Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Case of the Missing Truss Rods | 20 Comments - Click Here :

Robert Grandt Collection.
    Doug Heitkamp - Details, it's all about the details! How often have we heard that phrase? As fans of the C&S, we often have to rely upon old photos for information. Analyzing old railroad pictures is almost a hobby within a hobby. It's amazing what people can "see" in these old black and white prints. I've always been interested in freight car construction practices from the turn of the century. Since virtually none of these cars still exist, I have to rely upon pictures for a lot of my research.

I recently purchased a print of this photo from Robert Grandt. It was taken in Idaho Springs shortly after the turn of the century. Based on my reference material, the cars in the picture are:

On the right -
C&S 7681 - 30', 20 ton, Built by Peninsular 1884
C&S 7591 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4
3rd car back - I believe this is another 27' car based on the details.
In the rear center: 
C&S 7306 - 26', 12 ton, Built by Litchfield 1879/80

On the left:
C&S 7529 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4

While the upper brake staff supports are certainly unique, that's not the reason I've asked Darel to post the picture to his blog.

My question is - Where are the outer truss rods on the 27' cars?

You can clearly see them on C&S 7681, yet they are not visible on C&S 7591 or the car behind it. There are also no truss rod end bolts visible on the corners of the end of car C&S 7529. Every drawing (and model) I have seen for the 27' cars depicts the usual 4 truss rods with needle beams and queen posts. While the 27' cars in the picture have the needle beams, they appear to be lacking the traditional outside truss rods. 

Derrell Poole pointed out to me that if you go back into the blog to "Roper's Snapshot Saturday No. 9 from July 2014, there is another picture worth looking at. C&S Boxcar 7408 is also a 27' car. Again, needle beams but no visible outside truss rods. Derrell is not only a good friend, but he is also a great resource. His eye for detail and knowledge of the C&S is amazing. Any of us that model the C&S owe Derrell a big Thanks!

In my conversations with Derrell, we both agreed that there were truss rods - thus the needle beams, but that there were probably only two, just outside the center sills. We have no way to prove this, but based on the clues presented in these old photos, it's our conclusion. If anybody has any ideas or info on how these cars were built, feel free to comment (even if it's just a guess)!


Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
20 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Doug and Derrell are correct.This can be verified on pages 27-28 of Ron Rudnick's DSP&P freight car book.The drawing on p27 and a paragraph about the truss rods toward the bottom of the second column on p28.

  2. I received an email from Derrell Poole tonight in which he reminded me about Ron Rudnick's "Denver South Park & Pacific Modeling Guide Version 4.1 (1998). There is a drawing of the frame on page 27 based on his observations with only the two center truss rods and text that describes his observations on page 28. In his first version of this book (1989) he has the drawing on page 23 with 4 truss rods.

    Derrell also provided the following about the cars shown earlier in "Ropers Snapshot Saturday No. 9"

    C&S 7681 - 30', 20 ton, Built by Peninsular 1884 DL&G 24543
    C&S 7591 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4 DL&G 24638
    C&S 7306 - 26', 12 ton, Built by Litchfield 1879/80 DL&G 24164
    C&S 7529 - 27', 14 ton, Built by Union Pacific 1883/4 UPD&G 25465 (the "25XXX" identifies this car as an Ex KC number).

    So, we are not the first to notice this feature about the 27' cars. Credit goes to Ron for updating his modeling guide. I would still love to see a wreck photo that shows the details on the underside of these cars. Until that happens, back to looking at pictures for more clues!

    Doug Heitkamp

    1. Doug,
      did these cars, i.e. the C&S 7529 have two end doors as is presented on the B-end here ? Sister car at Dumont (Roper's #8, UPD&G 25489) has it's end door at the A-end. 25474 at S.P. also has an end door at the B-end.

      Also now looking at these UPD&G and infant C&S pictures, I notice that the Airhose is held up on the dummy coupling. Must have been an well obeyed (enforced?) directive of the times.


      in New Zealand

  3. Just minding my own business, feeling Grande, then I start frequenting this site... Next thing ya know I'm buying South Park and C&S kits, searching for and buying obscure DSP&P modeling guides, looking for Phase I gondola plans, eagerly awaiting Roper's next nugget... What's up with that?!

