W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 => Topic started by: Wolf Siedler on April 15, 2010, 11:47:23 AM

Title: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Wolf Siedler on April 15, 2010, 11:47:23 AM
I am in the final stage of a (hopefully) historically accurate plan for boxcar 309 as it looked in 1933.
There are a few discrepancies between the well-known photo of 309 in the string of boxcars at Wiscasset (published i.e. in Peter Barney's Pictorial Review) and how 309 looks today:
One of them are the roughly square wooden patches applied to the sides between the steps and the body corner. I am certain that this can not be a random negative or print irregularity - they must have been there in 1933. I wonder now
1. What was their purpose?
2. Were similar (probably slightly narrower) patches applied to the ends?
I found one photo taken at the Ramsdell farm where a shadow line might indicate so. Unfortunately, the printing quality does not allow any qualified observations.

I also had extensive communication with Marcel L. on this subject as he was one of the participants of the reconstruction. He was certain to have documented extensively the state of #309 when reconstruction began and could not remember the patches. However, during 60 years of storage, they might have simply rotten away...

Can a fellow reader shed further light on this issue?
I would be particularly interested in whether early photos from the Ramsdell farm might show a better view of the car end, either confirming or disproving my guess.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Paul Horky on April 15, 2010, 11:14:04 PM
Mr. Siedle
 Could these have been there to act as a poleing pocket so when cars were puched into a sidetrack there was something for the pole to bare on ?
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Wolf Siedler on April 15, 2010, 11:46:51 PM

Thanks for your suggestion, this was also my first guess.
But if this is correct then shouldn't have been another similar patch on the end? In my opinion, a protector at that spot (lower end corner) would have been more important with regards to protecting siding boards from poling pressure.
In terms of durability, would an angle from sheet metal or steel have made more sense? We will probably never know for sure. But even with that uncertainty, I find it interesting to see whether more circumstancial evidence (end photos) could be discovered.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Mike Fox on April 16, 2010, 08:06:07 PM
Kind of hard to see exactly what you have circled. Are those the steel square plates you are asking about? I always thought that was added to help distribute the pressure from the truss rod. Those are the ends sticking through the car. Correct? The flatcars have a cast piece at the rod ends for this purpose.
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Mike Fox on April 16, 2010, 08:15:22 PM
Change that. I now see where you are pointing. There were several cars with that feature, a very clear shot is of a Turner Center Dairy car on pg 50 of Vol IV of Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley. Looks like a corner brace that may have been put there to keep the corner together.
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Eric Larsen on April 16, 2010, 09:12:19 PM
If I'm looking at the photo in the correct place this is an interesting observation that I have not noticed before.  These are not poling pockets but there are metal castings there that relate to the metal plate cross sills that the trucks sit on.  There are two truss rodds that go from one side of the care to the other indirectly.  There are two bolts on the edge of each side of the car fore and aft and they appear to be covered by a patchwork of sheatheng in this photo.  The interesting thing is that I have never noticed the patches before though I always knew about the hardware underneath  the patches.  This may be the only car like this that had the patchwork of sheathing over these cast parts.  Boxcar #309 was a unique car on the railroad and was I think the last cars rebuilt by the railroad.  That may explains why it was different.  Again, if I am looking at this phot correctly, it is not the end of the car but the side of the car where the truck sills are placed.  Any other oppinions?
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Wolf Siedler on April 17, 2010, 01:27:30 AM
Kind of hard to see exactly what you have circled.

Same here, Mike - that's why I asked for input.
Just for clarification: I was not not referring to the rectangular sheet metal (steel?) objects between endbeam/siding and the truss rod washer on WW&F boxcars.

My curiosity got triggered when mulling over the purpose of the rectangular patches on the lower corners corners of 309's *sides* and the fact that they are today no longer there. The photo in Wiscasset shows 309 in good shape, so I excluded that they were patches applied to quickly cover rotted siding. The shadows indicated a significant material thickness, pointing more towards wood boards as material as opposed to sheet metal. (Please remember, I am still discussing the car *side*.)

When guessing that the patches may have been siding reinforcements to protect from poling damage, I wondered whether there might have been similar patches protecting the end corners.

