Concrete floors in passenger cars?

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Concrete floors in passenger cars?
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Monday, April 09, 2018 3:54 PM

The Buffalo Southern is working on its collection of passenger cars in Hamburg NY and is creating havoc with its resdential neighbors due to them having to jackhammer the floors to replace them because they are poured concrete over a frame. The cars are turn of the century Long Island commuter cars. Whats going on here?

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Posted by ACY Tom on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:31 PM

No mystery. That was a pretty common practice. I have heard these floors referred to as Pullman Monolith floors. They were among the reasons a Pullman heavyweight car weighed about 80 tons: one ton per lineal foot. 

Tom

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 1:03 PM

One of the reasons given for the superior riding of the late PRR P70s was the 2" or so of cement in the decks, combined with the proper spring rate and compliance in the trucks. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 1:27 PM

CandOforprogress2

The Buffalo Southern is working on its collection of passenger cars in Hamburg NY and is creating havoc with its resdential neighbors due to them having to jackhammer the floors to replace them because they are poured concrete over a frame. The cars are turn of the century Long Island commuter cars. Whats going on here?

 

Yes, as others have said, pretty common for most all steel heavyweight cars, actually build very similar to a steel framed multi floor building.

Now C&O, I'm not trying to pick on you, and I don't know much about you, but as a train enthusiast and modeler, I have known this fact for about 45 years, learned this kind of stuff not long after I started in model trains at age 10-11.

I am always amazed at how many "train fans" have very little technical understanding of how trains work or how they are built. And I don't mean the nitty gritty details, just the basics of how rail cars are built, how air brakes work, what makes the locmotive go, how does the wheel/rail relationship work, etc.

There is a reason they were called heavyweights, 6 yards of concrete being a big part of that.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 3:39 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Thier no such thing as a dumb question in my book. 

 
CandOforprogress2

The Buffalo Southern is working on its collection of passenger cars in Hamburg NY and is creating havoc with its resdential neighbors due to them having to jackhammer the floors to replace them because they are poured concrete over a frame. The cars are turn of the century Long Island commuter cars. Whats going on here?

 

 

 

Yes, as others have said, pretty common for most all steel heavyweight cars, actually build very similar to a steel framed multi floor building.

Now C&O, I'm not trying to pick on you, and I don't know much about you, but as a train enthusiast and modeler, I have known this fact for about 45 years, learned this kind of stuff not long after I started in model trains at age 10-11.

I am always amazed at how many "train fans" have very little technical understanding of how trains work or how they are built. And I don't mean the nitty gritty details, just the basics of how rail cars are built, how air brakes work, what makes the locmotive go, how does the wheel/rail relationship work, etc.

There is a reason they were called heavyweights, 6 yards of concrete being a big part of that.

Sheldon

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:16 PM

ROBERT WILLISON

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Thier no such thing as a dumb question in my book. 

 
CandOforprogress2

The Buffalo Southern is working on its collection of passenger cars in Hamburg NY and is creating havoc with its resdential neighbors due to them having to jackhammer the floors to replace them because they are poured concrete over a frame. The cars are turn of the century Long Island commuter cars. Whats going on here?

 

 

 

Yes, as others have said, pretty common for most all steel heavyweight cars, actually build very similar to a steel framed multi floor building.

Now C&O, I'm not trying to pick on you, and I don't know much about you, but as a train enthusiast and modeler, I have known this fact for about 45 years, learned this kind of stuff not long after I started in model trains at age 10-11.

I am always amazed at how many "train fans" have very little technical understanding of how trains work or how they are built. And I don't mean the nitty gritty details, just the basics of how rail cars are built, how air brakes work, what makes the locmotive go, how does the wheel/rail relationship work, etc.

There is a reason they were called heavyweights, 6 yards of concrete being a big part of that.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

Robert, I think you are taking my comments in a way I did not intend. Agreed there are do dumb questions. I am one of those types of people with a thirst for knowledge about how things work, or how they are built. So I am actually curious as to why some people are content to not know at least the basics about subjects they otherwise express an interest in?

And my comment was not directed at the OP in any mean spirited way, dispite the fact that we often disagree on culture philosophy.

The closing comment from the OP, "What's going on here?", seems to indicate shock and surprise that the floor of a railroad car is concrete. Surprise, a great many were concrete....... 

