Gondolas and the Steel Industry (was Flat Cars as per the 4/1949 ORER)

Gatwood, Elden <Elden.Gatwood@...>

I am in a similar situation, and thinking that maybe Charlie is
referring to a specific mill/stretch of railroad in his modeling.

At USS' mills in Pgh, I have been told that they required 40% of their
cars in finished product shipment service to be 65' gons, undoubtedly
because of the length of steel structural shapes being shipped. Their
use of boxcars was very low, with a few here and there probably needed
for spare parts, electrical equipment, and etc., and a group assigned to
bagged ammonium sulfate service. There just wasn't enough other use to
require a lot.

Yard shots I have in my possession of yards that serviced the mills show
a huge proportion of gondolas, and only a scattering of boxcars. There
is a great shot of PRR's 30th Street Pgh yard on the Pitt digital
library site that shows this. Plus some in the Morning Sun URR book,
their P&LE books, and others. It is an interesting subject of study,
which I tried to cover in my "RRs and the steel industry" presentation I
gave recently. It is one that I also do not claim to fully grasp.

This gon comes as great news to me, as I was not too happy about using
the ECW kit to represent non-PRR 65-footers, and am unable to afford
many of those PSC brass models. I am looking forward to the additional
roads these should come out in, and Richard's article to fill me in on
the history.

This issue also brings up a very interesting article I read from one of
the old magazines dedicated to the RR industry, in which there was an
analysis of what cars the industry was looking for most. Much of the
focus was on gons, which the industry folks were complaining that the
RRs did not have enough of to satisfy their needs. 65-footers were high
on that list. I have since wondered if this did not have to do with the
RRs hatred for maintenance (and thus, perhaps purchasing effort) on that
car type. I know the PRR detested having to do so much work all the
time on keeping their fleet in service, an unfortunate outgrowth of
sitting astride the biggest steel-producing region in the country (at
that time).

What are your thoughts on this?

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Tim Gilbert
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 6:29 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Flat Cars as per the 4/1949 ORER

Charlie Tapper on July 15th wrote:

As for 65' gondolas, in the steel mill modeling I am hoping to get
to after the latest move, 65' gondolas are more common than house
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

Yahoo! Groups Links

tappercj <chastap@...>

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Gatwood, Elden" <Elden.Gatwood@h...>
I am in a similar situation, and thinking that maybe Charlie is
referring to a specific mill/stretch of railroad in his modeling.
Yes, as in a listing of 100 assorted Union Railroad trains, what would
the talley for 65' gons be versus house cars. The 65' gons win hands

The most common car in that situation is of course the 52' gondola.
Probably followed closely by hoppers and coke hoppers. Then slag cars...

My tongue-in-cheek point is that "average" is relative. Ted Culotta's
RMC series is SUPER (great work Ted!), but none of his cars
are "essential" if you are modeling a steel mill road, or a gravel pit

Charlie Tapper