Wood running boards


Schuyler Larrabee
 

I’m wondering if there was a standard pattern for the wood used in rooftop walkways on steam era box cars.  I have seen this discussed before but mostly as exceptions, such as a walkway made up of short boards that only spanned from one carline to the next, but I don’t recall anyone finding an industry standard pattern.

 

Question arises from looking at an Intermountain “wood” running board which uses 11’, 14’, and 17’ boards, with staggered joints.  An Accurail walkway has 15’ and 12’-6” boards, all coterminous.  A Centralia Car Shops kit matches the Intermountain, which is probably no surprise.  Those are the examples that are on my bench, I am sure there are others.

 

Was there a standard?

Schuyler


Robert kirkham
 

Good question.  I’d add a related one: what were the common designs of the short lateral end running boards.  I always find the appearance of the Intermountain lateral walks on the AAR 1937 cars a bit surprising.  Instead of the boards all being aligned parallel with the length of the car, the Intermountain parts have a picture frame effect, with boards running parallel to the car framed on four sides.  I’m tempted to replace them as a result.
 
Rob Kirkham 

Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2015 9:10 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Wood running boards
 


I’m wondering if there was a standard pattern for the wood used in rooftop walkways on steam era box cars.  I have seen this discussed before but mostly as exceptions, such as a walkway made up of short boards that only spanned from one carline to the next, but I don’t recall anyone finding an industry standard pattern.

 

Question arises from looking at an Intermountain “wood” running board which uses 11’, 14’, and 17’ boards, with staggered joints.  An Accurail walkway has 15’ and 12’-6” boards, all coterminous.  A Centralia Car Shops kit matches the Intermountain, which is probably no surprise.  Those are the examples that are on my bench, I am sure there are others.

 

Was there a standard?

Schuyler


Schleigh Mike
 

Rob K asks----I’d add a related one: what were the common designs of the short lateral end running boards.  I always find the appearance of the Intermountain lateral walks on the AAR 1937 cars a bit surprising.  Instead of the boards all being aligned parallel with the length of the car, the Intermountain parts have a picture frame effect, with boards running parallel to the car framed on four sides.  I’m tempted to replace them as a result.
 
This was apparently another design.  I see it shows up on the ERIE milk cars, circa 1935, which is a variation of the AAR 1937 car.  See the relevant RP CYC which I think is #19.  How extensively this design was applied is unknown to me but obviously IM got it from somewhere.  Check photos and drawings.

Regards----Mike Schleigh


On Sunday, February 22, 2015 2:48 AM, "Robert rdkirkham@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Good question.  I’d add a related one: what were the common designs of the short lateral end running boards.  I always find the appearance of the Intermountain lateral walks on the AAR 1937 cars a bit surprising.  Instead of the boards all being aligned parallel with the length of the car, the Intermountain parts have a picture frame effect, with boards running parallel to the car framed on four sides.  I’m tempted to replace them as a result.
 
Rob Kirkham 
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2015 9:10 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Wood running boards
 


I’m wondering if there was a standard pattern for the wood used in rooftop walkways on steam era box cars.  I have seen this discussed before but mostly as exceptions, such as a walkway made up of short boards that only spanned from one carline to the next, but I don’t recall anyone finding an industry standard pattern.
 
Question arises from looking at an Intermountain “wood” running board which uses 11’, 14’, and 17’ boards, with staggered joints.  An Accurail walkway has 15’ and 12’-6” boards, all coterminous.  A Centralia Car Shops kit matches the Intermountain, which is probably no surprise.  Those are the examples that are on my bench, I am sure there are others.
 
Was there a standard?

Schuyler



Dave Parker
 

There is a great 1943 color photo on p. 45 of Wilson's book "Detailing Freight Cars" showing the roofs of a couple of dozen cars. There are clear examples both of staggered joints, and of uniform plank lengths with the joints all at the same carlines.  An example of the latter is also on page 107 of White's "Great Yellow Fleet".  This surprised me because it is so contrary to standard carpentry practice (you must ALWAYS stagger your joints!).