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:59 PM

The reasoning behind it was simple.  It lowered the COG on the cars also it gave them a very easy way to heat the cars.  Steam radiant heat was understood pretty well by engineers by then.  So they figured out that make the floors out of concrete run the heating pipes thru them and bang no need for radiators in the cars that someone could get burned on.  Also concrete is CHEAP easy to repair.  

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:19 PM

Mastapave. they biggest reason was sound insulation. 

 

R

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:26 PM

I didn't know they used poured concrete in heavyweight cars.

It's a wasted day if you don't learn something new, ain't it?

Besides, I don't need to know everything, just enough to stay out of trouble!

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:09 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 

Hey just my perception and I have been wrong about a lot of things.   

 

 
ROBERT WILLISON

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Thier no such thing as a dumb question in my book. 

 
CandOforprogress2

The Buffalo Southern is working on its collection of passenger cars in Hamburg NY and is creating havoc with its resdential neighbors due to them having to jackhammer the floors to replace them because they are poured concrete over a frame. The cars are turn of the century Long Island commuter cars. Whats going on here?

 

 

 

Yes, as others have said, pretty common for most all steel heavyweight cars, actually build very similar to a steel framed multi floor building.

Now C&O, I'm not trying to pick on you, and I don't know much about you, but as a train enthusiast and modeler, I have known this fact for about 45 years, learned this kind of stuff not long after I started in model trains at age 10-11.

I am always amazed at how many "train fans" have very little technical understanding of how trains work or how they are built. And I don't mean the nitty gritty details, just the basics of how rail cars are built, how air brakes work, what makes the locmotive go, how does the wheel/rail relationship work, etc.

There is a reason they were called heavyweights, 6 yards of concrete being a big part of that.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert, I think you are taking my comments in a way I did not intend. Agreed there are do dumb questions. I am one of those types of people with a thirst for knowledge about how things work, or how they are built. So I am actually curious as to why some people are content to not know at least the basics about subjects they otherwise express an interest in?

And my comment was not directed at the OP in any mean spirited way, dispite the fact that we often disagree on culture philosophy.

The closing comment from the OP, "What's going on here?", seems to indicate shock and surprise that the floor of a railroad car is concrete. Surprise, a great many were concrete....... 

Sheldon

 

 

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:11 AM

Firelock76

I didn't know they used poured concrete in heavyweight cars.

It's a wasted day if you don't learn something new, ain't it?

Besides, I don't need to know everything, just enough to stay out of trouble!

 

+ 1.  It's a hobby not a profession for alot of us.

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Posted by Dr D on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:33 AM

Firelock,

Now think about it - what was the "heavyweight" passenger car era really all about?

The railroad passenger car was the major means of land transportation after the American Civil War.  The wooden framed coaches of the era were each equipped with a coal burning iron pot belly stove.  These trains traveled year round day and night.  Stoking the stove riding in the cars lit by oil lamps was an austere challenge at best.

Further, in the event of an accident the cars were famous for telescoping one into the other of wooden wreckage packed with passengers.  The wood stoves conveniently lit the entire tragedy on fire.  Loss of life was horrific and a national tragedy.

The "heavyweight" steel coach with riveted construction - with concrete floor and steam heat with electric lights - rode like a cushion and in the event of wreck usually allowed everyone to survive.

This type of American construction of passenger cars - while not necessarily energy efficient was a grand way of travel.  The basic design carries over into traditional AMTRAK equipment today. 

Think of the loss of life of modern alumimum redesign of passenger equipment such as the European style train that wrecked on the west coast this last summer - this needs to be noticed!

American passenger rail equipment of the "heavyweight" era has become an unappreciated anacronym for an extremely safe way of transport - especially by the modern enviornmentally conscious rail passenger.

Think about it the next time you ride and consider the large number of grade crossings on American railroads compared to Europe.  Consider also the number of American towns and cities attempting to outlaw the use of the locomotive whistle.  In some areas like Michigan AMTRAK runs at almost 120 mph in highly conjested grade crossing communities. 

The "heavyweight" passenger train at speed pulled by the steam locomotive was something to behold.  

- Doc   

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:34 AM

Have no idea if this was industry wide,  The SOU RR heavy weight cars are ~15 feet shorter than SOU's light weights.  Have both close by to compare and will measure

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:52 AM

Dr D

The "heavyweight" passenger train at speed pulled by the steam locomotive was something to behold.  

