Great Northern Troop Trains

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Great Northern Troop Trains
Posted by SPer on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 12:58 PM

Did the Great Northern ever ran troop trains after December 7,1941

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 4:26 PM

Yes. Lots. IIRC sometimes they would run as extra sections of the Empire Builder.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 10:26 PM

Is there any book, article or webpage about Troop Trains of the States in WWII? I would like to know how different RRs handled sections of their named train for troop's transportation. Did RRs replace all-Pullman trains with coaches; details and stories about soldier’s life on different kinds of troop trains etc.  There was one article about this topic I read on Classic Trains recently and I really enjoyed it.  

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:20 AM

So far as I know, the railroads did not handle troop trains as parts of their scheduled trains, named or not. Some military men were transported on scheduled trains, and they had tickets to give to the railroad and Pullman conductors.

Most troop movements were in trains that were operated for the troops only. Those than ran over one or more nights were generally made up of the 12 section & one drawing room cars, and Pullman had a large supply of these. The standard space allocation was two men in a lower berth and one in an upper berth--and the drawing rooms were occupied by the Pullman conductor and officers. Pullman also constructed cars especially for this service, each seating and sleeping 30 passengers--they were not popular. (There is one of these at one of the stations between Austin and Fort Worth, on the route of the Texas Eagle.) They look like box cars with windows.

The only time that Pullman cars were taken off scheduled trains was right aftet the war was over, and more cars were needed to transport the returning troops. To meet this situation, the ODT issued an order forbidding the operation of Pullmna lines less than (as I recall) either 400 or 450 miles in length. To assuage its overnight first class passengers between Providence and Boston and New York, the New Haven opererated parlor cars on its overnight Owl. So far as I know, no other road did this.

Johnny

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 2:05 PM
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 7:15 PM

Miningman

Much more than I ever wanted to know but it highlights the complexities of the carrier/armed forces relationship as it was a two fold relationship - moving men and material and being paid for the services provided.

         

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:48 PM

 

Thank you Johnny and Miningman for the info and link! The riding quality of those Pullman Troop Sleeper of 1943 must be rough, but it was the most economic and simple solution for troop transportation in such scale.  

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:30 PM

Jones1945
The riding quality of those Pullman Troop Sleeper of 1943 must be rough....,

Awww, c'mon -- with Allied Full Cushion trucks?  Long-travel coil primary springs and proper swing hangers?  What could go wrong ... go wrong ... go worng ...  

Of course, no truck rides very well after it has derailed... Surprise

Here is a transcription of a NH memo regarding the troop sleepers they converted to express cars after the war:

These cars when built were equipped with “Allied Full-Cushion” trucks. AAR circular dated May 22, 1953 called attention to frequency of failures and difficulties in detecting serious defects prior to actual road failures in vital parts of cars equipped with Allied trucks when operated in passenger trains.

AAR Car Construction committee recommended as a letter-ballot item that cars having Allied Full-Cushion trucks be prohibited from passenger service on and after Jan 1, 1955, as a large number of failures are being experienced due to the construction of the truck and the locations in which breakages occur make it very difficult to detect fractures prior to actual service failure. The trucks are considered inadequate on passenger equipment cars in passenger service.

No definite action was taken by the railroads at that time and the recommendation was withdrawn. Circular letter issued April 28, 1954, recommended certain measures be taken to better maintain such cars and thereby avoid some of the accidents then occurring.

In 1953 the New Haven equipped 25 cars in the 3700 series with trucks furnished by Symington-Gould, known as the ‘XL’. No further action has been taken by the New Haven as to replacements since 1953.

On Jan 5, 1955, the AAR Car Construction committee recommended that effective Jan 1, 1956 all Allied Full-Cushion trucks on freight and passenger cars be equipped with improved swing hanger and swing hanger shoe.

