wood roofed boxcars

Robert kirkham

I'm doing some research on the Dominion/Fowler patent boxcar, and have become aware of a little controversy - the width of the boards used to sheath the roofs of the cars when built. Having spent some considerable effort to locate grainy old black and white photos so as to count boards, and having crawled over under and inside a few surviving cars, the evidence is still meager. I have counted more narrow board (about 3 1/4" width) boards on CPR and GT cars, and more wide width boards (around 5 1/2") on cars built for the Canadian Government Railways and CNR. I've seen a few CPR cars with a wider board at each end of the roof, and narrow boards in between, and I've seen a car with both narrow (80% of the car) and a few wide boards - suggesting a repair?

I've also noticed that the CGR cars would have been built in the crisis years of Canada's involvement in World War I, while the GT and CPR cars are mostly from the pre-war years. And I've seen early photos of cars with the wider roof boards that look to be in poorer condition than later shots of narrow board roofs. All of which leads me to ask these questions:

a) does anyone have specs for any of the series of cars built more or less to the Dominion/Fowler patent design that they can share?

b) is there any literature out there that might support the theory that the wider boards were considered inferior - more susceptible to cupping ,etc - than the narrower boards - and perhaps a war-time, or at least lower cost expedient?

Thanks for any feedback,

Rob Kirkham

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