Early 1900's Wood Freight Cars


Paul Hillman
 

I'm sure someone in the group can quite easily answer this question.

What cyclopedias/books are available that show accurate wooden car
construction, including the frames, sides, everthing actually.

I want to begin building exact "G" scale models of wooden freight
cars, cabooses, etc.

Also, when did all-wood, general car-construction tend to cease.

Paul Hillman


benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@...>
 

Chris Hillman asked:
"What cyclopedias/books are available that show accurate wooden car
construction, including the frames, sides, everthing actually."

An outstanding starting point is John White's _The American Railroad
Freight Car: From the Wood-Car Era to the Coming of Steel_, which is
still in print, and is a bargain at $40-45 for over 600 pages of
extremely well-researched information. Here's an excerpt posted at
Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0801852366/ref=sib_rdr_fc/102-1139549-
2569753?%5Fencoding=UTF8&p=S001#reader-link


"Also, when did all-wood, general car-construction tend to cease."

Someone here will certainly find an exception, but generally, all-
wood construction (i.e., no steel centersill, no steel underframe) of
freight cars was killed off by the end of World War I. All-wood,
truss-rod cars simply weren't robust enough to meet the increased
traffic demands brought on by the war.


Ben Hom


Bob Webber <rswebber@...>
 

You'll never do it. There is no "G" scale (that is really adhered to). There is a "G" gauge.

Which "G" scale would you be working in? 1/32? 1/29? 1/24? 1/22.5? 1/20.3 (which is "F" scale)? 1/18? All are scales that run on "G" gauge. And there are more.

Having said that, you can get some of the Gregg reprints or the White book and that will provide you the basic information. But, it all depends on the specific model you wish to build. The method of underframe construction especially changed from manufacturer to manufacturer. And draft gear and sides.

Now, if you were to build narrow gauge cars, Hartford cars are pretty close to board on board construction, and produce beautiful models. And they may be a good first project to get a taste of what is involved. in fact, they had, at one time, an economy ACF flat or box that would be an ideal candidate.

Dave Grandt had the best depiction of G Scale yet - some one asked him for a G scale ruler. He picked out a rubber band, and flexed it and said: "Here it is - tell me where you want to stop".

At 02:19 PM 4/26/2004, you wrote:
I'm sure someone in the group can quite easily answer this question.

What cyclopedias/books are available that show accurate wooden car
construction, including the frames, sides, everthing actually.

I want to begin building exact "G" scale models of wooden freight
cars, cabooses, etc.

Also, when did all-wood, general car-construction tend to cease.

Paul Hillman


Richard Hendrickson
 

Ben Hom writes:

Someone here will certainly find an exception, but generally, all-
wood construction (i.e., no steel centersill, no steel underframe) of
freight cars was killed off by the end of World War I. All-wood,
truss-rod cars simply weren't robust enough to meet the increased
traffic demands brought on by the war.
I'd put it somewhat earlier than that, Ben. Steel underframes, or at least
steel draft sills, had been almost universally adopted by ca. 1910, and I
doubt that any major car manufacturer built standard gauge wood underframe
cars after that date.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


James D Thompson <jaydeet@...>
 

Steel underframes, or at least steel draft sills, had been almost
universally adopted by ca. 1910, and I doubt that any major car
manufacturer built standard gauge wood underframe cars after that date.
I'd put the primary cutoff around 1913, as there was still some lingering
wood center sill construction done into the early Teens for roads that
were too poor or too ornery to pay for steel frames.

David Thompson


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Paul Hillman wrote:
I'm sure someone in the group can quite easily answer this question.
What cyclopedias/books are available that show accurate wooden car
construction, including the frames, sides, everthing actually.
All of them up to, say, 1912. And also look for Train Shed No. 29, William Voss's book, Freight Cars, 1892. It's a wonderful source.

Also, when did all-wood, general car-construction tend to cease.
Well, what do you mean by "all-wood?" Do you include truss rods? The NWP built at least one flat car in their own shops in 1924 which was all-wood except for truss rods and details.
But generally, the steel underframe (or, as Richard H. said, the steel draft sill) came in very strongly circa 1905 as the new, larger locomotives with potent air brakes and knuckle couplers were pulling apart those old wood underframes. You can, of course, find exceptions to any rule and I wouldn't doubt that some backwoods operation somewhere built all-wood equipment as late as WW II or later. But if you want a realistic date, I'd say 1905 to 1910.

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


Paul Hillman
 

Bob,

Thank you for addressing my NEXT question of building in "G" "scale"
versus "gauge".

