How long did wood car siding last?


enobiko <deanpayne@att.net> <deanpayne@...>
 

How long did wood sides last on a box car or caboose? I know the all-
wood W&LE gons lasted an appallingly short time, but that makes
sense. Gons take a beating! I remember seeing one close up in
Chagrin Falls in the early 70's, bent all out of recognition. (I
wonder why noone makes a kit of a beat up gon? Resin? Fits the
small batch reqirement, but maybe brass is more appropriate. That's
the only justification for brass freight cars I can think of.)
Anyway, I remember the NKP 1000-series caboose at Bellevue, I wonder
how much of the body has been replaced over the century-plus? Sure,
the underframe is now steel, but is it possible it retains some
original wood? How about wood passenger cars? I rode on the East
Broad Top narrow guage in Pa. this last fall, and they have an old
coach that has an interior that looks original from God knows when.
My parents house is as old as I am, and retains the original
sheathing. Of course, it hasn't moved in the 45 years since...
unlike the rolling stock, rocking and flexing down the rails...
Dean


thompson@...
 

How long did wood sides last on a box car or caboose?
Some of the SP wood cabooses kept their sheathing for 30 years or so
between rebuildings; and the rebuilding was mostly to correct the
structural wood parts, not the sheathing.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Benjamin Frank Hom <b.hom@...>
 

Dean Payne asked:
How long did wood sides last on a box car or caboose?


We can use the USRA DS Boxcars (built 1918-1921) as a case study. Many
roads chose to resheath them to steel starting in 1936 through the late
1930s and early 1940s, with the KCS rebuilding their cars in 1949. Using
this data, we can see that the rebuilding programs took place at about 15-20
years into the life of the cars.


Ben Hom


CBarkan@...
 

I am surprised that Al W. has not chimed in on this one. I recall him once
telling me that standard practice was to resheath cars about every 7 years.

Several others have suggested considerably longer times between regular
resheathing, if at all.

Al, are you there? Do I recall incorrectly?

Chris Barkan

In a message dated 2/25/03 8:46:57 PM, thompson@signaturepress.com writes:

<< >How long did wood sides last on a box car or caboose?

Some of the SP wood cabooses kept their sheathing for 30 years or so
between rebuildings; and the rebuilding was mostly to correct the
structural wood parts, not the sheathing.>>


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

But Ben,

Didn't the USRA boxcars have a wooden frame? If so, it was the framing that failed rather than the sheathing. Sure, the replacement upgraded the sheathing, but a new steel frame was more important (plus keeping the shop crews gainfully employed during the Depression). Some of the USRA DS cars were still running on the GN in the 1960s, though I can't say if their sheathing was original.

As Tony has explained in his PFE book and many articles, it was the wooden framing on reefers that had to be replaced every ten or so years, and the sheathing was sometimes reused. Of course, reefers needed much more maintenance than boxcars due to their wet interiors, but the idea is the same: wooden frames failed before sheathing.

The Western Railway Museum is currently restoring one of their Central California Traction boxcars. It was apparently built around 1880 by the SP or CP, but it still had some original sheathing (redwood, IIRC; that stuff lasts forever).

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Benjamin Frank Hom wrote:


We can use the USRA DS Boxcars (built 1918-1921) as a case study. Many
roads chose to resheath them to steel starting in 1936 through the late
1930s and early 1940s, with the KCS rebuilding their cars in 1949. Using
this data, we can see that the rebuilding programs took place at about 15-20
years into the life of the cars.
Ben Hom


tim gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

How long did wood sides last on a box car or caboose?
The B&M Five Window Narrow Monitor Wood-Sheathed Caboose #104242 was
built in 1893 and retired in 1961 - 68 years of service. While some
boards may have been replaced, substantially its sheathing was the same
as when built by B&M's Concord NH Car Shop.

Tim Gilbert


benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@worldnet.att.net> <b.hom@...>
 

Garth G. Groff wrote:
But Ben,
Didn't the USRA boxcars have a wooden frame? If so, it was the
framing that failed rather than the sheathing. Sure, the replacement
upgraded the sheathing, but a new steel frame was more important
(plus keeping the shop crews gainfully employed during the
Depression). Some of the USRA DS cars were still running on the GN
in the 1960s, though I can't say if their sheathing was original.

They did, and the fact that the frames failed before the sheathing
makes sense given the type of stresses the cars were subjected to in
service.


Ben Hom


thompson@...
 

Garth Groff said:
The Western Railway Museum is currently restoring one of their Central
California Traction boxcars. It was apparently built around 1880 by the
SP or CP, but it still had some original sheathing (redwood, IIRC; that
stuff lasts forever).
Actually, I think it's a 1910 Holman car, but still quite durable.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


thompson@...
 

Chris Barkan said:
I am surprised that Al W. has not chimed in on this one. I recall him once
telling me that standard practice was to resheath cars about every 7 years.
That would be amazing. When PFE was drowning in a flood of money and
spent plenty on their cars, they only PAINTED every 7 years.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Tony,

I saw this car under reconstruction in April 2002 and was told by members that it was ex-SP, built about 1880. This is echoed by a piece in the museum's magazine, THE REVIEW, for March 2002. It states, in part:

"Work continued on new doors for CCT wooden boxcar 2001. We estimate that this car is around 120 years old."

A point to you, however, is that in later issues the built date of this car is given as 1910. Perhaps I was fed incorrect information, or perhaps some information has more recently emerged.

Is there any firm documentation this is a Holman car? If I can remember to do so, I will discuss this car with archivist Bart Nadeau when I'm out there next month.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

thompson@signaturepress.com wrote:

Garth Groff said:

The Western Railway Museum is currently restoring one of their Central
California Traction boxcars. It was apparently built around 1880 by the
SP or CP, but it still had some original sheathing (redwood, IIRC; that
stuff lasts forever).
Actually, I think it's a 1910 Holman car, but still quite durable.
Tony Thompson


thompson@...
 

I saw this car under reconstruction in April 2002 and was told by
members that it was ex-SP, built about 1880. This is echoed by a piece
in the museum's magazine, THE REVIEW, for March 2002. It states, in part:

"Work continued on new doors for CCT wooden boxcar 2001. We
estimate
that this car is around 120 years old."

A point to you, however, is that in later issues the built date of this
car is given as 1910. Perhaps I was fed incorrect information, or
perhaps some information has more recently emerged.
The CCT book, now approaching completion, draws on CCT's own records.
This car was built in 1910 by Holman in San Francisco. Where the legend
about the SP ancestry arose, I have no idea. But I doubt it's true; in 1910
CCT was not only independent of but rather wary of SP.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history