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locked From the SRHA Archives - Gondola Shortage in 1948


George Eichelberger
 

For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike



A&Y Dave in MD
 

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike







--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC


George Eichelberger
 

Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC


Sam Smith
 

Would one of y'all gentlemen please explain to me the difference between the "drop bottom" vs. "double drop bottom" as described below.

Thank you,
Samuel Smith


On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:26 PM, George Eichelberger
<geichelberger@...> wrote:
Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC


George Eichelberger
 

Sam:

To further complicate the nomenclature, there were also “hopper bottom” (HB) gondolas. They were as you’d expect, gondolas with hopper bottoms. A benefit of the “hopper” design was that although there were doors on both sides of the center sill, the latching mechanism controlled both doors so they could both be opened from one side.

I would think the early Carbuilders’ Cycs would provide a formal definition of DB and DDB but it does not. The Southern applied the term very specifically to different car series but without some research the meanings are not clear. A quick look at drawings suggests “DDB” cars had a “winding shaft” that went through over the center sill with a chain arrangement holding the doors closed. The ICC records show DDB cars being rebuilt into DB versions. That may (!) coincide with the development or door latches that eliminated the need for the chain design? (Any  other ideas?)

PPS Wood or composite gondolas or hoppers cars were preferred by the Southern well into the 1920s. Apparently the steel of the period rusted out very quickly when used to carry coal. Very few steel gondolas lasted more than 20 years….

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 7:52 PM, Sam Smith via groups.io <sam_smith2004@...> wrote:

Would one of y'all gentlemen please explain to me the difference between the "drop bottom" vs. "double drop bottom" as described below.

Thank you,
Samuel Smith


On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:26 PM, George Eichelberger
Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike

<PastedGraphic-1.png>

On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

<PastedGraphic-1.png>


Gino Damen
 

Hi,

I'm no chemist, but could it be that the sulfur in the coal reacted to form sulfuric acid? Which in it's turn corrodes the metal quickly if it is an inferior quality?

Gino Damen
The Netherlands


1 jun. 2020 04:06:43 George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>:

Sam:

To further complicate the nomenclature, there were also “hopper bottom” (HB) gondolas. They were as you’d expect, gondolas with hopper bottoms. A benefit of the “hopper” design was that although there were doors on both sides of the center sill, the latching mechanism controlled both doors so they could both be opened from one side.

I would think the early Carbuilders’ Cycs would provide a formal definition of DB and DDB but it does not. The Southern applied the term very specifically to different car series but without some research the meanings are not clear. A quick look at drawings suggests “DDB” cars had a “winding shaft” that went through over the center sill with a chain arrangement holding the doors closed. The ICC records show DDB cars being rebuilt into DB versions. That may (!) coincide with the development or door latches that eliminated the need for the chain design? (Any  other ideas?)

PPS Wood or composite gondolas or hoppers cars were preferred by the Southern well into the 1920s. Apparently the steel of the period rusted out very quickly when used to carry coal. Very few steel gondolas lasted more than 20 years….

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 7:52 PM, Sam Smith via groups.io <sam_smith2004@...> wrote:

Would one of y'all gentlemen please explain to me the difference between the "drop bottom" vs. "double drop bottom" as described below.

Thank you,
Samuel Smith


On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:26 PM, George Eichelberger
Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike

<PastedGraphic-1.png>

On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

<PastedGraphic-1.png>


George Eichelberger
 

Gino:

I believe that is correct. Eventually, the composition of the steel improved to help somewhat. I cannot quote the car series offhand but the Southern(s) first group of all steel gondolas was followed by more composite designs using wood rather than steel plate.

A few years ago, Richard Hendrickson was working on an article about USRA gondolas and asked if/how they were rebuilt at the end of the Gov’t financing. My, somewhat “flip”, first answer was “like everything else, they were probably rebuilt and renumbered” was completely wrong. After nearly 20 years of service, the cars were in poor condition, the USRA finance terms were expiring and the Great Depression had drastically reduced the need for any type of freight cars.

Ike

PS The USRA gondola specification in the SRHA archives has been scanned. I will post a copy if folks are interested. (Rather than a Southern Railway produced spec., it is simply the USRA document with a new cover sheet.)


On Jun 1, 2020, at 4:58 AM, Gino Damen <g.damen@...> wrote:

Hi,

I'm no chemist, but could it be that the sulfur in the coal reacted to form sulfuric acid? Which in it's turn corrodes the metal quickly if it is an inferior quality?

Gino Damen
The Netherlands


1 jun. 2020 04:06:43 George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>:

Sam:

To further complicate the nomenclature, there were also “hopper bottom” (HB) gondolas. They were as you’d expect, gondolas with hopper bottoms. A benefit of the “hopper” design was that although there were doors on both sides of the center sill, the latching mechanism controlled both doors so they could both be opened from one side.

I would think the early Carbuilders’ Cycs would provide a formal definition of DB and DDB but it does not. The Southern applied the term very specifically to different car series but without some research the meanings are not clear. A quick look at drawings suggests “DDB” cars had a “winding shaft” that went through over the center sill with a chain arrangement holding the doors closed. The ICC records show DDB cars being rebuilt into DB versions. That may (!) coincide with the development or door latches that eliminated the need for the chain design? (Any  other ideas?)

