Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Boxcar lettering questions

1195 views
16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,919 posts
Boxcar lettering questions
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 20, 2019 10:02 AM

When did things like "CUSHIONED CAR", "DF", "LD", "HYRDA-CUSHION", etc begin showing up on boxcars.

.

I am stuck in August, 1954, howm many of these, and similar lettering, can I use?

.

Thanks.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,022 posts
Posted by dknelson on Saturday, July 20, 2019 12:14 PM

Jeff Wilson's book on Freight Cars (Kalmbach 2005) says that cushioned underframes first started to be used on boxcars in the late 1940s.  I think the DF (Damage Free) load restraining devices that Evans created also came out in the  1940s, perhaps early 1940s.  I know they offered a booklet about DF loaders in 1948.  

A 1950 Railway Age article has a photo of a proposed boxcar with D-F very prominent on the car side.

https://books.google.com/books?id=rOslAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA3-PA44&lpg=RA3-PA44&dq=Evans+Damage+Free+DF+freight+cars&source=bl&ots=RRr4fb6lUE&sig=ACfU3U2QUTxiyjD2whjYdHaU33stmNVurQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj1mO35-sPjAhXaW80KHTyHBAEQ6AEwEnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Evans%20Damage%20Free%20DF%20freight%20cars&f=false

The article says that as of 1950 there were 1135 D-F equipped boxcars on the nation's railroads.  This suggests that even by 1954 D-F was probably still somewhat rare (since the article itself mentions that many shippers had no need of the DF protections for their loads so they would not need to wait for an available DF car.  Makes sense.).  The information in the article as to costs suggests that there was very good reason to prominently label a DF equipped car because there was a very real need to know when empties were being shipped to customers.  

But to my recollection, one did not start to see universal references to cushioned underframes on the sides of freight cars until of the revival in fancy freight car paint schemes of the late 1950s / early 1960s.  And of course today you also see cars clearly equipped with cushioned underframes with no reference to the cushioned underframe on the car's side.  

Here is where a Car Builder's Cyclopedia of the correct year would be very helpful.  Also Morning Sun freight car books for the railroads that used the hydra cushion phrase.

I did find this interesting 1954 dated report on efforts to control damage in freight cars but it has only one exterior photo of such a car (a "rides like a feather" Western Pacific car).

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/142051966.pdf

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,919 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:02 PM

Thank you. I have Jeff Wilson's book, but it ultimately proved of little use to me.

.

I own lots of freight car decal sheets, like Microscale 87-1048 for Soo Line 40 and 50 foot boxcars 1950+. These sheets often have DF and other logos, but do not ever say when the appropriate build dates for using them would be.

.

The prototype guys can take the easy way out and work from photographs, but us guys in the realm of plausible nonsense need some help with these matters.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 8,433 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:42 PM

 

Paging through the 19th edition of the Car Builders' Cyclopedia (1953) I found no photos of house cars with any additional lettering to indicate load restraints or cushioned underframes with the exception of "automobile" cars which some had that word stenciled on the side and/or some kind of marking, usually a stripe on the door.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,884 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 20, 2019 2:47 PM

The first car I recall seeing with "Cushioned Load" was ACL's "Another Cushioned Load" on the side of a 50' boxcar in the early 60s. Then around the same time was the big red 40' and 50' Santa Fe boxcars with black ends that proclaimed "Super Shock Control". 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,068 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 20, 2019 4:36 PM

The B&O used cushioned underframes on its famous M53 wagontop box cars built starting in 1937. But they did not indicate this feature in the car lettering.

So, since cushioned underframes do date from the thirties, no reason why a freelanced road could not be advertizing the feature in the early 50's.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,424 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, July 20, 2019 5:42 PM

I agree with Sheldon on this, although the Duryea cushioned underframe apparently dates from the late '20s. 
On a freelanced road, there's no harm in being "ahead of the curve" as far as technological advances are concerned.  I have some (relatively) modern covered hoppers on my late '30s layout, mostly just because I like 'em!

Wayne

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,919 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:27 PM

doctorwayne
there's no harm in being "ahead of the curve"

.

I am way ahead of the curve when it comes to T.O.F.C. service. I do not want to push the envelope any further.

.

I have one boxcar with "DF" markings, I think I will just leave it at that.

.

