Author Topic: When did Railroads stop operating 40' Stock cars and Rebuilt wood boxcars?  (Read 787 times)

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learmoia

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While thinning down my vintage collection to be somewhat prototype specific..

When did Railroads stop operating Wood boxcars in revenue service. (Reguardless of what they were used for..)

And when did Railroads stop operating 40' stock cars in revenue interchange service...  (regardless of what they were using them for..)

I suppose wood reefers too..?

~Ian
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 10:36:32 PM by learmoia »

thomasjmdavis

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Best option might be to check the ORER for whatever road and year you are modeling.

There was a Railwire conversation a while back on wood cars in the 50s
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=44096.0

I don't know exact dates, but essentially, still relatively common circa 1955, very rare by 1970.  So, generally...

Some wood boxcars survived until sometime in the 1970s.  Reefers too- many were retired not because they were worn out, but because ice reefers in general were declared obsolete on many roads.  I read that ATSF's Caswell gondolas lasted even longer carrying minerals that corroded metal.  And, of course, some wood cars lasted longer in MOW service, or on particular railroads (again, from what I've read, wood cars lasted longer in Canada than the USA), or in particular services (like the ATSF gons). 

Tom D.

nkalanaga

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Depends on how you define "wood boxcar"!  Wood frames?  probably in the 20s would be my guess.  Steel underframes with wood bodies?  Probably lasted through WW II, into the 50s, until the 40 year age limit caught up with them.  Steel cars with wood sheathing, like the "War Emergency" cars?  The BN ran some of those, from the GN and NP, until the late 70s.  For them, the age limit and the end of 40 foot boxcars came at about the same time.

The BN also used 40 ft stockcars well into the 70s - hauling grain, among other things.  For a couple years, grain export shipments overwhelmed the car supply, and stockcars were cleaned, lined with plywood, and pressed into grain service.  Often, it was a "2 for 1 special" on shipping rates, to make up for the low capacity of the cars.  Eventually, the had enough covered hoppers, and the older cars could be retired.  Iced reefers were also used, by removing the bunkers, and loading through the ice hatches.  No grain doors needed for them!

Stockcars were also used for shipping new ties, allowing the fumes to evaporate in transit.
N Kalanaga
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nscalbitz

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The 'stock' market died with the mass introduction of mechanised reefers / RBLs by the 1960's.
Except for 'breeders' being transferred, it was almost overnight.
"Wood" sided boxcars mainly timed out (40 yrs and/ or equipment) during the 50-60s depending upon wealth/ revenue, rebuilds and buyouts.
All of which are generalisations... YMMV,
regards dave.

MVW

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According to Kalmbach's "Livestock & Meatpacking" publication (a handy resource), stock car fleets dropped steeply from the '30s to the '50s, went off a cliff in the '60s and were close to gone by the end of '70s. Here are a few representative roads:

ATSF
1932  9,318
1943  7,906
1950  7,295
1955  7,709
1962  6,370
1966  4,713
1971  2,317
1977  0

C&NW
1932  5,230
1943  4,630
1950  3,852
1955  2,059
1962  1,015
1966     737
1971       55
1977  0

PRR
1932  3,319
1943  2,438
1950  2,356
1955  1,299
1962     353
1966     411
1971     110
1977  0

IIRC, wood reefers were used into the early '70s.

Jim

thomasjmdavis

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According to Kalmbach's "Livestock & Meatpacking" publication (a handy resource), stock car fleets dropped steeply from the '30s to the '50s, went off a cliff in the '60s and were close to gone by the end of '70s.
....
Jim

Glad you found that.  I was looking for it yesterday, but thought it was in the Kalmbach book on Freight Cars of the 40s and 50s.

