40' vs 50' cars for carrying lumber (late 1960s)

Yannis Oct 1, 2018

  1. Yannis

    Yannis TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all,

    I am in the planning phase of a furniture factory on my layout. I did a lot of reading on threads/books on the topic but i have come up short on a very specific topic.

    If for 1968-1970, i should be using 50' or 40' boxcars for inbound lumber to the furniture factory.

    I take it, that in either case i should opt for double doors (using a fork lift for more efficiency) rather than the more time consuming 6' door boxcars of the past. I also understand that 50' is more economical that 40' with respect to shipping an economies of scale, and also that 40' might be preferred based on specific loading-door spacing of the customer etc.... (I saw some interesting 10' door, 40' cars though for NP/SP).

    My outbound finished product is going to be in 50' double door boxcars. As an added question, if loading/warehouse door spacing is not an issue (ie dock present and/or large/multiple doors), would mixing 40' with 50' boxcars serving the same industry make sense? Or is it more standard/plausible to have all 40' or 50' cars spotted.

    Many thanks in advance for your time/replies
    Yannis.
     
  2. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just a guess, Yannis, but possibly the biggest factor might have been what was available to the shipper. I suspect NP was a major shipper of lumber, which a 40' car with a 10' door would probably work well for. A mix of 40' and 50' cars would definitely make things interesting and probably did happen. As a kid in the 60's I think I remember the local lumber yard receiving lumber in 40' cars. Maybe someone here knows more about it.
     
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  3. Yannis

    Yannis TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Tom for the reply and the insight on what was available to the shipper (mill). As you can understand i am trying to justify using just 50' or 50' & 40' simultaneously on the same industry.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    During those few years specified, both 40 and 50 footers were in use. Plenty of 40 foot box cars still roaming and packed with forest products.
     
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  5. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    Yannis,

    The NP, MILW, GN and CB&Q had a raft of 40' Boxcars with Plug and Sliding doors that they used in lumber service for part of the year and due to the plug door they were used in grain service on the light rail equipped branchlines, as the plug door sealed the opening and a grain door was used for the 6' sliding door. Then for lumber service they had a 13' door opening for loading lumber.

    [​IMG]

    GN Boxcar I did using a Front Range Car with Tichy Decals.

    Rick Jesionowski
     
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  6. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    The Milwaukee Road had smaller end doors in one end of they're homebuilt "Ribside" boxcars, usually the opposite end of the brakewheel and gear, so long 2x4's could be loaded thru the ends.
     
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  7. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    I think that a lot would depend on when the loading dock was built . If it was built at the time when 40 footers were the only car available then the doors would be spaced for 40 footers . Throwing a 50 ft. car in there would decrease the number of loading doors that would be available to the shipper because the doors weren't spaced for them . Those companies were probably able to specify to the railroad that they could only accept 40 footers . If the warehouse were built when 50 footers were common they would be able to accept both types of cars , though they probably preferred 50 footers .
     
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  8. Yannis

    Yannis TrainBoard Member

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    Ric, Kurt, Mike and Boxcab, many thanks for your replies!

    Rick, very interesting car, i think it will be an interesting addition to the fleet having a similar project based off an accurail car.

    The industry will have doors either spaced for 50' or dual/wider doors so that both 40' and 50' can be spotted. In any case, i plan to have a concrete loading dock (covered), wide enough for a forklift to operate. I suppose with this setup, car length will not be an issue, and mixing 40' with 50' on the same dock/industry is plausible.

    For outbounds i am set on having 50' ATSF (mostly) furniture cars (2-3 spots), whereas for inbounds. 3-4 spots using a mix of 40' (double door, combo, 10' YT rebuilt ones) and 50' (double door for lumber, single for other material like cotton, leather etc...). Total 5-6 spots with some spots being used both for inbound/outbound (the middle ones on the dock).

    While the 50' car sounds more economical, maybe for some types of hardwood given high density, a 40' would make more sense utilizing a better ratio with respect to volume/weight capacity limits on the car.
     
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  9. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Can't determine which scale you're working in, but Intermountain has this car in N scale that would be suitable for outbound loads:

    [​IMG]
    https://www.intermountain-railway.com/n/html/65605.htm
     
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  10. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    Yannis for your information.

    The North Stratford Railroad in New Hampshire acquired used 40' Boxcars with 8' Doors in the 1970's for hauling furniture from the Ethan Allen Factory.

    [​IMG]

    Rick Jesionowski
     
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  11. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Supporter

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    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1260/4747/products/3972476.jpg?v=1477634985

    Pere Marquette, on the other hand, had a somewhat different take on the whole situation. With autos coming from Detroit and Flint and furniture and auto bodies coming from Grand Rapids, this type of car was probably the perfect solution in the pre-auto rack era, probably shifted entirely to furniture service later on. Looks like you have a wide range of choices.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  12. Yannis

    Yannis TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting info, looks indeed like a situation where for incoming loads of hardwood/other lumber types, lots of options for boxcar types will come into play. 40' combo door, 40' with 10' door, 40' double door, 50' double door!

    For outbounds, as i said i plan to use, 50' double doors and mostly ATSF with the exception of a scenario inspired by Tom's post, see comment below.

    Rick for some reason i cannot see the image you posted.

    Tom interesting aspect/scenario. I could hypothesize that a double door boxcar (with end-doors) full of auto parts (NYC) inbound for Los Angeles assembly plants, in order not to return empty, it could be loaded with furniture for the trip back east.

    I forgot to mention, i am in HO scale.
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yannis- I hope you won't limit yourself to being top heavy using AT&SF cars. You mention "other woods". A lot of those would be such as pine and fir. They would come from places, (using limited examples here), such as Wisconsin, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon.... Major haulers like GN, NP, MILW, UP, BN. A realistic mix of foreign road cars, with home road utilized, could be less than 50% home.
     
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  14. Yannis

    Yannis TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for bringing this up and sorry for the late reply. Nope i wont be limiting the choices to being top heavy in ATSF cars. I will do this only for outbounds of finished furniture. Inbounds will be the exact opposite. Mostly NP, SP (and in due time i will add GN, CBQ etc...) and almost no ATSF. Having said that, for the layout in total i ll be having something like 50% ATSF since i am modelling a local freight in SoCal on an ATSF passenger mainline.
     

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