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Freight Wheel Sizes

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Freight Wheel Sizes
Posted by Attuvian on Friday, April 28, 2017 5:58 PM

Question on freight wheel sizes, folks.  I note that the major parts suppliers provide wheels for various freight trucks in sizes reflecting both 33 and 36 inch prototype originals.  Ribbed backs, smooth backs, etc. as well.  I'm sure they weren't just stylin'.  When refitting a car, how does one know which size was likely to be found on the car in real life?  Was it based on build or rebuild date, type of truck, or other factors?  And another question: are prototypical trucks generally found with the same size flanges (regardless of diameter) or do these vary as well?

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Posted by Bundy74 on Friday, April 28, 2017 6:07 PM

FYI, this has been the subject of many threads on here, and it's worth searching for.  But since you asked, heres the bullet points.

1) Size is generally related to tonnage, IE bigger wheels, high tonnage (33" to 50-70 ton, 36" to 100 ton, etc...)

2) Ribbed backs are older, before WWII if IIRC.  

3) The actual flange should be a constant from wheel to wheel. 

Modeling whatever I can make out of that stash of kits that takes up half my apartment's spare bedroom.

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Posted by Attuvian on Friday, April 28, 2017 7:43 PM

Tongue TiedThanks, should have checked the threads.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, April 28, 2017 8:23 PM

No problem, you have a question? ask!  Smile  That's what forums are for.

Bundy's info is right on, and detailed enough for modeling.  The ribbed back (actually called brackets) usually means the wheel is made from cast iron.  The smooth back wheels were made from wrought iron.  There is a lot more detailed date info, as far as when they were made, when they were banned form interchange, etc, etc. 

Mike.

 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, April 28, 2017 9:33 PM

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by Attuvian on Friday, April 28, 2017 10:45 PM

And for your support, Mike.

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Posted by Attuvian on Friday, April 28, 2017 10:47 PM

Another jackpot form the Bear.  That goes in my ever-expanding binder.  You da man.  Good on ya.

John

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:42 AM

They always leave out Fox trucks, one of my favorites!

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, April 29, 2017 6:18 PM

Have been wondering who made the curious ones under the older Alco rotary plows.  It looks like roller bearings inside those old journal boxes in some of the pictures that I find of Fox trucks under Google images.  Can that be?  Now if I can just find out the specific function of the chains that went from the corners of the trucks frame s to the edges of the chassis . . .

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, April 29, 2017 7:44 PM

Attuvian
It looks like roller bearings inside those old journal boxes in some of the pictures

Gidday again, here's a past thread on the subject.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/13/t/208270.aspx

 "Now if I can just find out the specific function of the chains that went from the corners of the trucks frame s to the edges of the chassis . . ."

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/153368.aspx

Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, April 29, 2017 11:07 PM

Great education in those threads.  Thanks, Bear.  My aging memory can recall both squeelers and thump-thumps, as freights rolled by the field that the neighborhood lads filled with forts and foxholes.  The odd thing I recollect was that Timken commonly ran full page ads in the old national weekly magazines like Life, Look and Collier's.  Trade journals didn't seem to cover sufficient territory, I guess.  Perhaps the Tinken folks were making stealth runs at potential customers through their wives and kids by assuming a healthy level of shop talk over the dinner table when dad got home!

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, April 30, 2017 9:42 AM

Attuvian

Have been wondering who made the curious ones under the older Alco rotary plows.  It looks like roller bearings inside those old journal boxes in some of the pictures that I find of Fox trucks under Google images.  Can that be?  

 

 

Whatdya know.  I found a great picture example:

 

 

First, those aren't Fox trucks.  Fox trucks are sprung trucks, with the springs above the journal boxes.  The above trucks are not sprung (or perhaps minimally, inside somewhere).  That is because the plow operates with so little clearance that the movement that springs would allow would cause dreadful scraping on the tracks.  Some/many rotaries have a flanger built into them.  It's a little mini-plow that drops down and clears the edges of the rails for wheel flanges.  I am not sure if rigid trucks are required ONLY if there's a flanger on the plow or not.

 

The roller bearings in the photo are replacements for plain journals because someone decided they'd be an improvement.

