[Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Whose gon is this?

Gatwood, Elden J SAD

Thanks for all the input, guys!


Some thoughts on early “steel-wood” (composite) gon construction:


Drop ends on many, like PRR GR/GRA, were originally wood with steel batten and drop-frame steel reinforcement, or wood with steel sheathing.  Drop end frames were generally pressed steel framing including side post and end frame pressings, incorporating a smaller frame (actually steel plate shapes) that the drop end hinge posts fit into.  Rebuilds often got wood-lined/steel-sheathed ends with reinforcement battens running vertically.  Later rebuilds got a variety of steel ends, both plate and pressed ribs, like the P&LE gons.  B&O, strangely, got new Dreadnaught ends, but kept the weak rotating hand brake assembly, on their USRA O-27 class(es).


Sides and ends were weak, and often required reconstruction.  Sometimes portions most weak were redesigned, or reinforced, but sometimes not.  I have noticed a correlation between roads running a lot of gons, and in HD (esp steel) service, and the former, and also a move toward all-steel construction. 


Many equipped initially with drop doors had those eliminated.  PRR G24 USRA gons went from wood-lined, drop door, with weak ends, to steel-lined, no drop doors, and new ribbed ends.


Similarly, the WW2 war emergency G28, G29, G30 classes, were rapidly converted from wood-lined to steel, very shortly after the war ended.  No more wood-lined drop doors of any kind, unless in special service like electric arc electrode shipment or boxed auto parts.


Interestingly, the ATSF maintained a huge fleet of composite gons, past the end of this list, and did so successfully.  I have a GA-50 model, (IIRC) that has well-maintained wood, drop doors, and P&L, alongside the raggedy composite survivors of my eastern RR fleets.


All-in-all, an interesting study in freight car evolution by RR.


Elden Gatwood


From: <> On Behalf Of Schuyler Larrabee via
Sent: Saturday, December 5, 2020 11:08 AM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Whose gon is this?


Comments below, Claus


Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Whose gon is this?


Hi Elden and List Members,


With respect to "Whose gon is this?" I assume we are talking about the gon on the right, where we get a good view of the end of the car...


I don't know whose gon it is, but it is a quite interesting car...


(1) The end nearest the camera is corrugated steel. It appears to me to be a drop end - am I correct?

I agree, a drop end.


(2) On the same car, the end furthest from the camera looks to me to be a WOOD end - does anyone else agree? Zoom in and take a look...

I zoomed in and I think that the car may be wood lined.  Look at the right side – we’re at the B end you know, so the right side is the one on the right in the photo – and it appears that may be wood lined as well.  Conceivable in my view due to the rough service the car is in. 


(3) I'm unable to tell if the car sides are steel or wood construction - any thoughts?

 I think steel sides, but then there’s the (maybe) wood lining?


That crane is really cool, too . . .




Claus Schlund



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, December 04, 2020 7:41 PM

Subject: [RealSTMFC] Whose gon is this?


It looks like a P&LE replacement on a USRA gon, but that pump brake is unfamiliar to me.  Anyone recognize it by brand?


Interesting shot.


Elden Gatwood