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June 1993 - Page 5


B y Richard Hendrickso n
The Tichy flat car is one o the most de f tailed injection-molded kits in HO scale. Even this model, however, can be made to look more like the prototype with . matc hed- to-photographs deta il up grades, weathering and proper loads.

n the first decade of the 20th Cen tury, with steel girder underframes replacing truss rods on most freight cars, flat cars began to be con structed with deep fishbelly steel center sills to provide maxi mum structural strength and rigidity between the bol sters , and this rapidly became standard carbuilding prac tice . There was no consensus about side sill construction, however; some flat cars had fishbelly side sills as well as center sills , while others had straight side sills made of rolled steel channels . Both designs were extensively used. A 42-foot, 50-ton flat car design was developed for the United States Railroad Admi n istration during World War I which had fi shbelly sid e s i l l s , and though the USRA placed no orders for these cars before the war ended , the design was adopted , with minor vari ations, by many railroads during the 1920s . There was no comparable stan dard design for flat cars with straight side s i l l s . However , some 4 1 -foot , 50-ton flat cars first built by American Car & Foundry for the Nashville, Chat tanooga & St. Louis in 1 923 became , in effect, an AC&F standard design. The 1 923 NC&StL cars were dupli cated for the Spokane, Portland & Seat tle in 1 924 and for the NC&StL again in 1 926; the SP&S version was equipped with KC air brakes and 40-ton Andrews trucks instead of the KD, or "split K , " brakes and 50-ton ARA trucks applied to the NC&StL cars . The Lackawanna also built 50 nearly identical 40-ton cars in its own shops in 1 926, and AC&F delivered 300 flat cars to the Texas & Pacific in 1 929 which were built to the same design with only minor variations . In addition, flat cars of closely similar dimensions and appearance were owned by a number of other railroads , in cluding the Canadian National, Cana dian Pac i fic and S t . Louis S o u t h western. These cars could also be modRAILMODEL JOURNAL


Builder's shot of NC&StL 70 1 38, built in May of 1 923, shows the lettering style applied to the 70 1 00-70 1 99 series cars when delivered. These 50-ton flat cars had an early type of U-section cast steel truck with integral journal boxes and KD air brakes with separate reservoirs and cylinders. The 1926 cars in the 70200-70299 series were identical except for KC brakes with the cylinder and reservoir in a single unit and Dalman two level trucks. A photo of NC&StL 70229 appeared in the 1928 and 193 1 Car Builders' Cyclopedias, along with general arrangement drawings; both are reprinted in Newton Gregg's Train Shed Cyclopedia no. 46. - AC&F archives, courtesy Pat Wider

Though virtually identical in construction to the NC& StL flat cars, the 32005-32054 series of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle were 40-ton cars with USRA-type Andrews trucks. SP&S 32036 shows their appearance when delivered in April of 1924. The wood decks on these cars were flush with the edges of the side sills; overhanging decks didn 't become common until the 1 930s. During World War II, many of the SP&S cars were fitted with wood bins for sawdust service; by 1 948, only 1 1 cars (320 1 1, 320 1 8, 32024 and 32047 through 32054) were still in revenue service as flat cars. - AC&F ar chives, courtesy Pat Wider

Here's one for the record books: an entire railroad station loaded on a flat car (though it is, to be sure, a very small railroad station). Canadian National 652533 was one of more than 2, 300 nearly identical cars in the 65 1460-652209, 65221 0-653268, and 653269-653768 series. Though built in 19 12, it was very similar in construction and dimensions to the 1 920s AC&F flat cars. By 1958, when this photo was taken at Palmerston, Ontario, its original arch bar trucks and KC air brakes had been replaced by AAR cast steel trucks and AB brakes, and a couple of its original pressed steel stake pockets had also been changed. Canadian Pacific's 306500-307499 series flat cars were essentially the same as their CN counterparts, even to using the same pressed steel stake pockets. Drawings of these CP cars, as well as a builder's photo of CP 34359 (original number series) were included in the 1919, 1 922 and 1925 Car Builders' Cyclopedias and are reprinted in New ton Gregg's Train Shed Cyclopedias 35 and 62. - Howard Ameling col lection

June 1 993

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