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 Post subject: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:06 pm
Posts: 211
Location: Bendena KS
I have started doing some work on a US Army "Knock Down Fleet" boxcar in Atchison, Kansas and have been trying to find out some more of the history of these cars.

From what I can find out, it seems as though the cars were stored, disassembled, at various army bases awaiting WWIII, which never came. By the late 1960's they were obsolete/surplus and it would appear that a number of them were assembled as boxcars and sent to various military installations for use (mostly as storage as best I can tell) By the 1990's even these places no longer wanted them and a few ended up at museums.

So this begs a few questions -

Do I have the basic history of these cars correct?

Were most of them scrapped in the 1960's?

How were the cars painted when built? Were they lettered?

Were the cars ever actually used for anything?

Are there any photos of the cars in use?

Do any of the cars survive today as flatcars or gondolas?

Thanks

Jason Midyette


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 914
Hi,

I am reading a book "Railroading in Eighteen Countries" by Carl Gray, Jr formerly Major General. It is mostly about WWII although there is information about the Civil War and the Military Railroad Service USA.

He discusses some of the items about the knock down cars waiting for transport to the logistical front in North Africa. How they were staged in the US before Operation Torch, and the staging in England before Overlord.

Since you seem to be discussing the disposition of this equipment since 1954 (the year the book was published), I was not sure this is what you want.

I suspect that the equipment you are looking at and the items used for WWII are the same but were never used overseas.

Doug vV

P.S. As an aside, the meter gauge Tunisia operation when the US first got troops into WWII, at Kasserine Pass (SP?) was a very interesting story. Apparently the MRS had a depot (read station and yard) at one spot. The Germans attacked, and pushed the US Army back so that the MRS was between the German and US front lines. They tried an escape with five locos (only one live) and a bunch of rolling stock and were stopped where a viaduct had been blown up in the mountains by the US Army. They hide in tunnels and finally dropped the fires on the loco removed and hid vital parts and made it back to US lines on foot. They had been listed as MIA/presumed killed for 3-4 days.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:10 pm
Posts: 39
There were dozens of the US Army "knock down" boxcars at the dual gauge yard of the EBT in 1989. Mount Union, PA.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 725
As you have encountered getting any information on US Army railroad equipment besides locomotives is hard. Here is a photo of a knock down car at Fort Eustis: http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/165th ... 7.jpg.html

I would suggest you contact the Army Transportation Museum. They may not have much but will share what they have. General Metals of Tacoma, WA bought a bunch of these cars in the 1980s. I don't know where they came from. Some were sold off as sheds and most were scrapped.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:32 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 994
The Army boxcars at Mount Union were not "knockdown" cars. They were regular wooden boxcars acquired by the Army to transport war material, while the knockdowns came along later. The cars at Mount Union were scrapped a few years ago, but there are still a few at the Kovalchick yard in Burnham, Pa. There were a couple of the knockdown cars, minus their trucks, at the Cass Scenic Railroad, being used for sand storage the last time I was there.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2316
Location: Northern Illinois
Agreed. We had a discussion about the cars stored at Mt. Union a few years ago, and the consensus was they were ex-Bangor & Aroostook.

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Dennis Storzek


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2316
Location: Northern Illinois
John T wrote:
As you have encountered getting any information on US Army railroad equipment besides locomotives is hard. Here is a photo of a knock down car at Fort Eustis: http://s1061.photobucket.com/user/165th ... 7.jpg.html

I would suggest you contact the Army Transportation Museum. They may not have much but will share what they have. General Metals of Tacoma, WA bought a bunch of these cars in the 1980s. I don't know where they came from. Some were sold off as sheds and most were scrapped.


That is from an earlier era, likely WWII. I believe the cars being asked about are these:
http://www.bluegrassrailroad.com/#/army-boxcars/4541297763

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Dennis Storzek


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 725
Here is some basic information from the 1970s.

http://militarynewbie.com/wp-content/up ... TR0660.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 195
I owned some of these at one time. They came from Crane Naval Depot in southern Indiana. They were made by the Pressed Steel Car Company and had cast iron wheels and "K" brakes.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1558
Location: Southern California
How there were knock-down / kit flat cars. Orange Empire has an ex-Navy steel framed flat car (from a nearby ammunition depot) that has end-sills with holes for European buffers. Some years ago, I was at an ARM annual conference in Baltimore and we made a tour to DC and the Metro shop. The Metro shop was assembling one of the WWII era flat cars (and indications were that this was one of several) for MW use.