It may have indeed been a sight to behold but passengers were choosing other ways to travel as early as the 1920's.

 

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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 7:13 AM

The B&O railroad in particular prefered heavyweights and resisted more modern lightweight cars well into the 60's, when the C&O take over finially changed that policy.

In 1934 ACF built two light weight steamlined train sets for the B&O. One for the Royal Blue and one for the Abraham Lincoln on the B&O controlled Alton. By 1937 the Royal Blue set was transfered to the Alton, and the two trains were used for the Abe and the Ann Rutledge.

Nearly all other B&O smooth side "steamlined" equipment in those pre 60's eras were actually heavyweight cars that the B&O rebuilt from the concrete floor up in their own shops.

This was also fueled by the 1947 Pullman breakup, as railroads like the B&O were able to buy fully depreciated heavyweights at bargin prices. The B&O had the shops to do the work, it was a win, win, win for them.

Some of the most notable of these cars are preserved at the B&O museum.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Backshop on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 9:08 AM

You can add my name to the list of people that AC must consider dumbazzes.  I didn't know that either.  I'm sure there's plenty of stuff that I know that he doesn't, though.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 10:09 AM

B&O went with rebuilt heavyweights because they couldn't afford new equipment at the time.  They did pick up a fair number of cars from C&O, both directly from the builder from C&O's too-large 1946 order and second-hand from C&O later.  The "Columbian" was re-equipped with lightweight equipment in the 1950's.

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 wjstix on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 11:38 AM

If people are surprised to learn about the concrete floors (technically an underlayer under the wood / linoleum / carpeted floor) in Pullman heavyweights, I wonder what they'd think about the prior generation of Pullman Palace cars that used paper wheels?

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:00 PM

wjstix
I wonder what they'd think about the prior generation of Pullman Palace cars that used paper wheels?

What a great idea ... just like rubber car springs a generation earlier.  (Both lovingly described by John White in The American Passenger Car)

Actually the paper wheel wasn't as cockamamie as it sounds.  So much of it was glue, and its fabrication involved so much compression, that it was essentially the equivalent of a modern composite wheel center.  And of course it had full steel plates on either side with 'a multiplicity' of cross-bolts keeping the whole shebang in gauge.

Of course the structure in that day and age wasn't self-healing, and the little cracks and voids added up until sudden unexpected failure started to set in.  By which time the patent had produced quite a bit of fortune...

Sad thing was that nobody quite figured out what needed to be done to produce a practical elastomer wheel then.  And afterward, concrete had to be used to deaden the vibration and shock that the paper wheels in large part could accommodate...

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 12, 2018 1:21 AM

If I remember correctly, the 1930 R-1 through Post-WWII R-10 New York subway cars had concrete floors.  Also, some steel heavyweight streetcars and interurban cars. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, April 12, 2018 7:20 AM

I doubt that the technology to produce such a wheel even existed in the pre-WW1 era.  Consider that the composite wheels that were part of the PCC streetcar design were considered a major innovation at the time. 

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 Overmod on Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:16 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
I doubt that the technology to produce such a wheel even existed in the pre-WW1 era. Consider that the composite wheels that were part of the PCC streetcar design were considered a major innovation at the time.

I believe you will find that composite wheels with rubber somewhere between tread and hub were essayed before the Civil War -- they suffered from exactly the same issues as the rubber car springs, so had a comparatively short (and probably extremely unhappy at times) service life.  In addition, tread braking of any particular 'heaviness' would cause problems in an elastomer composite wheel of that period, even if it used gutta-percha (relatively good natural isoprene) during that material's all-too-brief heyday.

Now, what I meant by 'composite' was not in the transit-car wheel sense, it was in the materials-science sense (as with carbon-fiber composites), where the actual structure is a combination of material at fine scale.  The 'paper wheel' could be thought of as being made of extremely-fine-grain "engineered wood", both with extensive and consistent gluelam and good fabrication integrity (both pressure and heat as necessary) and one thing that might be noted was that the resistance of the wheel disk in the lateral plane was extremely strong while remaining resilient.

