Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Operating again! and enjoying it.

 This weekend just past I hosted two operating sessions on my layout, in the usual mode with two two-person crews each day. Although I had already had two sessions since the pandemic began to wind down (in late March), meaning that the layout had already emerged from its long hibernation, I still took extensive pains making sure once again that all track was good and clean, locomotive wheels clean, etc., and of course all freight cars had good coupler height and operation — all the usual precautions. I even ran through some switching at most sidings to be completely sure of good operation. 

Sigh. Of course I annoyed the layout gods by all those precautions. I should have known better. We did have a couple of electrical glitches that I couldn’t track down, and a track failure too. Luckily my mentor in coping with such surprises, Jim Providenza, was there for the first session and provided excellent philosophical perspective. 

During the sessions, we found some work-arounds for the track and electrical bads. In the first session, there were two of them, of which one got fixed, but a new one surfaced in the second session, so they persisted as two separate problems — maybe frog juicers acting up, not at all sure yet. But we got through all the intended operating.

For the first session, present were Jim Providenza, as mentioned, who teamed with Lisa Gorrell, along with Richard Brennan and Adam Palmer. Adam is the guy that made a video of my layout before there was anything else available about my layout, for which I’m still grateful. Shown below are Adam (at left) and Richard working at Shumala. Richard is holding the throttle, so was the engineer in this view, while Adam holds waybills while directing the job as conductor.

The other crew, Jim and Lisa, are shown below during their stint at Ballard. Jim, at right, has his fingers on the NCE throttle — he was the engineer on this side of the layout — and Lisa was the conductor. I can tell from her intense expression that she must be devising a multi-car move.

The following day, Sunday, a new pair of crews operated, this time Seth Neumann, Dave Adams, Pat LaTorres, and Jim Radkey. Shown below during their time working at Shumala are Jim, at left, and Pat. Jim must have been the conductor at this point, as he’s holding a couple of waybills. As crews almost always do, these crews exchanged jobs between the two sides of the layout.

The other two were teamed at the same time on the other side of the layout, and you see them here hard at it, Dave at left and Seth at right. Dave was evidently the engineer, as he’s holding the throttle. Seth looks like he is focused on deciding the next switching sequence.

All in all, in spite of the glitches, everyone had fun, and on balance, I think I could say that this went well. A number of homemade chocolate-chip cookies were consumed in both sessions, along with cool water and cold soft drinks (both afternoons were warm), so comforts were adequate too. And just as at my March sessions, we were all very glad to be able to operate again with friends. Here in California, it’s gratifying to see restaurants, theaters, retail stores and libraries returning to normal, and hosting operating sessions fits in perfectly.

Tony Thompson

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Railroad equipment on flat cars

 Among the very many and very varied loads carried on flat cars, we can include railroad equipment, either as wreck damage or equipment moved on its trucks. This post is about the latter. To illustrate, I show below one of Southern Pacific’s narrow-gauge steam locomotives, Ten-Wheeler no. 9, loaded on a 60-foot flat car (Class F-70-3). This was done with rails spiked to the car deck, lots of blocking, and a few cable ties to stake pockets (R.H.McFarland photo at Owenyo, California, in September 1953, Arnold Menke collection).

The SP narrow-gauge steam power usually received its Class repairs at Bakersfield shop, thus the need to move these locomotives to and from narrow-gauge territory. The shiny paint job here suggests that no. 9 is arriving home from a maintenance trip.

Another example, this one not a tender locomotive like no. 9 above, is Swayne Lumber no. 4, a small two-truck narrow-gauge Shay locomotive. The photo is by R.H. McFarland, Arnold Menke collection, and shows the locomotive on a 40-ton T&NO flat car at Bayshore Yard in 1940, likely on the way to a new owner after Swayne had shut down in 1938.