Exploring a bit, I found a Santa Fe rotary (????Santa Fe????REALLY????):

 

I surely seem to see springs there.  Perhaps the springs are "blocked up" internally to eliminate the usual movement.  Or perhaps there's no flanger.

 

And here's another truck variation:

 

Those are surely arch bar trucks.  And that surely is a flanger blade.  So, I am assuming that those things that look a lot like springs are blocking, instead.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 30, 2017 3:56 PM

If it is the chains I am thinking of, they were to keep things nearby in case of a derailment, without them the trucks could really fly. Don't know if that was used much though.

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Posted by Attuvian on Sunday, April 30, 2017 4:12 PM

Ed,

I'm running across a number of photos that ID the trucks under SP MW222 as Fox (BTW, note that the front truck has the generator mod off the front axle). A particular one that I have in mind is included along with Tichy's N scale rotary plow (see about a third of the way down here:)

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=24839.0

Is it possible that Fox produced an unsprung version? I believe there's a reference out there to Fox PLATE trucks, but I don't know if that's definitve for their unsprung version or not. It may represent the manufacturing process for them (as opposed to cast, assembled, etc.)

If those under #222 aren't Fox, what are they?

John

P.S. I'd attach photos but haven't yet mastered the process that MRR requires for these forums.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, April 30, 2017 4:45 PM

John,

It looks to me that the Tichy truck you reference is not a Fox.  A Fox truck has "humps" in the sideframe above the journals:

 

 

 I think that the term "Fox" has turned into a universal term for stamped sheet metal trucks.  There were other designs.  On the plus side, the Tichy trucks look like snow plow trucks.  Just the thing to put underneath snow plows.

I do not know if Fox made any unsprung trucks.  I presume, if they did, they would be based on their "standard" design.  That is, they would look just like regular Fox trucks, but the springs would be replace by blocking.  The reason they would stay with the same general look is that they had a manufacturing process set up to make regular Fox trucks.  A very expensive process, from my reading.  They would hardly come up with a whole different looking truck because it would have cost more to produce than just modifying their existing.

I've got this neat book by John H. White, Jr. called "The American Railroad Freight Car".  There are over 600 pages talking about PRE-STEEL US freight cars.  And there's a whole section on trucks.  And a whole subsection on stamped steel trucks.

I do wonder who designed the "snow plow" trucks.  And who made them.  And I wonder if they were made under a patent or not.

 

Ed

 

 

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Posted by Attuvian on Sunday, April 30, 2017 5:07 PM

Well, Ed, it wouldn't be the first time terms - or even names - were applied generically.  Here's an interesting article on Mr. Fox and his adventures in early American railroading:

http://www.midcontinent.org/rollingstock/builders/pressedsteel1.htm

Assuming you're right on the money with your reply, just how do you ID these trucks.  They seem to be common on lots of rotaries, in spite of the many later mods and upgrades that these wonders have undergone.  I wonder if they were produced in-house by Alco?

John

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, April 30, 2017 6:10 PM

John,

Excellent article, fer shure.

I had the same thought about Alco making the trucks themselves.  It doesn't seem at all beyond their competence.  I'm not sure what I'd call them, because I don't KNOW.  Maybe "stamped steel rigid" would work.

Lima made the last steam rotaries (crossing my fingers on that statement).  I've got a pretty good picture of the front truck, and it has a front truck similar but not identical to the Alco stamped steel rigid truck.  It has a similar slab-sided look, but I get the impression it's cast.  It does have "Fox humps", but no way was it made by Fox.  Not in 1949.

If ya think "Fox" may have been converted to a sort of generic, consider "Bettendorf".

On the plus side, we all pretty much have got the term "arch bar" pinned down properly.

 

Ed

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Posted by Attuvian on Sunday, April 30, 2017 10:45 PM

Ed,

Now here's a howdy do (if you're into a little Gilbert & Sullivan):  we have all this stuff available on line and forums with which to share it in an instant with multiple hundreds.  And yet we're left here scratching our heads, surmizing and speculating about something that only 50 years ago could have been settled by first hand knowledge (from multiple sources) at the drop of a hat.

