Topics

The steam era, 1960


MDelvec952@...
 

Dave Nelson writes:

>- I understand opinions vary on when the steam era ended. I think <=1956
is
>generous.
It is commonly regarded by the more formal historian and professional museum
community that the end of the steam era was 1960. The late 1950s still saw
some Class 1 steam, while the 1960s saw steam only on a few short lines and
in Canada. Rolling stock, too, made a big leap in the 1960s, as Richard
pointed out.

....Mike


Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
 

Mike and all,

Didn't UP run steam into 1960? I think 4-8-8-4's would have to qualify
as legitimate steam...

For myself, I prefer the cutoff date of December 1966, when the current
appearance of house cars was ordained, i.e. running boards were no longer
required on box cars and reefers. Also, by 1966, reefers in ice service had
declined precipitously.

Some Classic Trains was published in 1964, so that is another milestone
date for me, very close to the end of genuine "classy varnish" on western
railroads. (The Seattle World's Fair of 1964-1965 was the last high point
for NP and GN before the rapid slide towards 1971.)

So what say you, steam fans? Can I offer you research into Hydroframe
60 PS-1's, or 90 ton, 4000 cubic foot covered hoppers, or 86 foot box
cars, as well as end-of-life dispositions of single sheathed cars and wood
ice reefers? All these things happened in the tumultuous early 1960's.

To say nothing of piggyback cars and trailers of the 1950's up to 1966!

----- Original Message -----
From: <MDelvec952@...>
Subject: [STMFC] The steam era, 1960


It is commonly regarded by the more formal historian and professional museum
community that the end of the steam era was 1960. The late 1950s still saw
some Class 1 steam, while the 1960s saw steam only on a few short lines and
in Canada. Rolling stock, too, made a big leap in the 1960s, as Richard
pointed out.


Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Tim O'Connor...who will probably have to retake his class on steam
history... writes:

Didn't UP run steam into 1960? I think 4-8-8-4's would have to qualify
as legitimate steam...
1960? UP STILL runs steam. 844...renumbered to 8444 for awhile....has never
been removed from the roster. It and 3985 still provide SOME degree of class
to today's RRs. OTOH, the last Big Boy ran in '59.

For myself, I prefer the cutoff date of December 1966, when the current
appearance of house cars was ordained, i.e. running boards were no longer
required on box cars and reefers.
Hard to imagine the age of steam to have run to '66 even with UP's single
locomotive. The trouble with that date is it a bit arbitrary...with little
supporting evidence. Add to that, both Supreme Courts will overrule it.

Mike Brock


Richard Hendrickson
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:

So what say you, steam fans? Can I offer you research into Hydroframe
60 PS-1's, or 90 ton, 4000 cubic foot covered hoppers, or 86 foot box
cars, as well as end-of-life dispositions of single sheathed cars and wood
ice reefers? All these things happened in the tumultuous early 1960's.

To say nothing of piggyback cars and trailers of the 1950's up to 1966!
BOOORING! Let's hear it for Andrews trucks, truss rod underframes, outside
metal roofs, and Murphy corrugated ends.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
 

Richard, you're living in the past. ;o)


Oh wait, so am I... but less past than you are. And Al Westerfield is
even more past than either of us. Has anyone passed Al's past as yet?
And is Dick Harley still with us?

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...>

BOOORING! Let's hear it for Andrews trucks, truss rod underframes, outside
metal roofs, and Murphy corrugated ends.


John W Nehrich <nehrij@...>
 

I think that if Mike Brock does all the work of keeping the list going,
etc., he should be left alone to pick the cutoff date and to go beyond it
at times if he thinks it relevant (sometimes a discussion of a new
technology makes you understand more about the whys and wherefores of the
older - at least that what's I've found).

(Not to get off topic, but since I'm already sending this, and
there is all this blank space below.)

