Re: Automobile Car Shortage


It appears, from reading between the lines in Mr. Lane's article that the driving factor for the all-steel 55-ton hopper cars was that there was an across the country coal car shortage and they would benefit many industries serviced by many railroads.  Some of the other USRA proposed designs were less universally needed.

Al Kresse

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Lucas" <stevelucas3@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 12:09:51 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: [STMFC] Re:Automobile Car Shortage

I have to wonder if a wartime (or pre-war) shortage of steel may have
been a factor in reducing automobile car construction at this time,
and thus availability of many new automobile box cars.  I have read
that the USRA had to politick for a sufficient allocation of steel to
have hopper cars built in 1918/19.  (Mainline Modeler, March 1982,
page 20.) The article cites a RLHS article by James E. Lane that
appears to quote a USRA committee meeting--

"The question then arose as to what we should do concerning the
proposed 25,000 all-steel hoppers of 55-tons capacity.  A few days ago
Mr. Williams and Mr. Spencer had attended a meeting of the War
Industries Board, the Shipping Board, and other Government departments
and at this meeting it had been indicated that the amount of steel
plates available for railroad use would have to be cut drastically in
order to obtain enough steel plates for shipping purposes.  Mr.
Williams at this meeting agreed to the program proposed and this
program cut down our steel plates to such a point as to preclude us
from getting the 25,000 all-steel hoppers, since the steel plate
allotted to us would fall about 49,000 tons short of enough to
construct these hoppers.

The Conference decided, however, that the all-steel hopper should be
insisted upon and that we ought to find a way to get the additional
49,000 tons of steel plate."

Also keep in mind the well-documented precarious financial position
that many railroads of the time found themselves in.        

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., James D Thompson <jaydeet@...> wrote:

The Soo Line bought two groups of automobile cars that straddle 1916;
a couple hundred 40' single sheathed cars from AC&F in 1915, and a
couple of hundred 40' double sheathed truss rod cars from Haskell &
Barker in 1917. Yes, I know it sounds as if they were moving
backwards, but that's what they did.
Might have been an issue with the rapidly escalating cost of steel
in that

David Thompson

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