Large Scale Central

Wood car framing

So I brought this up her to hopefully capture the most attention from the knowledge base here.

In prototype wood car construction, specifically a car made for heavy loads, did they ever put in cross blocking between the main long beams.

I ask because Cliff Jennings has a flat car design that not only has truss rods running lengthwise, but if I remember right it also had rods running across the width. I was trying to find the info he sent me on it but I can’t seem to find what I did with it.

But it seems reasonable on a heavy duty car to cross block it but maybe I’m just over thinking it.

The D&RGW hung a piece of rail under each outside frame beams on some flats to keep them from sagging under heavy loads.

Not sure what drawings Cliff may have provided, but the short answer is yes. The expanded answer is, to the best of my knowledge, all wood framed cars - passenger and freight - had crossing truss rods at the truck bolsters, This was done to distribute the point load of the king pin to the rest of the framing.

Whether there were other cross car truss rods, I have never seen anything cross car other than the needle beams. If there were others I would welcome being shown where they were and how they were used.

Here is my rendition I built. I know you asked about cross bracing, but it’s just an idea. Doesn’t have to be rail. Could be steel I bar.

Bob, I don’ think all of them had - especially narrow gauge wood flat cars. I couldn’t find any in White’s book. They seem to use a big bolster instead.
I agree that the coaches did have cross-truss-rods.

Pete, all the references I have on D&RGW seem to have them If you look at the photos on the bottom of page 24 in A Century + Ten of D&RGW Narrow Gauge Freight Cars, 1871 to 1981 The plates on the side sills for the bolster truss rods are clearly visible. I may do some referencing over the weekend in my NG&SLG DVD and see what other flat cars that they have published have the truss rods.

As to the rail down the side of some flats, they were added to cut down box/stock cars during the oil boom and were specifically used as spacer cars between the pipe gons. The pipes were longer than the gons and the cut down cars were used to give the over length pipe a place to ride. Make note of the short brake wheel, or sometimes side mounted brake wheel.

That would be uniquie


I think you are spot on with what Cliff provided. Since you mentioned it i do believe they are at the bolsters. So that makes sense.


Thanks for the picture. I happen to have plenty of spare rail I bought from Tom for my eventual 32mm expansion. I am certainly going to incorporate that. All I am looking for is a way to make this a stand out car and different from the generic but it also has to be believable.

Since I have your attention, does anyone have a reference to the type of brake system that has the hand wheel on the side of the car? I have found a few pictures showing it but no really whats going on or how it works so I can replicate it.

The above from the american-engineer-and-railroad-journal-d-for-this-servicewhich-requires-great-strength-large-carrying-capacity-rapidloading-and-discharging-facilities-simple-construction-andshort-cars-to-suit-the-ore-pockets-at-the-docks-in-the-lakesuperior-region-there-are-in-use-several-designs-of-hopper-orecars-and-by-courtesy-of-the-motive-power-officers-of-the-chi-cago-milwaukee-st-paul-railway-the-latest-improvement-onthat-road-is-illustrated-this-car-carries-50-tons-of-ore-andweighs-29300-lbs-a-ratio-of-77-per-cent-of-paying-load-thiscar-built-of-wood-weighs-but-500-lbs-more-than-2CGY167
note the two cross rods just at the inside ends of the coupler pocket

Devon, scour Google and see if you can download some of the late 1800s Car Builder’s Cyclopedias. I have a couple on my other computer and they are great for finding the kind of stuff you are looking for. If you can’t find the, let me know and I will see if I can get them off the other machine.

Try this link and D/L the PDF Car Builders' Cyclopedia of American Practice - Google Books


I think those truss rods by the coupler are specific to it being a hopper. Its replacing the traditional truss rods that run the full length of the car and have the turn buckle. Since the hopper door would be hindered by a traditional full length rod I think this is the solution. Same with the diagnol trusses. . . I am guessing that the doors really hinder the strength of the frame longitudinally. So they are finding a way to transfer the load to the outer trusses.

Of course this is purely a guess because I have zero knowledge of car engineering or any engineering for that matter. Its just what it looks like to my ignorant eye.


I will certainly give that a go. But at the end of the day I can get carried away designing the underside of a car no one will see. But that sorta stuff bugs me. I dont consider myself a rivet counter by any means but I do like things to be at least close to right.

Thinking if Cliff built it it might be here and possibly helpful. If not perhaps it will put you down another rabbit hole! :laughing:

Go for it Devon. Here’s the level of detail I went to for the underside of my Mogul tender that nobody will see.

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See thats the ticket. Even though no one will see it, you know its there. Thats why I usually end up doing it.


Those look to be the beast in the second link.

I took this photo of an idler flat at the old Orange Empire RR Museum back in 2012. I have a few more pics, including the pipe gon next to it, but that’s not very unique!

I’m just a worthless Rooster not an expert on anything that you asked.
Good Luck :wink:

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Its unique enough because no one does it( other than John B). May not be unique on prototype railroads but in the modeling world its different. And for this car different (but realistic) is what I’m after.

Hey, Rooster!
You are perfect at LGB box smashing!
But you got a long way to go to beat my record. :grinning: :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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