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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:30 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1549
Location: Southern California
Les,
I'll see what I can find on the cars the next time I'm out at the Museum. The cars had lettering for the Dresser Tire firm that had them in their yard for years and years. The "4" may have been the number that Dresser had on the car. Several of these cars are on the utility list -- not the collections list.

I think we've had then for about 20 years. The boxcars and a flat (IIRC) moved by rail from southern LA County out to Perris. It was not that long after the AAR interchange rules should have restricted their interchange -- many obsolete items. We had serviced the cars before they left the owner's property. Reported that Santa Fe had them on the end of an eastbound freight that was operated at track speed.

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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:41 am
Posts: 22
Location: NW Ohio
Dennis Storzek wrote:
Is it possible the mark isn't completely legible? There is also the possibility of a mark with a very short period of usage that doesn't show on anyone's list.


Actually, those reporting marks are quite clear on both sides. The Summer & Co info was what was difficult to discern.


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Another list of reporting marks, and there still isn't a DROX in there.

http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of ... ting-marks


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3345
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Brian Norden wrote:
Les,
I'll see what I can find on the cars the next time I'm out at the Museum. The cars had lettering for the Dresser Tire firm that had them in their yard for years and years. The "4" may have been the number that Dresser had on the car. Several of these cars are on the utility list -- not the collections list.

I think we've had then for about 20 years. The boxcars and a flat (IIRC) moved by rail from southern LA County out to Perris. It was not that long after the AAR interchange rules should have restricted their interchange -- many obsolete items. We had serviced the cars before they left the owner's property. Reported that Santa Fe had them on the end of an eastbound freight that was operated at track speed


A thought just came to me. . .could it be that the cars were repainted at Dresser--and the repainter was a railfan, and he came up with a fictional set of reporting marks for Dresser Tire?

Stranger things have happened in our field!

And that brings up the question, how did the museum in Ohio wind up with the car? We know the history of how the California cars got to the museum (and a track speed, no less!), but how did this other car get to Ohio?


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Three Rivers, Michigan
Do records of Army equipment purchases, or C&NW equipment sales, exist? A date of sale could shed light. IF the trucks came with the cars new, and stayed with them through rebuilding and ownership changes, and weren't secondhand purchases, THEN these are therefore originally C&NW cars.

However, that doesn't mean that the original owner is the owner who rebuilt them. The existence of identical cars in geographically-disparate locations suggests a fleet (possibly just the three, but perhaps many more). The owner of said fleet would have eventually liquidated the cars in one of at least three ways: through a single outlet in one location, through a single outlet that had national distribution, or through multiple, local outlets around the country wherever the cars happened to be at the time.

The Army certainly could have acquired a fleet of secondhand C&NW cars and rebuilt them according to non-railroad-standard practices; as others have pointed out, the unusual features make a non-traditional, railroad owner a likely culprit. Recall that the Army's kit boxcars are similarly same-but-different. The Army could then have distributed the newly rebuilt cars to its own facilities around the country. Evenutally, some of them would have been disposed of more locally to museums or other private owners like the ones the Perris cars came from. This second round of disposal could have even happened kind of quickly - the cars could have been wartime or postwar, stop-gap acquisitions until the commercial car builders could catch up with production on more durable cars, like those built to the AAR standards. The Army eventually came to own a fleet of those, built new for them between the mid-40s and late 50s.

The style of Army lettering in the Perris photo(s) suggests a 1940s or very early 1950s paint job - I cannot confirm this quickly or easily, but I seem to think that the lettering style on the Army's hospital ward cars changed sometime in the 1950s from a uniform-width, sans-serif font (like the one shown) to one wherein the vertical elements of each letter were slightly heavier, and gained a slight, italicized slant. Perhaps someone more familiar with Army paint practice could confirm or deny. However, if this holds water, a 1940s or 50s secondhand acquisition and rebuild date would be consistent with the period in which railroads disposed of most composite wood and steel cars.

With respect to those non-standard elements of construction: Mr. Storzek has great credentials as a freight car expert. Most of my knowledge comes from what people like him have written. I think his analysis regarding how rebuilds typically took place can be taken as gospel.

I'd only suggest a closer look at the end posts: most single-sheathed cars included a minimum of two main posts, supplemented by other vertical or diagonal members. C&NW's single sheathed fleet included USRA cars, Fowler cars, and possibly others, but neither the USRA nor Fowler designs had an arrangement that looks like it would have translated directly into what you see here. Fowler cars had flush end sills, and USRA cars were usually built with stamped metal ends. This, of course, does not rule out other single-sheathed designs that C&NW might have used. A double-sheathed original design is also not entirely out of the question.

Basically, depending on what they look like up close and in person, the end braces could mean a lot of things. The arrangement here is far simpler than is typical. Either some braces got removed, or the ends were rebuilt entirely, retaining only the basic intent of earlier bracing methods. It would be unusual to use older practices like vertical posts in new construction, but then the whole car is unusual.

Someone who can get a set of eyes on those posts would be able to confirm whether they show any evidence of additional members cut off with torches, or any place where there might have been attachment to old wood sheathing - or whether they look like they were brand new when everything was welded in place. They look pretty clean in the photos.

Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2292
Location: Northern Illinois
I hate to say it, but the mark may never have been officially assigned. In pre-UMLER days just about any bogus mark would fly... there was no instantaneous referencing a national data base, and unless by coincidence there was another car with the same initial in the area to cause confusion, no one questioned it and no one was the wiser. I know that over the years IRM has moved equipment temporarily marked UTC (don't ask), IRM, IRMX, and finally after UMLER was in effect they actually had to get a mark assigned, which is IRYM. Essentially, anyone could paint anything they wanted on cars for in-plant use, even if they occasionally went out of the plant for local inter-plant use. Given the trucks under those cars, by the mid seventies they were no longer allowed in interchange anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3345
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Dennis Storzek wrote:
I hate to say it, but the mark may never have been officially assigned. In pre-UMLER days just about any bogus mark would fly... there was no instantaneous referencing a national data base, and unless by coincidence there was another car with the same initial in the area to cause confusion, no one questioned it and no one was the wiser. I know that over the years IRM has moved equipment temporarily marked UTC (don't ask), IRM, IRMX, and finally after UMLER was in effect they actually had to get a mark assigned, which is IRYM. Essentially, anyone could paint anything they wanted on cars for in-plant use, even if they occasionally went out of the plant for local inter-plant use. Given the trucks under those cars, by the mid seventies they were no longer allowed in interchange anyway.


Well, that looks like as good an explanation as any for a DROX mark we can't find!!

Now I wonder if there is anything else on the cars, either in paint or a stamped or cast number, that might be a clue?


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
Someone needs to look inside, as almost all freight cars had the at least the number, usually the initial too, stenciled on the lining somewhere near the door. IIRC, it was an AAR requirement for interchange, and I should think that whoever had these cars rebuilt intended to use them in interchange.

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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:40 pm 

Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:19 pm
Posts: 40
I wonder if it isn't an amalgam of several possibilities. The US Army was very involved in producing experimental cars for use in war zones - such cars had to be fast to build, lighter than normal, steel and available standard parts. They (and the navy) were very keen on welding, as it took a lot less time than riveting, and it required somewhat less expertise. (The Pullman Library has drawings of a variety of cars - both in wood and steel)

If the cars were built (or to be sold) with the experimental sliding gauge trucks, then it would be natural, upon selling, to obtain used trucks from parts / scrap dealers. C&NW was getting rid of a bunch of older cars, the trucks were less than usable for their purposes.

And, being sold in government surplus auctions, and a less than standard design and small fleet, they'd be a natural pickup for storage and or small dealers to obtain a like fleet to be used for close trans-shipment. The marks on the frame could be a bastardization attempt/wear on the original.

Likely as not, all three clues are correct. As for the reporting marks, someone not wanting to do too much, with the DODX marks, and looking at the new customer, the DRCX or DRDX uses two or three characters, and the rest is easily painted.

I'm just amazed someone hasn't called it a bleeding Harriman box car....


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:00 pm 

Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:19 pm
Posts: 40
BTW - the one in Ohio could certainly be different than those in CA - or the same from another mother. Take a look at the NKP photo about 4 scrolled pages down:

http://www.trainboard.com/highball/inde ... 277/page-3

Other NKP cars also appear "similar". Again, there is certainly the prospect of it being an experimental "fleet" of 4-5 cars, for the military or single railroad with bad trucks.


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5291
rswebber -

The interesting photo in this series isn't the Nickel Plate car, but the Erie car! IF Erie 70367 is REALLY a steel car, it at least bears a slight resemblance to the car at Maumee and the two at OERM! Anyone have any info on this Erie series of cars?

Thanks for forwarding this.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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I don't think the Erie car is a perfect match, but shows the concepts at play. The ends of boxcars have to be supported like the end beams on the back because the loads inside could shift on coupling, braking, etc, and slam into the ends, thats why modern boxcars have ribbed ends. The steel end beams are the updated modfix into the original steel frame, the build above the frame is all new (at the time) this gave the car more service life.
I am not sure the trucks would have changed, I will use that as a bouncing off point in more digs.


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:07 pm
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Erie 70367 was one of a group of old single sheath cars that were given a few extra years of life by applying plain steel sides over their unchanged original sides. The cars were in a couple groups and apparently included USRA's and Fowlers. This one seems to be a Fowler. Reportedly, ordinary carpenter's screws were used to attach the new steel sides! The cars were retired around the early 1950's, although a very small number eked out a few more years, leased to the AC&Y by an equipment dealer.

Speedwitch produced an HO kit a few years ago. It is no longer available, and is quite rare.

The car in Maumee is definitely not one of these

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:37 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5291
BnOTolSub wrote:
Stopped and looked at the car today. The truck frames all appear to say "C&NW" on them. The underframe was stenciled on both sides with "DROX 1414". There was also a stencil on both sides saying "Repaired and painted by Summer & Company, Buffalo NY" with a date of 6-19XX. I couldn't tell if the last 2 numbers were 50, 58, 60 or 68.


BnOTolSub -

Well, one of the things you discovered on the boxcar there at Maumee has been disclosed. RobertJohnDavis sent me a copy of an article in "The Scanner", the monthly newsletter of the Toronto Marine Historical Society. The article talked about a lake steamer ("Corona") that was scrapped by Summer & Company of Buffalo, New York in 1937. So, Summer & Company must have had the Maumee car at some point (1950, `58, `60 or 1968). Were they perhaps using it in their scrap yard? And might they also have been the company that had the mysterious DROX reporting marks? Wonder if that company (or a successor) still exists?

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Little mystery in Maumee, Ohio
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:31 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
This is no way an exact match, but shows concept.

Image

You have the vertical beams on the end, also note the end truss rods support like you use on the underside of the car, so load jostling a concern. I tend to lean that the car in question is a C&NW car, I am still poking and looking.


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