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Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

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Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Doug Heitkamp
Group,

Back on Oct. 29, 2014 I posted a question to the blog section of this site. I pointed out that there did not appear to be visible truss rods under the 27' boxcars. Here is the picture I posted:



The cars were identified as:

On the right -
C&S 7681 - 30', 20 ton, Built by Peninsular 1884
C&S 7591 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4
3rd car back - I believe this is another 27' car based on the details.
 
In the rear center:
C&S 7306 - 26', 12 ton, Built by Litchfield 1879/80

On the left:
C&S 7529 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4

Here are some close ups:





One of the final replies was from Dave Johnson. He pointed out the following:

Go look at the underframe of the ex. Kansas Central box car, above St. Elmo. The Kansas Central 27' box cars that were built by the Union Pacific did not have truss rods. There were 2 tension rods that ran the length, through the frames on the outside of the center sills, The side frames on these cars were a heavy queen post design with the posts at each side of the side doors. There were bolts that ran through the end beams and terminated at square nuts, in pockets mortised into the side of the sills. The needle beams were bolted to each sill, but there isn't any sign that there was ever any truss rods bearing plates or queen posts beneath the needle beams.

Good stuff! Certainly enough info for me to re-think the 27' boxcar models I will build. Then, earlier today Todd posted the high res scans of the reefers in his Caboose Numbers thread.



Looking at the picture of Reefer 24024, I don't see any truss rods under this car either. I see brake rigging, but no obvious truss rods. Could it be that the 27' boxcars and reefers both shared the same design with only 2 torsion rods and lacked the traditional 2 or 4 truss rods in the configuration we are so familiar with. If so, it's amazing what we are still learning!

Doug
Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Chris Walker
I can't help but murmer about the wonderful details in this awesome picture Doug.  You saw missing Trussrods, I saw the Chamberlain-Dillingham Sampler, the Moscript&Hassell Planing House and the Scale track.  Which in turn led to answer Harry Brunks age old question...

Harry Brunk wrote in his series Up Clear Creek on The Narrow Gauge in Nov/Dec 1985 NG&SL Gazette about some changes at Idaho Springs.
 
"I have seen documents dated August 2, 1904 from the Colorado Railroad Museum for an Authority For Ependiture (AFE) for moving Track Scales from Georgetown to Idaho Springs.  The total expenditure was $460.00, but the reason for moving the scales was not given - neither was the location of the installation of the scales in Idaho Springs.  I would have like (sic) to have included the scales on my model of Idaho Springs but their location never came to light."

Those of you who have this issue of the Gazette and/or the Book version of the series may wish to add a notation about said Scales located at the Chamberlain.

FWIW
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Todd Hackett
In reply to this post by Doug Heitkamp
I don't think it helps much, but here is a higher-resolution image of the underside of 24024 at Washington Spur. I agree that there doesn't appear to be any truss rods, but it does have what look to be needle beams. Why have needle beams if not to distribute the truss rod support to the sills? The 24011 clearly has truss rods, but no turnbuckles.
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Robert McFarland
Why did early DSP&P freight cars not have turnbuckles on the truss rods?
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Robert McFarland
This photo appears to have fire damage but was taken quite a bit later than the Pacific Hotel fire.Any other photo damaging fires?
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Bill Uffelman
In reply to this post by Robert McFarland
Several early car manufacturers tightened truss rods with notes on the end beams. When turnbuckle were added the end nuts remained. The turnbuckles require opposite hand threads on the two center ends so they will draw up the truss rods.

Bill Uffelman 


On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 1:49 PM, Robert McFarland [via C&Sng Discussion Forum]
Why did early DSP&P freight cars not have turnbuckles on the truss rods?


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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Bill Uffelman
In reply to this post by Robert McFarland
Nuts not notes - stupid phone!


On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 3:18 PM, William Uffelman
Several early car manufacturers tightened truss rods with notes on the end beams. When turnbuckle were added the end nuts remained. The turnbuckles require opposite hand threads on the two center ends so they will draw up the truss rods.