The scale question is one to be thought about, but I like the
larger "scale" size in general and need to figure out what to do
about "scaling'.

Perhaps there should be a (G)NMRA(?) to determine standards??

It is like, again, the early American railroads with 6 foot, etc.,
gauges, until the 4'- 8 1/2" gauge was established for "standard
gauge".

But, first of all I would like to assemble more information on
actual prototype car construction, and then go from there with the
greater question of "scale".

Paul Hillman



--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Bob Webber <rswebber@c...> wrote:
You'll never do it. There is no "G" scale (that is really adhered
to). There is a "G" gauge.

Which "G" scale would you be working in? 1/32? 1/29? 1/24?
1/22.5?
1/20.3 (which is "F" scale)? 1/18? All are scales that run
on "G"
gauge.


Bob Webber <rswebber@...>
 

At 07:28 PM 4/26/2004, you wrote:
But, first of all I would like to assemble more information on
actual prototype car construction, and then go from there with the
greater question of "scale".
Paul Hillman
The most readily available information on wood freight car construction is going to be D&RGW narrow gauge cars - simply because they have lasted in their semi-original (if they can be called that) state for so long. The construction details and methods are identical - which is why I suggest Hartford, because in that scale/gauge/ size? you'll find that the kits have the best information as to construction details as well as kit details.

The reason I say that these are the most readily available is that you can find the plans down to the nuts and bolts level rather easily, and people have been making contest grade models of them for some time - there is nothing like a stock car in that size! But even a simple flat car can be fun, and there is at least motive power to run with it. Of course, there is motive power for the large scale standard gauge too - BUT, the steam power for those scales are mostly late steam and would not be likely seen toting an all wood car around.

BTW, Hartford now has passenger car kits too. Now, if you want to just dip a toe in - Hartford makes some of the original 1880's two axle cars that will at least give you the flavor of the beast you're looking at. Maxwell and others have plan packs for specific models and are on the web. Aside from that, White, Gregg and the reprints of the car encyclopedias of the 1880's and earlier are going to be the best bets.


John Degnan \(RailScaler\) <RailScaler@...>
 

Paul,

I have been through this very same discussion with quite a few folks in the past about G scale... and in all honesty, its a waste of time! G... whatever it is... is what it probably always will be due to the mentality of the various manufacturers. Therefore, I determined that 1/32 scale (which is actually I scale (as in "eye") (also called Gauge 1) is the best way to go if you gotta have large trains, and if you don't mind scratch-building... which I don't, and you don't seem to. 1/32 scale is extremely easy to model in due to how it can be 'scaled out' using a standard, household ruler (rule) (3/8" = 1 scale foot), and is supposedly the smallest scale that can be modeled in where detail doesn't have to be sacrificed. There are a few manufacturers out there who are making 1/32 scale stuff... see links below :

http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/ <--- UNBELIEVABLE MODELS!!! (If you can afford them)

http://www.fine-art-models.com/ <--- UNBELIEVABLE MODELS!!! (If you can afford them)

http://www.accucraft.com/ <--- UNBELIEVABLE MODELS!!! (If you can afford them)

http://www.marchesmodels.com/

http://www.marklin.com/scales/maxi/

http://www.galtran.com/

http://www.gaugeone.org/

http://www.dingler.de/main.html

http://www.bockholt-lokomotiven.de/en/index.html

And have a look here for more scales info : http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/scales.htm

Good luck.


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
From Railroading To Religion... John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
I'm primarily an HO and S scale modeler/collector, but I occasionally build something in 1/32 for a shelf-display.
=============================================

----- Original Message -----
From: behillman
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 8:28 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Early 1900's Wood Freight Cars


Bob,

Thank you for addressing my NEXT question of building in "G" "scale"
versus "gauge".

The scale question is one to be thought about, but I like the
larger "scale" size in general and need to figure out what to do
about "scaling'.

Perhaps there should be a (G)NMRA(?) to determine standards??

It is like, again, the early American railroads with 6 foot, etc.,
gauges, until the 4'- 8 1/2" gauge was established for "standard
gauge".

But, first of all I would like to assemble more information on
actual prototype car construction, and then go from there with the
greater question of "scale".