While I have not done a formal failure analysis on the material, my suspicion is that failure of paper wheels was not due to any 'normal' forces or degradation, or even the lack of practical NDT that could detect impending failure of the disk in service.  I would not be surprised to find extremely high momentary shock or even jerk forces applied to the disk by the circumferential metal tread going over track defects at the increasing speeds becoming encountered in that era, and once the effective elastic limit of gluelam composite is reached, the defects resulting will not self-heal and are dandy stress raisers especially as the rim begins to deviate from perfect concentricity.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, April 12, 2018 3:18 PM

As the OP here I always assumed that the floor was made out of some Urathene/Polymer composite that can withstand high traffic and yet be lightweight not unlike my Bowling Ball see http://www.hammerbowling.com/products/balls/mid-performance/hammer-black-urethane-real-urethane 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:27 PM

CandOforprogress2
As the OP here I always assumed that the floor was made out of some Urathene/Polymer composite that can withstand high traffic and yet be lightweight not unlike my Bowling Ball see 

Do you think railroaders of the 20's and 30's could even understand what you just said?

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:52 PM

blue streak 1

Have no idea if this was industry wide,  The SOU RR heavy weight cars are ~15 feet shorter than SOU's light weights.  Have both close by to compare and will measure

 

 
Did measure the SOU heavy weights and they were just 5 feet shorter than SOU RR Pullman stainless steel cars.  Yes the Heavy weights do have concrete floors. 
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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:21 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I doubt that the technology to produce such a wheel even existed in the pre-WW1 era.  Consider that the composite wheels that were part of the PCC streetcar design were considered a major innovation at the time. 

 

Oh, it did, even though it wasn't successful.  In one of my rail historys there's a 19th Century drawing of George Mortimer Pullman showing a composite paper wheelset on one of his cars. to a contemporary.  Don't ask me which book, I'd have to go through 500 pounds of them to find it.  Literacy, it's a curse!

Ol' G.M. looks like one grim individual in that picture, let me tell you! 

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:52 PM

Firelock76

 

 
CSSHEGEWISCH

I doubt that the technology to produce such a wheel even existed in the pre-WW1 era.  Consider that the composite wheels that were part of the PCC streetcar design were considered a major innovation at the time. 

 

 

 

Oh, it did, even though it wasn't successful.  In one of my rail historys there's a 19th Century drawing of George Mortimer Pullman showing a composite paper wheelset on one of his cars. to a contemporary.  Don't ask me which book, I'd have to go through 500 pounds of them to find it.  Literacy, it's a curse!

Ol' G.M. looks like one grim individual in that picture, let me tell you! 

 

   The Allen paper wheel is described in "The American Railway", 1889.

https://archive.org/stream/americanrailwayi00cooluoft#page/144/mode/2up

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Posted by Dr D on Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:27 PM

Paul of Covington,

I would also refer you to The American Railroad Passenger Car Volume 2 by John H. White Jr., John Hopkins University Press, 1978.,  p 534.

"Success came to the tired wheel from an unlikely source and in a most unlikely form.  The inventor was a former locomotive engineer, Richard N. Allen (1827-1890), who had drifted from one position and occupation to another.  He persuaded by his brother-in-law to buy into a paper mill at Pittsford, Vermont.  The plant produced a common grade of cheap strawboard for which the market was glutted, and Allen soon found himself the sole owner of a profitless business.  Rather than close down, he set out to find other uses for strawboard besides its customary role as covers for inexpensive textbooks.  Somehow from his railroad experience he thought of adopting the weak paperboard for use in car wheels.  How this paradoxical idea came to him is not recorded, but it was greeted with ridicule.  A railroad car wheel made of paper?  Even after Allen's wheel was in common usage, the term 'paper wheel' aroused puzzlement and mirth in most people.  Actually the basic idea was nothing more than the substitution of compressed paper for wood at the wheel's center.  The paper center was attached to the tire by front and back metal plates securely bolted to the paper disc by twenty-four or more bolts.  The paper center, even though greatly compressed and nearly as hard as ivory, was spongy enough to cushion the ride and deaden the sound of the wheels grinding over the rails.

Allen began work on his idea in 1869, and after some difficulty he persuaded a local railroad to provide a car for testing.  Skeptical of the bizzare experiment, the line was not about to trust a valuable piece of rolling stock to a crank.  It provided Allen with an old freight car that carried wood between fueling depots.  To everyone's astonishment, the car ran 5000 miles trouble-free.  In the spring of 1870 Pullman purchased a set of Allen wheels for one of his sleeping cars.  The wheels performed well, and Pullman bought more and eventually adopted them as standard.  Now that he had the patronage of the rising Pullman empire, Allen was no longer viewed as a foolish tinkerer.  The paper wheel became an everyday fact of luxury railroad travel, making its inventor famous.  Allen himself, however, appears to have been squeezed out of the firm by the early 1880's.

