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longevity of truss-rod cabooses?


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Did any truss-rod underframe cabooses survive in service on Class One railroads until 1960? I seem to recall an ICC order about not shoving on wood underframe cabs after, what, 1940? But was there any ICC order mandating their retirement?

thanks
Scott Chatfield


Rich Gibson
 


Dennis Storzek
 

The Soo Line retired its last wood cabooses with truss rod underframes in the early 1980's, although they may have been out of service since the late 70's. Their last use was transfer cabooses in the twin cities and Chicago area, and with their last rebuilding, many had their cupolas entirely sheathed in plywood, so while the cupola was still there, it had no windows. However, this was the entire caboose fleet until the International Car Co. "wide vision" cars began arriving in the mid 60's.

IIRC, the ICC required steel underframes on all cabooses by 1928, although I'm not sure if that deadline was extended. The Soo complied, fitting their entire fleet of wood caboose cars with steel underframes in the early twenties. They essentially built new steel center sills, body bolsters and crossbearers, cleaned everything below the sills off the existing cars, and set them on the new frames. Since the truss rods also served to hold the end sills on the original frame, they were retained, with the two pairs of crossbearers properly located to serve as needle beams. The inner truss rods typically sat in short saddle castings riveted directly to the crossbearer cover plates, while longer queenposts were cast with a mounting flange that matched the angle of the lower surface of the pressed steel crossbearer. As far as I can tell, thy served no purpose on the rebuilt car (the short cars certainly didn't need the truss to support the middle) and simply held the ends on the body. It appears that the ICC order simply wanted steel sills of adequate proportion, and the fact that were these additional truss rods was not an issue.

Dennis Storzek


Dennis Storzek
 

Here's the photo I wanted, as it shows the truss rods quite well:

SOO 99111 and GTW 5151699

 



The tapered crossbearers were steel pressings, and the bolsters were more of the same pressings tied together with top and bottom cover plates, but most cars had the ends of the bolsters left open. These were spaced out along 10" channel center sills to match the existing locations of the body bolsters and needle beams on the car to be converted, so while the cars had come from multiple builders over almost four decades, they all ended up with very similar underframes. Most cars kept their original wood platform sills, as did this one.

1965 and this still looks like traditional railroading. Archbar trucks, kerosine switchlamps in the yard (which were lit each night). The train appears to be a westbound transfer arriving at Schiller Park Yard in the Chicago suburbs; the flagman has just pulled the pin to cut the caboose off (note the air hoses haven't yet parted) and is winding down the hand brake. The conductor, meanwhile, is giving the engineer the "highball" to let him know they've successfully cut off, and he can continue to pull the rest of the train to the other end of the yard track. The east end switch job will eventually come get the caboose and take it to the caboose track, where supplies (water, ice, and coal if needed) will be replenished before the next trip.

Dennis Storzek


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Scott,

Keep in mind that a caboose (or any other car for that matter) might have had a steel underframe but still had truss rods as well. The WP had wooden cabooses in service until the mid-1950s with truss rods, but most had steel underframes (probably actually just a steel center sill). Some of these were their 1910 Haskell & Barkers cars, retrofitted in the 1920s, while others were WP-built clones that had steel underframes and truss rods when built. What killed them was not the truss rods, but a California law mandating flush toilets in all cabooses. A couple of these hung on into the late 1960s on WP's partly-owned subsidiary the Central California Traction Company (they were retrofitted with new toilets).

Care to see the equipment diagrams? Try this: http://www.wplives.com/diagrams/freight/1930/index.html . Some of the drawings do not show the truss rods, but let me assure you they were there. I have a number of Whittaker photos that show they were.

Also note the wooden boxcars in the top row. There are the cars we discussed last week from the Fillmore & Western. The F&W's came to them through the Sacramento Northern, but any cars with steel ends started out on the WP. The wooden-end cars of this type that survived were all built new for the SN and never fitted with steel ends. The same wooden end car diagram was also used in SN's records.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 1/19/15 11:28 AM, blindog@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Did any truss-rod underframe cabooses survive in service on Class One railroads until 1960? I seem to recall an ICC order about not shoving on wood underframe cabs after, what, 1940? But was there any ICC order mandating their retirement?

thanks
Scott Chatfield


Posted by:











Tony Thompson
 

Garth Groff wrote:

Keep in mind that a caboose (or any other car for that matter) might have had a steel underframe but still had truss rods as well. The WP had wooden cabooses in service until the mid-1950s with truss rods, but most had steel underframes (probably actually just a steel center sill). Some of these were their 1910 Haskell & Barkers cars, retrofitted in the 1920s, while others were WP-built clones that had steel underframes and truss rods when built. What killed them was not the truss rods, but a California law mandating flush toilets in all cabooses. 


     Actually, not flush toilets, just on-board retention toilets to replace the straight pipe onto the tracks.

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, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Spen Kellogg <spninetynine@...>
 

On 1/19/2015 9:28 AM, blindog@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Did any truss-rod underframe cabooses survive in service on Class One railroads until 1960? I seem to recall an ICC order about not shoving on wood underframe cabs after, what, 1940? But was there any ICC order mandating their retirement?

Scott,

C&S 27' wood truss rod caboose #10583 (standard gauge) was retired in 1973 by the GN. It was privately owned until the Colorado Railroad Museum in Greeley acquired it early in this century. It's not clear when it last was used in operations, although it is known that it was in use in 1958 and was in a deadline in 1972.

Spen Kellogg