Re: GN 31000-31300 series: Double- or single-sheathed?

Scott Thompson

Wow do we have a different opinion!

Obviously I have a different perspective on Richard's critique of the
caption(s) in my book. If it is not obvioius, the caption information
was not intended to call out every detail nauance of the car series -
nor do most freight pictorial books of a similar format for that

Actually based on information listed in more than one GN Freight Car
Diagram book the doors are described as 'Camel' and the roof is
described as 'Murphy ...' so I would count these as two more items
that are basically correct in the caption (that would make four?).
Also the draft gear is described as Miner - air brake is AB
(information in 1951 digram books forward). Westinghouse KC was
removed way before the time period focus of the book (late 60s)-
there is only so much room on a page ... (that one does not count as
a negative strike against me).

Also, Richard's critique reference to the USRA design is taken out of
context from the caption. I did not write that the 31000 series was a
standard USRA design - the line is; 'After World War I the company
opted to build doubled sheathed wood/steel composite box cars similar
to the standard USRA design (reference to car 25947; which is on page
17) which is a double sheathed USRA 'type' - that line does not say
the 31000 series was a standrd USRA design.

Obviously I do not believe the caption is 'full of errors' and I
would not classify my self as ignorant about the subject matter. I
guess those pesky GN documents that I used for researching the book
might be incorrect?

Scott Thompson

If this is a representative caption from the book, I'd be very
about trusting any of the information provided there. Aside from
40' single sheathed box cars, the GN 31000 series had almost
nothing in
common with the "standard USRA design." "Four sets of vertical
sets" is confusing at best; presumably he's describing the side
framing, though not in terms any car man or mechanical engineer
understand. The cars certainly did NOT have Murphy steel panel
the GN freight car folio identifies them as "Murphy Piv.", that is,
Murphy Improved Pivoted Flexible Outside Metal roofs (see the 1931
Builders' Cyclopedia, p.371), and all of the extant photos show
with these roofs even very late in life. The doors were
not "Camel"
doors, they were Youngstown corrugated steel doors with Camel
The brake gear was not Miner, it was Westinghouse KC equipment,
replaced with AB brakes (and the power hand brakes were an early
Universal model). It was the draft gear that was Miner - model A-
to be specific. And the error of describing plain/solid bearing
as "friction bearing trucks" has been pointed out repeatedly on
list. Thompson's caption was right about only two things; the ends
were, indeed, Dreadnaught (3/5) and the "siding" (i.e., sheathing)
wood. In short, this is a classic example of what happens when
information that is full of errors and general ignorance is cited
authoritative simply because it appears in print.

Richard Hendrickson

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