On Feb 3, 1955, PRR train 54 (passenger) had a bad derailment coming east from Chicago with failure on one of these trucks. Following this, the PRR issued the following notice to various railroads including the New Haven:

“Effective at once and until further notice the Pennsylvania Railroad will not handle passenger head end cars equipped with ‘Allied Full-Cushion’ trucks on passenger carrying trains. To avoid excessive delay the loading and routing of cars so equipped should be prohibited via the PRR. This order does not apply to cars of B&O and CB&Q ownership who have made necessary changes. Please arrange. D 204.”

Necessary change refers to change in swing hanger and swing hanger shoe, which we do not believe will solve the problem as the possible failures still are concealed.

As these cars are less than ten years old, it is recommended that they be equipped with high speed passenger trucks suitable for any speed and capable of affording riding ease for messenger riders.

Aarne Frobom said that his direct experience with Full Cushion trucks in excursion service was ... that they were hard-riding.

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:03 AM

Overmod

 

 
Jones1945
The riding quality of those Pullman Troop Sleeper of 1943 must be rough....,

 

Awww, c'mon -- with Allied Full Cushion trucks?  Long-travel coil primary springs and proper swing hangers?  What could go wrong ... go wrong ... go worng ...  

Of course, no truck rides very well after it has derailed... Surprise

Here is a transcription of a NH memo regarding the troop sleepers they converted to express cars after the war:

 

 
These cars when built were equipped with “Allied Full-Cushion” trucks. AAR circular dated May 22, 1953 called attention to frequency of failures and difficulties in detecting serious defects prior to actual road failures in vital parts of cars equipped with Allied trucks when operated in passenger trains.

AAR Car Construction committee recommended as a letter-ballot item that cars having Allied Full-Cushion trucks be prohibited from passenger service on and after Jan 1, 1955, as a large number of failures are being experienced due to the construction of the truck and the locations in which breakages occur make it very difficult to detect fractures prior to actual service failure. The trucks are considered inadequate on passenger equipment cars in passenger service.

No definite action was taken by the railroads at that time and the recommendation was withdrawn. Circular letter issued April 28, 1954, recommended certain measures be taken to better maintain such cars and thereby avoid some of the accidents then occurring.

In 1953 the New Haven equipped 25 cars in the 3700 series with trucks furnished by Symington-Gould, known as the ‘XL’. No further action has been taken by the New Haven as to replacements since 1953.

On Jan 5, 1955, the AAR Car Construction committee recommended that effective Jan 1, 1956 all Allied Full-Cushion trucks on freight and passenger cars be equipped with improved swing hanger and swing hanger shoe.

On Feb 3, 1955, PRR train 54 (passenger) had a bad derailment coming east from Chicago with failure on one of these trucks. Following this, the PRR issued the following notice to various railroads including the New Haven:

“Effective at once and until further notice the Pennsylvania Railroad will not handle passenger head end cars equipped with ‘Allied Full-Cushion’ trucks on passenger carrying trains. To avoid excessive delay the loading and routing of cars so equipped should be prohibited via the PRR. This order does not apply to cars of B&O and CB&Q ownership who have made necessary changes. Please arrange. D 204.”

Necessary change refers to change in swing hanger and swing hanger shoe, which we do not believe will solve the problem as the possible failures still are concealed.

As these cars are less than ten years old, it is recommended that they be equipped with high speed passenger trucks suitable for any speed and capable of affording riding ease for messenger riders.

 

Aarne Frobom said that his direct experience with Full Cushion trucks in excursion service was ... that they were hard-riding.

 

I wonder: who selected these trucks for passenger=carrying cars? A friend of mine told me that he was transported in cattle cars; he may well ahve been speaking of these. Conductor Moedinger opined, in one installment of his memoirs, that the name "Pullman" should never have been attached to these cars.

As well as I can tell, the passengers were seated three abreast--and the bunks (I do not want to call them "berths") were in stacks of three.  