Bill Uffelman 


On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 1:49 PM, Robert McFarland [via C&Sng Discussion Forum]
Why did early DSP&P freight cars not have turnbuckles on the truss rods?


If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Todd Hackett
I'm a baby doctor not an engineer, but if the 27 foot UP cars had no truss rods, only two long tension rods running parallel to the center sills, the purpose of the tension rods would have to be to hold the end beams solidly against the various floor sills while under tension, while being pulled in a train (i.e. to keep the ends from being pulled off the car).  

The needle beams (without truss rods) would serve the same function as the strap bolsters, but in the middle of the car -- to keep the various floor sills parallel during compression, while being pushed in a train (i.e. to keep the sides from bowing out when pushed). Only truss rods would prevent longitudinal sag under load from above.

To test Doug's theory of no truss rods:



No truss rods on this original Tiffany.




Truss rods on the Peninsular boxcar, but not on the 27 foot UP built car behind




No truss rods on these two Tiffanys. The needle beams seem painted in the same color as the car sides (but let's not go there).




This post 1900 picture shows a car with diamond shaped hinges like a 26 foot car, but carries a 27 foot car number.  Truss rods visible, but the upper end fascia is square at the bottom, suggesting the car has been rebuilt.  Perhaps the truss rods were added then.


BTW, Ron Rudnick has a neat system of instantly identifying South Park boxcars -- look at the lower corner irons:

26 foot (Litchfield) cars  =  circular poling pocket on end of corner iron. Also present on early Tiffany cars.
27 foot (UP built) cars    =  squarish poling pocket on side of corner iron. Also present on the big Tiffany cars.
30 foot (Peninsular) cars =  no poling pockets.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Todd Hackett
Jim Courtney wrote
I'm a baby doctor not an engineer, but if the 27 foot UP cars had no truss rods, only two long tension rods running parallel to the center sills, the purpose of the tension rods would have to be to hold the end beams solidly against the various floor sills while under tension, while being pulled in a train (i.e. to keep the ends from being pulled off the car).  

The needle beams (without truss rods) would serve the same function as the strap bolsters, but in the middle of the car -- to keep the various floor sills parallel during compression, while being pushed in a train (i.e. to keep the sides from bowing out when pushed). Only truss rods would prevent longitudinal sag under load from above....
Dr. McCoy, the strap bolsters had lateral rods that served to distribute the weight of the car from all sills to the truck (they sloped up from the side sills and over the bolster to support the side sills) to lift the side sills while the strap and blocking took the inward loads and helped distribute load to the intermediate sills:


Needle beams that did not have support (i.e. didn't sit on trucks and weren't supported by truss rods) wouldn't serve that purpose. To keep the sills parallel and a the correct spacing, they could have used boards similar to needle beams, but it would be more effective to use blocking between the sills mortised into the sills for compression loads (similar to the ones above the strap bolster), and lateral rods running along them (with washers and bolts countersunk into the side sills - no need for sloping rods because no vertical support) to take tensile loads. While I am an engineer, it doesn't mean I understand how they built these things, and they clearly did have the beams.

A few more photos to ponder:



The truss rods are clearly visible in the next car in the train (and the two after it):


At Robinson:


At Buffalo:


Near Fairplay (not a 27-foot car, but I don't see truss rods):


Again, the next car in the train (same photo) has clearly visible truss rods:
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
Well, Scotty, I will defer to the engineer . . .

But there is nothing about the additional photos that you posted that is inconsistent, you are merely mixing 26 foot Litchfield cars (truss rod under frames) with 27 foot UP built cars (no truss rod, but needle beam under frames).

The first boxcar on its side is a 27 foot UP built car:  Remember Rudnick's Rule--note the square poling pockets on the sides of the corner irons, and the Heitkamp Convention --"type C" arch bar trucks (tall transom beams). No truss rods.

The second boxcar on side is a 26 foot Litchfield car: "Type A" trucks (short transom beams), ladder on car sides, no visible square poling pockets. Two truss rods.