And the OERM car has and I think the car in the Metro shop had K-triple valves.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:21 am
Posts: 40
Location: Milner, KY
Hi Jason,

Thank you for working on one of these cars! Please post photos!

I did a little research on them several years back, and was able to letter the two cars at The Bluegrass Railroad Museum (BGRM), which link is above.

Quote:
Do I have the basic history of these cars correct?


Yes. The history on the BGRM site is as best I can determine.

Quote:
How were the cars painted when built? Were they lettered?

As best I can remember, since my information is filed away somewhere, they were Army Green, with white letters. As near as I know, we have all the big letters correct on ours, though we likely missed some smaller sets. I can send you the Sherwin Williams paint codes for the green which we used, though that color wasn't necessarily researched. If you want a 'Best Color Match', then I suggest you researching it. I understand that Army Green fluctuated some over the years, as paint colors tended to do. Also, I have much of the lettering alphabet saved in an Autocad .DWG file. I can send it to you if it'll help you. I had the USATC emblem made as a stencil at a local sign shop, though with my schedule, I'm unsure of when I can get over there to see if they A. still have it, and B. are willing to share it. They extrapolated it from a drawing from one of the Army Technical Manuals.

Quote:
Were the cars ever actually used for anything?

Ours came from the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant. When I was researching existing cars, I got the impression that most of the ones still around came from ammunition depots. I presume that since the bulk of the interior of the car was wooden, then the Army used them for intraplant moves of explosives.

Quote:
Do any of the cars survive today as flatcars or gondolas?

I believe that the US Museum of Transportation, in St. Louis, MO, has one of each of those. While that museum does de-accession equipment occasionally, I think that they made it through one of the more recent rounds. The US Army Transportation Museum in Virginia, has a gondola with the European style bumpers and link and chain couplers.

There appears to be a boxcar in a nearby scrapyard to us (Central Kentucky), minus the wheelsets. I don't have any thoughts of our group trying to obtain it, since we're almost swamped with our current equipment. But if you're hard up for parts, it could be helpful.

James Hinman

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The Bluegrass Railroad Museum, Versailles, KY
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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:17 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:33 am
Posts: 93
Location: Wash D.C.
Albeit being rather dilapidated, a former U.S. Army "Knock Down" boxcar resides at the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, Indiana. This boxcar carried the reporting mark N.A.D. 405. Does anyone here know what N.A.D. stands for?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/n8myc/212 ... otostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/n8myc/212 ... otostream/

-Andrew


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:42 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:23 am
Posts: 140
Location: willow grove pa
Not sure where the car above came from but:

NAD naval aviation depot (formerly narf)

NARF naval air rework facility (renamed- nad -1987)


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm
Posts: 244
I believe NAD is Naval Ammunition Depot. For example, the present Naval Weapons Station Earle, NJ, was previously Naval Ammunition Depot Earle.

The term for Naval Aviation Depot is NADEP. See:

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ory&id=215

Excerpt:

CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- November 19 marked a significant date in the business history of the Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP).

As for where such cars may still be found, when I was last inside the restricted area of Naval Support Facility, Indian Head, MD, in late 2002 there were numerous knockdown cars scattered about the base, often next to buildings where they served as additional storage space. I recall one such car was full of very outdated (and clearly forgotten) computer equipment and the wooden roof had rotted out and collapsed upon it. A number of buildings within the restricted area were in a state of decay, so the rotting box cars fit right it. There were also numerous steel-sided boxcars from the WW II and Korean War eras rusting in place. Open flames within the restricted area were a big issue so scrapping appears to come very slowly, and a look at the area in Google Earth reveals there are still quite a few pieces of rolling stock and isolated stretches of rail within the facility. The last locomotives left a long time ago and the line between the base and the interchange at White Plains, MD, was turned over to Charles County and converted to a bike trail, and while the isolated tracks (often obscured by thick trees growing between the rails) and dormant cars remain, they won't be there forever.


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 Post subject: Re: US Army Knock Down Fleet cars
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:51 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:54 am
Posts: 3
Did any of these cars interchange in the USA or were they primarily on-base and overseas?


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