As for the plank lengths, I can't see how this would be standardized as it would be driven by local lumber availability and a desire to use the wood efficiently while also minimizing the number of joints (again just good carpentry).  Especially so once the cars became old enough to require plank replacement at scattered shop facilities.  This is speculative I suppose, but makes sense based on analogy with general carpentry practices.

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA




np328
 

    In the files I had posted some information about running boards, find it the file marked Running Boards that covers part of the steam era and also gives a general observation on wooden running board replacemet times  Jim Dick - chilly St Paul, MN  


Schleigh Mike
 

An apology to the Group----

I was in error  in commenting about the seemingly odd lateral wood running board design (included in the 1937 InterMountain boxcar kits) that Rob K. had asked about.  I said that they were applied to the 1935/1937 ERIE milk cars as described in RP CYC #19.  That was not correct.  However, in that article the illustration of the Viking Chicago-Hutchins roof featured that running board design.  The ERIE cars used the more common/conventional lateral design which Rob expected more appropriate for the typical 1937 AAR car.

Sorry if there was confusion----Mike Schleigh


On Monday, February 23, 2015 10:22 AM, "jcdworkingonthenp@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:


 
    In the files I had posted some information about running boards, find it the file marked Running Boards that covers part of the steam era and also gives a general observation on wooden running board replacemet times  Jim Dick - chilly St Paul, MN  



Ed Mims
 

Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

Ed Mims 
Jacksonville, FL


On Friday, February 27, 2015 5:40 PM, "Schleigh Mike mike_schleigh@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
An apology to the Group----

I was in error  in commenting about the seemingly odd lateral wood running board design (included in the 1937 InterMountain boxcar kits) that Rob K. had asked about.  I said that they were applied to the 1935/1937 ERIE milk cars as described in RP CYC #19.  That was not correct.  However, in that article the illustration of the Viking Chicago-Hutchins roof featured that running board design.  The ERIE cars used the more common/conventional lateral design which Rob expected more appropriate for the typical 1937 AAR car.

Sorry if there was confusion----Mike Schleigh


On Monday, February 23, 2015 10:22 AM, "jcdworkingonthenp@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:


 
    In the files I had posted some information about running boards, find it the file marked Running Boards that covers part of the steam era and also gives a general observation on wooden running board replacemet times  Jim Dick - chilly St Paul, MN  





Tony Thompson
 

Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

   Wrong. Look at any issue of Car Builders Cyclopedia or Railway Age, certainly at least as late as 1960.  Drawings (AAR or builder), descriptions and manufacturer's ads ALL use the same terminology, as does the set of definitions in the front of the Cyc. Professionally there is no question whatever that it was "running board." What the average switchman may have said is hard to be sure about and in any case not professional engineering language. We won't misunderstand you if you call it a "roof walk," but we will know you are not well informed.

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





Schleigh Mike
 

Regarding the last two comments----Did April 1st come a month and two days early this year???

Regards---Mike Schleigh


On Friday, February 27, 2015 8:08 PM, "Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

   Wrong. Look at any issue of Car Builders Cyclopedia or Railway Age, certainly at least as late as 1960.  Drawings (AAR or builder), descriptions and manufacturer's ads ALL use the same terminology, as does the set of definitions in the front of the Cyc. Professionally there is no question whatever that it was "running board." What the average switchman may have said is hard to be sure about and in any case not professional engineering language. We won't misunderstand you if you call it a "roof walk," but we will know you are not well informed.

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







Tony Thompson
 

Regarding the last two comments----Did April 1st come a month and two days early this year???

    Read ANY pre-1960 professional railroad literature or publication and tell me if you still think it's April 1.

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





Dave Sarther
 

I just pulled out my AFE's for the CB&Q 40' Combo Door Cars to see which term the "Q" used.  Their AFE's for their XM-2 and XM-2A 40' cars refer to them as RUNNING BOARDS.
 