Paul Hillman



--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Bob Webber <rswebber@c...> wrote:
> You'll never do it. There is no "G" scale (that is really adhered
> to). There is a "G" gauge.
>
> Which "G" scale would you be working in? 1/32? 1/29? 1/24?
1/22.5?
> 1/20.3 (which is "F" scale)? 1/18? All are scales that run
on "G"
> gauge.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yahoo! Groups Links

a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STMFC/

b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


Brian Leppert <b.leppert@...>
 

Maybe the best book on the subject is RAILWAY CAR CONSTRUCTION by William
Voss, published 1892, and fortunately reprinted by the Orange Empire Railway
Museum, Perris CA, in 1999. Price, about $25.

Brian Leppert
Carson City, NV

----- Original Message -----
From: "behillman" <chris_hillman@msn.com>
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 12:19 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Early 1900's Wood Freight Cars


I'm sure someone in the group can quite easily answer this question.

What cyclopedias/books are available that show accurate wooden car
construction, including the frames, sides, everthing actually.

I want to begin building exact "G" scale models of wooden freight
cars, cabooses, etc.

Also, when did all-wood, general car-construction tend to cease.

Paul Hillman


Tim O'Connor
 

http://www.fine-art-models.com/ <--- UNBELIEVABLE MODELS!!!
Good luck.
John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net

John, I'm not sure if they were Fine Art models but years ago I saw
some outstanding 1/32 PRR flat cars with early World War II military
tank loads on them. If it's the same outfit then the workmanship is
very, very good. And if I were Bill Gates I'm sure I'd have a backyard
version of Donner Pass featuring Fine Art cab forwards...

http://www.fine-art-models.com/e/model/trains/flat_car/default.asp


Randall Hees <hees@...>
 

At least in the west, Wooden freight cars were still being factory built as
late as 1913, when Holman (San Francisco) went out of business. It appears
that the late freight cars were all for interurban lines. One example is
Sacramento Northern 32, preserved at the California State Railroad Museum,
restored in 1999 was built about 1911. It is an "all wood" flatcar,
including wooden draft timbers, but does have an iron bolster.

Wooden cars were built and rebuilt for both logging and narrow gauge
service much, much later. The West Side Lumber Co was building all wood
flatcars in their shops through world war II, as was The Pacific Lumber Co
for their operations at Scotca, which included trackage rights on the NWP.
The last car out of their shops left in 1974, but that was rebuilt
specifically to donate to the Bay Area Railroad Museum.

Various Southern Pacific shops would build new, or rebuild wooden cars for
their narrow gauge lines until very close to the abandonment of the Keeler
branch in 1960. While SP had included iron bolsters in the narrow gauge
cars built for SPC in 1893, the later gondolas, built circa 1917 had wood
bolsters.

As noted by others, Voss, Railway Car Construction is the primary source,
and has been reprinted by Orange Empire Railroad Museum (it was previously
available as two volumes of the Train Shed series) The early Carbuilder's
Dictionaries are also very useful.

Wood was not abandoned by carbuilders all at once. As iron got cheaper,
and train size and loadings grew, iron (or steel) was substituted (or
supplemented) first the bolsters, then the draft gear, then the center
sills. Bodies remained wood sheathed for a long time. (by the way we
could have a long debate on the use of "sill" for the frame members which
run the length of the car in the center. They were not called sills in
1878 Carbuilders Dictionary, but were by 1885 or so)

Randy Hees


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Brian Leppert wrote:
Maybe the best book on the subject is RAILWAY CAR CONSTRUCTION by William
Voss, published 1892, and fortunately reprinted by the Orange Empire Railway
Museum, Perris CA, in 1999. Price, about $25.
DId OERM do it as a hardback? My paperbound Trainshed version is wearing out.

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


Richard Hendrickson
 

Randy Hees writes:

At least in the west, Wooden freight cars were still being factory built as
late as 1913, when Holman (San Francisco) went out of business. It appears
that the late freight cars were all for interurban lines. One example is
Sacramento Northern 32, preserved at the California State Railroad Museum,
restored in 1999 was built about 1911. It is an "all wood" flatcar,
including wooden draft timbers, but does have an iron bolster.

Wooden cars were built and rebuilt for both logging and narrow gauge
service much, much later. The West Side Lumber Co was building all wood
flatcars in their shops through world war II, as was The Pacific Lumber Co
for their operations at Scotca, which included trackage rights on the NWP.
The last car out of their shops left in 1974, but that was rebuilt
specifically to donate to the Bay Area Railroad Museum.

Various Southern Pacific shops would build new, or rebuild wooden cars for
their narrow gauge lines until very close to the abandonment of the Keeler
branch in 1960. While SP had included iron bolsters in the narrow gauge
cars built for SPC in 1893, the later gondolas, built circa 1917 had wood
bolsters.

