13 October 2007

NHRHTA Technical Committee Review:





The New Haven Railroad placed an order to the Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Company for 550 70-ton 3-bay open hoppers which were to be used primarily in trap rock service. The cars were delivered from Pullman-Standard’s Butler, PA plant in early 1953 painted oxide brown and featured a large 36” script herald and were placed in the 80000-80549 series. These cars were essentially of a design adopted by the AAR as a recommended design for offset side and internal side stakes in the 1930’s. However, by the mid-1950s, this design had fallen out of favor and not without good cause. Although it offered slightly greater cubic capacity over cars with conventional flat sides, it also brought naturally acidic coal into direct contact with the joints between the side sheets and the interior structural members. Moreover, the weight of the coal itself pressing outward against the side sheets tended to push them away from the side stakes. Corrosion, combined with this outward force, led to early failure of the car sides and costly rebuilding programs. This car is actually an interim design in that while it had welded sides, other areas were riveted. This car preceded the PS-3 type car.


To combat this serious problem, several alternative designs were developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A few used welded construction to eliminate the crevices where corrosion could gain a foothold, while most moved the side stakes to the outside of the car body so the side sheets would be pressed against the stakes. The nominal interior length of these cars was 40 feet 6-8 inches, and cubic capacity was around 2,600 to 2,622 cubic feet, level while a few southern coal hauling roads ordered taller cars. The Pullman-Standard cars built for the New Haven were slightly taller cars with a level capacity of 2,640 cubic feet.


Atlas Model Railroad Company has released a ready-to-run AAR 70-ton 3-bay hopper in its’ Trainman® line of freight cars painted in the aforementioned New Haven delivery scheme. Unfortunately, the car dimensions are not correct for the New Haven, as they follow the dimensions for longer cars built for the southern roads. The car measures 42’-3” IL vs. 40’-8” & 33’-8” vs. 31’-8” between truck centers. (Atlas is aware that these cars model the minority and thus have included them in their Trainman® line) Features include fine rivet detail along the external ribs, hopper door locks molded on the hoppers, support braces for the end slope sheets and weighted & detailed under frames. While the grab irons and steps are a bit bulky looking downwards, they appear more prototypical when viewed from the side. Other features include engineering plastic trucks with free-rolling, blackened wheels Accu-mate® knuckle couplers and a removable coal load with additional weights.


The car is painted in the correct oxide brown with the script herald and other lettering nicely opaque and the data accurate with the exception of the builders’ logo which reads Bessemer, Alabama instead of Butler, Pennsylvania. Atlas has stated that was a typographical error and will be corrected on future runs.


John Kasey
NHRHTA Technical Committee


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