One possibility to model such locomotive loads on flat cars would be to dedicate a flat car to the load, and thus the rails could actually be spiked and/or glued to the car deck. But if it is to be a removable load, something else needs to be devised. One approach would be a pair of rails, soldered to cross-bars to form a frame. That’s what I did, using Code 70 rail and, for the cross-bars, flat brass bar, 1/64 x 1/32-inch dimension (Special Shapes Co. #05019). Track-laying gauges were used to hold the rail during soldering.

My frame, as you see above, was chosen to have enough length for a 53-foot flat car, though I may also make one for a 40-foot flat. One kind of equipment I can pose on a flat car is an old steam locomotive, presumably for a museum. 

In that regard, I happen to have a model of a Caledonian Railway 0-4-4 tank engine. (The Caledonian, a Scottish railway known to her fans as the “Caley” [rhymes with “rally”], was absorbed into the London, Midland and Scottish, or LMR, at the Grouping of 1923. This is therefore a pre-Grouping paint scheme, but it’s worth noting that these durable locomotives, designed by the great J.F. McIntosh,  remained in service well after the formation of British Railways in 1948.) 

I show the model locomotive below, on a flat car. This model, a CR 439 class, in the historical “Caley blue” scheme, was built from a DJH kit during the year I lived in England. Scale 6 x 6-inch timbers have been added as wheel blocks.

One can also pose appropriate rolling stock of other kinds. There could be quite a few of these, but I will just show a single example, a brass car with an interior “A” frame for side dumping. It is lettered for a private company and clearly is not intended for interchange. It’s shown here in the same setting as the locomotive above.

I intend to explore further opportunities for cargoes like these for flat cars. They can certainly be vivid loads, but for that very reason, should not be used too often.

Tony Thompson

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

More about Car Distributors

Late last year, I wrote a blog post about Car Distributors, the railroad job title of the person (or crew) that arranged to fill requests for empty cars that were needed to be loaded. That post can be found at the following link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2020/12/whats-car-distributor.html . In the present post, I want to add some details relevant to Southern Pacific, which I model.

There was a short article in the SP employee magazine, Southern Pacific Bulletin, in the issue for September 1951 (excellent timing for those us modeling the early 1950s SP). It took the interesting approach of beginning with the kind of job description that might appear in a “want ad,” and here is the graphic they used (you can click on the image to enlarge it if you like). The text of the article then described more about the job, and I quote it below the graphic.

“If Southern Pacific were running a classified ad for a freight car distributor, it might conceivably be worded as shown above. For freight car distribution is one of the most intricate and interesting operations on the railroad. Also, it is one of the most important, involving as it does the supplying of equipment to handle business which provides the larger portion of our annual revenue. Despite this, surprisingly enough, to a majority of railroaders, freight car supply is one of the Company’s least known operations.

“Suppose you were faced with the responsibility of providing from thirty to forty thousand freight cars to our customers each week. How would you go about it? Where would you begin? Where would you get the cars, and how would you get them to the designated place at the right time? These are some of the questions our Freight Car Service staff must be able to answer in order to give our shippers the kind of service they expect. 

“Car distribution, both freight and passenger, is under the general supervision of C.H. Grant, general superintendent of transportation. The Freight Car Service is under the specific direction of L.J. Lyons, superintendent of freight car service, who reports directly to Grant, headquarters in San Francisco. Lyons supervises and coordinates the work of car distribution within Pacific Lines.

“Each of the ten railroad divisions comprising the Pacific Lines of SP has a car distributor, with the exception of the 550-mile long Salt Lake Division which has two car distributors, one located at Ogden and the other at Sparks. On the Portland Division, where thousands of carloads of lumber are shipped each month, the car distribution force is under the direction of G.M. Leslie, assistant superintendent of freight car service in Oregon.”