One of the major reasons for the decline in stock cars was that the operations of meat packers moved out of major urban areas (Union Stock Yards in Chicago, for example) and closer to the ranches- it was cheaper to ship dressed meat in mechanical reefers than to ship live cattle in stock cars. The livestock moved by short haul truck to packing plants, and then to markets in mechanical reefers. Swift and Armour moved out of the Chicago stock yards in the late 50s, and the stock yards became an industrial park in (IIRC) 1971.  Ironically, from about 1950 to 1971, the movement of human beings through Chicago passenger stations, and number of passenger cars coming and going, more or less paralleled the movement of livestock.
Tom D.

thomasjmdavis

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@learmoia , as a matter of curiosity, what time period are you considering for your layout/collection?
Tom D.

basementcalling

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Thread drift, but curious if @C855B plan to model the Farmer John HOGX express trains UP continued to run into Los Angeles into the 1970s using steel stock cars?

That would be a sight to behold, and sniff, on the big layout.
Peter Pfotenhauer

C855B

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Thread drift, but curious if @C855B plan to model the Farmer John HOGX express trains UP continued to run into Los Angeles into the 1970s using steel stock cars?

That would be a sight to behold, and sniff, on the big layout.

Yes.  :D

I witnessed this train up close and personal on the Pomona station platform. Trapped on the long and very narrow platform between the tracks and the building, I could not run fast enough to get away from the stench. Awful.

Problem I'm having with modeling this train is model availability. Atlas' Trainman 40' stock car is the UP prototype. It is currently made of unobtainium on account of the China factory closure two years ago, although it's supposed to be released this spring. I've picked-up a handful of prior runs along the way from eBay, but not nearly enough. As the service faded they did run hog blocks at the head of express trains like the VAN, so I guess I could get away with the few I have leading a bunch of TOFC flats.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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learmoia

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@learmoia , as a matter of curiosity, what time period are you considering for your layout/collection?

Early to mid 1960s New York Central /Penn Central.. but only using vintage N scale equipment...  I was sorting through all my wood related cars, and have many more than I need.. (and since I have a ton of 40/50' steel cars.. there is not much reason to retain them..)

I will likely keep 1-2 of each body style and focus on NYC/PC schemes if they were available and put them with MOW stuff..

But since I'm focusing on vintage.. I'd like to retain as much variety as possible..

~Ian

learmoia

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Yes.  :D

I witnessed this train up close and personal on the Pomona station platform. Trapped on the long and very narrow platform between the tracks and the building, I could not run fast enough to get away from the stench. Awful.

Problem I'm having with modeling this train is model availability. Atlas' Trainman 40' stock car is the UP prototype. It is currently made of unobtainium on account of the China factory closure two years ago, although it's supposed to be released this spring. I've picked-up a handful of prior runs along the way from eBay, but not nearly enough. As the service faded they did run hog blocks at the head of express trains like the VAN, so I guess I could get away with the few I have leading a bunch of TOFC flats.

@C855B
I have several Atlas and Roco from the older runs if you want to trade for some of your vintage stuff.. How many would you need.

~Ian

C855B

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@C855B
I have several Atlas and Roco from the older runs if you want to trade for some of your vintage stuff.. How many would you need.

Seriously, as many as you're willing to spare. UP yellow/silver would be awesome, but at this point I'm going to be painting if I want to build the full train, 40 cars or so. Lemme go root around in the stash to see what I can free-up.

Based on my firsthand but thankfully momentary experience with this train, I can only hope the caboose crew received combat pay.  :scared:
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Never trust anyone lacking a sense of humor.

nkalanaga

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Wood-sided reefers, with steel underframes, lasted until the end of icing.  Ice and salt together was murder on steel, so the wood actually had an advantage.  Western Fruit Express (GN) had wood-side reefers in the Big Sky Blue style lettering, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one received a BN herald.

The GN, in particular, built a lot of wood, and plywood, sided steel-frame boxcars, partly because they served a lot of sawmills, and few, if any steel mills.  The lumber was cheap, and, as long as it was kept painted, durable.  At least, it didn't rust!
N Kalanaga
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cv_acr

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Some dates culled from some timelines and lists:

By 1928 wooden main sill underframes were banned from interchange. Truss rod reinforced underframes (new or retrofitted) were still legal until 1940 when all wood underframes were outlawed from interchange service in favour of all-steel underframes.

Beyond that, for steel-underframe cars with wood-sheathed superstructures, the "40-year rule" for cars built before 1974 would generally apply.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 03:33:09 PM by cv_acr »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Wait, does anyone need one of these?