Westerfield gon

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Sun Mar 27 09:12:20 EDT 2016


What an outstanding topic!!!

Obviously Chapter 5 of Dow’s “Norfolk and Western Coal Cars from 1881 to
1998” provides excellent coverage of the early N&W battleship gons (and
Chapter 10 of the later 100t cars.)

Although I’m guessing you know of this resource too, Martin Karig’s book,
“Coal Cars:  The First 300 Years” has the following material (but the N&W
stuff is largely redundant with Dow):

p64:       N&W 1912 100t car; general design

p65:       N&W 1914 GKa 100000-100749 series, compatible with rotary
dumping; photo

p65:       N&W 1920 100t design; partial detailed drawings

p260:     N&W 1912 100t experimental car 70559; photo

p260:     N&W GKb 100750-101749 series; photo

p261:     N&W GKd 100000-101749 series; photo

p261:     VGN 1917 G-5 500000-500003 series experimental; photo

p261:     C&O 1921 100000-100999 series; photo

p265:     PRR 1917 105t H26 experimental car 173001; photo

p328:     B&O 1929 95t (nominal) W-4 experimental car; photo

p329:     PRR 1931 95t (nominal) H27 experimental car 220300; photo

I included the 95t (nominal) B&O and PRR cars in the above list because
N&W’s cars were nominally rated at 90t, allowing for “loading over the
gunwales” to achieve their intended capacities of 100t.  So by my yardstick
(>3000 cu ft capacity, >100t intended capacity), the B&O and PRR cars are
worthy candidates for inclusion as a sidebar in your talk.

John Teichmoeller’s book, “PRR Steel Open Hopper Cars” is an outstanding
modeler’s handbook for all classes of PRR hoppers.  He provides a photo and
substantial notes on the H26 on p 148, and two pages including prototype
and model photos, drawings, and substantial notes on the H27 on pp
149-150.  John references the 1931 Car Builder’s Cyclopedia (and Train Shed
Cyclopedia #48) as carrying side view and photos of both cars.  He further
cites Negatives 8772-8776 in the Hagley Museum for H27.  He has also made
suggestions for modeling VGN hoppers, and might have some material of use
to you.  [And he probably knows as much as anybody living about the N&W,
VGN, and C&O “navies”; I can’t recommend strongly enough that folks get to
know his work on “The Transfer” periodical.]

“The Virginian Railway Handbook” p34 has photo and drawing of G3c.

I’ve found it interesting that F&C has very detailed layout for their VGN
battleship’s brake system, whereas I have heard that they didn’t have a
definitive reference for it.  If your research only de-mystified that one
sub-topic (brake system layout for ANY of the battleship gons), I would
consider that a triumph!  Then we could all get to work making the NPP
brass models a little less disappointing.

Oh, and if you could list sources of decently accurate, decently functional
HO trucks for these cars…

An interesting challenge for the model operator is to stock trains and
yards with reasonably accurate *proportions* of car classes.  For example,
from the above it’s clear that the GKa and GKb cars were retired before the
GKd cars were numbered, and could not have been contemporaneous.  If you
have access to ORER for the years 1912 – 1948 (I was a bit surprised that
the VGN had a fair number of G4c’s at least through 1948), you could help
us all to get this right by making a series of “bar charts” that shows
number of cars in each of the battleship gon classes by year.  I made a
crude start at this several years ago for VGN gons and hoppers in the 1948
– 1960 era (I only have 4 ORER, spanning that era) and developed the second
sheet of the attached Excel workbook.  If you can work with Excel, check
out columns B, S, T, U, and V of the “Prototype Data” spreadsheet.  From
these I used the Excel “Column Chart” capability to build the embedded
chart.  That chart shows the relative proportions of each car type (and
especially when classes started phasing out) by year for the 4 years I had
ORER data.  The modeler could go out and buy or make cars in roughly these
proportions for the year s/he is modeling, and her/his consist accuracy
would be above reproach.  (This chart would appear less complex if it only
included the 4 Battleship gon classes for VGN, or even for the 17 classes
you intend to cover.)

To give credit where credit is due, I think that a lot of the data I have
in the Excel spreadsheet was compiled by Ben Hom, from material provided by
Bill McClure, Marty Swartz, Bill Mosteller, John Munson, Aubrey Wiley, Bob
Moore, and Lloyd Lewis.  But for the life of me, I can’t remember where I
found it.

If you have access to the ORER data across the time-span of the use of
these cars, but are not “Excel savvy”, then I would be honored to build
these charts for you if they might be of interest in your talk.

-Eric Bott

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