Later,  Dave Sarther
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Fri, Feb 27, 2015 6:08 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards

 
Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

   Wrong. Look at any issue of Car Builders Cyclopedia or Railway Age, certainly at least as late as 1960.  Drawings (AAR or builder), descriptions and manufacturer's ads ALL use the same terminology, as does the set of definitions in the front of the Cyc. Professionally there is no question whatever that it was "running board." What the average switchman may have said is hard to be sure about and in any case not professional engineering language. We won't misunderstand you if you call it a "roof walk," but we will know you are not well informed.

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





markstation01 <markstation01@...>
 

I wonder how long this will go back and forth; roof walks vs. running boards


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: "'sartherdj@...' sartherdj@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...>
Date:02/27/2015 8:27 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards

 

I just pulled out my AFE's for the CB&Q 40' Combo Door Cars to see which term the "Q" used.  Their AFE's for their XM-2 and XM-2A 40' cars refer to them as RUNNING BOARDS.
 
Later,  Dave Sarther
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...>
To: STMFC <STMFC@...>
Sent: Fri, Feb 27, 2015 6:08 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards

 
Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

   Wrong. Look at any issue of Car Builders Cyclopedia or Railway Age, certainly at least as late as 1960.  Drawings (AAR or builder), descriptions and manufacturer's ads ALL use the same terminology, as does the set of definitions in the front of the Cyc. Professionally there is no question whatever that it was "running board." What the average switchman may have said is hard to be sure about and in any case not professional engineering language. We won't misunderstand you if you call it a "roof walk," but we will know you are not well informed.

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





Rhbale@...
 

Ed...
 
Here is a verbatim quote from the Dictionary of Car Terms from my copy of the 1940 Car Builders Cyclopedia:
 
Running Board. A plane surface, made of boards or special metal structure, for trainmen to walk or run on. It is placed on the roof of box, stock, refrigerator and covered hopper cars and at the side of tank cars. Gondola, hopper and flat cars usually have none.
 
The term roof walk does not appear in the 1940 edition. To be certain I also checked the 1879, 1919, 1931, 1946, 1953, 1970 and 1984 editions of Car Builders Dictionary and Car Builders Cyclopedia. They all list Running Board, none list roof walk. I'm interested in learning about any contradictory information you can cite for us.
 
Covered hopper cars are included in the my 1940 edition but I suspect they first appeared sometime earlier. 
 
Richard Bale


Pierre Oliver
 

Bet you a nickel it lasts most of the weekend.
The bigger question is who will wind up in jail over it? :-)
Pierre Oliver
www.elgincarshops.com
www.yarmouthmodelworks.com
On 2/27/2015 8:42 PM, markstation01 markstation01@... [STMFC] wrote:

 
I wonder how long this will go back and forth; roof walks vs. running boards


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: "'sartherdj@...' sartherdj@... [STMFC]"
Date:02/27/2015 8:27 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards

 

I just pulled out my AFE's for the CB&Q 40' Combo Door Cars to see which term the "Q" used.  Their AFE's for their XM-2 and XM-2A 40' cars refer to them as RUNNING BOARDS.
 
Later,  Dave Sarther
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Fri, Feb 27, 2015 6:08 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards

 
Wood(en) or steel running boards exist only in the hobby world. In the real world (prototype) they are known as roof walks.

   Wrong. Look at any issue of Car Builders Cyclopedia or Railway Age, certainly at least as late as 1960.  Drawings (AAR or builder), descriptions and manufacturer's ads ALL use the same terminology, as does the set of definitions in the front of the Cyc. Professionally there is no question whatever that it was "running board." What the average switchman may have said is hard to be sure about and in any case not professional engineering language. We won't misunderstand you if you call it a "roof walk," but we will know you are not well informed.

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






Robert kirkham
 

Thanks for the clarification Mike. 
 
I think my question leads to another: for most of the models you run, do you replace the running board or use the one provided in the kit.  I guess the right answer is “Depends on the prototype”, but very often the photos one works from don’t show enough to judge.  To me this form of running board lateral walk seems unusual, so I think I will tend to replace or modify it (unless I have proto info).
 
