Friday, September 14, 2018

"The Jack Burgess Files" no. 4: Great Northern single sheathed box car GN 31181

All photos by Jack Burgess, Newark, California, October, 1968
It is interesting that for all of its composite box cars, with new cars being received into the mid-1940s, the Great Northern had only one class of 40' single sheathed box cars. The cars were assembled/built at the GN's St. Cloud shops in 1927 using underframes furnished by Pressed Steel Car Company. The cars were placed in the series 31000-31499.


The cars were delivered with square corner Dreadnaught ends with three primary corrugations in the top panel over five in the bottom. As delivered, the cars were equipped with unpowered, shaft-style hand brakes. In later years, they were fitted with power hand brakes of both Ajax (seen here) and Universal types. Ladders were used on both the sides and ends.


The Murphy XLA or "Pivoted, Flexible" roof was used throughout the life of the cars, as illustrated here.


As delivered, the cars were equipped with wood doors. Beginning in the 1940s, the GN progressively replaced the wood doors with Youngstown Steel corrugated doors. The wood doors featured a large, front-facing goat emblem. With the replacement of the doors, a smaller emblem was placed between the structural members.


The GN, along with the Seaboard Air Line, was a fairly strong user of the unusual Dalman-Andrews truck, as illustrated here. Note the snubber in the spring package (second of the four springs from the right).


Almost as unusual as single sheathed 40' box cars on the GN, were single sheathed box cars with four diagonal "zee-bar" structural members per side that were arranged in a Pratt truss. The ARA design used "hat" section structural members in a Pratt truss, but the vast majority of similar box cars with "zee-bar" members employed the Howe truss. For early photos of this car, as well as detailed photos of ARA and Howe truss cars, see Focus on Freight Cars, Volume Nine from Speedwitch.

Sunshine Models produced HO scale resin models for these cars as kits 77.1 and 77.2.

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