Tuesday, June 24, 2014

36' Double Sheathed Box Cars

Another post? Wow!

While I was researching hopper rosters I was looking at the various ways John Nehrich has broken down the 1949 fleet of freight cars on the RPI site. Among this data was an interesting tidbit - in 1949 there were approximately 60,000 36' cars on the railroads. Of those, nearly 2/3 are CN and CP Fowler Patent single sheathed box cars. Leaving just 20,000 or so 36' double sheathed cars. About 5,000 of those are ACL and SAL ventilated box cars.

So not many 36' double sheathed cars at all.

Chris pointed out that there would have been more in 1947. So I was curious, and rather than keeping this between the two of us (and also so this info is someplace where I can find it later...), here's what I've compiled (with much thanks for John's research).

RPI Data
The percentage of composite to all steel box cars went from 56% in 1940 to 44% in 1945 and 31% in 1949.

This amounts to about 106,000 cars of a total box car roster of about 700,000+. And that's assuming all of those cars were 36 footers. 

There were still 26,000+ all wood box cars in 1945, with about 7,500 'other' box cars in 1949, so that reduction was most likely all double sheathed cars since I'm not aware of any single sheathed car being made without a steel underframe. And I'm not aware of many 40' all wood cars.

In 1949 there were 60,000 of 223,0000 composite cars were 36' box cars, or about a 1/4. But of those, 40,000 were Fowler patent single sheathed cars. Leaving about 20,000 double sheathed plus the 7,500 'other' cars. That amounts to about 3% of the total box car fleet being under 40' and double sheathed.

So if all of the difference was double sheathed, and the number of Fowler patent cars remained constant, then 36' double sheathed cars would account for about 120,000 of 160,000 composite cars, plus most of the 'other' cars, which amounts to only 19% of the fleet as 36' cars.

Most likely the drop off accelerated instead of being linear. So it's somewhere between 19% and 3%, so 10% of the entire box car fleet as 36' double sheathed cars sounds reasonable. But I'm guessing it's lower.

In 1949, the roads with more than 1,000 cars (not including the CN and CP since they were all single sheathed) - Southern, L&N, NC&StL, D&H, ERIE, and Nationales de Mexico. Adding local roads that had at least 500 there's BAR and DL&W.

ORER Data from 1947
Comparing a few roads between 1947 and 1949:
SOU - 9,228 - 3,928
L&N - 7,438 - 2,829
D&H - 1,751 - 1,560
ERIE - 1,275 - 1,005
BAR - 1,099 - 903
DL&W - 832 - 538
RDG - 2,135 - 223
LNE - 190 - 183  (but these are 39' 10")
NYC - 752 - 156

In 1947 5,407 of these cars were ACL or SAL ventilated box cars.

So obviously some roads were retiring cars faster than others. But I think that up to 10% of box cars being 36' is reasonable.

So how many 36' double sheathed cars do we need? Well, I think that the NH cars being home road cars don't count. We'll need a couple of them for revenue service, and a few more for MOW service. 

I think that specialty cars like the ventilated box cars also don't count, provided we're modeling a season when they would be in use as ventilated box cars. If they are in use as regular box cars then they would be treated as such.

So I think the must have cars are those for direct connections with a decent percentage of 36' double sheathed cars (CV and RDG are both around 25% in 1947). The SOU SU design is also one that was such a large class of cars, and the Southern had the largest number of 36' double sheathed cars even in 1949.

As for other cars I think it depends on whether we identify commodities coming for other roads. Assuming there's a model available, then it's a question of how those cars relate to their larger box car fleet. But these would be low priority cars.

So for Chris' layout this amounts to, well, one 36' double sheathed box car. He's got two trains with 20-25 cars each, and perhaps 30ish cars on the layout. So less than 100 cars.

In my case, I've got 8 trains of 15-25 cars each, plus another 50 or 60 on the layout. So at any given time I'm probably looking at 2-3 36' double sheathed cars in any given session. Of course, on some days there could be more, others less.

F&C has the most 36' double sheathed car models. I've got the CV, NH and NYC

I also have SOU (Westerfield, but F&C makes the same prototype).

The NYC car is a great example of a rare car. Their 1947 roster of 752 36' cars is only 3% of their USRA design steel box cars (25,000+), just one class of steel box cars on the road, or about 1% of their 60,000+ box car fleet.