The growing interest in tired wheels in this country sprang from several sources.  In 1910 George L Fowler, onetime associate editor of the Ralroad Gazette, recalled that in the early 1870's railroad mechanical men developed 'a feeling of insecurity' about the continued use of cast-iron wheels because of the increases in train speed and passenger car weight.  These men accepted steel tired wheels from a genuine belief in their greater safety.  Others, however, adopted them for more cynical reasons.  According to Fowler, some men championed various patented forms of steel tired wheels merely because of their advertising value.  This aspect of technical history is one that deserves a study of its own.  Pullman himself was perhaps as much interested in the paper wheel's promotional value as he was in its mechanical merits.  He knew the value of publicity and pursued it eagerly, particularly in the early years of the sleeping car business.   the paper wheel captured attention, and the early notices of Pullman cars always seemed to mention the wonderful paper wheels which silently and securely transported the car and its occupants across the country. 

In one of his master strokes of publicity, Pullman became associated with Frank Leslie's 1877 tour of the United States and may have been one of its backers.  The publisher returned the favor with generous coverage of Pullman in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.  One engraving shows Pullman, using his walking stick as an instructor's pointer, explaining the wonders of the paper wheel to an attentive bystander.  The accompanying article said:

'While our party was viewing the exterior of the vehicle, Mr. George Pullman himself strolled up.  Pointing to the wheels, he made the somewhat alarming announcement that they were made of paper!  In proportion to its weight, he said, good paper, properly prepared, is one of the strongest substances in the world.  It offers equal resistance to fracture in all directions.  While the toughest woods are sometimes liable to crack and split under severe trial, and ordinary iron becomes brittle from the constant jarring on the smoothest of steel rails, paper possesses a certain amount of elasticity very desirable in a car wheel.  Paper wheels, he said, were subjected to an enormous hydraulic pressure and, when surrounded with a flange of steel, were the most perfect wheels yet invented.'

Extravagant endorsements of the Allen wheel were also made by A. B. Pullman, doubtless because of the interest that his brother G. M. Pullman held in the firm.  After 1881 Allen's main plant was located on the grounds of Pullman's mammoth Chicago works.

The manufacture of these pasteboard wonders began with circular paper sheets that were glued together with ordianry flour paste.  In 1882, 117 sheets were used, but by 1893, 200 were required.  The discs were compressed by a 650 ton press for three hours.  They were then dried and cured in a warm room for six to eight weeks to ensure the evaporation of all moisture.  The seasond discs were turned in a lathe to size.  Bolt holes were drilled, the outer 1/4 inch thick iron plates were put in place, and the steel tire was bolted on.  The finished paper core for a 42 inch diameter wheel weighed 185 pounds.  A complete wheel of this size weighed 1,115 pounds.

In its infancy the paper wheel was an insignificant thing, associated almost exclusively with Pullman sleepers.  In 1877 Allen produced only 74 wheels.  Within a year his company claimed that nearly 1,500 were in service, but this represented only a tiny fraction of passenger car wheels.  In 1883 the firm said that 30,000 were running in 150 railroads.  Since there were roughly 200,000 wheels in passenger car service at that date, Allens's wheels were on less than 15 percent of the fleet.  Statistics are not available for the other makes of tired wheels available at the time, but it is clear that cast iron wheels were no longer the exclusive bearers of the traveling public.  During the 1880's more major lines began to adopt paper or some other form of tired wheels.  The Santa Fe announced in 1890 that it would equip all of its passenger cars and locomotive leading trucks with paper wheels.  The Milwaukee Road made a similar commitment in 1882, and the Northern Pacific followed suit the next year.  In 1886 Allen's firm announced that 60,000 paper wheels were in service.  In seven years the number increased to 115,000."

- Dr. D

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:53 AM

   Thanks, Doctor.   I have a couple of Mr. White's other books, and I love his work.   I've long been thinking that I gotta get more of his books.

_____________

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Posted by Piper106a on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:56 PM
Now that we have learned that heavyweight cars had concrete floors, what kind of floor construction was used on the fluted side Budd stainless steel 'shotwelded' cars???

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