Rolling Stock Uses?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by 2-8-2, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I'm writing up a layout planning document, which outlines what I want to accomplish. My biggest hurdle at this point is deciding which industries use which types of cars. Is there a website available with this information?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It changes depending on era you are modeling. From the early days until the end of the 50's for instance, grain was hauled in box cars with cardboard covering the door openings to keep it from falling out. I think it was late 50's or early 60's that the covered hopper was invented and grain ceased to be hauled in boxcars and was hauled in covered hoppers instead.
  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I'm modeling the early 1950's. 1952 is the most likely scenario at this point.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Basic sense determines most of the loads. Hoppers get lumpy stuff that can stand the weather. Covered hoppers get lumpy stuff that's sensitive.
    Gondolas get weather resistant stuff that can be lifted in and out. Flat cars get goods that won't fall off the sides.
    Refrigerator cars get food that can spoil.
    Box cars get anything that can go through the doors.
    Tank cars get liquids and gases.
  5. Summit

    Summit Member

    Perhaps the biggest question you should answer first is where is your model railroad set? In terms of geographic area? That will determine in large part what kind of industries you have represented on your layout, which will then give you a place to start when deciding your mix of rolling stock. This becomes less important if you are modeling a bridge road- a railroad that exists primarily to move cars from railroad A on one end to railroad B at the other end, with very little on-line traffic generated in between.

    It is often said that the first step in any model railroad is to give your railroad a reason to exist. That will provide the foundation you need to build a theme on.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    When all else fails, use boxcars.

    For 1952, you're probably a bit early for covered hoppers, so if you're handling any sort of grain, then use boxcars to serve your grain mills etcetera. Lumber was also hauled in boxcars. Any sort of assembled goods that would fit into a boxcar would generally be hauled in boxcars, including automotibles--there were open auto carriers too, but many lines ran special two-door boxcars big enough to hold a couple of cars. Flatcars hold really big stuff and bulk loads--including bigger types of lumber. Gondolas are typically used to hold metal products. Hoppers are used for minerals that would be a pain to unload from a gondola and can stand the weather--coal, ore, rock.
    In 1952 refrigerator cars were still largely cooled with blocks of ice, but mechanical refrigeration was in use. 36' reefers were still commonplace, because the icing facilities were built with 36' cars in mind and it was easier to continue to build new 36' reefers than rebuild all the icing facilities. Mechanical reefers obviously didn't have that restriction.

    While reefers are obviously used for things like fruit and vegetables, meats and dairy products, they were also commonly used for less-perishable foodstuffs like nuts and seeds.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Another use for reefers was in winter to prevent freezing -- some would have a small heater installed.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There is just a mish-mash of rolling stock out there... It really does depend on the location, era, and road you have selected for your modelling. Once you finalize that then more specific suggestions may be possible.

    Before the railroads got into really purpose-built cars, there were:

    - some with big double doors, some with end doors (for cars)
    - for lumber (with small end doors)
    - for grain (with cardboard covering most of the door) - some had drop bottoms, kind of like a hopper

    - drop end
    - drop bottom
    - covered

    - covered
    - most not covered

    And of course, lots of flat cars.

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Oh yeah,

    And ice reefers, and their cousin the insulated boxcar.

  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In 1952 ice reefers would be 40 feet long for produce, like SFRD (Santa Fe) or PFE (S.P. & U.P.), the 36 footers would all be meat reefers. The icing facilities didn't have to be changed for longer cars since they were just long platforms, in fact some express reefers were ice bunker cars 50 feet long. The limiting factor was that the meat packing houses had their loading docks set up for 36 foot cars and didn't want to change. The meat cars were virtually all owned or leased by the meat company like Armour, Swift, Rath, etc.

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