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Timken Roller Freight box cars?

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Timken Roller Freight box cars?
Posted by PeteVS on Friday, March 08, 2019 10:08 AM

I have a couple of HO box cars, both decorated to promote roller bearings for use in freight cars. Did these cars ever exist in prototype? I remember seeing magazine ads for "Timken Roller Freight" when I was a bit younger but I don't recall having seen pitures of actual cars in service. If they did exist, what kind of trucks would they have been equipped with? I doubt that today's modern roller bearing trucks existed at the time. Could they have been Bettendorf friction bearing trucks with roller bearing conversions? Thanks for any info here!

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Posted by dti406 on Friday, March 08, 2019 10:37 AM

I know that ACF built one car for Timken in 1943, a 1937 AAR 40' Boxcar, in the table supplied there was no indication what kind of truck was applied to the boxcar and no number was give, just that it went to Timken with TRBX as the owner.

Rick Jesionowski

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, March 08, 2019 10:59 AM

PeteVS
...I remember seeing magazine ads for "Timken Roller Freight" when I was a bit younger but I don't recall having seen pitures of actual cars in service....

I seem to recall those ads, too.

The first application of roller bearings to a freight car was for a W&LE boxcar, in 1923, and in 1926 the Milwaukee Road did the first large scale application of roller bearings on passenger cars.

In 1930, ALCo built a 4-8-4, known as the "Four Aces" for its then-number 1111, as a demonstrator for Timken.  It toured the continent promoting roller bearings for locomotives (I believe they were used only as axle bearings at that time, but later locomotives used them extensively on many moving parts).  The locomotive was later sold the the Northern Pacific, becoming their 2626.

Since the use of this locomotive is well-documented, it's not unreasonable to assume that the promotional boxcars also existed and served in a similar function.

Wayne

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, March 08, 2019 1:45 PM

I found this one,

And in the Train Orders forum there's a small picture of the yellow repaint.

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?3,4089452

Scroll down a few post.  You have to be a member of Train Orders to see the larger version.

I can't make out what trucks they used. 

Mike.

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, March 08, 2019 5:59 PM

There have been many models of Timkin roller bearing boxcars around -- Lionel had one years ago.  The old Athearn metal kits, reissued by Menzies, had at least two.  Perhaps 3.

One is yellow with a white stripe in the middle of the sides.  RBX 81.  

My other one is silver/gray with a blue striping in the middle (3 stripes: a large stripe with smaller stripes on either side) 91039 TRB reporting marks.

Other models that have been issued are in the yellow, or a red version, or a solid orange.  It may be that all versions have some basis in actual cars.  It stands to reason that Timkin would have wanted enough of these cars to be seen around the country while the idea of roller bearing trucks on a freight car was new.  But I cannot seem to find an actual history of the Timkin promotional cars.  

Thus I believe there were prototypes but as you can see in the black and white photo above, the trucks on that car were very unusual and not what freight car roller bearing trucks looked like by the late 1950s to be sure.  I have equipped my yellow one with conventional roller bearing trucks (and possibly not actual Timkin prototypes!  Shame on me but I found a pair of Athearn roller bearings that they released decades ago where the roller bearing end caps actually turned (and they roll very poorly).  

Dave Nelson

 

 

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Posted by PeteVS on Friday, March 08, 2019 9:22 PM

I did find in my stash of stuff a pair of MDC "convertible" trucks. They were basically Bettendorfs with roller bearing down in the journal box and some add on journal lids to make them look like friction bearing construction. I put them on the kind of "shake the box" car that I have but I'm thinking of putting them with the Athearn Menzies kit that I picked up ages ago. Thanks for the info!

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, March 25, 2019 5:27 PM

Would an Athearn Timken 40' Boxcar in my transition era freight train be prototypically correct? It's pulled by ATHG SF F3's in an A-B-A lashup and has around 29 cars plus the caboose.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, March 25, 2019 7:46 PM

Early (late 30's, 40's and early 50's) roller bearing freight trucKs looked like the ones on this car:

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/acy/acy521w.jpg

With enclosed caps like passenger car roller bearing trucks.

The Timken promotional car had special inside bearing trucks, not sure they were ever used on anything else.

The original Athearn model of the Timken car had the kind of trucks pictured on the hopper above.