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 11, 2018 2:52 PM
Overmod
Awww, c'mon -- with Allied Full Cushion trucks?  Long-travel coil primary springs and proper swing hangers?  What could go wrong ... go wrong ... go worng ...  
Of course, no truck rides very well after it has derailed... Surprise
Here is a transcription of a NH memo regarding the troop sleepers they converted to express cars after the war:
 These cars when built were equipped with “Allied Full-Cushion” trucks. AAR circular dated May 22, 1953 called attention to frequency of failures and difficulties in detecting serious defects prior to actual road failures in vital parts of cars equipped with Allied trucks when operated in passenger trains.

AAR Car Construction committee recommended as a letter-ballot item that cars having Allied Full-Cushion trucks be prohibited from passenger service on and after Jan 1, 1955, as a large number of failures are being experienced due to the construction of the truck and the locations in which breakages occur make it very difficult to detect fractures prior to actual service failure. The trucks are considered inadequate on passenger equipment cars in passenger service…

Deggesty

I wonder: who selected these trucks for passenger=carrying cars? A friend of mine told me that he was transported in cattle cars…….in one installment of his memoirs, that the name "Pullman" should never have been attached to these cars.

 As well as I can tell, the passengers were seated three abreast--and the bunks (I do not want to call them "berths") were in stacks of three.  

This is the first time I study this topic in depth, thank you Overmod and Johnny sharing more historical background and first-hand info of it. I actually feel bad when I know these “Pullman” cars were no different than a boxcar and the “Full Cushion trucks” had design flaws and potential safety problems. When our troops were ready to sacrifice their life to eliminate the fascist in Europe, leaving their parents, young wife, younger brothers and sisters, I believe many taxpayer in the States or even some individuals in the Pullman management were more than willing to give our troop the best they could offer before they left the country or after return from the warzone (probably suffered from PTSD and injured) as a blessing or encouragement, I am not saying we should have served our troop with Orient Express Style service, a HW car or trucks designed from 1910s or before was good enough.
 
 
This reminds me AGAIN the stories of the use of Sherman tank, especially the early model with thinner armor, and the images I have seen when our solider put everything they got in hand all over their Sherman tank, like sandbag, spare track and wheels. IIRC there were opinions described the using the Sherman Tank in WWII was no different than committing a War crime.  
 
Anyway, I wish there will be no more war in any form, am I asking too much? am I being too greedy?  (((Echo effect ))) 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 5:32 PM

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Inside a troop sleeper

The stark functionality of a World War II troop sleeping car is evident in this interior view of one of the 2,400 boxcar-like vehicles built by Pullman-Standard during 1943-44 and 1945-46. Each car had bunks for 29 servicemen and 1 porter. Pullman photo
Keywords
 
 Jones 1945-- Going to be a very very long time yet before wars are no more. 
 
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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 5:40 PM

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 6:54 PM

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, October 12, 2018 6:58 AM

While troop movements ("mains") were not normally handled in public scheduled trains, on many railroads they were operated as sections of other trains.  This allowed dispatchers to fleet them in front of or behind regularly scheduled trains with correct markers (and train indicators, where used) rather than having to keep track of them as "passenger extras".  In a timetable and train order world, this system made loads of sense.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 12, 2018 10:18 AM

ATSF ran many troop trains and other passenger specials as sections of #7 and #8, the "Fast Mail".

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 12, 2018 10:47 AM

rcdrye
While troop movements ("mains") were not normally handled in public scheduled trains, on many railroads they were operated as sections of other trains.  This allowed dispatchers to fleet them in front of or behind regularly scheduled trains with correct markers (and train indicators, where used) rather than having to keep track of them as "passenger extras".  In a timetable and train order world, this system made loads of sense.

In Timetable & Train Order railroading - Schedules are tools for the Dispatcher.  Nothing more and nothing less - 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class.

In my experience 1st class schedules were normally used only for passenger, however, I 'think I remember' that on the C&EI they operated their Intermodal trains on 1st Class Schedules, this information was gleaned from working the Train Order Operator's position at Vincennes, IN where the C&EI crossed the B&O at grade and the Operator handled Train Orders for both carriers.