The article then went on to name all the individual car distributors, which isn’t terribly interesting in itself, but it did give the locations  (yards) where each car distributor worked. They were as follows: San Francisco, Oakland Pier, Sacramento, Ogden, Dunsmuir, Portland, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Tucson, El Paso, Sparks, and Stockton. These would be among, but not limited to, the locations from which needed cars would be sent out to local agents who requested cars (I described that process in the previous post, cited in the first paragraph at the top of the present post). The article continued:

“It is the duty of the division car distributor to receive local car orders from agencies located on the division and arrange for movement of empty freight cars over that division so as to strategically place the empty equipment for availability and prompt application of car orders received.

“The routine work of the car distributor is often complicated by sudden demands for specific types of freight equipment on request from the armed forces for the movement of war materiel, including tanks, guns, trucks, ammunition, and other paraphernalia. These government orders must be filled 100% and frequently orders involve large numbers of cars to be spotted on short notice. This requires close liaison between the staff of the general superintendent of transportation at San Francisco and the divisions along the line so that such equipment can be gathered up and made available at the specific point of loading. 

“During certain times of the year there is a tide movement of empty cars over the line toward areas where seasonal products are produced. Grant’s staff must closely supervise the movement of these empty freight cars since both the seasonal demand and the normal area demands must be met. The staff manages these economies through their complete knowledge of average seasonal loadings along the lines.

“Daily contact with the divisions is maintained by car service headquarters at San Francisco, both through telephone and telegraph, and daily situation reports indicating the numbers of freight cars, broken down by categories, located on the divisions or moving between divisions. It is through this constant contact between headquarters and division car distributors that an even tide of equipment is maintained consistent with car orders to meet peak seasonal and normal demands throughout the year.

“When it is necessary to return empty freight cars to home lines and there is no loading for such cars to or in the direction of that home line, Grant, through his car service staff, issues the necessary orders to move the foreign owned freight equipment off the Southern Pacific in order to eliminate unwarranted expense due to per diem payments. 

“The car service department at San Francisco supervises the tide movement and allocation of empty freight equipment over the ten divisions of the Pacific Lines with an ever watchful eye on economic factors, consisting of maintaining minimum per diem expenses, empty freight car miles, and the flow of empty freight cars through the several gateways of Pacific Lines from the north, south and east.”

I found it interesting to read this “layman’s description,” as we might say, aimed at the general SP employee, and thus rather general, yet giving some interesting details about how SP car distribution was managed. It’s just one more example of the prototype environment we need to understand, even if we don’t wish to duplicate it entirely.

Tony Thompson

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Office forces

 Regular readers of this blog will remember that I have often alluded to the virtual armies of clerks once employed by railroads to do paperwork (as did many other industries). Of course the great majority of railroad paperwork had basically nothing to do with what we model, and so can merely be recognized from afar. But that is less so for paperwork relating to freight traffic.

One of the paperwork-related manpower categories (and yes, the majority of them were men, as late as the transition era), was yard clerks and station clerks. We often imagine the station agent handling the entire business of his station himself, from passenger tickets and baggage, to LCL and express matters, and all the waybilling and freight billing from his local freight shippers and consignees. In sufficiently small agencies, this would be correct. But with size came considerable division of labor.

An interesting example of a modest-size station, Martinez, California on the SP, was used for a cover story in the SP employee magazine, Southern Pacific Bulletin, in the issue for February 1951. The agent was Ed Bryan. In the photo below, he is shown in front of the counter at far right. Behind the counter, in the front row, from left, were J.P. Fernandez, telegrapher-clerk; Minnie Mathias, janitorial; Mildred E. Bergquist, freight clerk; B.K. Harris, rate clerk; and E.A. Felton, chief clerk. In the back row, from left, were H. Gustafson, ticket clerk; L. Ficklin, baggageman; W. McGarvey, demurrage clerk; and A. Garrett, warehouseman. This was described as most of the staff.

For a more general illustration, I want to show a chart from the valuable resource, The Station Agent’s Blue Book, by G.B. Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick Publishing Co., Chicago, 1928). This chart is from the book’s page 6, and shows the division of responsibilities of clerking work. I know the lettering is small, so you can click on the image to enlarge it.

