Flat Cars as per the 4/1949 ORER


Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

Beckert, Shawn wrote:

It would be nice to see more flatcar kits available, resin OR styrene. A
lot of emphasis seems to have been placed on 50' cars; I'd like to see
more kits of 40' straight and fishbelly sidesill cars made available. We
do have the Tichy 40' car, but I seem to recall that it's correct for only a
handful of prototypes.

One prototype that needs more models available is the bulkhead flat, in both
40' and 50' lengths. Someone once said that bulkhead flats weren't really a
steam-era phenomenon. I'm not sure I agree with that. Awhile back the Espee
Historical Society published the SP 1956 freight car roster. I don't have it
memorized, but if I look at it tonight I believe I'll find several groups of
flats set up for plasterboard service (among other commodities). These had
bulkheads of varying heights. A number of the F-70-7 class had bulkheads, and
I'm hoping at some point Red Caboose will offer their kit with this option.

I don't get real excited about depressed-center flats; they weren't something
you saw on an everyday basis out on the road. I know most of the big roads had
at least a few (yes, Cotton Belt had some too), but given my druthers, I'd just
as soon spend my hobby dollars on more common types of flats that you would see
in everyday service hauling lots of different things.
For statistical review, as per the April 1949 ORER, there were 55,314 Flat Cars owned by US Class I Railroads broken into the following AAR Mechanical Designations:

A) 84.2% or 46,596 General Service Flat Cars ( designated "XM");
B) 0.3% or 191 Heavy Duty Flat Cars designated "XM," but the cars had more than four axles;
C) 0.1% or 55 Flat Cars designated "FMS."
D) 0.0% or 2 Flat Cars designated "FB."
E) 0.3% or 159 Flat Cars for TOFC service designated "FC."
F) 0.3% or 139 Depressed Center Flat Cars designated "FD."
G) 0.3% or 143 Flat Cars built to carry gun barrels designated "FG."
H) 14.2% or 7,875 Flat Cars for Logging designated "FL."
I) 0.3% or 154 Well Hole Flats designated "FW."

Of the 46,596 General Service "XM" Flat Cars:

A) 35.9% or 16,744 were between 40 and 42 feet long.
B) 34.1% or 15,877 were between 50 and 54 feet long.
C) 13.9% or 6,471 were between 47 and 49 feet long.
D) 9.8% or 4,556 were between 43 and 46 feet long.
E) 5.3% or 2,473 were between 36 and 38 feet long.
F) 1.0% or 475 were 55 feet long or over.

In April 1949, the SP owned in total 6,204 flat cars, but only 4,284 were General Service "FM" Flat Cars - 1,910 of the others were logging flats. The MILW owned in total 5,013 flat cars of which 2,933 were General Service and 2,036 were logging flats. The NP owned in total 4,848 flats of which 2,468 were General Service (FM), and 2,984 Logging Flats (FL). The Pennsy owned in total 4,797 flat cars of which 4,389 were General Service (vs. SP's 4,284). Over 25% of PRR's "FM's" were under 40 feet long which might be considered somewhat obsolete in 1949.

Shawn, I agree with you that Depressed Center Flats were much ado about virtually nothing. Only 14 roads owned the 139 cars.

Hope this provides some perspective to the discussion,

Tim Gilbert


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Tim Gilbert wrote:
In April 1949, the SP owned in total 6,204 flat cars, but only 4,284
were General Service "FM" Flat Cars - 1,910 of the others were logging
flats. The MILW owned in total 5,013 flat cars of which 2,933 were
General Service and 2,036 were logging flats. The NP owned in total
4,848 flats of which 2,468 were General Service (FM), and 2,984 Logging
Flats (FL). The Pennsy owned in total 4,797 flat cars of which 4,389
were General Service (vs. SP's 4,284). Over 25% of PRR's "FM's" were
under 40 feet long which might be considered somewhat obsolete in 1949.
Yes, it does depend on year; in 1912, for example, PRR had about 4800 flat cars, SP (not counting T&NO, which I didn't count in my previous message either) had 5973. The PRR fleet of flat cars did decline precipitously after WW II, as I note in my talk on Pennsy modeling, so the later the year, post 1945, the more marked the difference with Western roads. It looks in the ORER as though the Fm cars were being scrapped, and the F30 cars becoming predominant. Since I model 1953, I often choose it for comparison <g>.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Tim Gilbert writes:

Shawn, I agree with you that Depressed Center Flats were much ado about
virtually nothing. Only 14 roads owned the 139 cars.
OTOH, if a product requiring an FD needed to be shipped, such a car would have to be acquired from some place. So...given that many such products were produced in the more industrial northeast or midwest [ Illinois, Ohio, Michigan in this case ], such products moving to the west coast might be found on any major RR between the originating plant and the destination. Hence, FD's would certainly qualify for long distance off line travels. True, one of these things wouldn't be seen often...but they would be seen.