IN TT&TO territory, it was to the Train Dispatcher's benefit to operate ALL trains on his territory on some form of a TT Schedule.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, October 12, 2018 1:49 PM

The older ACl ETT's that I have show no 2nd class trains; freights were operated as 3rd class trains.

Southern began operating some freights as first class trains in the sixties.

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 12, 2018 2:12 PM

Deggesty
The older ACl ETT's that I have show no 2nd class trains; freights were operated as 3rd class trains.

Southern began operating some freights as first class trains in the sixties.

One disadvantage of schedules, at least under the B&O book of rules I worked under - Once a schedule became 12 hours late, it ceased to have any authority it all.  Once a train operating under a schedule got 12 hours late it would have to get train orders to proceed as an Extra train with all the train order effort that required to give the Extra operating authority in a railroad occupied by scheduled  trains that may or may not be operating near their scheduled times.

When operating in predominately signaled multiple track territories, schedules would only be published for 1st Class Passenger trains.  All other trains would operate as Extras, with the operating authority being conveyed by Signal Indication.

         

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 13, 2018 3:59 AM

Miningman
 Jones 1945-- Going to be a very very long time yet before wars are no more. 

 

It is hard to not agree with you on this point, Miningman. Thank you for sharing those pics and links btw. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, October 13, 2018 8:37 AM

Deggesty
The older ACl ETT's that I have show no 2nd class trains; freights were operated as 3rd class trains.

Southern began operating some freights as first class trains in the sixties.

ETT's vary with the territory they cover.  Where there is multiple track signalled territory it is likely only 1st Class passenger trains will have TT schedules.  Schedules for freight aren't needed as trains responding to signal indication will implement the Train Dispatchers orders for movements.

On single track territories Train Dispatchers utilize the tools that TT schedules provide for freights - some carriers used them, some didn't.

         

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, October 13, 2018 1:25 PM

Jones1945
 This reminds me AGAIN the stories of the use of Sherman tank, especially the early model with thinner armor, and the images I have seen when our solider put everything they got in hand all over their Sherman tank, like sandbag, spare track and wheels. IIRC there were opinions described the using the Sherman Tank in WWII was no different than committing a War crime.    

The Sherman wasn't as bad as some make it out to be.  It wasn't as heavily armed or armored as a Tiger or Panther, but it was the equal (or better than the MkIV and much better than any other German tank.  Remember, Tigers and Panthers only made up a minority of German Tanks.  There were 15,000 MkIII, 13,000 MkIV, 6000 Panthers and less than 1900 total of Tigers and King Tigers.  That includes assault guns and tank destroyers built on the Mk3 and Mk4 chassis.  It doesn't include the 38t and the other early ones.  There were over 49,000 Shermans built and they were all more reliable than any German product.  As Uncle Joe supposedly said "Quantity has its own quality" or something like that.  Also, unlike the movies most tank combat was in support of infantry, not tank vs tank duels.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, October 13, 2018 8:15 PM

The UP and SP ran all freights as extras--witness the train numbeer boards with an "X" preceding a number, which was the number of the engine. 

Also, the RF&P did not list freights in the ETT; I do not know if they were considered extras or not.

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, October 13, 2018 10:28 PM

Deggesty
Also, the RF&P did not list freights in the ETT; I do not know if they were considered extras or not.

RF&P was a multiple track signaled railroad - as such all trains operated on signal indication.  Passenger schedules in the TT for the benefit of all concerned - Passengers, Train Dispatcher, MofW, Other trains, including other Passenger Trains.

         

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 14, 2018 6:46 PM

Backshop

The Sherman wasn't as bad as some make it out to be.  It wasn't as heavily armed or armored as a Tiger or Panther, but it was the equal (or better than the MkIV and much better than any other German tank.  Remember, Tigers and Panthers only made up a minority of German Tanks.  There were 15,000 MkIII, 13,000 MkIV, 6000 Panthers and less than 1900 total of Tigers and King Tigers.  That includes assault guns and tank destroyers built on the Mk3 and Mk4 chassis.  It doesn't include the 38t and the other early ones.  There were over 49,000 Shermans built and they were all more reliable than any German product.  As Uncle Joe supposedly said "Quantity has its own quality" or something like that.  Also, unlike the movies most tank combat was in support of infantry, not tank vs tank duels. 