Roster vs Operating Session
Having said that, I go back to my assertion that there's a difference between your model roster, and the cars you run during a given operating session. I'll use Chris's layout as an example. Until he has an operating Shore Line, he needs about 100 cars for an operating session, probably less. So by our calculations he needs a single 36' double sheathed box car. And that's assuming (as we will for now) that all 100 cars per session are box cars.

So looking at the choices, he decides he likes the CV one. If he has an industry that is directly serviced by an industry on the CV then this is a good choice. I might even argue that it's no longer a rare car, as that industry would have about a 25% of receiving this type of car based on the CV roster (assuming they never use a foreign road car).

Problem is, if this isn't a car in semi-captive service, then this 'rare' car becomes 'common' if we choose to run one 36' car per session and that's the only car available.

So I think that it's worth modeling at least a handful of cars. This is why your roster should be larger than what you'd run in an operating session (or a couple of sessions).

Instead of running one 36' double sheathed box car per 100 cars per session (which would be a statistical anomaly anyway), these cars would simply fall under the 'rare' category. Rare cars could make up 10-20% of the cars used in the session. If we go with 20% then 2 cars of his 100 would be rare. Sometimes one would be a 36' car, sometimes none, sometimes two. In that mix are other rare cars.

One of the main reasons I like this approach is that I like freight cars. It allows me to have more cars, and more unusual cars, than most people would choose to model. But I also think it means that from session to session the mix of cars is good, and individual rare cars continue to be rare.

My initial approach was to model one car per 'x' number of a given car on the prototype. But for large classes of cars (PRR X29 for example) this would require 20+ cars. These are cars that belong in pretty much every ops session. But I can make that happen with far fewer cars. Folks won't remember car numbers from session to session, but they will remember unusual cars.

So now I'm working on finding an upper limit to the number of cars needed for any large class. This will probably vary depending on your prototype (you might need 25 X29s if you model the PRR). It's important to have enough common cars, whether a specific class, or a specific design used by many roads (1937 AAR Standard Box Car).

I suppose that's a next step - figure out what a representative mix of cars is for each session. That's for another post.

Monday, June 23, 2014

More about hoppers

So in the course of getting the LNE hopper project going, I've been doing some research on hoppers in general. I won't pretend to be an expert on hoppers, and there has been a lot published online and in various magazines and books, although I would start with Bob Karig's "Coal Cars: The First 300 Years", John Teichmoeller's "Pennsylvania Railroad Steel Open Hopper Cars", and the various Railway Prototype Cyclopedias, particularly Volume 25. Of course, the RPI Railroad Heritage website should be a primary source for any freight car modeling as well.

I haven't looked into books on the hopper fleets of the B&O or NYC which were both substantial and they would be helpful. But I've been able to find enough online information for now relating to them. The B&O is a particular challenge because there aren't a lot of accurate models for their hoppers. At least not yet.

Based on information provided in several resources, I believe that while hoppers for C&O, N&W and other more southerly roads would have travelled occasionally on the New Haven, I suspect they were in far fewer numbers than the roads I'll cover here. This was largely because coal from these fields came to CT primarily by water. And while NH hoppers have been photographed offline, I suspect a large number of them were used to ship coal from waterborne loads to their final destinations on the NH.

As a starting point, I've been looking at existing models that are available either only in (resin) kit form or simple projects like the LNE one which is primarily upgrading a shake-the-box style model. Initially this is covering twin hoppers (HM), but I'm already looking into triple and quad hopper (HT) projects.

More extensive kitbashing projects will wait. I have already purchased RTR cars that are appropriate and meeting my modeling standards (BLI, Intermountain, Kadee, etc.).

As for the roads that I think are most important for my (and Chris and Pete's) layout are coal hauling roads with direct NH connections:


Secondary sources are the other large roads that have service connections (based on published schedules), photos, and anthracite roads:

Several roads have been bumped up in priority due to the identification of specific brands of coal handled by local New Britain industries:
Stanley Svea - Old Company's Lehigh (D&H, DL&W, LNE)
Household Fuel - Glen Alden Coal Co (CNJ, DL&W, RDG)

So then there's the question of how many of any given hopper I need. For box cars I settled on 1 car per 1,000 rostered for a foreign road car. But then what about cars like the PRR X29 or NYC USRA Design steel box car, each of which rostered over 25,000? I don't really need 25 of each do I?

