1937 AAR boxcars: Dreadnaught corner posts


irv_thomae
 

I've been carefully studying the Ed Hawkins/Ted Culotta tabulation covering almost 93,000 AAR boxcars built between 1936 and 1947.  Having chosen long ago to model the time period from fall 1940 through summer 1941, and wanting only a few newly built cars on my back-country layout, I highlighted each group of cars built before 1940 in green, and each group built in 1940 in yellow.
  Doing that led to an interesting discovery about cars built with the standard 4-5 Dreadnaught ends:  The vast majority of those built before 1940 had square-cornered ends.  As of January of 1940, there was a dramatic transition to round-cornered ends, also known as "W corner-post."   Apart for the CN, which stayed with square corner posts through March of 1940, it appears that fewer than a dozen more cars were built with square corners from 1-40 onward, for even the smallest railroads.
  Rapid changes were not exactly common in prewar railroad engineering practice.  Does anyone happen to know why this transition, from square corner posts to the 'W' type, happened to quickly?   Was it driven by regulatory action, perhaps in response to safety issues?  Or were there dramatic savings either in weight or fabrication cost?
   And, did otherwise very similar cars with the two different corner post types show a consistent weight difference?
Thanks!
Irv


Robert kirkham
 

Hi Irv,

I think the key thing to keep in mind is that the ends were proprietary to a parts manufacturer, not to any one railroad.  So like you car, it has the look of the year it was bought.  It's more complex than that, but you can probably find several references if you search the archives using the word dreadnought.  I have forgotten what I’ve read on the topic.  For a given date, I think it probably matters which plant was manufacturing one end or another.  For the CNR, I imagine a certain percentage of their purchases were from Canadian licensed manufacturers, and those folks may have been constrained to stay with older tooling for longer as the war was already underway up here. 

But my comments are only inference and reflecting what I have read over the years, not detailed observation or analysis.


Rob

On Dec 30, 2020, at 7:21 PM, irv_thomae <irvthomae@...> wrote:

I've been carefully studying the Ed Hawkins/Ted Culotta tabulation covering almost 93,000 AAR boxcars built between 1936 and 1947.  Having chosen long ago to model the time period from fall 1940 through summer 1941, and wanting only a few newly built cars on my back-country layout, I highlighted each group of cars built before 1940 in green, and each group built in 1940 in yellow.
  Doing that led to an interesting discovery about cars built with the standard 4-5 Dreadnaught ends:  The vast majority of those built before 1940 had square-cornered ends.  As of January of 1940, there was a dramatic transition to round-cornered ends, also known as "W corner-post."   Apart for the CN, which stayed with square corner posts through March of 1940, it appears that fewer than a dozen more cars were built with square corners from 1-40 onward, for even the smallest railroads.
  Rapid changes were not exactly common in prewar railroad engineering practice.  Does anyone happen to know why this transition, from square corner posts to the 'W' type, happened to quickly?   Was it driven by regulatory action, perhaps in response to safety issues?  Or were there dramatic savings either in weight or fabrication cost?
   And, did otherwise very similar cars with the two different corner post types show a consistent weight difference?
Thanks!
Irv


Dennis Storzek
 

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 07:21 PM, irv_thomae wrote:
Rapid changes were not exactly common in prewar railroad engineering practice.  Does anyone happen to know why this transition, from square corner posts to the 'W' type, happened to quickly? 

The ends were a proprietary product (also patented) so when the Standard Railway Equipment Co. changed the way the ends were to attach, everybody else, railroad and carbuilder alike, had to modify their designs. Any blurring of the actual date of change likely traces back to when exactly the contracts were signed, when the ends were ordered, etc. This is really a good example of the railroad engineering departments losing ultimate control of the design process to the vendors, a trend that would only accelerate. This same thing is very evident after the war, when SRECo. changed the designs of both the pressing pattern in the ends and also the roof. The parts were functionally interchangeable, so the change happened literally overnight.

Dennis Storzek


Tony Thompson
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:

The ends were a proprietary product (also patented) so when the Standard Railway Equipment Co. changed the way the ends were to attach, everybody else, railroad and carbuilder alike, had to modify their designs. Any blurring of the actual date of change likely traces back to when exactly the contracts were signed, when the ends were ordered, etc. This is really a good example of the railroad engineering departments losing ultimate control of the design process to the vendors, a trend that would only accelerate. This same thing is very evident after the war, when SRECo. changed the designs of both the pressing pattern in the ends and also the roof. The parts were functionally interchangeable, so the change happened literally overnight.

     Perfectly stated answer to an unobvious question. Thanks, Dennis.

Tony Thompson




Clark Propst
 

I’m guessing the RRs never even noticed? Because it didn’t effect the Cu ft, or tonnage, etc.

Clark Propst

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


Tony Thompson
 

Clark Propst wrote:

I’m guessing the RRs never even noticed? Because it didn’t effect the Cu ft, or tonnage, etc.

    Well, any work on the car lining, they sure noticed. The W corner post made the furring for lining boards much more convenient.

Tony Thompson




Schuyler Larrabee
 

Well, even then, Tony, the majority of the men who noticed the change were the crews in the cars installing the lining.