Thank you for the response, Backshop. Yes, I have heard a lot of stories about Allies infantry tanks encountered German's tanks from 2000 yards away. If it was a German tank destoryer, a Tiger or even a King Tiger, what a Sherman could do was retreating at maximum speed (they were designed for higher speed) and request air support if available, but in some cases, the crews probably didn't noted the tank destoryer before their Sherman got hit; Early M4 were too vulnerable. Transportation from the States to Europe limited the design of different kind of Tanks, especial their size and weight (Armor thickness) ; Heavy tank were considered but Allies used Sherman as a tool for their war strategy. A M4A3E8 with a M36 90mm gun would have been a better choice, though it would make it a tank destroyer base on M4's chassis, but at least it gave the Allies solders more protection and confidence to win. I understand that there was no perfect tank design, so many things could disable or completely detory a tank. US, UK and France lost at least 30000 different kinds of tanks while the Soviet lost 80000...... I wish I could rewrite history. 
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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, October 15, 2018 7:36 AM

Both UP and SP ran some scheduled freight trains. The use of number indicators continued into the 1960s at least.  SP commute trains carried them into the 1970s.

I have seen at least one photo where an SP engine carried X and the number of a different engine due to a road failure.  The use of number indicators saved the dispatcher from having to annull and re-issue train orders.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, October 15, 2018 4:37 PM

May be some confusion about my earlier post about Great Northern.

During WW2, GN usually has so many passengers that it would run multiple sections of the Empire Builder. The EB would normally run around 14-16 cars. If they had enough passengers to fill 40 cars, they would make up three complete trains with 13 or 14 cars behind each engine, and run them about 15 minutes apart...but otherwise on the Empire Builder schedule and train number.

If one day they had a troop train going from say Seattle to Chicago, they might run the train as a section of the eastbound Empire Builder, rather than as a completely separate extra train with it's own number etc. So you might have 6 or 7 sections of the Builder running one after the other all going the same direction. They sometimes ran express freights as EB sections too.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 2:41 AM
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 8:11 AM

wjstix
May be some confusion about my earlier post about Great Northern.

During WW2, GN usually has so many passengers that it would run multiple sections of the Empire Builder. The EB would normally run around 14-16 cars. If they had enough passengers to fill 40 cars, they would make up three complete trains with 13 or 14 cars behind each engine, and run them about 15 minutes apart...but otherwise on the Empire Builder schedule and train number.

If one day they had a troop train going from say Seattle to Chicago, they might run the train as a section of the eastbound Empire Builder, rather than as a completely separate extra train with it's own number etc. So you might have 6 or 7 sections of the Builder running one after the other all going the same direction. They sometimes ran express freights as EB sections too.

Remember - Timetable Schedules are tools for the Train Dispatcher.  From a Train Dispatchers view point a scheduled train requires fewer Train Orders to be issued for its operation than are required for an Extra Train.  

         

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 4:30 PM

Yes, it makes sense.

When father was coming from basic training in Mineral Wells, Texas back home to Minneapolis in early 1945, he said he rode in a cattle car with other soldiers between Texas and Kansas City. I showed him pictures of the 50' Pullman troop cars and asked if that was what he rode in. He said no way, the car he was in wasn't anything that 'fancy'. It was a real cattle car he said, with straw still on the floor.

At one point, they had to take a sidetrack to allow another train to pass. They all hung out the doors to see what it was, since they figured it had to be important to put a troop train on a siding. Turns out it was a loaded cattle train. He said that pretty much told them where they stood in terms of importance!

BTW from Kansas City to Minneapolis, he rode on the Rock Island Rocket. Can't think you could have a great disparity between trains on the same trip - steam powered stock cars to a diesel powered streamliner.

Stix

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