    Love the photo, especially the diagonal hand grabs on the end, thanks for posting. Becoming more fascinated by turn-of-the-century rolling stock and it's construction, and pedestrian (meant in a nice way) scenes like this that remind us that these were working railroads. Plus all the rich detail we can pull out of these photos if we look hard enough... Great stuff.

    Mike McKenzie

  4. Great observations Doug. What I noticed is that on the switch, how much longer the guardrails are than the protection rails on the frog. Up to now, I had always thought these guardrails were of the same length.

    Thanks again for sharing,

    1. Not to be off topic but it is also a great shot of the derail - a detail that, like cattle guards almost never actually gets modeled. How does this thing work? It looks like the "throw" for the closing rail lays across the outer rail so that the wheel on the outer track rotates the switch causing the inner wheel to jump the track. I am just guessing at this.

      I also love the kinks in the track so pronouced from this angle. Overall this is an outstanding view. Didn't we kinda figure out exactly where this was in Idaho Springs Doug?

      There is another thing I notice that never seems to get modeled. During this time it seems like there were paper tags nailed to the cars all the time.

    2. Derrell, & ...
      That casting (or Forging) on the outer rail allows the wheeset to ride up and drop over the railhead derailing the car and the guardrail keeps the car from fouling the Mainline. Not always guaranteed though.

      As for the location, it was between 6th and 7th Ave and I'm pretty certain it is the Ruth Mill.
      Hows this for a Creek Level view of the same place but at an earlier time before the tall tower was added. see DPL call # Z-2785
      Can easily be made out in extreme enlargement here in this McClure photo see DPL call# MCC-1256
      and looked like this before the C&S was torn out. DPL call# X-61588

      The key to all this is the large square building behind the DERAIL sign, shows up in all these views including the most latest one of the Ruth :)
      I am of the opinion that that building was what was called the Oil House and was the delivery for CONOCO in Idaho Springs.
      Confirmation of the locations of these building comes in this earlier photo of the Bertha, another story in itself perhaps Mr D.? Note that the square building has not yet been built opposite the Oil siding East of the Lumber dealer and the C&S stockyards but a Tank is below grade. Looking at the pg314 in Mineral Belt 3 ( picture dated 1880's complete with Block Lettered Boxcars :) at the Ruth Mill no less) shows the Bertha mill has burned down. DPL call# X-2278. What appears to be a conduit connects the C&S grade with the square building in all these photos.

      See, more to this fantastic picture than meets the eye. Thank YOU Mr Grandt and Mr Doug.

      in New Zealand

    3. More information on this Mill and location can be found here:

      The square building refered to is in fact a Planing House for Moscript and Hassell Lumber Co. The oil siding is behind on the otherside of the Mainline.

  5. Mike, the South Park-er Clear Creek-has that effect on folks.

    Lo, could this be a scale track? Note the wood below the cars spotted on the left, along with the derail and the short spur.

    Also, I am digging the rock retaining wall on the right. It looks almost like sandbags.

    Keith Hayes
    Leadville in Sn3

    1. Harry Brunk wrote in his series Up Clear Creek on The Narrow Gauge in Nov/Dec 1985 NG&SL Gazette about some changes at Idaho Springs, among them was this titbit...

      "I have seen documents dated August 2, 1904 from the Colorado Railroad Museum for an Authority For Ependiture (AFE) for moving Track Scales from Georgetown to Idaho Springs. The total expenditure was $460.00, but the reason for moving the scales was not given - neither was the location of the installation of the scales in Idaho Springs. I would have like (sic) to have included the scales on my model of Idaho Springs but their location never came to light."

      Well now you know, the rest of the story. Good-day.

      in New Zealand

  6. There's lots of kinks in my track-so it must be prototypical !!

  7. The 30’ Peninsular car 7681 is particularly curious in this view. In the upper left corner is damage and closer examination suggests contacted to the corner at the fascia level. Part of the end fascia is broken away and the side fascia was moved toward the center - perhaps 4 inches – evidenced as sub ducted under the left half of fascia over the door. The damage itself is curious; the car or an obstruction above the track might have been out of place at some point. The roof boards were sheered 3 – 4 times the length the side fascia was moved. This suggests something scraped from the corner toward the center. Perhaps the end fascia was shattered and broken when the car was pulled away from the obstruction.