Note here that the agency is large enough to have an Assistant Agent, under whom are a Chief Clerk and a General Foreman (for the freight warehouse(s) and team track work). There are seven departments under the Chief Clerk: a cashier, a station accountant, an inbound freight department, asn outbound freight department, a car record accountant (demurrage and per diem clerks), a claims department, and miscellaneous.

 I have alluded to many of these jobs before. For example, in one post I showed photos of the personnel in the Los Angeles yard office of the SP, and identified the clerks by job titles (many corresponding to the chart above). That post can be found here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2018/05/clerks-waybills-and-all-that-waybills.html . In another post, on the topic of Car Distributors, I again went into the varieties of clerk responsibilities involved in the supplying the cars for freight service (you can read that post at this link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2020/12/whats-car-distributor.html ). 

What can we do with kind of detailed information? Few if any of us would want to try and model the paperwork (and the operating jobs) represented in the chart I showed above.  But it is nevertheless important, I think, for us to realize all the things that had to be done when railroads handled freight, before the advent of computer technologies which tremendously reduced the numbers of these employees. On our layouts, of course, we don't bill for freight charges or demurrage, don’t have to check tariff rates or respond to damage claims, or manage paperwork in a freight house. 

Even fewer of us have been concerned with all the complexities of passenger service, compared to freight, but on the same page of The Station Agent’s Blue Book mentioned above, is a corresponding chart for passenger operations. It is necessarily a smaller chart, but even here, it indicates the scale on which prototype clerking operations could take place. Of course, the Agent might be same person as on the freight side, but the Chief Clerk here would likely be a separate person for passenger duties.

My only point in showing all these prototype complexities is to remind us of what we are actually modeling. A real railroad managed an immense range of duties and an overwhelming amount of record keeping. What we can do in our model operations can only be a fraction of that reality, but I think it’s still useful to be aware of the reality.

Tony Thompson

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Petaluma & Santa Rosa RR

Those interested in the West, or in electric traction, probably have heard of the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad. If you haven’t heard of it, the two Northern California cities in its name should tell you its location. It was eventually controlled by its neighbor, the Northwestern Pacific, which by that time was owned by the Southern Pacific. 

The P&SR began service in 1904, as a consolidation of several horse-drawn streetcar companies, and soon was electrified, using conventional overhead (the electrified commuter lines in adjoining Marin County used a third-rail system). There was freight service from the outset, though passenger service was the emphasis. The scheme for freight forwarding was to carry cargoes to Petaluma and load them onto a P&SR steamer, which would descend Petaluma Creek to San Francisco Bay, and deliver freight to the city of San Francisco.

Petaluma Creek was not only tidal, but shallow. Efforts to get federal funds for dredging were fruitless until the creek could be declared a navigable waterway. To help this along, the name was changed locally to the Petaluma River, and dredging did in fact become a regular occurrence (eventually federal approval was obtained for the name change). The railroad promoted this in one of its emblems of the day, meanwhile promoting its own usage of the river:

But as automobile usage increased through the 1920s, the P&SR lost more and more of its passenger traffic. In 1932, it would be purchased by the NWP. Shortly afterward, passenger service ended, though freight and steamer service continued. But the Golden Gate bridge further cut into the P&SR’s revenues as trucking increased, and in 1947, electric service ended. The wire came down, and a pair of GE 44-ton diesels took over the freight service. But as late as 1958, the P&SR still operated with its own locomotives. 

(Incidentally, I learned a lot of this from knowing Fred Stindt, author of a two-volume history of the Northwestern Pacific, and a generous sharer of photographs.)

