIL. There are
probably others. As another example, GM&O cars in series 8000-8999 had
the end grab mounted midway between the first and second corrugations,
whereby the left side of the end grab was mounted to a strap spanning
the first and second corrugations.

To further complicate matters, photos show that some cars had their
side grabs mounted directly on the side sheet nearest each end of the
car while others had the left mounting point attached to the edge of
the end. The Red Caboose model has four mounting holes directly on the
side sheet. For cars having the left part of the side grabs mounted to
the end, this means filling the four existing holes and drilling four
new holes (even if the vertical positioning is correct for the car
being modeled). More evidence that "standard cars" had lots of
variations and these variations are cause for injection-molded model
manufacturers to make compromises since it's normally not cost
effective to account for all the variations. As has been suggested
numerous times on the STMFC, prototype photos should be used to
replicate the car being modeled. Hope this helps.
Ed Hawkins

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