Rob
 

Sent: Friday, February 27, 2015 2:39 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Wood running boards
 


An apology to the Group----

I was in error  in commenting about the seemingly odd lateral wood running board design (included in the 1937 InterMountain boxcar kits) that Rob K. had asked about.  I said that they were applied to the 1935/1937 ERIE milk cars as described in RP CYC #19.  That was not correct.  However, in that article the illustration of the Viking Chicago-Hutchins roof featured that running board design.  The ERIE cars used the more common/conventional lateral design which Rob expected more appropriate for the typical 1937 AAR car.

Sorry if there was confusion----Mike Schleigh


On Monday, February 23, 2015 10:22 AM, "jcdworkingonthenp@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
    In the files I had posted some information about running boards, find it the file marked Running Boards that covers part of the steam era and also gives a general observation on wooden running board replacemet times  Jim Dick - chilly St Paul, MN 



Andy Carlson
 

Funny about RR nomenclature. I cringe every time I read or hear spoken "Outside Braced" to refer to single sheathed freight cars. When it comes to the boards provided by the RRs for passage of workers, I like the term "Roof Walk", and though I am reminded often that this is not an "appropriate" term, I use it more often than "running board". As was mentioned, the term is recognized easily for what it is, but I wouldn't consider myself to be "less informed" for using it. Maybe just slightly rebellious?

YMMV
-Andy Carlson
Ojai Ca
















Paul Hillman
 

Yeah, like I prefer caboose over "way car" and all the other terms. Is "caboose" an official term, or is another name more "official"? I don't care. They are all cabooses to me. Some call them cabeese (plural). I'm sure that is not correct, at all, except as a "joke"?
 
Paul Hillman
 
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2015 8:07 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Wood running boards

 

Funny about RR nomenclature. I cringe every time I read or hear spoken "Outside Braced" to refer to single sheathed freight cars. When it comes to the boards provided by the RRs for passage of workers, I like the term "Roof Walk", and though I am reminded often that this is not an "appropriate" term, I use it more often than "running board". As was mentioned, the term is recognized easily for what it is, but I wouldn't consider myself to be "less informed" for using it. Maybe just slightly rebellious?

YMMV
-Andy Carlson
Ojai Ca
















Mikebrock
 

Paul Hillman asks:

"Is "caboose" an official term, or is another name more "official"? I don't care."

Well, rest assured...even if you don't care...that the term "caboose" is an official, acceptable, railroad term. My "official" UP Frt Conductor Book has the heading, "Caboose" clearly spelled out on the page where a train's consist is shown. Therefore, "Caboose" is an official term for the STMFC.

Mike Brock
STMFC Owner


Tim O'Connor
 

The stencils applied to the sides of many box cars after 1966 read

"KEEP OFF ROOF -- NO RUNNING BOARD"

I know it's after the STMFC era, but that pretty much settled it for me.

Tim O'Connor


Ed Hawkins
 


On Feb 27, 2015, at 8:06 PM, Robert rdkirkham@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

I think my question leads to another: for most of the models you run, do you replace the running board or use the one provided in the kit.  I guess the right answer is “Depends on the prototype”, but very often the photos one works from don’t show enough to judge.  To me this form of running board lateral walk seems unusual, so I think I will tend to replace or modify it (unless I have proto info).

Rob,
Regarding the question about 1937 AAR box cars with wood running boards and the HO-scale version supplied by Innovative Model Works/Red Caboose and InterMountain, I can verify at least 3 roads that used them (there may be others).

Southern Pacific 1937 AAR box cars in classes B-50-18 and B-50-19 (built in 1936-1937) had them. A good overhead view of one appears on page 264 of Tony’s book Southern Pacific Freight Cars Volume 4: Box Cars. 

Southern’s 1937 AAR box cars built in 1937-1939, and B&O M-55 box cars built in 1940 also used this version. The B&O cars had roofs with depressed end panels, but the latitudinal boards appear to match the model. 

The model companies followed the 1937 A.A.R. box car drawing published in the Car Builders’ Cyclopedia even though this running board version may not have been the most common with regard to the latitudinal boards. These models date to the early 1990s, and we now have many more resources (photos and prototype drawings) available to use. 
Regards,
Ed Hawkins