At the RPI club, we struggled for years over the definition of
"steam-era". We had a working concept, but it was hard to explain to
non-modelers what the significance was, and also why we weren't that
concerned with the 1840's. It was a book by James Kunstler ("Geography Of
Nowhere") which opened our eyes to the society-wide changes that were
going on, that had impact on railroads. After all, what would the choice
of the motive power at the front end have to do with the freight cars
trailing along?

We have started using the term "Downtown Century", to represent
the 100 years or so from the Civil War to the early '60's when the
downtown of a city or even just a village was the center of life. And the
reason was that this was where the railroad interface took place (mainly
the depot, but also the freight depot). It was the rise of mass
transportation using rails (railroads AND street cars) that led to the
modern idea of the classic idea of the city. And while it goes back to
the 1860's, it took a few more decades for the institutions to catch up
(office buildings, hotels, resturants, giant theaters, department stores).

And the bottom dropped out with the shift to individual
transportion - i.e., the auto, and the decline of the downtown to the
abandoned "inner city". (We keep thinking of the 1960's pop song
"Downtown"
which extols the excitement of the area, a place to go just to be where
the action is - today most people think of the excitement of being
downtown would be not getting mugged.)

It started with the demise of the
trolley system
(Kunstler points out this was a deliberate act by GM, one of the oil
companies and a tire manufacturer, who actually were convicted of this,
and given a slap on the wrist years after it was too late.) And the
interstate highway system (and public support of highways in general
before) and the government's support of suburban development that would
eventually do in the railroads from their traditional role of carrying
everything to one of just efficient movement of bulk items. And freight
cars in turn shifted to reflect this specialized role.

So we have the peak of railroading by various measurements at
about WWI (and people who favor that era), and the "last hurrah" in the
'50's of traditional railroading,
whether you set the cut off date at 1960 or a few years later or earlier.

At least that's my thoughts on the subject.

- John Nehrich


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

John and friends,

From posts in the old FCL, and magazine articles written by some members
of this new group, I would guess that the most common era of interest is
probably the immediate post-WWII years. There are probably many
individual reasons for picking this era, but one certainly has to be the
great variety of interesting equipment and the large number of railroad
companies during those years. Perhaps the other factor is that most
modelers focus on is the time when they first became interested in
trains (sparked, no doubt, by pleasant memories and the thrill of
discovery for the first time).

My own era of modeling has been fixed at June 1957. This was chosen to
fit available locomotive and caboose models for my favorite prototype,
the Sacramento Northern (and their parent, the Western Pacific). This
gives me a chance to mix some neat newer prototypes with older equipment
that was purged shortly after that time. This does not mean I don't take
a keen interest in older rolling stock from other lines (like
wood-sheathed boxcars, for example), especially since much of it was
still seen in interchange service up to about that date. Given my
druthers, I would push the date back a few years, but that would be
getting into the time of blurry, early-childhood memories that I have a
harder time relating to. Besides, 1957 is one of the best times for
good-quality vehicle models in HO right now, and automobiles are so
important for setting a scene.

If this group cuts off at 1960 or a bit earlier, it doesn't much matter
to me.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

John W Nehrich wrote:


I think that if Mike Brock does all the work of keeping the list going,
etc., he should be left alone to pick the cutoff date and to go beyond it
at times if he thinks it relevant (sometimes a discussion of a new
technology makes you understand more about the whys and wherefores of the
older - at least that what's I've found).

(Not to get off topic, but since I'm already sending this, and
there is all this blank space below.)

At the RPI club, we struggled for years over the definition of
"steam-era". We had a working concept, but it was hard to explain to
non-modelers what the significance was, and also why we weren't that
concerned with the 1840's. It was a book by James Kunstler ("Geography Of
Nowhere") which opened our eyes to the society-wide changes that were
going on, that had impact on railroads. After all, what would the choice
of the motive power at the front end have to do with the freight cars
trailing along?

We have started using the term "Downtown Century", to represent
the 100 years or so from the Civil War to the early '60's when the
downtown of a city or even just a village was the center of life. And the
reason was that this was where the railroad interface took place (mainly
the depot, but also the freight depot). It was the rise of mass
transportation using rails (railroads AND street cars) that led to the
modern idea of the classic idea of the city. And while it goes back to
the 1860's, it took a few more decades for the institutions to catch up
(office buildings, hotels, resturants, giant theaters, department stores).