Robinson boxcar end is of a 27 foot UP car: Corner irons bulge out to side for square poling pocket. End fascia underside is curved, a UP build feature. No truss rod bolt heads.

Buffalo boxcar end, 27 foot UP car: Square side poling pocket, "type-C" truck (tall transom beam), curved under edge to end fascia. No truss rod bolt head.

Fairplay boxcar is indeed a 27 foot UP built boxcar, as number 969 was the very last car built by the UP in the fall of 1883 (the Peninsular 30 foot cars began with number 970): Square side poling pockets, "type-C" truck (tall transom beam). Clearly no truss rods.

Fairplay flatcar is a 26 foot Litchfield car: "Type A" trucks. Two truss rods

BTW, note that the last two photos clearly show the brake cylinder pointed the wrong way, away from the brake staff / wheel.

Finally another South Park / C&S idiosyncrasy:



Note the diagonal end grab irons--they are consistently but asymmetrically placed on the car ends, the one on the left side of the end is always higher than the one on the right side of the end. True for the 27 foot UP built car on the distant left, and the 30 foot Peninsular car (no poling pockets) on the near right. Check out the end of your Robinson boxcar as well).

So I agree with Doug.  It appears that the 27 foot UP built boxcars and the 27 foot Tiffany reefers never had truss rods.

On the other hand, the 27 foot coal cars, of both classes, not only had two truss rods, but were the first South Park cars to have queen posts on the needle beams (per Ron Rudnick).

Jim

Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Doug Heitkamp
Todd - thanks for posting the additional pictures.

I was wondering about the Fairplay boxcar but it looks like Jim did the research for me. I thought it was a 27' car. Thank for the additional details.

Regarding the diagonal grab irons. I always figured that the difference between the right & left sides was just sloppy workmanship. But thinking about it… could it be that the taller grab was used on the left to aid a trainman when they were standing on the stirrup step? The lower grab on the right side of the end, would be easier to grasp if you were standing on the ground? There is no stirrup step on that corner of the car. Just a thought….

Doug
Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
Doug,

I worked as a brakeman for a few summers, back in my college / medical school days. Remembering the scary things that I did between cars, I can't think of a good reason for having a grab iron on the right side of the end at all.

Most of us are right handed, and I would never think of leaning in to open a knuckle, much less try to drop or pull a pin on a link, with my left hand, while steadying myself with my right hand. It takes two hands to make an air hose coupling.

Perhaps, steadying oneself with your right hand, while kicking a coupler head with your right boot, to center it?

Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Chris Walker
Jim, after signalling the Ease-up or Kick off to the Enginedriver, the man takes a hold of the grabiron with his righthand, butting his arse up against the car behind him, and leans in to lift the Hook(in our case) or the Pin in yours.  As the slack punches in, he walks with the movement, the firm grip of that Grab is what stops him from being levered inwards by the lefthand grip on the Hook or Pin.  Now when almost on the end of a long rake and the throttle man was rough, it got a little unnerving sometimes when the whole rake lept forwards with a resounding crash.  All in a Nights(or Days) work.

As you were used to pin lifter bars on the outer car edge I guess you'd be a little Hook shy, that is unless you did your Railroading in L&P days.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
There is a lot to be said for the United States Safety Appliance Act, after all.

Sorry Chris, but I don't think I would ever work as a brakeman in New Zealand!
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Todd Hackett
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Jim Courtney wrote
...Fairplay boxcar is indeed a 27 foot UP built boxcar, as number 969 was the very last car built by the UP in the fall of 1883 (the Peninsular 30 foot cars began with number 970)...
I couldn't find any resources that correlate the pre-1885 numbers to the manufacturer and length (I think I loaned my Rudnick guides to someone many years ago and never got them back), so I found this list on line, and while it shows the 969 to be built by the UP, it also shows it to be 30 feet long, which seems consistent with the proportions in the photos.
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
Todd,

Rudnick lists the last series of UP built cars 920-969 as 27 foot, 28,000 lb. capacity cars; the Peninsular 30 foot cars are listed as 40,000 lb. capacity cars.

