Wooden Running Boards - Dates


Pete Piszczek
 

Any general rules regarding the dates as to when wooden running boards were
replaced by metal roof walks on 40’ boxcars? I’m thinking of cars
manufactured around WWII through the late forties / early fifties.

I’m guessing most post WWII cars would have had metal running boards, if for
no other reason than the lower price of steel and the increased capacity to
produce it in the post war period. Pre WWII would have been wood as with
most cars built during the war.

Would it have been typical for wooden roof walks to get replaced by metal as
the cars aged and were repaired later in their lives? Were wooden walks
ever banned from interchange service (other than the complete roof walk ban
in ’83)?

I’ve just been given a stack of Branchline / Yardmaster Series kits of the
AAR 40’ boxcars in various SE road names. I’m trying to decide if the
wooden boards supplied are appropriate for these cars during the late 1960’
s.

Best Regards,
Pete Piszczek


Richard Hendrickson
 

Any general rules regarding the dates as to when wooden running boards were
replaced by metal roof walks on 40’ boxcars? I’m thinking of cars
manufactured around WWII through the late forties / early fifties.
Pete Piszczek
Metal grid running boards began to appear in significant numbers in the
late 1930s, and some railroads (e.g., NKP) adopted them as standard
practice; even during the WW II steel shortages, many new cars were
equipped with metal running boards, as the shortages affected mostly sheet
rather than bar steel. In 1944
the AAR ruled that new cars were required to have metal running boards, and
that wood running boards on older cars were to be replaced with metal when
replacement was required. However, many cars built before 1944 kept their
wood running boards until they were retired or, in the '60s, running boards
were eliminated entirely. Dated photographic evidence is the only sure
guide for specific cars.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


switchengines <jrs060@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@o...>
wrote:
"Metal grid running boards began to appear in significant numbers in
the
late 1930s."

Richard, I hate taking you to task about this. But it is
not really true. Metal "open gride" running boards started
to appear on new and rebuilt equipment in the "very" late
1930's, I don't think some of the manufactures got into
offering them until early in the year of 1940 (Morton,
here in Chicago was one) from what I have read in Railway
Age. It's misleading to say that they appeared in significant
numbers prior to the end of WWII, as very few new and
rebuilt cars entered the ranks from 1940 until near the
end of the war.

Regards, Jerry Stewart
Chicago, Ill.


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Jerry Stewart said:
Richard, I hate taking you to task about this. But it is
not really true. Metal "open gride" running boards started
to appear on new and rebuilt equipment in the "very" late
1930's, I don't think some of the manufactures got into
offering them until early in the year of 1940 (Morton, here
in Chicago was one) from what I have read in Railway Age.
Actually, Jerry, I'd disagree with you. First, the rate of adoption of the metal running boards was very impressive, obviously an invention which was overdue. Secondly, there were an awful lot of house cars built in the 1938-1942 period in the run-up to WW II. And third, Richard said, "Metal grid running boards began to appear in significant numbers in the late 1930s." Unless you want to define "significant" in your own way, it's a hard statement to argue with, because there were lots of new cars, and a high percentage of those cars did have metal grid running boards.

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@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Richard Hendrickson
 

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@o...>
wrote:
"Metal grid running boards began to appear in significant numbers in
the
late 1930s."

Richard, I hate taking you to task about this. But it is
not really true. Metal "open gride" running boards started
to appear on new and rebuilt equipment in the "very" late
1930's, I don't think some of the manufactures got into
offering them until early in the year of 1940 (Morton,
here in Chicago was one) from what I have read in Railway
Age. It's misleading to say that they appeared in significant
numbers prior to the end of WWII, as very few new and
rebuilt cars entered the ranks from 1940 until near the
end of the war.
This message arrived while Sandra and I were out running a sports car rally
in her 1970 MG-B (in this year's first serious rain in Southern Oregon -
barometer 29.3 and snow on the mountains above 3,000 ft. - maybe an early
ski season. But I digress). Both Tony Thompson and Tim O'connor defended
me while I was away from the keyboard, for which I thank them, and Tony
aptly pointed out that the issue here is what is meant by "significant
numbers". Many railroads tried steel running boards on at least one or two
new car orders between 1936 and 1944 and by the early '40s the railroads
that had settled on steel running boards as standard practice for house
cars included not just the NKP and C&NW, as Tim mentioned, but RRs as
diverse as the Alton, B&LE, EJ&E, GM&O, MoPac, NC&StL, N&W, and WM. That
adds up to a lot of cars - what I'd call a "significant number." YMMV, of
course.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Tim O'Connor
 

Jerry,

Southern Pacific alone took delivery on nearly 6,000 box cars from
1940 to 1942 with metal grid running boards. Also the 1,000 R-40-14's
built during the war were so equipped. All of the C&NW and NKP War
Emergency box cars were equipped with metal grid running boards.
Perhaps other people can cite other batches of cars built with them
prior to 1944 -- when they became required equipment.

Tim O.

Richard, I hate taking you to task about this. But it is
not really true. Metal "open gride" running boards started
to appear on new and rebuilt equipment in the "very" late
1930's, I don't think some of the manufactures got into
offering them until early in the year of 1940 (Morton,
here in Chicago was one) from what I have read in Railway
Age. It's misleading to say that they appeared in significant
numbers prior to the end of WWII, as very few new and
rebuilt cars entered the ranks from 1940 until near the
end of the war.

