Re: USRA composite gondolas (long, but illuminating)

Richard Hendrickson

On Oct 17, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Ray Breyer wrote:

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
No good news here, Mark. Almost all of the USRA
composite gondolas were rebuilt or scrapped by
the end of WW II. Minneapolis & St. Louis had
me refurbished ex-L&N cars, some of which lasted
into the early '50s, but only one of those was
still listed in the 1/53 ORER. I can't think of
any other RRs that still had them in revenue
Hi everyone,

With all of the work that people have put into tracking down
various odd, obscure, and single-road freight cars with limited
appeal (to the "great unwashed", anyway) I'm frankly stunned that
no one's bothered to actually study the USRA composite gons AND
their clones, to come up with anything approaching a definitive study.

However, my ORER quantities, based on the car series that I've been
able to trace, are much more accurate. For those that are
interested, here's the list of all of the surviving cars in 1959,
which should prove illuminating:

ACL 90250-90499, 272 cars, original USRA rebuilt to steel WITH
original sides.
ACL 99300-99443, 8 cars, all-original cars, ex-AB&C.
C of G 10861-10935, 66 cars, clone rebuilds with open sides for pulp.
C&IM 15000-15001, 2 cars, steel clone rebuilds WITH original sides
for container service.
G&F 6001-6030, 13 cars, steel rebuild clones WITH original sides.
GM&O 12000-12374, 46 cars, wood-sided clones, ex-M&O.
GM&O 44000-44249, 246 cars, all-original cars, ex-Alton.
IC 82720-84997, 25 cars, all-original cars, mix of IC USRA cars and
ex-VS&P clones.
MILW 1-1000, 1000 cars, clones rebuilt without wood sides for pulp
and pipe service.
MILW 84000-90949, 4043 cars, wood-sided clones.
MP 28900-29999, 7 cars, original USRA rebuilt with side doors
replacing 3 panels per side.
SLSF 50000-50398, 62 cars, wood-sided clones.
SLSF 50399-53346, 764 cars, wood-sided clones (some MAY be steel
rebuilds, but not according to the ORERs)
SLSF 85000-85999, 129 cars, all-original USRA cars.
Wabash 13000-13249, 243 cars, LIKELY clones, WITH composite sides.

This all adds up to a grand total of 6,926 cars that at least look
like USRA gons running after the steam era.
Well, Ray, with all due respect, I wouldn't call this a definitive
study; not even close. I'll grant that I overlooked a couple of
groups of USRA cars that survived into the 1950s, but what you're
calling clones were, in many cases, not even close (e.g., the MILW
cars, which were built in the '40s with quite different dimensions
and Dreadnaught ends) and others had been extensively rebuilt. Just
because a gondola had composite sides and 42'11" LOA doesn't make it
a USRA clone.

Remember, the original question was whether the model could be
legitimately repainted and relettered, not what it might be
transformed into with extensive kit-bashing.

Richard Hendrickson

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