Knowing of the extensive shipment of Gravenstein apples from the Sebastopol area, much of it carried by the P&SR, along with some traffic in dried apples and apple products, my own layout can certainly be a recipient of such traffic. In particular, the San Francisco company, Garcia and Maggini, dealing in spices, dried fruit, coffee and other food products, had a plant in Sebastopol for drying apples. Below is a view of that plant in P&SR’s streetcar days (Tom Gray collection, courtesy Fred Stindt).

Obviously fresh apples would be mostly shipped in PFE refrigerator cars, given P&SR’s ownership connection to SP, but dried fruit might travel otherwise. Quite a few years ago I decided to try and model a P&SR box car, based on this photo of an NWP car (Fred Stindt collection):

This is a 37-foot car, and I immediately thought of the broadly similar Model Die Casting “old time” box car, which resembles this photo. And at about the same time, I found a pair of cardboard P&SR car sides at a train show. Likely someone reading this list will know the source, but I didn’t, then or now (Red Ball?). Anyway, I filed an MDC body smooth and glued on the card sides, then added wire grab irons and a scribed wood door. I ended up with this model:

Unfortunately, there were two things I didn’t know at that time. First, the paint scheme and car number of these cardboard sides were no coincidence; they were taken from a prototype photo, a copy of which I later got from Fred. It does have a plain door, like my model, but has a truss-rod underframe, not a “fishbelly” steel underframe.

Second, even as early as 1940, the P&SR no longer used its freight equipment in interchange, relying on big brothers NWP and SP for its car needs. So a P&SR car off home rails would really be an anachronism after World War II. 

But would it? An old car, not meeting current interchange requirements, could be refused at any junction by a receiving railroad; but if SP and NWP cooperated with a movement of a P&SR box car, it would be possible for such a car to move away from home rails. In a time of car shortage, such a cooperation would certainly be possible (if unlikely). So perhaps this model will show up in an operating session on my layout one of these days, after all.

Tony Thompson

Monday, June 14, 2021

Frank Scheer’s engine

 Last month, my wife and I were visiting our son in Portland, and during the visit we went down to Silver Falls, an Oregon state park, for a hike. On the way there, we passed through Woodburn, Oregon, and I directed us to pass by the former SP tracks, since I knew that there was a restored SP steam locomotive there.

The locomotive is Mogul (2-6-0) no. 1785, lovingly restored over many years’ work by Frank Scheer and friends. I had not seen it for quite awhile and wanted to see how it looked. Judging by the city’s plaque, it was last repainted about 2011, so it's been out in the weather for some time. (Incidentally, the city plaque gives full and generous credit to Frank for his energy and leadership on this project.) Overall, the engine looked quite good. In the background of this view can be seen the mainline tracks.

I have spoken with Frank quite a few times, back when the annual Winterail exposition event was located in Stockton, California, and I know Frank hunted down replacements for many missing parts on the engine, such as gauges in the cab. For that reason, the cab is now sealed up, and the engine is behind a fence, as unfortunately it should be. But of course that makes photography a little difficult.

In the photo above, you may note that a restored semaphore signal, and a “wig-wag” crossing signal, have been placed here also. The semaphore heads are shown below. You will note that the “green” lens is actually fairly blue, typical of older semaphores when the lighting bulb was yellowish, that in turn made the light look green.

The cab side has all the required lettering, and behind it you can see the typical SP Vanderbilt tender, in this case a 10,000-gallon size. This was on the large side for a Mogul, but late in their lives, they did a lot of mainline work in flat territory, such as the Willamette Valley of Oregon. And here again, I apologize for the difficulties in photography due to the necessary fence. City plaque at right.

And finally here is the rear end of the display. Note that the exact gallonage, 10,060 gallons, is shown here. As with tank cars, these cars were not manufactured with enough precision that each tender had identical capacity, thus the non-round number of gallons.

And finally, we did get to Silver Falls and hiked a few miles in the park. There are several high falls, cascading over lava  cliffs, as in the example shown below. For scale, note the person standing on the trail at the very right edge of the photo. This is a spectacular park and I recommend a visit, if you’re in northern Oregon.