Probably not. So I think a reasonable goal is around 10 of each. But hoppers aren't as free roaming as box cars. However, I also think that for a bulk commodity it's common to see a string of 2-3 cars, even if it's a road with a small roster. That doesn't mean they'll all be the same prototype.

So I know I'll do at least two cars for each of the target roads, but typically more. I've settled on 1 car for each 500 rostered to try to get the mix right for each road that has multiple prototypes available. But I think 3 to 4 of a given prototype will probably be sufficient, with more for particularly large rosters (PRR, basically). I may make exceptions for roads that serve mines that I know are selling to New Britain industries.

For retail industries I haven't determined a specific brand of coal (Shurberg & Sons,) I'll focus on anthracite roads, and the large industries (Stanley, Russell & Erwin, etc.) will receive bituminous, often in triple and quad hoppers, from B&O, NYC, PRR, etc.

 As noted, the first project we're starting is the LNE AAR Standard cars.

Fishbelly Hoppers
Next will probably be cars based on the Bowser (ex-Stewart) fishbelly hoppers, and as long as we can find the proper decorated cars, these won't require decals.
CNJ 67000-67999 (1)
CRP 67000-67999 (1)
D&H 4701-6100 (2-4)
LV 25000-25499, 25500-25939 (2)
RDG 65000-65999, 67000-67338, 80000-80999 (4-6), plus 1-2 of the F&C War Emergency variation (66000-66999)

USRA and USRA Clone Hoppers
I've got Accurail, Tichy and MTH USRA hoppers, and I've settled on making some modifications (modernizing) the MTH model, primarily upgrading to AB brakes. These will definitely need painting and lettering.
B&O (2-4)
CNJ (1)
CRP (1)
D&H (1, plus one Tichy panel side rebuild)
DL&W (2)
NH (2-4)
NYC (4, plus two Tichy panel side rebuilds)
RDG (2-4)

GL hoppers (Westerfield and/or F&C) - mostly GLca class, and the majority (if not all) will be the excellent F&C one piece body kit.
PRR (5-10)

GLA and 1905 "Common Design" (Westerfield and/or Bowser)
Note: while individual roads had some specific variations, the main difference was apparently the angle of the center slope sheets. PRR had a 30 degree angle, and most others a 45 degree angle. I'm not sure if I'll be able to modify the interior, but the Bowser car is the PRR 30 degree angle so it may be possible (since it's less than 45 degrees). Otherwise, along with the detail upgrades the rivet line in the middle of the car will be modified.

Chris has a photo of a PRR H21 at Wethersfield coal, and found that Bowser makes a model (yay!) but it has molded on parts (boo!). I pointed out that they had over 25,000 H21's c1947 and that he had a choice - build a half-dozen or more Westerfield kits, or start shaving Bowser cars. He's ready to shave. The same thing applies for the PRR GLA class.

PRR (5-10)
CNJ/CRP (1-2)
LV (4-6)

Berwind-White Mini Project
A few years ago Laura and I went to Newport, RI and one of the mansions we visited was The Elms, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind. So at the very least I'm sure that Berwind coal hoppers would be seen on the New Haven on the Shoreline servicing their home. In addition, there are models available that covers the entire Berwind roster in 1947. So that's kind of fun. One of those kits, now available from F&C, was originally manufactured by Funaro for Yankee Clipper Models, which were produced by Bill Dulmaine, the current President of NHRHTA and he and Cosette are responsible for publishing the Shoreliner.

Mount Vernon Shops makes a set of decals that letters 4 GLca, 6 GLa, and 2 BW-1 hoppers so that will give us enough for the group to split.
GLa (Bowser) 1501-1900, 3351-4980
GLca (F&C) 2001-3000, 4981-5000
BW-1 (F&C) 5001-5050, 5051-5160

Resin Kits
In addition to the GLca and BW-1 hoppers, I'll need several of the F&C CNJ/CRP 9-panel hoppers (the model that started this study, actually), and RDG Channel Side hoppers, also from F&C.

That will get me (us) started, and will provide a solid foundation for the hoppers that I think would represent a proper mix, recognizing that there will be too few B&O and probably DL&W hoppers, among others. Beyond these, I don't have a problem with an occasional visit from other hoppers that would be less common. But we've now found three photos with C&I hoppers on the New Haven so it's clear that there are always interesting cars to include.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LNE #14103-13600 Hopper Correction

Thanks to Ed Hawkins I have an update on the LNE hoppers. The photo in Bob Karig's book that looked like a unique prototype was taken at a museum. So it appears that the road number used in the restoration was incorrect, and that this class of cars was similar to the earlier cars in their detail.