MDC, Athearn, Lindberg and many others made models of this type of roller bearing truck back in the 50's and 60's. Hard to find them today, but they do exist from the latest owner of the Lindberg product, also know as EB trucks. Scan down the page and you will find the Timken Roller Bearing version, #327B, #327BCR or #327LG, depending on color.

https://www.jjclmodeltrainshop.com/Store/Trucks/

The 1953/1954 Beth Steel 75' piggyback flat cars built for the PRR and Wabash were among the first freight cars to use the current "open" style 70 ton roller bearing trucks.

All info suggests there were no more than two Timken box cars, maybe only one, and there are no photos that seem to show the trucks on the yellow car that was at the Worlds Fair.

But, being a 1950's modeler, I have several. And I have lots of rolling stock with these older style roller bearing trucks.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 11:12 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
The Timken promotional car had special inside bearing trucks, not sure they were ever used on anything else.

Forgive this revival of a somewhat long-in-the-tooth thread, but I found something that amplifies a comment Sheldon made, and was reminded of it by a newer thread about Barber high speed trucks.  

There is a photo in the Rock Island Digest vol 12 (dated 1995, issued by the Rock Island Technical Society) of a Rock Island boxcar # 20051 (lettered "express") equipped with the unusual Timkin roller bearing trucks that Sheldon mentioned - the inside frame type which as the text notes were "quite unconventional looking, somewhat comparable to PCC streetcar trucks, and were very fragile looking in overall design."  That reference to PCC trucks describes the look of these things rather neatly.

There is also a close up photo of just the truck.

The text also says the car itself was built in 1941 by Pressed Steel Co. as Rick Island 147627, and was rebuilt and renumbered in 1943 with the Timkin trucks.  It was an experiment and the car was reequipped with conventional A3 "Ride Control" trucks and got its old number back sometime prior to 1949.

So for at least a time there was use of the Timkin trucks beyond the Timkin promotional boxcars.

By the way the article in question is about unusual high speed trucks that the Rock Island experimented with.  Those with an interest in unusual trucks may want to track down this publication (I gather the Rock Island historical group is defunct which is a great pity; folks were giving away copies of this Digest at the Davenport Iowa train show last month and it seems someone found a box full of them). The "Zimco" truck is an interesting one but Chrysler FR-5E is particularly fascinating.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 11:46 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Early (late 30's, 40's and early 50's) roller bearing freight trucKs looked like the ones on this car....

Those trucks are a variation on the National B-1 trucks, introduced in the '30s.  I use the solid-bearing version on several cars, including boxcars, gondolas, flatcars, and covered hoppers...

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 4:27 PM

dknelson
There is a photo in the Rock Island Digest...  "quite unconventional looking, somewhat comparable to PCC streetcar trucks, and were very fragile looking in overall design."  That reference to PCC trucks describes the look of these things rather neatly.

I was doing some research into PRR's P70 coaches and came across this interesting articulated 1937 experimental:

 PRR_P70-2 by Edmund, on Flickr

No mention was made of the inside-bearing trucks. I'd like to dig a little further into these. Interesting to note that some fifty-years later the Amtrak Amfleet cars used a similar truck.

Regards, Ed

 
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 6:42 PM

doctorwayne

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Early (late 30's, 40's and early 50's) roller bearing freight trucKs looked like the ones on this car....

 

Those trucks are a variation on the National B-1 trucks, introduced in the '30s.  I use the solid-bearing version on several cars, including boxcars, gondolas, flatcars, and covered hoppers...

Wayne

 

Wayne, not only was the National B-1 a popular choice for early roller bearing applications, until 1953/54, all roller bearing trucks were the enclosed design shown in that picture. They were also used on other more conventional freight trucks.

Like the Lindberg ones today sold under the EB by JJ&CL Model Train Shop. 

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS776US777&tbm=isch&q=national+timken+freight+truck&spell=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiIwriQzIriAhXEl-AKHTHVDI4QBQg9KAA&biw=1280&bih=625&dpr=1.5#imgrc=W4jT3KfupnuIwM: 

One of the first applications of the "modern" open style of roller bearing were on the 75' piggyback flats built for the PRR and Wabash in 1953.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by PeteVS on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 7:02 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

The Timken promotional car had special inside bearing trucks, not sure they were ever used on anything else.

Sheldon  

Thanks! This ties in with Mike's response above and taking another look at the Timken car it all makes sense to me. It looks like a kit bashing kind of proect!

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