I enjoyed seeing Frank’s engine, as I think of it, one more time. I’m glad it still looks good and that the City of Woodburn appears to be proud of it. I know Frank is.

Tony Thompson

Friday, June 11, 2021

Open-car loads, crates: Part 4

 In this series of posts about crates as open-car loads, I have described scratchbuilding some large crates, and included some older crates of the same type. The most recent post in the series is at this following link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/06/open-car-loads-crates-part-3.html .

In the present post, I describe work with parts from a Chooch set of molded resin crates, their set 7243. These are often available from on-line sellers. Here is a photo from such a seller, showing the Chooch crates posed on and in front of a model flat car (the flat car isn’t part of the set).

I began with these Chooch moldings by using the two smallest crates as scenery on freight platforms. The three larger ones seemed like good candidates for open-car loads. 

As in the previous posts about crates, I applied different signs to each side. The largest crate in the photo above is my first example. The sign is for American Tractor Equipment Company, primarily offering tracked construction equipment, not farm tractors.

This particular crate molding is probably intended for a flat car, with its extensive bracing, but obviously can work equally well in a gondola. Here is the other side of this crate, with a sign for the Dorr-Oliver company, a well-known producer of process equipment for mining and chemical uses. It is spotted on the team track in my layout town of Santa Rosalia. (You can click on the image to enlarge it, if you would like to examine the sign.)

The two next biggest crates could of course be used separately, as they are maybe just big enough to require an open-top car for shipment, but as a twosome, they seem to me more convincing. On one side of both crates, I applied a sign for Clark Equipment, with its Benton Harbor, Michigan site identified. Note that I’ve added a scale 6 x 6-inch timber securement at each end of the larger crate, but had not yet added this to the smaller one.

Here again, these two are very suitable for flat cars, but can move equally well in gondolas, as in this example of a Santa Fe Caswell gondola, set out in front of the Shumala depot on my layout.

Lastly, there exist photos of multiple crate loads for which the shipper placed a sign on only one of the crates. I’ve done this with this pair (on the other side), using a sign for Dresser Industries. Here the crates ride on my kitbashed SP Class F-50-16 flat car, being switched at Shumala.

These examples of making use of a commercial set of crate moldings, Chooch in this case, are intended to show what can be done to make crates more interesting and industry-specific, as well as distinctive to your layout.

Tony Thompson

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Waybills, Part 86: more originals

 Once again, I want to show some interesting waybills from Andy Laurent’s collection, and I have to thank him again for his generosity in sharing these. Today’s waybills have been chosen, as will become obvious, for a variety of reasons.

First. a waybill from a railroad you may never have heard of: the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern, a modest-size railroad at one time extending north from Mobile, Alabama about 220 miles to a junction with the GM&O west of Tuscaloosa. I apologize that it is photographed at a bit of an angle, but that won’t impede reading and interpreting it (you can click on the image to enlarge it, if you wish).

The waybill is interesting in a whole bunch of ways. It’s for a shipment from the Oyster Shell Products Company of Mobile, Alabama, and is being sent to the Door County Coop Association in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The routing is via AT&N to Aliceville, Alabama (handwritten in) to an interchange with the Frisco, thence to St. Louis and transfer to the CB&Q to take the car to E. Winona, thence across Wisconsin via the KGB&W.

The cargo is interesting in its own right: it's 715 bags of oyster shells (likely intended as soil amendment to decrease acidity). And note, at the right center of the bill, that there appears the typed note, AGREEMENT SWIB, meaning that a weight agreement is in force, issued by the Southern Weighing and Inspection Bureau (WIB). 

I have written extensively about weight agreement stamps, but the typed note you see on this AT&N bill, in lieu of a stamp, is not unusual. Likely the AT&N agent knew perfectly well about this agreement and would not have questioned it. Thus the rather round number of the weigh, 50,000 pounds, would have been the basis for the freight charge. And lastly, note that the cargo was loaded into Union Pacific box car 110085, a typical example of a “free-running” box car being used for loading.

