Re: REPKD.Repacking Stm. era freight car trucks.

Bob Karig <karig@...>


This is an excerpt from my book, Coal Cars: The First Three Hundred Years,
regarding the repacking of journal bearings. The book should be out in a
few weeks.

Repacking Journal Bearings

Journal bearings were a critical maintenance item on
railroads. Hot boxes resulting from poorly maintained journal bearings
caused delays and derailments. To prevent these problems, journal boxes
were routinely opened, inspected, and refilled with oil during each
interchange. In addition, strict guidelines for their repacking were
established by the A.R.A. under Rule 66 of the Code of Rules.
Repacking journal bearings was a labor intensive process. The
rules required that the journal boxes be jacked, that all journal wedges be
removed, inspected, and replaced as necessary, and that the journal boxes
be cleaned and repacked in accordance with association guidelines. Only
after all journal boxes on the car had been repacked could the stencil be
applied indicating that they had been repacked. The rules required that
the place, month, day and year, and the reporting marks of the repacking
railroad be stenciled on the car body near the bolster at diagonal corners
with not less than one inch figures and letters.28
Over time, the rules regarding the interval between repacking of
the journals changed. Prior to March 1, 1929, the rule stated that
journals "should be repacked when necessary, using properly prepared
packing (new or renovated) in accordance with Recommended Practice, at
which time all packing should be removed from the boxes and boxes cleaned;
dust guards to be renewed (if necessary) or replaced when wheels are
changed."29 From March 1, 1929 through 1932, Rule 66 stated journal boxes
should be repacked "after the expiration of twelve months,"30 and from 1933
through 1955, the interval was fifteen months.31 In 1956, the interval was
extended to eighteen months,32 and in 1958, the interval for cars equipped
with journal lubricating devices was extended to twenty-four
months.33 When a journal lubricating device was used, it would be
indicated near the repacking stencil, as seen in Figure 7.12.
In 1950, the A.A.R. inserted Rule 66a governing the maintenance of
roller bearings into its Rules of Interchange. Under this rule, railroads
were required to lubricate the roller bearings every twelve months. The
place, month, day, and year of lubrication and the reporting marks of the
railroad doing the lubrication along with the symbol "LUB" were to be
stenciled near the body bolster at diagonal corners with not less than one
inch figures and letters. Examples are shown in Figure 7.12.34 In 1958,
this interval was modified slightly. The interval for roller bearings
lubricated with oil remained at twelve months, but the interval for those
lubricated with grease was extended to eighteen months.35

Bob Karig

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