FGE/WFE/BRE comments

lnbill <bwelch@...>

I confess these days that I am so immersed in my paid work and my
research on the FGE/WFE/BRE consortium, plus modeling, that I do not
look at this group very often.

I will try to be comprehensive here in commenting on all the recent

It would actually be great if one of you with the latest version of
my wood sheathed handout (the 54 page version), could scan it and
make it available either on this site or Ted Cullota's freight car
site, or both. If that can be done, I would write little blurbs
occasionally correcting errors or clarifying/adding information as
need be. Some statement about not copying for resale should be
included. I have always meant it to be seen broadly, as it is a
handout after all. It is important to understand that it is very much
a work in progress. The visual presentation that goes with it has
been much revised and now is an electronic format. I am scheduled to
present it at this fall's Naperville gathering. It is in two parts
now with many, many new photos.

To put this fleet of wood sheathed cars in perspective, during the
period from 1930-1955, ART had one 40-foot wood sheathed design in
revenue service, while MDT had arguably 5. In between these two, SFRD
had 2 designs. (I am intentionally leaving PFE out for now because
need to study it again to see how it stacks up.) During this same
period the FGE/WFE/BRE consortium had in revenue service over 30
different designs or "looks" ordered/built by 12 different railroads
or companies including FGE itself. Of these 30 + designs, only three
were FGE designs, two of which were built for both FGE and WFE and
only one design, the wartime built plywood sheathed cars, was built
by FGE, WFE, and BRE. Again this is before we talk about rebuilds.

(Kits for both the plywood and T&G wartime cars should be available
from Sunshine Models this October. I finally stopped fiddling with
the patterns. Several parts, including the door hinges, ladders, and
the brackets for the 3' 2" bracket grabs will be photoetched!)

Next the InterMountain FGE/WFE reefer. With its 8-inch side sill,
this represents the rebuilding that began in 1948 for cars built by
FGE and WFE in 1927 until about 1934. I suggested to them early on
that they make the side sills a separate item, so that the more
numerous cars with the 6-inch side sill could be modeled, but they
went another way. It makes me nervous when I hear people saying they
are going to buy a bunch of these models since when taking the wood
fleets of both FGE and WFE into account, these cars would represent
only a small portion of the fleet, less than 10 % depending on the
year. IMO one only needs one or two of each FGE and WFE if one is
modeling a railroad served by the FGE/WFE/BRE consortium.

What one does need to be doing is ordering and building Sunshine
resin kits. The truss rod kits can be used to model FGE/WFE's cars
without the 6 inch side sill and the cars they owned with Bettendorf
(Red Caboose) and built up (Tichy) underframes (similar if not
identical to PFE's). As my article in RPM Journal # I demonstrates,
the Accurail reefer has great potential for producing BREX/CX/FWDX
models of their signature cars.

Someone ask for a photo of a FGE steel car: This is also complicated.
We could have thought that with steel came some standardization. The
answer is yes and no. Roofs were SRE products, the conventional
paneled roof and the follow-up diagonal paneled, while the ends were
varieties of SRE's Dreadnaught ends. All three entities built cars
before WWII which share some common components, especially roofs and
underframes, but BRE's cars featured a very rare form with uncommon
ribs with bifurcated ends while some of FGE's cars featured two very
different steel panel configurations, one of which matched WFE and
BRE. BTW, all 50 of FGE's new prewar cars were assigned FDEX
reporting marks and were double deck cars. FGE also installed two
series of steel sheathed rebuilds before the war, FGEX 10850-10999,
which judging from the only known photo is clearly derived for a USRA
double sheathed boxcar of unknown heritage and FGEX52680-52799 which
company records say were rebuilds but for which, to date, there are
no photos to document their appearance/design.

RP CYC covers the steel cars built in 1946 by FGE and WFE.

From 1947 through 1949 FGE built 1,600 steel cars with hinged doors
in 7 different groups, 6 carried FGEX reporting marks and one FHIX.
Four of these had welded steel sheathing, 7 panels to each side of
the doors, one with a tabbed side sill and three with a straight side
sill. The other 3 had five riveted panels to each side of the doors,
one with a tabbed side sill and two with straight side sill. All were
built in the various FGE shops.

WFE built two series of steel cars totaling 750 in 1949. One was
riveted with a straight side sill and hinges similar to those on PFE
steel cars and were built by PC&F. The other was a welded car with
tabbed side sill and appears to be identical to FGE's with the same

BRE built only one group of hinged door cars after WWII, also in
1949. These were riveted with a straight side sill, and an unusual
handle on the door hardware in that it was at about a 45-degree
angle. (I have a table, albeit a work in progress, covering the steel
cars, that I can send to someone to post here and at Ted's site.)

FGE rebuilt what appears to be two groups of steel rebuilds with 6
ft. plug doors in 1949, while WFE began to rebuild wood sheathed cars
with steel sheathing also in 1949 with hinged doors.

Beginning in 1950 and continuing until 1957 when the consortium built
their last ice bunker reefers, all the new cars built by FGE/WFE/BRE
had 6 f. plug doors. These can be modeled with Sunshine kits.

While all the cars built from 1947 forward had the improved
Dreadnaught end, most had the version where the bottom edge was
straight rather than tapered which has yet to be modeled/tooled.

So when someone asked for a photo of a FGE reefer...

The four articles I have done so far should be a good start for
anyone interested in the FGE/WFE/BRE and creating models. I will be
finishing Part II of the truss rod article models for RPM Journal and
then hope to follow with a modeling article using
Branchline/Westerfield and Accurail reefer kits to create models of
FGE cars purchased from the NYNH&H, NYO&W, FEC, and B&O.

From the research perspective, I have basically finished scanning an
almost complete collection of the employee magazine "Teamwork" (still
need the July 1950 and 1954 issues) and early next month will be
going to the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I have just
learned there is archived with the ACL collection 82 folders devoted
to FGE materials. This is potentially the "mother load" that I have
been looking for.

Bill Welch

Join main@RealSTMFC.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.