    This is a visual study of how the cars were put together - at least that such minor damage might reveal. It draws your attention to the curious brackets seen under the end fascia near the edge. I’d guess this was actually the end of a tension rod that ran the length of the car on either side. Were there also inboard tension rods? It would appear not since we don’t see similar brackets near the middle but that isn’t any guarantee.

    The car is still in service. Apparently the damage did not affect its serviceability. It could have “just happened” but it looks like a bolt was screwed into the end fascia (next to the tension bracket) perhaps to keep it in place. This suggests at least a short interim between the event and this photo.

    Other curious details about the car were unlike angled end grab irons; the left iron was several inches longer than the right one. Also note how the retainer air line sorta swoops upward from the bottom.

    A principle I recognize when I study photos is that general rebuilds done on mass scale over a few month tend to make equipment uniform while day to day and piece-meal repairs tends to diversify even like equipment into unique individuals. Who models these kinds of details - besides caricature modelers and Malcolm Furlow?

    Perhaps the photo was taken between 1903 and 1906. There appear to be no modern cars in the view. The season is suggested as summer deciduous trees in the background. I would guess this was summer 1905 because the weight stencil on the lower right side of the car appears relatively bright and that was applied on Dec. 3, 1904.

    The pen cars were an important group since they was the most numerous 30’ boxcars the RR had at the time. This car certainly lasted beyond 1907. In Feb. 1899 there were 106 of the group on the C&S. In August 1905 there were still 93 cars. By the end of 1910 there were about 63 cars. In 1916 there were 52 cars left but by the end of 1917 there were only 24. 1916 appears to be the year the C&S got serious about complying with the ICC rules of 1911. Their method of compliance was to scrap the old inherited cars rather than expend funds to make them legal – and rightly since by then they were more than 30 years. Thus began “the Great Tear-down” of the late teens. By 1919 there was only one car of this class known to have existed. Consistently listed among cars not yet updated was Boxcar 7692. Finally on Feb. 20th, 1920, Master Mechanic Roesch replied to Sup. Motive Power, H. W. Ridgeway, to inform him that ”…C&S 7692… has been standing at Buena Vista for the last ten or twelve years. The car has been used as a ware house by the foreman at that point…” (for tools and materials). Then he wrote Ridgeway again on April 1st, 1920 to convey AFE 3513 authorizing the dismantling of 7692 for 15 dollars. A hand written note initialed by Roesch said “to set body off”. Thus 7692 was officially dismantled by becoming a permanent shed.

    What ever became of 7661? It could have been any of the cars dropped from the roster from 1907 beyond.

    Derrell Poole

  8. Of course the car is actually 7681 not 7661 but aside from the re weigh date of July 12th 1904 all else applies. Too stinking busy. Come on November fifth! - like that will really change my schedule much!

    1. Derrell wrote > " Come on November fifth! " :

      I didn't know you Americans celebrated Guy Fawkes?


      in New Zealand

  9. I thought he was talking about the day after mid term elections!!!!!!!

  10. Replies
    1. Didn't we all? The Declaration of Independence is the statement of our Core Values and First Principles as a Nation. The Constitution is the compact given to the Federal Government (by the people) that manifests those values and principles. We are a Republic, not a Democracy! The Bill of Rights are the guarantee of protection of our unalienable rights that we already have simply for being born human. Our government has not been obeying these principles and these LAWS for a very long time. Hopefully Tuesday's outcome will be a step in the right direction...

      But let us be wise!

      Enough said (after all, I was asked). If anyone has "need" to "discuss" this with me please contact me privately.... since it is way off topic.

  11. In support of the "no outer truss rods" theory, I see no evidence of the large washers and nuts where the truss rods would be on C&S 7520. If it had outer truss rods, they would extend through the end sill and have huts to help draw them tight. These nuts are clearly visible on C&S 7681.

  12. Go look at the underframe of the ex. Kansas Central box car, above St. Elmo. The Kansas Central 27' box cars that were built by the Union Pacific did not have truss rods. There were 2 tension rods that ran the length, through the frames on the outside of the center sills, The side frames on these cars were a heavy queen post design with the posts at each side of the side doors. There were bolts that ran through the end beams and terminated at square nuts, in pockets mortised into the side of the sills. The needle beams were bolted to each sill, but there isn't any sign that there was ever any truss rods bearing plates or queen posts beneath the needle beams.
    Dave Johnson