Re: from 40' 6' to 50' 6" box cars

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


While I know that the P&LE also did a stretch job on some of their
40-footers, the PRR never tried it. Since the PRR had big problems with even
their 40-foot box cars bowing (the '44 AAR cars they got were especially
bad), they seem not to have wanted to go down that road. I suspect after
seeing some files earlier this year, that the use of their 40-foot boxes for
forklifted coil steel shipments was causing a lot of the problem.

Like you stated earlier, the last 40-footers, (X46) built in the early 50's,
were meant for special shipments (appliances and the like), and were not
numerous. They were vastly over-shadowed by the many new classes of
50-footers. The early "lightweight" 50-footers (X41, X44, X45) turned out to
be weak, and were not repeated. After the lightweight X45's, the solution to
the bowing problem was to stop buying AAR designs and add a big, heavy
channel side sill to all new designs.

Elden Gatwood


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 3:39 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] from 40' 6' to 50' 6" box cars


The C&O bought plug-in kits in the late-50s from Youngston Steel Co (blt up
in southern Indiana ?) to stretch 40-ft cars into 50-ft cars (mostly P-S 1's)
at their Raceland and Wyoming Shops.


-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Garth G. Groff" <ggg9y@... <> >

How about customer preferences? On the Western Pacific (admittedly not a
mid-western or eastern road), 50' boxcars became the norm by the mid to
late 1950s due to customer demand. WP 50-footers were largely used for
auto parts and for lumber. In both cases, it was not only car size, but
also large door openings which were handy for forklifts, that made these
cars attractive to shippers. Once the WP (and subsidiaries Sacramento
Northern and Tidewater Southern) began buying 50' PS-1s in 1954, they
never looked back at 40' cars, except for a few specialized cars for
appliance loading (which might again have been customer preference).
Indeed, in the early 1960s, many of WP 40' PS-1s were returned to
Pullman for lengthening (but that's beyond the STMFP boundaries). ;-)

Kind regards,

Garth G. Groff

al.kresse wrote:

Do we have the short list of key reasons (such as market and
technology) for the shifting of "standard" NEW and REBUILT steel box
cars becoming 50-ft vs previously 40-ft box cars after WW2 and into the
fifties? Especially in the midwest and east?

Al Kresse

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