I may still pick up an Accurail kit to see what they look like, though, and it could be used for a B&O car.


Monday, June 16, 2014

LNE AAR Standard 50-ton hoppers

I've learned that Stanley Svea Grain & Coal sold "Old Company's Lehigh" coal.

If the logo looks familiar, it should. Old Company's Lehigh coal was produced by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company. In 1904 Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co acquired a majority of stock of the Lehigh New England Railroad.

The Company had several collieries mining anthracite. Two of the ones I've been able to verify that had breakers (Lansford and Tamaqua, PA) were both served by the LNE. They had other breakers served by the D&H, DL&W, ERIE, and RDG.

Of the roads I've verified that serve Old Company's Lehigh, the DL&W will be the toughest to model. D&H, ERIE and RDG won't be too difficult. But Chris and I have decided to start a project to fill some holes in our hopper fleets with LNE hoppers. And since we're getting started on this we figured we'd check with the other Thursday night guys to see if they'd like to build a few as well. As it turns out, models are also available in N-scale (for Dick) and S-scale (for Pieter), so we can all add a few cars to our rosters.

How easy/difficult will it be? Well, the first place to start is the ORER for 1947. Out of a roster of about 3,000 freight cars, almost half are hoppers. Of those, 86% are AAR Standard 50 ton hoppers, or 1,250 cars.

That's great news, or so you'd think, because the Kadee hopper is an AAR Standard 50 ton twin hopper. But, consulting the information and rosters in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Vol 25, we find that the LNE cars are two different types. All except the last 300 of those are of an early design with sloped side sills at the end, with a straight side sill between the bolsters, and pressed steel channel end posts. The remaining 300 cars have straight side sills, with a fishbelly side sill between the bolsters, and z-bar end braces. 

The Kadee car is closest to those 300 cars, with the correct side details, but the end posts are spaced wider apart and are composed of steel angle to the top of the ends, instead of pressed steel channels attached at the bottom of the hopper end. 

The Intermountain car, marketed as 'Alternate' AAR Standard cars (identified in RP Cyc as AMC Standard Design cars) don't match either. So the two best available models won't work.

Accurail, Athearn, Atlas and Walthers all make 'offset side' 2 bay hoppers that are also based on AAR Standard cars. Unfortunately these have molded on detail parts. The Accurail one has the finest detailing, but is apparently a match of a B&O car with different details. The Athearn and Atlas cars are better detailed than Walthers, and fortunately the Atlas car is nearly an exact match. 

So the Atlas car looks like a good starting point. Even with some extra work it won't measure up to the current state-of-the-art Kadee or Intermountain, but we should be able to turn it into a very good model that's not just a stand-in.

They are available undecorated (Atlas #18870 in the Trainman line). There is a second Atlas offset side hopper in the regular line (Atlas #1850) but it has a different bracing pattern along the top of the sides, which seems odd to me (particularly because I can't find a prototype that it matches).

Anyway, here's what we're modeling:
LNE AAR Standard 50 ton twin hopper
13001-13250 blt 11-36
13251-13350 blt 5-39 (pictured)
14001-14300 blt 4-41
14301-14600 blt 2-42 (see below) (pictured - I love the crooked '3')

The paint scheme will be similar to the second picture, without the billboard 'LNE' using Highball Graphics decals. Each set covers 3 cars, and a set is available for N-scale as well.
Most of the cars used coil elliptical trucks available from Tahoe Model Works
All had Ajax handbrakes, AB Brakes, plate steel brake steps, and Wine door locking mechanisms. 

More information can be found in the excellent Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Vol 25 (pictures on pg 54-5), Vol 2 (picture on pg 87 - a better version of 14382 above), and Bob Karig's "Coal Cars: The First Three Hundred Years" on pg 307, including an interior shot.

A third variation?
Well what do you know? Looking closer at the overhead shot of #14518 in Bob's book, which also shows the end, it is of a different design. It has the sloped side sills as with the earlier cars. But it has the z-bar end posts like the later cars. It's stenciled with a build date of March, 1941, which is earlier than listed on the roster by about a year. It appears that the Accurail car is a close match to this prototype, which will allow us to model a subtle variation with little additional effort since most of the modifications will be the same as the Atlas model. This kit has some extra details lacking from the Atlas (like slope sheet bracing) that will help with the rest of the project as well.