Regards, Jerry Stewart
Chicago, Ill.


Gene Green <lgreen@...>
 

About 1938 - working from memory here, can't confirm until I'm back
home next month - the AAR asked the railroads to test various metal
running boards. It was only after the test period that metal running
boards were required. Wood running boards on cars already built
were, of course, grandfathered in.
Gene Green


Schuyler Larrabee
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim O'Connor
[mailto:timboconnor@...]

Perhaps other people can cite other batches of
cars built
with them prior to 1944 -- when they became
required equipment.
Tim, I assume you mean required on NEW equipment?

SGL


switchengines <jrs060@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@s...> wrote:
"Actually, Jerry, I'd disagree with you. First, the rate of
adoption of the metal running boards was very impressive, obviously
an
invention which was overdue. Secondly, there were an awful lot of
house
cars built in the 1938-1942 period in the run-up to WW II. And
third,
Richard said, "Metal grid running boards began to appear in
significant numbers in the late 1930s." Unless you want to define
"significant" in your own way, it's a hard statement to argue with,
because there were lots of new cars, and a high percentage of those
cars did have metal grid running boards."

Indeed Tony, metal "open grid" running boards were adopted with
great enthusiasm by railroads, and the late 1930's was a time
when new all steel house cars were being purchased by many
carriers. But I doubt that many cars built in 1938 got metal
open grid running boards at all, 1939 seems to be the year of
mass adoption, and lets not forget that many house cars built
during WWII got wooden running boards substitutes.
I think I will still stay with my disagreement on this one, the
visual appearance of the North American freight yard, at least
from an overhead prospective, did not change that much until
after the arrival of the many post war steel house cars in the
later 1940's.

Regards,
Jerry Stewart
Chicago, Ill.


switchengines <jrs060@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@c...> wrote:
" Southern Pacific alone took delivery on nearly 6,000 box cars from
1940 to 1942 with metal grid running boards. Also the 1,000 R-40-
14's
built during the war were so equipped. All of the C&NW and NKP War
Emergency box cars were equipped with metal grid running boards.
Perhaps other people can cite other batches of cars built with them
prior to 1944 -- when they became required equipment.

Tim,
Maybe I wrong here, but I though that the PFE R-40-14
steel refrigerator cars built by PC&F just prior to the start
of the WWII had wood running boards, not steel open grid
type when delivered? Perhaps Tony Thompson can help us here,
also it might be interesting to find out how may wood running
board SP 1937 AAR steel box cars delivered prior to the war
and 1940 were also delivered with wood running boards?

Regards,
Jerry Stewart
Chicago, Ill.


Ed Hawkins
 

On Wednesday, October 20, 2004, at 10:17 AM, switchengines wrote:

Tim,
Maybe I wrong here, but I though that the PFE R-40-14
steel refrigerator cars built by PC&F just prior to the start
of the WWII had wood running boards, not steel open grid
type when delivered? Perhaps Tony Thompson can help us here,
also it might be interesting to find out how may wood running
board SP 1937 AAR steel box cars delivered prior to the war
and 1940 were also delivered with wood running boards?
Jerry,
The 1937 AAR and modified 1937 AAR box car rosters are on the STMFC web site and downloadable in .pdf format. The rosters contain information on the running boards used on nearly all of these cars. While these two rosters don't represent every roofed freight car produced during the late 1930s to mid-1940s, they certainly represent a significant percentage and should be indicative of the amount of steel vs. wood running boards used during this period of time. An article in the 3/19/38 issue of Railway Age states that the first use of an open grid Apex running board was used on some SL-SF 1937 AAR "replacement box cars." There had been a limited amount of earlier use of Alan Wood Diamond Plate running boards on at least one covered hopper (B&O) and tank cars.
Regards,
Ed Hawkins


Tim O'Connor
 

Maybe I wrong here, but I though that the PFE R-40-14
steel refrigerator cars built by PC&F just prior to the start
of the WWII had wood running boards, not steel open grid
type when delivered?
Jerry, the information about PFE came from the PFE book. The SP
switched to steel running boards for ALL house cars in 1940 and
never looked back. The numbers I quoted you were for those cars.
SP bought two groups of 1937 AAR box cars in 1937-1939 (-18 and
-19) that came with wood running boards. Most were converted to
steel by the late 50's, if photos are any guide.


Perhaps Tony Thompson can help us here,
also it might be interesting to find out how may wood running
board SP 1937 AAR steel box cars delivered prior to the war
and 1940 were also delivered with wood running boards?


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Jerry Stewart writes:
Maybe I wrong here, but I though that the PFE R-40-14
steel refrigerator cars built by PC&F just prior to the start
of the WWII had wood running boards, not steel open grid
type when delivered? Perhaps Tony Thompson can help us here,
also it might be interesting to find out how may wood running
board SP 1937 AAR steel box cars delivered prior to the war
and 1940 were also delivered with wood running boards?
PFE tried out the Apex running board as soon as it came out in 1939 (on five cars of R-40-10) and must have been delighted, as the following class, R-40-14, was so equipped. See page 167, PFE book.
Tim has correctly answered the SP question.

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@...
Publishers of books on railroad history