Mike Brock


Tim O'Connor
 

Mike Brock wrote

Shawn, I agree with you that Depressed Center Flats were much ado about
virtually nothing. Only 14 roads owned the 139 cars.
OTOH, if a product requiring an FD needed to be shipped, such a car would
have to be acquired from some place. So...given that many such products were
produced in the more industrial northeast or midwest [ Illinois, Ohio,
Michigan in this case ], such products moving to the west coast might be
found on any major RR between the originating plant and the destination.
Hence, FD's would certainly qualify for long distance off line travels.
True, one of these things wouldn't be seen often...but they would be seen.

Not only seen, but when loaded they are often spectacular, which explains
why railfans were fond of taking pictures of them. I have a beautiful shot
of PRR F29 #70008 on the SP in Los Angeles in 1957 and see no reason why
modeling such a load shouldn't be pursued just because it was uncommon.


Tim O.


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
. . . I have a beautiful shot
of PRR F29 #70008 on the SP in Los Angeles in 1957 and see no reason why
modeling such a load shouldn't be pursued just because it was uncommon.
Indeed, there's no reason not to model ANYTHING just because it was uncommon. But if one chooses to model very many uncommon things, the combination is a deadly foe to realistic modeling. After all, even in modeling, "uncommon" had better mean exactly that.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


armprem
 

For what it is worth,M.Dale Newton AKA Red Ball.had several flats in his
line including a well-hole flat ,a Pennsy-depressed center flat and a
shorter version flat.F&C has several flats in their line including a odd B&M

flat.Armand Premo--- Original Message -----
From: "Tim O'Connor" <timboconnor@...>
To: <STMFC@...>
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 1:54 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Flat Cars as per the 4/1949 ORER


Mike Brock wrote

Shawn, I agree with you that Depressed Center Flats were much ado about
virtually nothing. Only 14 roads owned the 139 cars.
OTOH, if a product requiring an FD needed to be shipped, such a car would
have to be acquired from some place. So...given that many such products
were
produced in the more industrial northeast or midwest [ Illinois, Ohio,
Michigan in this case ], such products moving to the west coast might be
found on any major RR between the originating plant and the destination.
Hence, FD's would certainly qualify for long distance off line travels.
True, one of these things wouldn't be seen often...but they would be
seen.


Not only seen, but when loaded they are often spectacular, which explains
why railfans were fond of taking pictures of them. I have a beautiful shot
of PRR F29 #70008 on the SP in Los Angeles in 1957 and see no reason why
modeling such a load shouldn't be pursued just because it was uncommon.


Tim O.





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Tim O'Connor
 

Tony Thompson wrote

. . . I have a beautiful shot of PRR F29 #70008 on the SP in Los Angeles
in 1957 and see no reason why modeling such a load shouldn't be pursued
just because it was uncommon.
Indeed, there's no reason not to model ANYTHING just because it
was uncommon. But if one chooses to model very many uncommon things,
the combination is a deadly foe to realistic modeling. After all, even
in modeling, "uncommon" had better mean exactly that.
Tony, no one said to model "very many" uncommon things. But a depressed center
flat car carrying a transformer was seen on a regular, if not daily, basis on
most any railroad mainline near urban areas (or between them) in the 1950's.
It was NOT unusual, but it was a very small percentage of car loads. People
who model only statistically commonplace items also suffer from a lack of
realism, since their operations can't convey the "AHH-factor" of delight that
one almost always experienced at trackside when you watch a bunch of trains
and see something special like a big transformer load or another uncommon
freight car. YMMV as they say.

65 foot mill gondolas were uncommon too, as you have argued in the past. But
I didn't hear anyone here griping that Athearn is producing a useless model!

Tim O'Connor


tappercj <chastap@...>
 

I assume we are talking about some midwestern or western class 1 as the
standard for "common"<LOL>.

This discussion apparently assumes one isn't modeling a transformer
plant or other heavy industrial plant using these cars relatively
frequently (Mesta, GE, Westinghouse, Pennsylvania Transformer).

As for 65' gondolas, in the steel mill modeling I am hoping to get back
to after the latest move, 65' gondolas are more common than house cars.
I am happy for the Athearn car, and hope the other types (26-, 24-, 22-
, and the very desirable 18-panel types) become available as well.

Otherwise, I agree that building a bunch of "unique cars" and running
them in proximity to one another in modeled trains probably diminishes
the believeability factor. I hope to submerge my "oddities" in enough
common cars to make it seem like a fortuitous event to see such cars.

