Re: 65 ft. gons

Dean Payne

--- In STMFC@..., "ed_mines" <ed_mines@...> wrote:

Besides structural steel what would be some common loads for 65 ft.
steam era gons?

Would structural steel be I beams and the like?

Were electrical transmission towers preassembled (drilled and
assembled into subsections)? They would make interesting gon loads.

Years ago I met with a man who worked on a railroad during the summer
in the early '50s. He told me some kind of metal was shipped in bales
in these long gons (not scrap).

In the Spring 2005 Nickel Plate Road Magazine, there is an article on
the 66' 6" gons of the W&LE and the 65' 6" gons of the NKP, written by
Peter Shepherd. "Union Metal of Canton, a manufacturer of street
lamps and steel pilings, was a frequent user of W&LE and NKP mill
gondolas, as inside braces would have damaged their shipments." There
is a photo of a Wheeling gon with a load of poles (which appear to be
metal, I won't speculate as to their use).

Of great interest to me is the fact that the W&LE gons had no real
exterior bracing, either! They were built by the Canton Car Company
in September of 1932 (yes, the depths of the depression). They were
"almost two feet narrower than a conventional 48- or 52-feet long
gondola", to prevent "excessive swing-out of the corners on
tight-clearance industrial trackage..." Let's get back to the sides,
with no interior or exterior bracing. They did have four exterior
straps at the seams, but these had a flat cross-section. I haven't
seen a photo of the inside, but it mentions "the side plates were
riveted to inside structural members." However, they "received
mechanical designation GM". "Such cars had no inside braces or
So, how did they do this without having the sides get bashed to
oblivion? There are photos of examples from 1968 and 1971, looking
pretty straight and true, the last one "left service sometime in late
1982 or early 1983". (The loaders must have been skilled, but I
figured the un-loaders might be the typical ham-fisted type that
caused so many photogenic "textured" gondola sides!) And, why forgo
the external bracing, which they had on the NKP mill gons? The NKP
gons were built in 1936, perhaps the clearances were a bit less
restrictive. There IS a photo of the interior of one of these,
showing rivets and foldable stake pockets only. Boy, these are LONG
freight cars!
Dean Payne

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