The second waybill I want to show is one from the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (CNO&TP), controlled by the Southern Railway. This is one of those waybills that’s best appreciated in color, because of the varying colors of stamp ink and variety of stamps. The origin is Arvin Industries in Oneida, Tennessee. Note that, like the waybill above, the origin station is preprinted for the agent’s convenience, not typed. And here the full railroad name at top takes two full lines at the chosen type size.

In this bill, one suspects that the cargo could be LCL (less than car load), since it is only 291 pounds weight, and consists of 13 cartons of aluminum furniture. However, it was loaded into Southern box car 20159, and was routed from Oneida to Danville, Kentucky (a short distance), where it was tranferred to the Southern, which took it to Louisville. Routing from there is handwritten in the waybill’s ROUTE box: CIL (Monon), presumably to Chicago, then Milwaukee Road to Green Bay, where it made the usual changes to KGB&W and A&W, ultimately reaching Gerhardt’s Hardware in Algoma.

Lastly, I will include a Western Pacific waybill from Oakland, California, leaving the California Packing Corporation (better known by its brand name, Del Monte). The shipment is only 11,750 pounds, and consists of 250 cases of canned pineapple. 

It was shipped in PFE 4816, likely serving as an insulated box car, not as a refrigerator car, since the shipment reached Wisconsin around the first of March. It is destined to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, care of a wholesaler, Griffin and Toohey. At right center you may note a weight agreement stamp from the Trans-Continental Freight Bureau WIB.

Routing is as one might expect: WP to Salt Lake City, D&RGW to Pueblo, Colorado, there transferred to the Missouri Pacific. Then MoPac to Kansas City and Milwaukee Road to a transfer to Chicago & North Western, perhaps at Racine, Wisconsin (bypassing Chicago), then on to Green Bay. Here again, we see quite a variety of stamps and colors, tempting items for model use.

Thee is also some interesting language in the RATE part of the document, stating that what appears to be a processing-in-transit claim is made, including partial shipment on a car moving on the immediate previous waybill number. Not sure many of us want to duplicate all that, but it’s further information.

I find these prototype waybills endlessly interesting and informative (thanks again, Andy), and feel I almost always learn something from each one. I hope some of the readers of this blog feel the same way.

Tony Thompson

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Passenger car diaphragms, Part 3

In the previous post on this topic, I showed how I chose the diaphragm length (parallel to the car length), and a little about the “bare bones” diaphragms found on some head-end equipment after World War II. You can view that post at this link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/05/passenger-car-diaphragms-part-2.html . At the end of that post, I mentioned “stabilizer bars,”  sometimes called tension bars or anti-rattle bars. What are these?

One of the earliest photos I have found of these bars being installed on a conventional heavyweight car is shown below, a Pullman image dating from 1940. You can see here how prominent the bars can be, and it certainly would not be acceptable to omit them on a car that ought to have them.

It is evident that this bar extends from the top of the diaphragm on the car body, downwards and outwards to the bottom of the diaphragm at the face plate. And it is not a slender bar.

These bars seem to have been introduced with the first non-articulated lightweight equipment built by Pullman,  about 1937, though as late as 1933, heavyweight Pullman sleepers were still being outshopped without these bars. 

Here’s some  history. In 1934, Pullman’s first lightweight train, an articulated design, was delivered to Union Pacific. The intent was to make the train look really streamlined, not only with smooth external contours, but with no visible gaps between cars. One uncomplimentary description was that the train looked like “an enormous worm.”

The photo below shows the City of Portland, the second UP streamliner and the first to be diesel powered, numbered M-10001 ( Union Pacific photo, courtesy Don Snoddy). The train was fully articulated, and sheet rubber concealed the gaps between cars. But the train’s cars were normally kept together, so the usual diaphragm arrangement wasn’t needed. It is shown painted in the yellow and “autumn brown” scheme.

