$13.10

Rock Island 50' Composite Gondola Drop Ends Fishbelly Sides N
[489-62040]

Rock Island 50' Composite Gondola Drop Ends Fishbelly Sides N...
Road #Rock Island 1197

Released: 2000

By the late 1930s, the 52-foot, 6-inch gondola had become the preferred design for the railroads serving Northeastern industrial plants. Rock Island's 400 War Emergency gondolas were built by Pressed Steel Car Company in November of 1943. When new, #1197 received this box car red paint and white stenciling. Equipped with 70-ton Bettendorf style trucks, the cars were of 140,000-pound capacity and 1673 cubic feet.

During WWII, military needs for steel took priority. Rolled steel sheet, which was used for all types of light armor and ship construction, was particularly in short supply. Thus, American railroads received steel only after military demand was met. New cars were limited to those authorized by the War Production Board. With railroads handling the majority of all military and commercial shipments, there was a burden on the supply of rolling stock. Out of necessity, the railroads searched for ways to substitute other materials for steel. By reviving earlier composite car building practices, the AAR design teams replaced sheet steel with wood with steel systems added for strength.
Due to the length of the car, a fishbelly structure was necessary and the ribs provided protection from outward strain from the inside loads. In 1943, the builders replaced steel where wood would suffice. For structural integrity, in place of the already steel side, the designers created a truss of diagonal and vertical ribs. A wood floor was a savings and dreadnaught drop ends were applied. The War Emergency gondola dates from October of 1942 with the building program beginning late 1943 and continued into the middle of 1944.

 

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