 

But weren’t the linings installed at the carbuilder’s shops?

 

Schuyler

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tony Thompson
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2020 6:27 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] 1937 AAR boxcars: Dreadnaught corner posts

 

Clark Propst wrote:



I’m guessing the RRs never even noticed? Because it didn’t effect the Cu ft, or tonnage, etc.

 

    Well, any work on the car lining, they sure noticed. The W corner post made the furring for lining boards much more convenient.

 

Tony Thompson

 

 

 


irv_thomae
 

I'm very glad I asked.  I agree that Dennis's answer makes perfect sense.
Tony, I appreciate the reassurance that it was "an unobvious question."

Thanks to everyone who contributed.   I have learned a lot from all of the replies.

Wishing everyone a happier New Year than 2020 has been,
Irv


Tony Thompson
 

Sure. But linings were often repaired or replaced.
Tony Thompson 


On Dec 31, 2020, at 4:41 PM, Schuyler Larrabee via groups.io <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote:



Well, even then, Tony, the majority of the men who noticed the change were the crews in the cars installing the lining.

 

But weren’t the linings installed at the carbuilder’s shops?

 

Schuyler

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tony Thompson
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2020 6:27 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] 1937 AAR boxcars: Dreadnaught corner posts

 

Clark Propst wrote:



I’m guessing the RRs never even noticed? Because it didn’t effect the Cu ft, or tonnage, etc.

 

    Well, any work on the car lining, they sure noticed. The W corner post made the furring for lining boards much more convenient.

 

Tony Thompson

 

 

 


Eric Lombard
 

Hello Everyone,
 
Follows some information about the transition from square corner to rounded corner Dreadnaught ends starting 1939. This information was extracted from my box car database. I believe at this stage of development  (35 years) that that data is pretty solid. However, in common with all lists, spreadsheets, etc, compiled by our fraternity it is a work in progress. In furtherment of that aim I put this information out in hopes someone might correct or add to it.
 
On the advantages of the W corner post:
"...corners have been rounded to a generous radius and W-section corner posts applied, this combination functioning to produce action to prevent the sides of the car pulling in under a heavy impact. By actual test at the University of Illinois, this end is 25 per cent stronger than the old conventional type without the round corners and the W-section corner post." Standard Railway Equipment Manufacturing Co. advertisement in 1940 Car Builders' Cyclopedia of American Practice (15th Edition).
 
It would be interesting to know about the development and testing prior to the recommendation by the AAR, apparently at the University of Illinois.
 
4-1939  Recommended use of W corner post by AAR
 
Follows is a list of all series initiated in 1939 built with W corner posts. The all-welded and singular GABX car has rounded corners but there is no information on whether it had W corner posts. Paste it up as a puzzle. 

The first application in production developed jointly by UP and Standard Railway Equipment Co. 1939[6]-1939[11] , 1200  BLT:
**1939[6]-1939[8] and 1939[10]-1939[11] 187000-187499, Omaha, NB.
**1939[6]-1939[11] 187500-188199, Grand Island, NB.
 
 
Marks Serial Qty Builder Date
GABX 1940 1 GAT 11-1938
O-WR&N 188300-188999 700 UP 6-1939 10-1939
UP 187000-188199 1200 UP 6-1939 11-1939
M-I 4000-4249 250 MTV 7-1939 8-1939
UP 9100-9199 100 UP 8-1939 10-1939
CTH&SE 19039 1 MILW 9-1939
D&RGW 68000-68399 400 PSC 9-1939 10-1939
MILW 19000-19082 82 MILW 9-1939
LAPX 101 1 PSCx-1939
MILW 18000-18999 1000 MILW 10-1939 3-1940
NYC 62000-62299 300 DSI 10-1939 x-1940
NYC 91000-91199 200 DSI 10-1939
D&RGW 65100-65199 100 PSC 1-1939 12-1939
LAPX 102-121 20 PSC 11-1939 12-1939
WM 27501-28000 500 PSC 11-1939 12-1939
NYC 176000-176199 200 DSI x-1939 x-1940
MILW 19083-19187 105 MILW 12-1939 1-1940
PRR 65400-66399 1000 PRR 12-1939 2-1940
 
Square corner Dreadnaught ends continue to be built after 5-1939: 35 series totaling 8416 cars by the end of 2-1942. Soo Line, especially, seemed to be partial to them or maybe got a price break? Nine of the last 11 series with square corners, 1600 cars built 7-1940 to 2-1942, were for Soo. To provide perspective, 70,220 cars with W corner posts in 188 series were initiated 1-1940 to 2 1942. The transition was indeed rather fast.
 
I welcome any comments, thoughts or data!
 
Eric Lombard
Homewood, IL


Eric Lombard
 

On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 07:47 AM, Eric Lombard wrote:
D&RGW 65100-65199 100 PSC 11-1939 12-1939


James Brewer
 

Eric,

Interesting data; thanks for sharing it.

Jim Brewer

On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 10:57 AM Eric Lombard <elombard@...> wrote:
On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 07:47 AM, Eric Lombard wrote:
D&RGW 65100-65199 100 PSC 11-1939 12-1939