The inconvenience, particularly the inflexibility, of a fully articulated train soon led UP to articulate only  a few pairs of chair cars in the new City of Los Angeles and City of San Francisco trains of late 1937. 

Meanwhile, Southern Pacific had received the first Daylight consist, entirely equipped with full-width diaphragms. (I will say more about the full-width diaphragm challenges in a future post.) The stabilizers in these diaphragms were mostly hidden by the design, but on the chair-baggage cars at the head end, the “wings” were omitted and the equipment could be seen (Pullman-Standard photo, Steve Peery collection).

Note that there are horizontal stabilizers at top and bottom, and a vertical one, running diagonally from top to bottom. These stabilizers tended to keep face plates of adjacent cars in contact, which not only reduced motion and noise between cars, but maintained a smoother passageway for the passengers. 

Prominent in the above photo is the fact that the face plate is quite tall, as high as the roof line. In later years, when many of SP’s cars with full-width diaphragms had them removed, the remainder looked much like the photo above — with an important exception: the horizontal stabilizer bars were removed, leaving only the vertical one. Here’s an example, in this case the diner end of a Shasta Daylight articulated coffee shop-kitchen-diner, photographed at West Oakland in October 1961 (Don Munger photo).

So the cars with remnant full-width diaphragms looked like the above: really a standard-looking diaphragm, but with tall face plate and stabilizer bars. That’s relevant to a range of cars, because diaphragms like this were installed on head-end and other cars operating in consists with lightweight cars so equipped, even in the days when full-width diaphragms were still in use on cars that originally had them. 

These are not hard to model; simply make a face plate that looks like the above photo, add to any ordinary model diaphragm, and add stabilizer bars. Below is my styrene pattern for the tall face plate, next to the regular Pullman face plate pattern made earlier.

I will return to the topic of diaphragms, particularly full-width diaphragm issues, for additional lightweight equipment in future posts.

Tony Thompson

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Open-car loads: crates, Part 3

 In the previous post in this series, I showed some scratchbuilt crates, that are intended as very large loads requiring open-top cars for shipment. That post is at this link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/05/open-car-loads-crates-part-2.html . In the present post, I want to say a little more about some of these scratchbuilt crate loads.  

I will begin by showing the final form of the crates whose construction was described in the previous post (citation in previous paragraph). I showed the Ingersoll-Rand side of the “long” crate in that previous post in a gondola, but it can equally well move on a flat car, in this case WLE 1974, being switched at Shumala. A scale 6 x 6-inch timber is attached at each end to secure the load to the deck.

The other side of the crate, as showed earlier, represents an outbound shipment from the layout’s Jupiter Pump and Compressor plant in Ballard. In the photo below, the JP&C plant switcher is spotting a New York Central flat car with this crate load, on the lead track for SP pickup.

The same crate, naturally, can also move realistically in a gondola. The next photo shows the same load in an SP gondola, departing Ballard in the branchline freight that is returning to Shumala.

In addition, a rather tall crate was constructed, for use on depressed center flat cars. Below is a view of the load in that situation, shown here in a mainline train, riding on the Devore flat car I restored recently (see the post on that project here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2020/08/restoring-devore-kit-part-2.html ). The visible side of the load here  is the Mesta Machine Co. side.

The last load I want to show here is one I have mentioned before, but may be worth repeating. It is a load from the Lucifer furnace company in Pennsylvania, and I showed it on a flat car in a previous post (see it at: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2018/05/still-more-open-top-car-loads.html ). Here is a current view of this load, on a different flat car, spotted on the team track in Santa Rosalia.

The versatility of crate loads would be hard to over-emphasize, as they offer the chance to identify the load beyond merely what may appear on a waybill. I enjoy the ones I have and am working on more of them.

Tony Thompson