Maxwell's roster in The Pictorial Supplement . . .  lists only the post 1885 numbers, but all 14 ton (28,000 lb capacity) cars are listed as 27 foot cars.

Ferrell's recent roster in The South Park Line omits the 920-969 series all together.

I've come to think of car lengths of the inherited cars in terms of the capacity of the underlying trucks:

Litchfield, "type-A", 12 ton trucks were generally used under 26 foot cars.
UP style, "type-C", 14 ton trucks generally under 27 foot cars.
Penisnuslar, "type-B", 20 ton trucks under the 30 foot Peninsular cars.

But as McCoy might say "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a freight car specialist!"

Perhaps Ron Rudnick could weigh in here.

Jim

Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Doug Heitkamp
Scaling the FairPlay boxcar picture with some known dimensions (4' wheelbase is the easiest), the car scales out to 27'. I'm certainly not meaning this to become some sort of contest. Actually, if it was a 30' car, it adds another class of car and even more mystery to the subject.

Thanks to Ron R. for pointing this out in his writings. I should have paid more attention a few years back.

Doug
Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
No sense of "contest" on my part, Doug.

You have no idea how grateful I am that Todd posted these beautiful high-res images of the reefers!  After years of staring at blurry, small photographs, I can finally see things that I never understood.

Consider all the info on this crop of just one of the photos:




A perfect example of the UP style corner iron with side poling pocket on the left and the Litchfield style corner iron with circular poling pocket on the 24011 to the right.

You can actually see the planks on the bottom of the frame, covering the bottoms of the sills to insulate the floor--they actually protrude below the bottom edge of the car siding (and on the big Tiffany as well).

Look how the car siding is notched around the strap bolster end with two protruding bolts as in Todd's photo above.

Look at all the bends in the branch train line that angles down to the reservoir, and the retainer pipe to the left. But I don't see a reservoir bleed rod anywhere.

Look how the diagonal grabs are attached to the car side, with flat tabs and square headed bolts.

And check out the upper side fascia on the other images of 24011. There is a shallow milled groove running the length of the car, just above the bottom edge of the fascia board.  This car was built in the early 1880s, but the C&S shops used the same type of milled fascia board on the 1909 SUF reefer that you are building.  Wonder why.



I'm still not completely comfortable with 27 foot Tiffany cars without truss rods, but I must admit that there are no truss rods on the Tiffany in Todd's photos, and I have yet to find an end view of a Tiffany with truss rod bolt heads visible, save the c1902 reefer in Blackhawk.  That car has been rebuilt and may have added truss rods at that time.

Anyways, I see many evenings ahead studying these images.

Jim




Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Robert McFarland
Notice how the original Tiffany lettering is bleeding through 24024's repaint job.
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Re: Case of the Missing Truss Rods - Revisited

Jim Courtney
Yeah, these two beauties just beg to be modeled.

Too bad they didn't look like this in 1909.  

But then again, maybe a small "time machine layout" could be constructed, since the physical plant of the early C&S didn't change that much. Build and operate some 1901 equipment with "pancake" stacked locomotives and flat roofed waycars; some 1909 equipment with shotgun stacked locomotives and "new" cabooses; perhaps even a 1920 set of equipment, with those new-fangled Ridgeway arrestors and "intermediate" tenders, and a bunch of SUF cars, all in block lettering.

I've still trying to come to terms with the big Tiffany reefers not having truss rods--that is a "truth" I've known since I built my HOn3 "LaBelle" Tiffany back in 1968. Hard to let go of it. But pictures don't lie, especially high-resolution images like Todd has shared with us.

I've gone through every photo of the Tiffanys in my collection, no truss rods are ever visible on the sides. But I've found no clear photos of the end of one of the big Tiffanys, to look for tell-tell truss rod nuts and washers. I don't know of any!

Anyone have a good clear shot of the end of a big Tiffany reefer?  One without a flat car or locomotive tender obscuring the lower part of the side?
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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