As noted by others, Voss, Railway Car Construction is the primary source,
and has been reprinted by Orange Empire Railroad Museum (it was previously
available as two volumes of the Train Shed series) The early Carbuilder's
Dictionaries are also very useful.

Wood was not abandoned by carbuilders all at once. As iron got cheaper,
and train size and loadings grew, iron (or steel) was substituted (or
supplemented) first the bolsters, then the draft gear, then the center
sills. Bodies remained wood sheathed for a long time. (by the way we
could have a long debate on the use of "sill" for the frame members which
run the length of the car in the center. They were not called sills in
1878 Carbuilders Dictionary, but were by 1885 or so)
All true, Randy, but you're talking about what I would characterize as
exceptions in this context - interurban RRs, logging RRs, narrow gauge RRs
(dare I say rinky-dink RRs?). I understood the original query to be about
standard gauge freight cars in interchange, and I'll stand by my original
statement that hardly any such cars were built entirely of wood after ca.
1910. And I'll add that the last such cars with all wood body framing were
built in the early 1920s, after which steel framing was universally
adopted. In fact, the last box cars built in sizeable numbers with wood
body framing were the USRA 40 ton double sheathed cars of WWI, and it's
worth noting how early (starting in the early 1930s) many of those cars
were rebuilt with steel bodies, while large numbers of the 50 ton
steel-framed USRA single sheathed box cars survived without rebuilding
until after WW II. Wood construction simply couldn't withstand the
structural abuse freight cars received once air brakes and knuckle couplers
made it possible after the turn of the 20th century to operate much longer
and heavier trains and much larger and heavier motive power.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Paul Hillman
 

John Degnan &#92;(RailScaler&#92;wrote:

Paul,

I have been through this very same discussion with quite a few
folks in the past about G scale... Therefore, I determined that 1/32
scale (which is actually I scale (as in "eye") (also called Gauge 1)
is the best way to go if you gotta have large trains,...

*********************************************************************
Response;

John,

Thanks for the idea. Sounds like a viable avenue. I had a large-
scale tank car when I was about 5 years old. It was metal. (1950's)
It might have been 1/32 scale. I've always woundered what happened
to it.

But, this has now got me curious to do some calculations. What is
the railhead spacing of commercial G track? I've only dabbled with
Bachmann G, but seemingly other G manufacturers are using the same
gauge yet with different scales?

I am many miles from the nearest hobby shop and do not have any G
track in my possession. (My son took it back.)

The interior rail-gauge computed to 4' 8-1/2" would tell something,
or even computed to 3'-0" for narrow-gauge. (Of course there would
be a definite scale difference between standard & narrow-gauge
computations.)

The reason for my questioning this, has to do with available
locomotives and trucks. Scratch-building freight-cars in ANY scale
is no-problem. But you gotta have an engine and wheels too. Those
are both a little more "effort-consuming".

Thanks, Paul Hillman


Bob Webber <rswebber@...>
 

"G" gauge is, for 4'8.5" correct for 1/32.
It is correct for 3' at 1:20.3 (or Fn3)
It is correct for meter gauge at 1:22.5 (which is why LGB uses it).
It is correct for 2' in (I think it is) 1:16 (this may be off as I haven't dabbled - others have though, but then they end up relaying the track anyway typically)

All other scales have some sort of compromise. Although, 'O" scale does too.

There ARE some nice 50's cars in various scales, USA makes some, Aristocraft makes some. Accucraft makes VERY nice RTR cars in both 1/32 and 1:20.3. The ones in 1:20.3 are steam era.

At 04:49 PM 4/27/2004, you wrote:
John Degnan &#92;(RailScaler&#92;wrote:

Paul,

I have been through this very same discussion with quite a few
folks in the past about G scale... Therefore, I determined that 1/32
scale (which is actually I scale (as in "eye") (also called Gauge 1)
is the best way to go if you gotta have large trains,...

*********************************************************************
Response;

John,

Thanks for the idea. Sounds like a viable avenue. I had a large-
scale tank car when I was about 5 years old. It was metal. (1950's)
It might have been 1/32 scale. I've always woundered what happened
to it.

But, this has now got me curious to do some calculations. What is
the railhead spacing of commercial G track? I've only dabbled with
Bachmann G, but seemingly other G manufacturers are using the same
gauge yet with different scales?

I am many miles from the nearest hobby shop and do not have any G
track in my possession. (My son took it back.)