Unfortunately, I have not yet seen any clear photos of 309's ends while still in active duty. Or shortly after arriving at the Ramsdell farm (early photos would be most helpful, as during almost 60 years of storage alterations to such minor parts may have occured easily).

The closest one I found was the enlargement I posted and even that doesn't show an end patch clearly, only a shadow line of where such a patch *may* have sat and removed/rotted since.

I am familiar with the metal corner braces you mention on i.e. the TCDA cars and they are clearly distinguishable. However,  I believe on 309's corners we see something different. As said, the shadows indicate in my opinion a thicker material, pointing more towards wood scraps then metal. Furthermore, I can't identify on the photos how the items were fixed to the siding on 309. This suggests to me that they may have been nailed, pointing again IMO more towards wood as material.
But then again, if their purpose was the same, then there surely must have been similar patches/boards/plates on 309's ends?!

Let me also state here how much I appreciate your and everybody elses' input on this matter.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Mike Fox on May 05, 2010, 08:45:57 PM
Just a thought, what if these were actually set into the siding, or more like a repair/reinforcement to the frame and the siding was matched to them?
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Wolf Siedler on May 09, 2010, 05:46:38 AM
I would like to thank everybody who contributed to this mystery.

Mike's last comment points in the same direction as my thoughts now go:
I believe now the mysterious "patches" were not anything applied *on*the siding, but instead the protruding end beam ends of the donor W&Q flatcar frame. This would then explain the lack of visible fasteners as well as the offset from the body corner (end board thickness). Furthermore, an early photo from the Ramsdell farm also makes it at least very unlikely that anything patch-like was has ever been applied to the ends.

I have since received high resolution scans of some of the 309 photos (during its first career). They show the siding board separation lines better (or at all in some cases). Superimposing the beam ends from the W&Q flatcar plan to the 309 plan and cross-checking with the photos showed a very, very close match. Thus I now accept this theory as very likely.

And just to avoid any misunderstanding:
I do *not* intend to blame/contradict/... anybody involved in the 309 restoration. The woodwork must have been seriously deteriorated and it certainly was not easy to make any determination of such a minor detail. Besides, I myself have owned a 1900-built meter gauge coach for 15 years and still haven't yet fully concluded the research into its original appearance - so I know only too well it is a tedious task.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Mike Fox on May 09, 2010, 10:26:58 AM
This was interesting. I'm glad my thought helped, as I never saw the car before any restoration started. Looking at the siding that remained of the car in bay 3, the bottom is so deteriorated that it would be hard to tell where anything went.
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Jock Ellis on June 15, 2010, 12:13:12 AM
Wolf, On what RR did your coach run?
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Wolf Siedler on June 15, 2010, 02:35:14 AM
On what RR did your coach run?

On the "Kleinbahn Leer-Aurich-Wittmund" in north-western Germany (near North Sea and Dutch border).
You might not have heard much about it, the line stopped running most passenger trains in 1956 and was dismantled altogether in 1969.
Should you wish to get a visual impression, there is a group which builds a highly details modular layout of just the railway. Some images can be seen at their homepage at http://www.law-module.de.ms/ (http://www.law-module.de.ms/); German language, but the pictures are probably language-independent...
This project is an interesting case study on how much historical research work can benefit from a model representation (the modeling group does not allow fantasy arrangements, everything has to be as historically possible as possible).

There was once even a model produced of my coach, but it will still be a long way until the prototype looks again as neat as the model.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Andy Small on August 14, 2010, 08:27:50 AM
Does anyone have clear photo of the 309 roof? I'm working on an On30/On2 kit and would like to include roof details of the current version.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Andy Small on August 21, 2010, 08:21:59 PM

Here's a photo of my concept 309 boxcar.

Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Zak LaRoza on November 16, 2010, 10:16:23 AM
Wow! It really looks great! I always loved the WW&F boxcars because they have their ladders on the opposite side of the other lines. That just made them unique. Did the WW&F flatcars have anything that really distinguished them from the other Maine Narrow Gauge line's?
Title: Re: WW&F boxcar 309
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 17, 2010, 08:43:07 AM
A unique thing about WW&F flatcars (and boxcars too) is the couplers.  The cut lever is on the bottom as the pin is bottom actuated instead of the normal top-drop pin.  The WW&F employed bottom pin couplers so that ice would not get into the coupler and freeze the knuckle.