And once in a while I'll run a high/wide special with a depressed
center load.

Charlie Tapper


Benjamin Hom <b.hom@...>
 

Armand Premo wrote:
"...M.Dale Newton AKA Red Ball had several flats in his line including a
well-hole flat, a Pennsy-depressed center flat and a
shorter version flat."

The well hole flat was the PRR F25 model that Elden Gatwood mentioned in a
previous post. I don't have the other models to verify prototype.

"F&C has several flats in their line including a odd B&M flat."

In HO:
6490/6491/6492 - Rutland 2300/2600 series flat car
6500/6501/6502/6503 - PRR Class FM flat car
6590 - BM Well-Hole flat car (Armand's "odd B&M flat", BM 5000-5007, 8 cars
built 1941, used to ship marine reduction gear components)
http://railroad.union.rpi.edu/rolling-stock/Flats/Flats-well-BM-5000-1942.jp
g
6720/6721/6722 - B&O Class P-11 flat car
6916/6917 - National Car Company flat cars (these are actually milk cars
with detachable tanks)
6940 - PRR Class F33

http://www.fandckits.com/


Ben Hom


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Charlie Tapper wrote:
Otherwise, I agree that building a bunch of "unique cars" and running
them in proximity to one another in modeled trains probably diminishes
the believeability factor. I hope to submerge my "oddities" in enough
common cars to make it seem like a fortuitous event to see such cars.
Very well stated, Charlie. I think this is exactly the right way to approach "uncommon" rolling stock. My only quibble with the statement is that I would excise "probably."

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Jeff English
 

I am amused by all the speculative discussion of what types of flat
cars from whose road were in service. Here's some real data.

First, from Interchange Reports between the Rutland and the B&M
for the first nine months of 1961 (yes, it's out of scope for this list.
but just about all of the cars were <built> in 1960 or earlier). Out
of 9,222 total cars, 99 were FMs, or roughly 1%. The breakdown
by road is as follows:

ACL 3
ATSF 3
B&M 13
B&O 1
C&O 3
CB&Q 4
CGW 1
CP 2
D&RGW 1
DSS&A 1
EJ&E 11
GN 2
IC 5
MILW 5
NH 1
NP 1
NYC 1
P&LE 2
PRR 2
RI 15
SAL 1
SLSF 2
SOO 2
SOU 1
SP 4
SP&S 1
T&P 2
UP 1
WAB 1
WM 1
WP 1

The reason for dis-proportionate representation of midwestern
roads is the shipment of new farm tractors from midwestern plants
to New England farmers.

For FDs, we have:

B&M 2
ERIE 2
RDG 1

and FWs:

B&M 1
C&O 1

and FMSs:

C&NW 1
SOO 1

This confirms the principle that specialty flats were indeed not
everyday occurrences.

Now, let's look at train consists for Rutland train #9 west out of
Alburgh, Vt. for the period 9-21-42 through 12-31-42. The total
number of cars was 5,443, of which 81 were FMs (getting closer to
2%, but still comparable to the 1961 proportion). By road:

ATSF 5
B&LE 1
B&M 3
BAR 1
C&NW 6
CB&Q 3
CN 2
CP 3
CTSE 1 (MILW)
D&H 2
DL&W 1
ERIE 1
GN 3
GTW 2
L&N 1
MILW 8
MP 3
NP 3
NYC 8
PRR 5
Rutland 14
SAL 1
SLSF 2
SOU 1
SP 1

There were no specialty flats at all.

In both examples, there is a pretty broad spread of FMs from an
assortment of roads all over the US & Canada. I'm sure Tim
Gilbert will explain the significance of these numbers.

Jeff English
Troy, New York


Tim O'Connor
 

Jeff English writes

This confirms the principle that specialty flats were indeed not
everyday occurrences.
A sample taken from a minor, rural agricultural railroad in Vermont
is confirmation of a "principle" that applies universally??

Following your logic, no one should model milk cars since they were
rarely seen in Yuma, Arizona.

Without looking at a single conductor's report, but given a list of
electric power substations, hospitals and heating plants, I can deduce
with nearly 100% certainty that heavy duty flat cars appeared in those
locales in order to deliver bulky and/or heavy loads. "Unusual loads"
were (and are) in fact very commonplace on mainline railroads. And
flat cars in general represented a lot more than 1% of traffic on the
SP pretty much from Oregon all the way to Louisiana for transportation
of lumber, logs, pulpwood, steel, pipe, machinery and generally bulky
large things that didn't fit into box cars.