PPS Wood or composite gondolas or hoppers cars were preferred by the Southern well into the 1920s. Apparently the steel of the period rusted out very quickly when used to carry coal. Very few steel gondolas lasted more than 20 years….

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 7:52 PM, Sam Smith via groups.io <sam_smith2004@...> wrote:

Would one of y'all gentlemen please explain to me the difference between the "drop bottom" vs. "double drop bottom" as described below.

Thank you,
Samuel Smith


On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:26 PM, George Eichelberger
Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike

<PastedGraphic-1.png>

On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

<PastedGraphic-1.png>



A&Y Dave in MD
 

Gino,

That is correct. There is a great discussion of coal car design issues in the book by Robert Karig "Coal Cars: The first three hundred years."  White's "The American Railroad Freight Car" is another good source for early designs.  The Karig book is worth the price alone for his discussion and many photos of freight car trucks.Neither book is specific to the Southern designs and nomenclature though, but they are both informative, interesting reads.

Dave



Monday, June 1, 2020, 4:58:14 AM, you wrote:


Hi,

I'm no chemist, but could it be that the sulfur in the coal reacted to form sulfuric acid? Which in it's turn corrodes the metal quickly if it is an inferior quality?

Gino Damen
The Netherlands


1 jun. 2020 04:06:43 George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>:

Sam:

To further complicate the nomenclature, there were also “hopper bottom” (HB) gondolas. They were as you’d expect, gondolas with hopper bottoms. A benefit of the “hopper” design was that although there were doors on both sides of the center sill, the latching mechanism controlled both doors so they could both be opened from one side.

I would think the early Carbuilders’ Cycs would provide a formal definition of DB and DDB but it does not. The Southern applied the term very specifically to different car series but without some research the meanings are not clear. A quick look at drawings suggests “DDB” cars had a “winding shaft” that went through over the center sill with a chain arrangement holding the doors closed. The ICC records show DDB cars being rebuilt into DB versions. That may (!) coincide with the development or door latches that eliminated the need for the chain design? (Any  other ideas?)

PPS Wood or composite gondolas or hoppers cars were preferred by the Southern well into the 1920s. Apparently the steel of the period rusted out very quickly when used to carry coal. Very few steel gondolas lasted more than 20 years….

Ike


On May 31, 2020, at 7:52 PM, Sam Smith via groups.io <sam_smith2004@...> wrote:

Would one of y'all gentlemen please explain to me the difference between the "drop bottom" vs. "double drop bottom" as described below.

Thank you,
Samuel Smith



On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:26 PM, George Eichelberger
<
geichelberger@...> wrote:
Dave:

There is not a specific file or folder to refer to and read but these kinds of letters appear in the Southern Railway Presidents’ files quite often. They provide insights into both the technology and business of railroading across many years.

BTW, drop bottom (DB) and double drop botton (DDB) gondolas went through a name change in SR terminology. Before the "Hopper car” designs that we see today (open top, slope sheets and hopper doors), “coal cars” (sounds like Lionel?) were DB and DDB gons. The jpg below is a portion of an 1899 freight equipment capacity chart prepared for Samuel Spencer. Note “coal cars”…. (First column is 1899 quantities, third are 1898, second is the difference between the two years. Other columns are quantities and tonnage by different size cars.

The entire chart will be published as a “From the Archives” item in a future TIES magazine. The chart, and a complete inventory of Southern rolling stock acquired when the Southern was created from the Richmond Terminal Company bankruptcy provides a starting point for all SR rolling stock and locomotives.

Ike

<PastedGraphic-1.png>

On May 31, 2020, at 4:03 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <
dbott@...> wrote:

Re: [SouthernRailway] From the SRHA Archives - Gondola Shortage in 1948
The AAR was almost funny.  The Southern had one of the larger gondola fleets in the US, especially relative to its size (obviously nothing like the Pennsy).   I guess Faricy figured if a road had so many, it wouldn't mind adding a few more.

I'm curious since I've been reading about ATSF gondolas designed for both gravel and other loads (with drop doors) and for mill materials also (with drop ends).  Didn't the AAR think to consider the types of gons used by Southern customers vs others?  That's hinted at in the letter about 10% having to be returned empty (other than low side gons).  I wonder  also if that rule had anything to do with the fact that the Southern obtained a lot of low side gons?  A lot of people who I have talked to think it was due to the surplus of cheap manual labor in the southeast  and so low side fixed gons for gravel, sand, etc, would be cheaper and easier to unload than high side gons.  It's a plausible theory, but here's a hint that there may be more to the story.

Interesting bit of correspondence.

Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 9:56:33 AM, you wrote:


For a medium size railroad, the Southern maintained sufficient freight cars to receive, rather than pay, per diem for interchanged freight cars. When cars were MOL free running, there are multiple letters in the Southern Presidents’ files complaining to the AAR and other railroads that Southern’s cars were not being returned in a timely manner.

The two attached letters discuss a gondola shortage in 1948, a request that the Southern buy gons and the response from SR President EE Norris.
Ike

<9-27-48 AAR ltr to EEN about gons.jpeg>

<10-1-48 gon response letter.jpeg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC
<PastedGraphic-1.png>


--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC