Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Early locomotives and freight cars used to be truss bridges on wheels

Dave Blaze Rail Photography posted a photo of three F7 cab units with their sheet metal removed because they were being refurbished. (shared) The first generation diesels were wide because everything was, including the walkway, was built inside a truss frame.

C&NWHS posted
Here is an interesting and unusual view of an E-7A #5012B. The back of the Ken Zurn photo says that the locomotive has been "stripped for shopping" in Chicago." The date is September 1966.
Patrick D. Feesl Looking at this photo, made me think of something I read about years ago about EMD cab units and "crush zones". Has anyone else heard of this, and if so, would the two vertical posts next to each other behind the cab be that zone?
Richard Fiedler EMD F’s and E units were designed to break behind the cab to absorb crash energy.
Eric James I read somewhere that they weren't designed to actually do that that it just sort of happened

Timothy Yarnall Sr. responded to Richard's comment

Some construction photos also provide views of the truss frames. [DeBruler]



Boxcars used to be wood framed and wood sheathed. Then they had a metal frame with wood sheathing. I've seen photos of outside braced cars where they were sheathed only on the inside so you could see the metal truss frame, but now I can't find any photos. (Update: a 1916 photo shows outside braced stock cars.) Fortunately, when I visited the "back yard" of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, I found a caboose that had been stripped down to its frame for refurbishing making the truss frame obvious. (The left truck is a lot older design (friction bearings and leaf springs) than the right truck (roller bearings and coil springs).)

20170416 8549

Update: I found a photo of some outside braced boxcars. A comment confirms that this was early 1960s.
Jeffrey Wincek posted
Railroading when it was cool.
Don McLean Been there and did that.We never had radios and all signals were given by hand and the guy on top of the cars relayed them to the engineman.There used to be two men in the cab of the locomotive.The second man was called the fireman.I guess a draw back to steam when he would keep the fire going to keep the steam up.They used coal and then went to buncer "c" oil.Then came the diesel and the fireman was eventually fased out.He was kept on as a more or less safety feature. When Walkie Talkies came into play and the signals were relayed directly to the engineman ,the man on the roof of the cars and the fireman were no longer necessary.We used kerosene lanterns at night.
JR Sampson About 1960-61 from the looks of the cars on the autorack.
Don McLean It was in the early sixties that the radios came into operation.They made a brakeman's job a lot safer and a bit easier.It put three men on the ground.
JR Sampson Don McLean I was passing signals from cartops and over in the farmers field still in the late 70s.
Kenny Backes they'd fire your ass if they ever caught you passing signals from on top a box car even when I hired out in the 70's.
Michael Schmidt Kenny Backes We did in the yards on the Milwaukee Road. Did it till they outlawed the running boards.
Arthur Houston RR when roof walks were in use were the most dangerous place in the world to work. Casualties would go past a 1000 a year.
Richard Long Never had the opportunity of riding on top of the cars. But was able to enjoy dropping cars and kicking cars plus getting on and off moving equipment.
Don McLean Before the radios when we came out of a siding we had to line the switch back and run to catch the caboose.If the engineman underestimated his train the conductor had to put it into emergency or you got left behind. Started of working with no CTC.Ran on train orders only.You had to know your Rule book then.
Tom Lyman "Going High" we did it well into the 70's in all kind of weather snow, rain, daylight, dark, walked from car to car as needed.
Andrew Van Wagnen My dad said that some times the only time feet hit the ground was beans, coffee and going home.
Tim Jantzen Those were not 'the good ol days' Most of you are too young to remember railroad men couldn't even get life insurance. Falling off the roofs were common and so were fatalities. It might look cool to run across the roof but it's anything but. The tail end crew breathed in asbestos and who knows what else. Hours were awful and so was the pay. Enjoy what you got because a lot of people died before safety even became a word. Before the 80's most conductors died before they even collected their first retirement check because of cancer and hoggers were deaf.
Kenny Backes truer words havent been spoken on here....good ole asbestos brake shoes.
Ralph Herman Hired out mid 60s retired in 08 we passed signals from the top of cars. There was running boards on the top eventually were removed , most boxcars had high hand brakes than .
Robert Carlyle Lewis In the days before portable radios this was a common way to pass signals when working on curves. Someone would be on the ladder next to the locomotive and pass the signals to the engineer. You just didn’t want to ride the end of the last car since slack and/or a hard joint could knock you off.
Wayne Ladd Back when brakemen were actually brakemen!
Michael Schmidt I hated fixing the running boards. I loved it when we started cutting them off all the box cars for safety and repair reasons..
Dave Stelly I have walked a mile on the top of grain hopper cars. Easy. Yes it was moving about 20.
Interesting, I've now seen two photos in two days. This one not only has an outside braced boxcar, it has outside braced gondolas, which I don't think I have seen before. They probably need additional strength in the sides because there would be no strength in a drop bottom.
Bob Chaparro shared a link
Photo: Caswell Gondolas
An undated (probably WW II) photo from an unknown source:
The location probably is Barstow, CA.
The jeeps on the flat car are interesting, but notice the Santa Fe Caswell drop-bottom gondolas in the background.
Bob Chaparro
Hemet, CA
Martin Banks Yes it is at Barstow, California and the Gondolas are probably for the U.S. Borax mine at Boron?

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