Author Topic: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?  (Read 627 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

OldEastRR

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2605
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +318
How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« on: February 27, 2018, 03:19:44 AM »
0
These would be the steel-framed cars that had wooden uppers, or wooden cars w/ new steel frames, and used in general service not MOW or other. . Obviously some were still around then but a ballpark figure about percent of all boxcars would be nice. I know some RR's hung onto wooden boxes as long as they could because of financial or traffic use concerns, but major lines might have completely replaced them with steel box or specialized load cars.

Chris333

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 13690
  • Respect: +2879
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 03:20:58 AM »
0
Probably 1 or 2.

wazzou

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 4487
  • #GoCougs
  • Respect: +513
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 12:10:33 PM »
+1
The NP and GN had lots and lots of wooden, plywood sided or composite boxcars beyond the 50's.
Bryan

Member of NPRHA, Modeling Committee Member
http://www.nprha.org/
Member of MRHA

johnb

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1153
  • Respect: +343
    • My blog
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 08:58:08 PM »
+1
The Southern Pacific and Pacific Electric actually used wood boxcars a lot longer than you might expect. The Southern Pacific acquired most of the Pacific Electric B-50-14 boxcars in 1949. I have a few pictures of Pacific Electric boxcars used in the 1950's, and there are five complete Pacific Electric cars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

Before you state that the Pacific Electric was a regional railroad, it moved more freight cars in California than the Union Pacific and Western Pacific

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6785
  • Respect: +305
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 02:09:15 AM »
0
As Bryan said, they were common on the NP and GN.  Many of theirs lasted into the BN era, although I don't think any were repainted.  For most, the end came with the phase-out of 40 ft boxcars.

The GN was rebuilding wood-sheathed steel frame cars from the 30s and 40s with plywood sides as late as 1955, so you could have a "brand new" plywood side car in your era.  They built 8,000 "1937 AAR" boxcars with vertical wood sheathing between 1937 and 1942, so along with the plywood rebuilds, there were also a lot of the original cars remaining at merger time.

The GN's idea was that they had no steel mills, but a lot of sawmills and plywood factories, online, so why not support their customers?
N Kalanaga
Be well

Albert in N

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 290
  • Respect: +27
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 07:24:56 AM »
0
Back in 1973, I saw a wood side CB&Q boxcar on an industrial siding in downtown Amarillo TX. At the time I took film photos of other railroad interests but did not take the time for a photo of the boxcar.  I do own a Micro-Trains N scale one like it.  At the time, Rock Island still used some wood side cabooses.

wcfn100

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 7848
  • Respect: +669
    • Chicago Great Western Modeler
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 09:33:26 AM »
0
Is he including single sheathed cars as 'wooden'?  I read his post to say just double sheathed cars.


Jason

thomasjmdavis

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2038
  • Respect: +292
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 09:41:23 AM »
0
These would be the steel-framed cars that had wooden uppers, or wooden cars w/ new steel frames, and used in general service not MOW or other. . Obviously some were still around then but a ballpark figure about percent of all boxcars would be nice. I know some RR's hung onto wooden boxes as long as they could because of financial or traffic use concerns, but major lines might have completely replaced them with steel box or specialized load cars.
My best advice (seriously) is to find some photos, from the time period you are modeling, of yards or trains in the are of the country you are modeling- and count. That will give you an idea of what percentage were in regular use, as rosters only tell you how many exist (but may be sitting on sidings in reserve for high traffic periods). That said, roster information is readily available for many railroads, as well as Official Railway Equipment Register (and a lot of historical societies have this info for their railroad).

Looking at a 1955 print of the ORER for the Wabash reprinted in one of my books, while I did not do a precise count, there are several large classes of steel underframe, wood or composite body boxcars, and those are somewhere between 25% and 33% of the total number of 40 foot boxcars.  Just from photos, I would think many of these were along the lines of the war emergency boxcars.  But whether those were in regular use, or mostly sitting on sidings waiting for a big grain shipment, or some such, I have no idea.  Wabash and other midwestern railroads also had a lot of double door wood 40 and 50' automobile and furniture cars.

Certain industries- like tanning, or mineral shipments, had wood cars assigned as regular transport long after they disappeared from most sidings.  Tanning because the shipping of hides was a nasty business, and it was near impossible to clean and deodorize the cars, so railroads often assigned the oldest cars they had to a captive service between slaughterhouse and tannery.  Some minerals corrode steel- and you would see wood gondolas or hoppers running behind second generation diesels well into the 60s, (or later?). ATSF Caswell gondola being a prime example.
Tom D.

"The difference between the difficult and the impossible is that doing the impossible is usually more fun." (my college design professor Russell Whaley)

OldEastRR

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2605
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +318
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 09:46:19 PM »
0
Thanks for the info. I know that there was varied mix of all kinds of cars in the late 40's just before the PS-1. I tjought I had a lot of them on my mid '50s layout but turns out only 8 wooden box cars are in my roster, so no need to cull them. I'm keeping  wooden gons (3) because they stuck around until they were completely beaten out of shape with rough service.

johnb

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1153
  • Respect: +343
    • My blog
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 12:36:40 AM »
0
So I did a little digging.....the Southern Pacific acquired 124 B-50-13 and 376 B-50-14 boxcars by 1952....plus another 415 wood gondalas and 148 flat cars....from the Pacific Electric

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6785
  • Respect: +305
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 01:44:40 AM »
0
I forgot that both the GN and NP had a lot of 1920s wood sheathed cars, GN's USRA style and NP's radial roof cars, that ran into the early 60s in revenue service.  In the mid 50s they would have been fairly common.

So, the MT and Atlas double-sheathed cars would both be appropriate for your era.

In some service wood gons were preferred.  Instead of having to replace the steel side sheets, which took some work, just replace the broken boards on any rip track.
N Kalanaga
Be well

nscalbitz

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 362
  • Respect: +42
Re: How many wooden boxcars were still around in the mid '50s?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 05:55:24 AM »
0
I've collected information about things like this for some time.
The premise of what would be found is highly variable- age alone didn't create obsolescence of boxcar fleets. As its late I dont have a lot of time to get this out right now. Give me another day.  These may be from the STMFC Steam era freight car discussion group (files) on Yahoo.

Information published in 2008 :
Preamble- This file summarizes the number of double sheathed, single sheathed, and steel sheathed box, auto, ventilated, and furniture cars for selected U.S. railroads from 1938 to 1950.  Data are from the ORERs of the dates shown and include all class B, V, and X cars (except XT) in interchange service. That data for 1950 is:
US               Jul-50
DS               65,644
SS               162,817
Steel               477,394
Other               4,782
Unknown               387
Total               711,024

THis gives you proportions of wood to steel at least.

>>major lines might have completely replaced them with steel box or specialized load cars.
Not so. Since I don't see a road mentioned I cant give you exact data from the document.

Theres also a document about 'Short Boxcars- 1930-1959. Totals are:
1930- 1,224,702 owned by    267 roads.
1959- 856,044 owned by  just 33 roads.

For my own road interest- the D&RGW, this means in 1930  4,248    boxcars and in 1959    3,020, approx 30% lower. Not much of a reduction probably due to the strong performing Narrow Gauge lines yet to succumb to commercial decline. Other roads reduction are much more significant in this arena of boxcars. Note this includes 'Ventilated' cars.

Hope this helps,
regards davew