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Split K-Brake System on Early Hopper Car

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  • Member since
    May 2013
  • 106 posts
Split K-Brake System on Early Hopper Car
Posted by staybolt on Friday, April 9, 2021 2:23 PM

I'm looking for a (preferably pictorial) diagram of the split K-brake system as installed on a USRA 55-ton twin-bay hopper car. I'm assembling Tichy's kit #4027 for this car and would like to add parts of the system that Tichy doesn't show, e.g. the floating lever, cylinder lever rod, lever hangers, lever-to-truck rods, complete train (air) line. For this extra detail Tichy's instructions say "...check your references for guidance...", but they don't give any examples of such references. The only NMRA diagram I've found is for a later-design 70-ton hopper; it shows that rods and levers are part of the system, but doesn't show their exact placement. I imagine that since the underside profile of a hopper isn't "flat", because of the bays and their doors, the placement of hangers, rods, levers and train line is complicated (!). 

  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, April 9, 2021 4:15 PM

I don't have a diagram, but the brake linkage rods on hoppers are under the centre sill, where they're not affected by the hopper bays.

On the split-K (KD) brake system, the triple valve is incorporated into the air reservoir, while the actuating cylinder is separate.

I used Tichy KC brakes for modelling early TH&B channel-side hoppers, and simply cut the actuating cylinder from the KC casting, using a piece of wire as a mounting peg, as I didn't have any of their KD brake castings on-hand.

The cylinder acts upon a vertical lever attached to the underside of the slope sheet on the hopper's "B"-end.
 
At that time, the cars used stem-winder staff-type brake wheels, and they didn't begin upgrading to AB brakes until the early '40s, a project which extended into the '50s....as far as I'm aware, these cars were never used in interchange service after K-type brakes were outlawed in 1945 (later extended to 1953).
The TH&B hoppers were built in 1913, and extensively re-built beginning in the early '30s.  Some remained into the mid-'60s in company service, as ballast cars.

That lever (and I would guess a couple-or-so horizontal ones, too) actuated the airbrakes, which also responded to input from the brakewheel.

On the 12 TH&B hoppers I'm doing, 4 are "modernised" with "power" brakes, while the other 8 use the stemwinders.  (I'm modelling the late '30s, but had previously built a couple of the newer ones, based on an article in the September 2002 issue of RMC).

I modelled the basic brake equipment, with piping from the reservoir to the actuating cylinder, along with the pipe from the retainer valve to the AB valve, but didn't bother with brake hoses, trainline piping, nor the brake rods, as they'd be pretty-much invisible.
I would have liked to at least included the air hoses, as rubber ones are available, but it would simply make these cars look better, but the other 400-or-so noticeably worse.

(Click on the photos for a larger view)

Here's an under-construction view...

...once painted, there's not all that much to be seen...

...although I did include the brake release-lever handles, as seen below, adjacent to the air reservoir and the U-channel brace nearest the car's end...right above the springs in the truck...

...there's a matching one on the other side of the car, too, and both are "sorta connected" to the AB valve.

And just to show that I do sometimes bother more with brake gear, here's some under a scratchbuilt boxcar...

Wayne

  • Member since
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  • 106 posts
Posted by staybolt on Saturday, April 10, 2021 12:06 AM

Thanks for response, Wayne....Your modeling of brake components is very good! I notice you even included the relatively small detail of the bleeder valve (correct term?) actuating rod near the air reservoir on your boxcar with the AB brake gear.

As you say, the center sill of the hopper car seems the likely location to place the floating lever, cylinder lever rod, lever hanger and lever-to-truck rod detail. Unless someone else on this forum can find a photo or diagram, I'll use some "modeler's license" and what makes sense mechanically. I did find a reference (https://nycshs.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/usranycshoppers.pdf) via Google search that has good photos (albeit not underside shots) of NYC USRA-design hoppers including some of the 55-ton one I'm assembling. There are a couple of views of what may be the train air line bracketed along one side of the car. 

       -Chuck

 

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,089 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, April 10, 2021 2:24 AM

And thank you for including that link, Chuck, as there are some interesting photos therein.

Wayne

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