And the bottom dropped out with the shift to individual
transportion - i.e., the auto, and the decline of the downtown to the
abandoned "inner city". (We keep thinking of the 1960's pop song
"Downtown"
which extols the excitement of the area, a place to go just to be where
the action is - today most people think of the excitement of being
downtown would be not getting mugged.)

It started with the demise of the
trolley system
(Kunstler points out this was a deliberate act by GM, one of the oil
companies and a tire manufacturer, who actually were convicted of this,
and given a slap on the wrist years after it was too late.) And the
interstate highway system (and public support of highways in general
before) and the government's support of suburban development that would
eventually do in the railroads from their traditional role of carrying
everything to one of just efficient movement of bulk items. And freight
cars in turn shifted to reflect this specialized role.

So we have the peak of railroading by various measurements at
about WWI (and people who favor that era), and the "last hurrah" in the
'50's of traditional railroading,
whether you set the cut off date at 1960 or a few years later or earlier.

At least that's my thoughts on the subject.

- John Nehrich


To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@...


Shawn Beckert
 

Guys,

Didn't Illinois Central run big steam, mikados or something,
into 1961? I seem to recall seeing a photo of a very large
IC engine in service, the caption stating it was early 1961.

Shawn Beckert


thompson@...
 

Tim O'C writes:
Some Classic Trains was published in 1964, so that is another milestone
date for me, very close to the end of genuine "classy varnish" on western
railroads. (The Seattle World's Fair of 1964-1965 was the last high point
for NP and GN before the rapid slide towards 1971.)...
Tim, I think you'll find that Fair took place in 1962-63. And the BN
merger took place in 1970...or were you thinking of Amtrak's advent?

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Dave & Libby Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

-----Original Message-----
We have started using the term "Downtown Century", to represent
the 100 years or so from the Civil War to the early '60's when the
downtown of a city or even just a village was the center of life.
And the bottom dropped out with the shift to individual
transportion - i.e., the auto, and the decline of the downtown to
the abandoned "inner city".
And the
interstate highway system (and public support of highways in general
before) and the government's support of suburban development that
would eventually do in the railroads from their traditional role
of carrying everything to one of just efficient movement of bulk
freight items. And cars in turn shifted to reflect this
specialized role.

Nice analysis John. Many years ago I researched the horse drawn street cars
of Oakland and Alameda, CA. The major learning was such transportation
companies were usually fronts for real estate developers -- buy distant land
cheap, build transportation, sell accessible land high. IOW, land values
are inversely correlated with transportation expenses, which explains alot
about the impact on cities with the widespread introduction of public roads
into the burbs. Build a better, cheaper mousetrap....

I had not previously considered how this effect played out on freight car
design -- I like your thoughts on moving from the generic bulk carrier to
the specialized, dedicated vehicle. On the other end of the timeline, from
Whites _American Freight Car_, there is the effect on design present from 1)
declining old growth hardwoods, 2) refining steam locomotive techology and
3) the availability of cheap steel. All of which then sets logical
boundaries for the "generic, steam era, steel freight car".

As for usage, industry practice was *very* different 50 years ago too:
relatively very few national companies and those few were mostly oriented to
vertical integration, which is to say that rather than buy locally, there
was a lot of stuff shipped between the companies own plants. This of course
led to rate issues for intermediate production (wheat to flour to breakfast
cerials) and I suspect more closed routings than would otherwise have been
the case.

Dave Nelson


Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
 

Tim, I think you'll find that Fair took place in 1962-63. And the BN
merger took place in 1970...or were you thinking of Amtrak's advent?
Yep, you're right. I was thinking of the New York World's Fair.. And yes
Amtrak on May 1, 1971.


sswain@...
 