Tim O'Connor


Tim O'Connor
 

Charlie Tapper wrote

And once in a while I'll run a high/wide special with a depressed
center load.
Charlie,

Almost every photo I've seen of a 2-truck FD flat shows it in an
ordinary freight train. The whole point of depressing the deck was
so that the car easily got through most mainline clearances and
did not require dedicated operations.

Now, you want high/wide, I can show you photos of refinery vessels,
girders, or storage tanks that span 3 or 4 freight car lengths...

Tim O'Connor


Jeff English
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@c...> wrote:
A sample taken from a minor, rural agricultural railroad in Vermont
is confirmation of a "principle" that applies universally??
In the context of a regulated network moving cars that were
effectively a nationwide pool, yes it is representative. While the
Rutland was small, it was nonetheless a through, bridge route and
took its tiny sliver of the national feight flow. That's was the
point of showing the variety of FM cars that rolled through <even on
a minor, rural agricultural railroad in Vermont>.

Following your logic, no one should model milk cars since they were
rarely seen in Yuma, Arizona.
I never made the argument that anyone should not model any
particular thing, and I don't and wouldn't advocate such a thing.

"Unusual loads"
were (and are) in fact very commonplace on mainline railroads.
Indeed, and to railfan eyes they called attention to themselves by
not being yet another box car. But they were still vastly
outnumbered by all those box cars.

flat cars in general represented a lot more than 1% of traffic on
the
SP pretty much from Oregon all the way to Louisiana for
transportation
of lumber, logs, pulpwood, steel, pipe, machinery and generally
bulky
large things that didn't fit into box cars.
Which proves what I've always said, that specific traffic is what
really moves, not averages. I was just showing how the specific
traffic added up on a small eastern through route.

You completely misread the two points I was trying to make, which
could just as well have been my failure to articulate them.

Jeff English
Troy, New York


bierglaeser <bierglaeser@...>
 

While discussions of 'typical' freight cars, averages, road name
proportions, etc. are interesting they seem mostly pointless to me
when populating one's own model railroad with freight cars.

As I see it there are two uses for freight cars on a model railroad.

First, some freight cars are used to pick up or delivery freight to
industries or sidings on our model railroad. Typical, averages, road
name proportions, etc. don't apply. You need the freight cars
typically used by that industry in sufficient numbers to keep the
industry going without regard to any data extracted from ORERs, wheel
reports or anything else.

Second, some freight cars are part of the scenery. Many of us also
have freight trains that merely pass through without any pickups or
setouts at all. Here again, national or North American data is of
little use. A model of the SP in New Mexico, deliberately picking an
extreme example, would have lots of anode and concentrate cars
passing through the scene. Except for occasional diversions to a
plant in New Jersey, (can't remember whether it was ASARCO or Phelps-
Dodge) these wouldn't appear anywhere else in the country.

Like politics, all model railroading is local. Just my two-cents-
worth.

Gene Green


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Gene Green writes:

While discussions of 'typical' freight cars, averages, road name
proportions, etc. are interesting they seem mostly pointless to me
when populating one's own model railroad with freight cars.
Well, I think there are several issues. If one wishes to approximate the frt car population on a particular RR that occurred over a long period, say, a year, one might want to use the data available. If one wishes, to approximate a particular area or division of a specific RR, more attention to the traffic characteristics of the region seems warranted. If one wishes to approximate the population of particular frt trains, more attention to their characteristics seems warranted. From the information available to me via video, data in UPHS articles and frt conductor books, frt trains traveling on the UP trunk through Wyoming were rather unique...that is, they had specific tasks. Hence, their composition was not cosmopolitan. In my case, I have much less interest in what occurred over a year because, for one thing, due to several reasons, I model the spring time in 1953 or 1954.

There is, of course, much useful information to be gained from statistical studies and the analysis of various wheel reports. We now know a great deal more about what types of cars seem to travel far off line and what don't. At the same time, we know some of the peculiarities due to unique competition between certain RRs [ Santa Fe/SP, for example ].

Mike Brock


Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

Charlie Tapper on July 15th wrote:

As for 65' gondolas, in the steel mill modeling I am hoping to get back
to after the latest move, 65' gondolas are more common than house cars.
All Gons greater than House Cars at a steel mill - OK; 65" gons highly doubtful. In the April 1949 ORER, there were 209,704 Solid Bottom Gons listed as owned by US Class I RR's. Of that 209,704,

A) 23,692 or 11.2% had inside lengths of less than 40 feet;
B) 84,394 or 40.2% were between 40 and 45 feet long;
C) 55,043 or 26.2% were between 45 and 50 feet long;
D) 39,562 or 18.9% were between 50 and 55 feet long;
E) 350 or 0.2% were between 55 and 65 feet long;
F) 6,632 or 3.2% of all solid bottom gons were 65 or more feet long.

Tim Gilbert