Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Texas & New Orleans Emergency Design Gondolas


Merrilees Collection, National Archives of Canada, Neg. no. PA204100

From 1944 to 1951, the Texas & New Orleans added 3,100 gondolas that were based upon the Emergency de- sign 50-ton gondola, substituting wood in place of steel to conserve precious plate steel during the war. However, the T&NO continued to purchase gons that were of composite design even after the restrictions on plate steel were lifted. The cars were assigned to four classes. The data is presented in the accompanying table. 

In 1959, the T&NO began to replace the wood sheathing with plate steel. About half of the cars were converted. When so modified, the class number was amended to include an ‘A’ after the original class number, e.g. G-50-19 became G-50-19-A.

For more information, consult Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Volume 1: Gondolas and Stock Cars, by Anthony W. Thompson, Signature Press, 2002.

Bob's Photo

Jim Gerstley

Why am I presenting this information, beyond its prototype importance? As an SP modeler, I am a T&NO modeler to a certain degree, as well. This is a ubiquitous gon, T&NO or not and Funaro & Camerlengo has produced a nice resin kit for the Emergency gon. Therefore, it's a good fit for me. That said, I intend to modify the kit to accept Detail Associates ends, which are an appropriate end for many of the prototypes, plus use the Scullin L-V trucks from Plate C that were used on T&NO nos. 46300-46549 (250 cars, G-50-21) and 48000-48499 (500 cars, G-50-24) and the National Scale Car decals. The next post will begin chronicling the build. Stay tuned

Friday, August 12, 2022

Plate C Model Prototypes HO Scale Trucks


Plate C Model Prototypes has released several HO scale trucks in an expanding lineup. There are some trucks that are of great use to more "modern" modelers from the 60s forward, but there are a few key additions that are useful to Steam/Transition era modelers. Granted, none of those profiled here achieved widespread adoption, but all are unusual in their appearances, with distinctive details that render substitutes nakedly lacking. The first (shown above in model format and below on a prototype) is the Symington-Gould Chrysler FR-5 that I profiled in an earlier post. As I noted in that post, there have been a few avenues for these in HO, but they all pale compared to this new offering. The detail is excellent and they ship with 0.088" semi-scale width treads. I have a GAEX 'DF' box car kitbash on the workbench that will use these.

Hutchinson, Kansas, November, 1951, Harold Vollrath Collection

The second truck that I purchased is the Scullin L-V. These also saw quite limited adoption. I have found a small number of instances of their usage, with two examples  shown here, as well as an ad from the 1953 Car Builders' Cyclopedia. Fruit Growers Express had a few groups of cars that I know were equipped with these trucks. The most notable series is the 39200-39299 series of 14-panel welded cars built at the Indiana Harbor Belt shops in 1949 and the 39300-39499 series, built in the same year. Other examples I have found are the New Haven's 17200-series flats that were converted to TOFC service (the cars not so converted retained their 70-ton trucks,) Pacific Fruit Express R-40-24 nos. 66020-66029 (a very small group of a large series overall,) Norfolk & Western dynamometer car 514780 and Nickel Plate box cars 7010 and 7042 (these were retrofits and the entire series of these cars did not receive Scullin L-V trucks.) One other potentially significant use of these trucks is PFE R-40-23 nos. 7001-7150 and 47703-48202 that specify Scullin bolsters and sideframes, although I do not have photos of cars in these groups to verify that they are Scullin L-V trucks.I plan to replicate one of the 14-panel welded side FGEX cars, so this truck is again a welcome offering.

P.S. in my Steam Freight Car Reference Manual, Volume Three, I erroneously passed on bad information citing these as Chrysler trucks, not doing my own due diligence. I am aware of one other piece of bad information in that work and will post the corrections to the Speedwitch site, as well as on this blog.

Hamlet, NC, April 5, 1959, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo, courtesy of Bill Welch

Bob's Photo

The last truck I will profile here is the Taylor Flexible truck. These also saw limited adoption, but were heavily used by the Reading (unsurprisingly, these trucks were produced in Reading, Pennsylvania; proximity likely played a role in their adoption.)

Fayetteville, North Carolina, December 2, 1951, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

A couple additional notes are in order. The sideframes/bolsters are 3D printed. As such, their wear over time will be different than the typical engineering plastic trucks we use on most of our cars. If you plan to put these on a car that you run frequently, you are advised to monitor their performance and use a suitable lube to enhance performance and prolong the effective lifespan. Also, the detail on these trucks in better than what is illustrated by my iPhone photos. While not as sharp as a finely-tooled truck, these are quite close and are a far, far better (by orders of magnitude) improvement from the solutions like Cape Line or Eastern Car Works, either in appearance/fidelity or operating characteristics (or both).

Thanks to Dan Smith for pointing out these trucks. I have purchased Plate C's fine hand brakes, but had not visited their site in a while. That will not happen again!