FWIW, both the CPR and CNR's steam operations essentially ended after April
1960. Any steam use after that by the dominant two railways in this
country could be described as being excursion related (there may have been
a handful CPR trips in the summer of 1960).

Dave Nelson writes:

>- I understand opinions vary on when the steam era ended. I think <=1956
is
>generous.
It is commonly regarded by the more formal historian and professional museum
community that the end of the steam era was 1960. The late 1950s still saw
some Class 1 steam, while the 1960s saw steam only on a few short lines and
in Canada. Rolling stock, too, made a big leap in the 1960s, as Richard
pointed out.

....Mike
Stafford Swain
26 Kenneth Street
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R3T 0K8
(204) 477-9246
sswain@...


Keith Jordan <kjordan@...>
 

The talk about 1960 got me to thinking what had changed in the ten years
from 1950 to 1960, so I looked up some statistics on one of my favorite
subjects, SFRD reefers:

In 1950, there were

2955 wood sheathed steel framed steel underframe cars
10607 all steel swing door cars
563 all steel sliding door cars
445 fifty foot ice bunker cars
1 mechanical car

In 1960, there were

0 wood sheathed steel frame steel underframe cars
2101 all steel swing door cars
10172 all steel sliding door cars
390 fifty foot ice bunker cars
323 mechanical cars

Look at 1970 before we go, however:

1365 all steel swing door cars
3718 all steel sliding door cars
40 fifty foot ice bunker cars
3614 mechanical cars

You could argue there was little change in the 1950s with these cars, but a
big change in the 1960s. At any rate, I found it interesting and it does
tend to support 1960 as a watershed freight car decade.

Keith Jordan

From: sswain@...
Reply-To: STMFC@...
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 14:09:49 -0600
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] The steam era, 1960

FWIW, both the CPR and CNR's steam operations essentially ended after April
1960. Any steam use after that by the dominant two railways in this
country could be described as being excursion related (there may have been
a handful CPR trips in the summer of 1960).

Dave Nelson writes:

- I understand opinions vary on when the steam era ended. I think <=1956
is
generous.
It is commonly regarded by the more formal historian and professional museum
community that the end of the steam era was 1960. The late 1950s still saw
some Class 1 steam, while the 1960s saw steam only on a few short lines and
in Canada. Rolling stock, too, made a big leap in the 1960s, as Richard
pointed out.

....Mike
Stafford Swain
26 Kenneth Street
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R3T 0K8
(204) 477-9246
sswain@...




To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@...



Gail & Tom Madden <tgmadden@...>
 

Keith Jordan wrote (regarding SFRD reefers):
You could argue there was little change in the 1950s with these cars, but a
big change in the 1960s. At any rate, I found it interesting and it does
tend to support 1960 as a watershed freight car decade.

Wouldn't the 40-year rule have had a lot to do with that? Many cars built
throughout the '20s, damfew during the '30s. Replacing much of the remaining
post-W.W.I, pre-W.W.II fleet beginning in 1960 would by itself have made the
'60s a watershed decade. Factor in such things as higher horsepower motive
power and more efficient ROW construction materials and techniques that made
possible increased clearances (ergo larger cars), and you've really got a
big change.

Tom "or is my ignorance showing?" M.


Max Robin
 

I'm afraid I side w/Richard on the date issue. By 1960, I was
looking for older freight cars still in photographable condition and
had ZERO interest in the contemporary equipment except as it impacted
my job in the NYC mechanical department.

My model railroad has been designed and is operated as a dual era
railroad: 1926 and Oct. 1948. The '48 date would be more like '44
except that I couldn't resist a certain group of west coast logging
wengines which were sold off in 1948.

As several of my close modeler friends are fond of saying, "a PS-1,
what's that?"
---------------------------------------------------------------------
email: m_robin@...
alias kathe@...

smail: Max S. Robin, P.E. voice: 973 - 627 - 5895
Cheat River Engineering Inc. or: 973 - 627 - 5460
23 Richwood Place / P. O. Box 289
Denville, NJ 07834-0289