The question is, how early was this change made? The photo of #13283 (blt 5-39) in RP Cyc Vol 25, pg 54 clearly shows the earlier end, as does #14299 (blt 4-41) on the next page. So it would appear the change was made for the #14301-14600 series, although that doesn't necessarily mean it was for the entire group.

In any event, I think this will be a fun project, and I'm hoping that by doing it as a group we'll (I'll) actually get them completed and in a relatively quickly.

Well, I'll post the question on the Steam Era Freight Car Group. In the meantime, it's time to pick up some models, decals, and parts. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This and that

OK, it's been a while since I've posted anything significant. So I'll have some new things soon, but here's a quick rundown as to what I'm up to.

NE Proto Meet
First, the NE Proto Meet was great fun. The response for the True Line Trains minibox continues to be extremely positive, and I can say I'm very happy with the work the new factory has done for us.

I attended a few clinics, but most of the time was spent chatting with friends and checking out the models. It's always a great place to pick up new ideas and techniques.

Layout Tour
The layout tour went well on Sunday too, but that's becoming somewhat routine. Dave Friedman brought over an R-1-b and L-1 for testing. The Key R-1-b had trouble (consistently) with only two turnouts that I'll work on. The Custom Brass L-1 was shorting on one of the 28" radius curves, but appeared to be something that might be rectified with tweaking the locomotive since he hasn't run it on anything less than 30".

I have both locomotives myself, and they have operated OK so far, but it's been a while (they are both DC still). So I will have to do some more testing and tweaking.

Operating Session
On the Thursday just before the meet, I hosted an ops session for several attendees. Bill, Chris and Joseph were helping out (and Bill supplied the motive power so the NH was leasing all power from the O&W that night). Two were new to me, Dave Fullerton and Will Lawrence from Nova Scotia. Dave Ramos and Tom Callan rounded out the crew. This was a great addition because I've been studying Dave's operation quite a bit for ideas.

Although initially he thought that he might be biting off more than he could chew, Chris had a blast as the Freight Agent. While we have a fair amount of tweaking to do, the process seemed to work pretty well.

Bill and Dave operated the Stanley Works, and completed their initial work very quickly. This is job we'll need to 'complicate' a bit. Will and Joseph handled the many through trains, and Dave and Tom were operating the New Britain switcher. We learned quite a few things about that job as well, but once they really got a handle on the layout it worked pretty well. Bill and Dave jumped in with an extra switcher for a bit to help out.

We identified some updates that are needed in the process and the paperwork, as well as the design of the layout (thankfully nothing major).

Layout Progress
So, as for the 'nothing major'. As things have been progressing well and we've been figuring out how to do things faster at Harvey's, it was time to get moving on my layout. So first up I decided to complete the ground cover and ballasting for all of New Britain Yard. I was able to spray paint the track, put down all of the ground cover and ballast, and glue it all done in an afternoon. Worked like a charm. Until...

For some reason, and for the first time ever (to me anyway), the glue didn't dry clear. It's patchy and looks horrible across the entire yard. I considered pulling up the track and cleaning it all that way, and would replace what was necessary. Which led to me thinking that I could do everything that I wanted appearance-wise if I handlaid all of the track in the yard. It's a dozen turnouts and track.

In the end, while considering my options, I started scraping up all of the scenicking (yes, between all of the ties too), and redoing it. I love how it's coming out, just a bit slow. But I'm making progress. Unfortunately it's time I feel I could have spent making more progress on the layout rather than redoing the yard.

I'll have more info with pictures in a future post.

Summer Projects
So Chris and I have been looking into what we want to work on. Because I've come upon more information about two of the four coal dealers that I'm modeling in town, I've been particularly interested in a proper fleet of hoppers. While we now have some fantastic RTR models from Kadee and Intermountain in particular, this is an area that will need to be supplemented by a number of resin kits and, yes, even some kitbashes. Well, more of a cleanup/modification of models with molded on parts rather than actual kitbashes. Either way it will require me to carve things off which is not one of my strong modeling points. I have a little practice on a DL-109 I've been working on as well.

So we've invited the rest of the Thursday Night Crew (the modelers anyway) to join us in working on some hopper projects. We've identified enough to keep us busy at least through the summer, but there will still be a few holes.

So that's about it for the current news. More information to come in future posts on these projects and more!