Re: Telephone pole flatcar loads

Greg Martin


There were rules for loading open top cars with poles, and they were
published by the ARR, someone must have a set of diagrams. IIRC the standard
size of a Utility Pole was 39-feet, and telegraph poles were 52-feet, at
least that is what I seem to remember. Butts to the end of the car and tips to
the center two rows high and then tips out and butts to the center for the
next row then switch back, but again you"ll need a diagram to work from. I
would be surprised if the diagrams don't show some banding in layers...

For good looking general purpose poles, I would suggest that you use what
Richard Hendrickson suggested to me, Bamboo Chop Sticks, what a great
suggestion for poles, not more tapering dowel rod. Poles were loaded by weight
not volume so it would depend on the capacity of your car and the weight of
each pole.

All poles are tapered and for utility poles 1 inch in 10-feet is the
standard and they were treat with either creosote for most power poles and
pilings were traditionally treated with "Dow-Penta" in dark oil or light oil for
exposed pilings.

Greg Martin

Lee you wrote:

"I'm preparing a special movement of telephone pole loads over a friend's
layout set in 1955. Does anyone have advice on how they would have been
loaded? I'm planning on using 1/8" wooden dowels cut about 6" long and loaded
in groups of about 9 or 10 wide with stakes in the pockets. How many layers
would be appropriate for a load like this? I know that real poles were
slightly tapered, but I doubt if I'll try to replicate that. Were longer poles
of 80'-100' transported by rail often? I assume they would have been
hauled in 65' drop end gons with idler flats.

Lee A. Gautreaux - The RailGoat"

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