Thank you for all of the helpful input from everyone.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • 408 posts
Posted by NHTX on Saturday, July 20, 2019 8:17 PM

     Southern Pacific's "Hydra Cushion" era began in 1958.  Damage-free installations began in 1954 with a black rectangle, outlined in orange, containing "DF" in orange, on the side of the car.

      Santa Fe experimented with Duryea underframes as far back as 1931 but, as with most users of the Duryea of the period, did not apply special markings to advertise this feature.  The "DF" era began in 1954 and the first Shock Control underframe was installed in a Bx-66 class boxcar in 1958 and Indian red paint was used to indicate the innovation.

     As a free-lancer you have the freedom to "innovate" as you wish-enjoy.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Duluth, MN
  • 326 posts
Posted by OT Dean on Sunday, July 21, 2019 12:35 AM

doctorwayne

I agree with Sheldon on this, although the Duryea cushioned underframe apparently dates from the late '20s. 
On a freelanced road, there's no harm in being "ahead of the curve" as far as technological advances are concerned.  I have some (relatively) modern covered hoppers on my late '30s layout, mostly just because I like 'em!

Wayne

 

This is ioff subject, Wayne, but I just had to compliment you on the photos!  I had to quickly check under the couplers to confirm it was a model scene because of the switch stands!  I used them on my final HO layout (nothing since, sob) and imho they really add to the authenticity.  Thumbs up; both hands!

Deano

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,424 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, July 21, 2019 11:31 AM

Thanks for your generous comment, Deano.
 
I'm slowly replacing the Caboose Industries ground throws on my layout with the positionable ones from Central Valley.  The  Caboose Industries ones work very well and are trouble free, but they do stand-out in photos.  I will keep all of the ones in the staging areas, though.

Since I added the partial second level to my layout, I've also found that I need to motorise several now-not-so-accessible turnouts.  I have several Rapido "Rail Crew" machines, and several motor-driven ones from Fulgurex, and the rest will be handled with manual ones from Blue Point.

For the turnouts still within easy reach, I use a spring bent from piano wire, along with the Central Valley switchstands...

Here's an older photo taken in Dunnville...

...and a more recent one...

Wayne

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Nordonia Hills, OH
  • 1,747 posts
Posted by dti406 on Sunday, July 21, 2019 6:10 PM

Kevin,

The first cars i have that have that kind of stuff is the Experimental ATSF Super Shock Control Box Car #10000 of 1958 Class BX-77(Only Car) and the Rock Island car that I did last week with a build date of 1959.

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!

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: California - moved to North Carolina 2018
  • 4,233 posts
Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, July 21, 2019 9:40 PM

GAEX 1950   "NEW 5-50"

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 11,176 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 11:30 AM

SeeYou190
SeeYou190 wrote the following post 2 days ago: doctorwaynethere's no harm in being "ahead of the curve" . I am way ahead of the curve when it comes to T.O.F.C. service. I do not want to push the envelope any further.

Well by 1954, some railroads had been doing TOFC for 20+ years, so you can't be that far ahead of the curve!

Stix
  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Grew up in Calif, left in 84, now in Virginia
  • 6,877 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 11:58 AM

The usual advice is to work off of prototype photo's.  That way you've got a solid basis for a model being a good match!  Wink

I've heard this advice over and over - seems logical.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,068 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 12:40 PM

wjstix

 

 
SeeYou190
SeeYou190 wrote the following post 2 days ago: doctorwaynethere's no harm in being "ahead of the curve" . I am way ahead of the curve when it comes to T.O.F.C. service. I do not want to push the envelope any further.

 

Well by 1954, some railroads had been doing TOFC for 20+ years, so you can't be that far ahead of the curve!

 

Well, very true, but it was only three or four roads, with very small fleets, handling a few select customers, and because of tariff and rate controls, all traffic originated and terminated on the same railroad, and never crossed a state line. 

It was not until after WWII that anyone challenged the ICC regarding TOFC operations.

I model 1954 and I push the TOFC envelope too, not so much in terms of equipment, but in terms of regulations and interchange operations.

In my freelanced world, the ICC gave more favorable rulings much sooner to both the rail and truck industries regarding TOFC operations.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,068 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 12:42 PM

riogrande5761

The usual advice is to work off of prototype photo's.  That way you've got a solid basis for a model being a good match!  Wink

I've heard this advice over and over - seems logical.

 

Every piece of equipment on Kevin's railroad is lettered for a fictional railroad. He has a long list of them......

Sheldon

    

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!