The interior rail-gauge computed to 4' 8-1/2" would tell something,
or even computed to 3'-0" for narrow-gauge. (Of course there would
be a definite scale difference between standard & narrow-gauge
computations.)

The reason for my questioning this, has to do with available
locomotives and trucks. Scratch-building freight-cars in ANY scale
is no-problem. But you gotta have an engine and wheels too. Those
are both a little more "effort-consuming".

Thanks, Paul Hillman








Yahoo! Groups Links




James D Thompson <jaydeet@...>
 

Increased car sizes, perhaps, but lack of high quality lumber? Do you
have proof to support this? How do you explain all of that lumber going
into those single-sheathed cars in the 1920s?
Lumber for sheathing isn't subjected to anywhere near the kinds of
forces required of good structural lumber used for frame sills, bolsters,
and such. White touches on the decline of cheap, widely available old-
growth timber as a factor favoring steel car construction.

Now that I think about it, probably the last significant production of
wood-frame cars in the US was the ill-fated N&W HSa hopper of 1918-20.

David Thompson


Paul Hillman
 

Bob Webber wrote:
"G" gauge is, for 4'8.5" correct for 1/32.
It is correct for 3' at 1:20.3 (or Fn3)
It is correct for meter gauge at 1:22.5 (which is why LGB uses it).
It is correct for 2' in (I think it is) 1:16.
*********************************************************************
Gee Bob,

I think you answered all the "G" scale questions right there!!!

All I gotta do now is start building!!

Thanks, Paul Hillman


Andy Carlson
 

--- James D Thompson <jaydeet@inna.net> wrote:
Increased car sizes, perhaps, but lack of high
quality lumber? Do you
have proof to support this?
Lumber for sheathing isn't subjected to anywhere
near the kinds of
forces required of good structural lumber used for
frame sills, bolsters,
and such. White touches on the decline of cheap,
widely available old-
growth timber as a factor favoring steel car
construction.
Certainly by the "teens" good old growth Eastern White
Oak favored for schooner production was virtually
gone, and the upper Mid-West lumber depletion had
already sent lumber barons to the West in search of
large timber holdings, but this period had not yet
consumed the last of good old growth framing timbers,
which wouldn't be in decline generally until AFTER
WWll. I think any published conjecture on the loss of
good wood prompting the changeover to steel car
construction is a wee bit revisionist.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


John Degnan \(RailScaler\) <RailScaler@...>
 

Sacramento Northern 32, preserved at the California State Railroad Museum
Hi Randy,

Do you have any photos of that flat car? If so, can you scane them and send me a few copies?

Thanks.


John Degnan
RailScaler@comcast.net
From Railroading To Religion... John's World on the Web :
http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/welcome.htm
=============================================

----- Original Message -----
From: Randall Hees
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 10:57 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Early 1900's Wood Freight Cars




At least in the west, Wooden freight cars were still being factory built as
late as 1913, when Holman (San Francisco) went out of business. It appears
that the late freight cars were all for interurban lines. One example is
Sacramento Northern 32, preserved at the California State Railroad Museum,
restored in 1999 was built about 1911. It is an "all wood" flatcar,
including wooden draft timbers, but does have an iron bolster.

Wooden cars were built and rebuilt for both logging and narrow gauge
service much, much later. The West Side Lumber Co was building all wood
flatcars in their shops through world war II, as was The Pacific Lumber Co
for their operations at Scotca, which included trackage rights on the NWP.
The last car out of their shops left in 1974, but that was rebuilt
specifically to donate to the Bay Area Railroad Museum.

Various Southern Pacific shops would build new, or rebuild wooden cars for
their narrow gauge lines until very close to the abandonment of the Keeler
branch in 1960. While SP had included iron bolsters in the narrow gauge
cars built for SPC in 1893, the later gondolas, built circa 1917 had wood
bolsters.

As noted by others, Voss, Railway Car Construction is the primary source,
and has been reprinted by Orange Empire Railroad Museum (it was previously
available as two volumes of the Train Shed series) The early Carbuilder's
Dictionaries are also very useful.

Wood was not abandoned by carbuilders all at once. As iron got cheaper,
and train size and loadings grew, iron (or steel) was substituted (or
supplemented) first the bolsters, then the draft gear, then the center
sills. Bodies remained wood sheathed for a long time. (by the way we
could have a long debate on the use of "sill" for the frame members which
run the length of the car in the center. They were not called sills in
1878 Carbuilders Dictionary, but were by 1885 or so)

Randy Hees







------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yahoo! Groups Links

a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STMFC/

b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.