On the other hand, archeologists, with far less empirical data available on any number of issues, can make bold statements that get written up and accepted as almost gospel.  How's that, fer cryin' out loud?  Perhaps it's the cachet that comes with their degrees.

I simply need to meet some MRR researchers - "degreed" or not - that have produced scholarly products on the things that have me stumped at the moment.  Why, is that too much to ask? Tongue Tied  Reflect, if you will, on this: we sometimes seem to be suffocating these days from the glut of information (not to be confused with knowledge) that's available to us, and yet, it can be so fragile.

As for Bettendorf, you got that right!  Thanks, Ed.  The search continues.  As Jean-Luc Piccard would say, "Engage".  Let's see what we discover in the next episode . . .

John

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, April 30, 2017 11:08 PM

Attuvian

 

I simply need to meet some MRR researchers - "degreed" or not - that have produced scholarly products on the things that have me stumped at the moment.  Why, is that too much to ask? Tongue Tied  

Patience, grasshopper.  All will come to you when it is time.

Until then, buy lots of books, join lots of interest groups, ask lots of question, attend lots of lectures..........

 

 

Ed

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Posted by Attuvian on Monday, May 01, 2017 8:46 AM

Back in the military, I guess: "Hurry up and wait."

I think I'll call 'em "Alco Rotary Trucks".

   Patient Listener: "What are they?"

   John: "You know, riveted flat wall, non-functioning journal boxes, no springs, chains at the corners." 

   Listener: "Huh?"

Maybe I should carry a picture in my wallet.  Behind that of my grandson.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, May 15, 2017 2:56 PM

The photo of SP MW 222 has rollerbearings in the trucks (they do not appear original).  Is it possible that the fox truck frames were used and rollerbearings installed without the springs?

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by Attuvian on Monday, May 15, 2017 6:47 PM

Well, when I get home (and on my own desktop), I'll post here a link to what may an ALCO factory photo of one of their rotaries about to be finished off for SP - back around 1923 by the side number's history.  The frames have no springs way back then, either.  What we're seeing in later photos is certainly a roller bearing upgrade in the old frams.  And I note that though the journal boxes remain, many have had their covers removed.  Why, if they were a little higher off the ground they'd make prime starling nest locations in the off-season!

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Posted by Attuvian on Monday, May 15, 2017 9:48 PM

BMMECNYC,

Here's the photo.  With the deflector not yet installed atop the cowling, and a temporary extended roof walk over the control cabin.  That's why I think (along with the pristine paint job) that it's a factory photo - or perhaps by a visitor there.

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15330coll22/id/53900

You should be able to get some definition on a blowup of the trucks. Have no idea why it's backed up to that hopper.

John

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:20 PM

I'm fortunate to have a 1921 catalog from the American Locomotive Company featuring "The Rotary"

Here are a few pages detailing the construction.

 

I'm sure those are solid bearings with weather-tight housings to keep ice, water and snow out of them.

Interesting stuff, indeed! Hope that helps,

Ed

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Posted by Attuvian on Monday, May 15, 2017 11:12 PM

Ed,

The more one looks at something the more one notices. First, would the dome behind the stack be a steam dome?  I'm betting so.  And the fitting atop the riser just aft? Another relief valve (perhaps similar in function to that atop the dome)?  These gizzies are probably represented by the cluster that appears mid-walkway on the Walthers rotary model and that can be seen in a number of selected photos of these plows before they were converted to electric power.

Next is those crazy trucks. Axle covers are different in the Alco picture from the familiar old journal boxes that appear in many photos, but the originals are all the older, plain ("friction") bearings either way.  No one is biting on who may have actually manufactured the unique, unsprung side frames.  I'm gonna stick to Alco as an in-house creation.  Tichy calls them Fox trucks but they're not like any pictures of Foxes I've been able to find. Ah, but look under the first picture of the exposed boiler - are those old Arch Bars of some sort?

Man, this is nuts!

Tongue Tied

John

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, May 22, 2017 6:05 PM

Bundy74
1) Size is generally related to tonnage, IE bigger wheels, high tonnage (33" to 50-70 ton, 36" to 100 ton, etc...)

This is not always the case.  I recently walked past a heavy duty flatcar, >200,000 Lbs capacity that had 33" wheels (granted their were 12 axles total).

 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.

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