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PC: Re: PRR #2549
- Subject: PC: Re: PRR #2549
- From: Bx39crle@xxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 01:26:22 EDT
In messages to the Freight Car and the Penn Central mailing lists dated 21
July 1999, Lon Godshall asked:
<< I was looking through my dad's slides from 1975 and I saw an oddball. I
have yet to find anything on it. PRR 2549. It is maybe 70' long, expess
trucks, and 2 doors. One on the left side and one on the right. No ORER has
it listed, yet it was in a freight in Morrisville. Any suggestions? >>
I can't find the exact series-numbers for this car either, but it's
obviously a 60-foot class X42 BX.
A black and white photo of similar PRR 2546 can be viewed at:
I was linked to this image from the X42 page at Rob Schoenberg's PRR
Freight Car Page at:
Even though this entry at his Pennsy Home Page site claims that:
<< No description for this class is available yet. Sorry. Would you like to
write one? >>
Rob really doesn't have to apologize, since his X42 page includes a link not
only to that photo, but to an equipment diagram, which describes the unsual
60-footer with the odd spaced-apart door configuration as a "Mail Storage
Furthermore, his bibliographic tables have references to 3 photos and a
"Class Diagram" available in print resources.
Not mentioned is a 3/4 view of PRR 2542 on page 95 of the 1953 Carbuilder's
Cyclopedia, the caption stating it was "Built at railroad shop."
Also, there's an especially informative advertisement on page 55 of the 26
March 1951 Railway Age for the COMMONWEALTH BOX-EXPRESS CAR TRUCK.
"It's New!" proclaims the ad, which lists the truck's virtues: "Provides
Smooth Riding, Protects Car Contents, Reduces Damage Claims."
At the top of the ad is a close up of one of the trucks with the caption,
"Arranged with clasp brakes and roller bearings." At the bottom is a side
view of X42 PRR 2548 over the caption "Pennsylvania Railroad 60-foot Long
Box-Express Car with Commonwealth BX Trucks."
The text of the ad reads as follows:
<< Especially designed to meet the demand for a practical, rugged
light-weight truck for Box-Express Cars operating in passenger train service,
this newest type COMMONWEALTH Equalized Swing-Motion Truck provides a
smoother riding car, protects car contents, and greatly reduces upkeep costs.
<< The swing bolster arrangement permits effective lateral control, assuring
smoother riding with less shock and damage to car contents, car body and
<< The one-piece cast steel truck frame has integral pedestals, machined to
maintain the axles in tram at all times, which is essential whether plain or
roller bearings are used.
<< COMMONWEALTH BX Trucks are arranged for either clasp or single shoe type
<< For real dependability and real economy, it will pay you to apply
COMMONWEALTH BX Trucks to your [italicized and underlined] express,
refrigerator and merchandise cars in passenger train service. >>
Though somewhat rare, I've long been familiar with this car, coming upon
that 1953 Cyc photo soon after taking an interest in railroad modeling. It
and a couple of other early Pennsy 60-footers were early entries to my (long
and still mostly unmaterialized) list of modeling projects.
Because of the number and variety of interesting rolling stock in its
fleet, as well as the amount information available on them, the Pennsylvania
was probably my "favorite" railroad back when I was scratchbuilding freight
cars out of stripwood and Strathmore, materials which were even 14 years ago
were out-dated - something I failed to recognize back then.
For instructions on creating a "primitive" 1/87 version 60-foot PRR
automobile car, see the H.O. Williams article reprinted in Kalmbach's
"Easy-To-Build Model Railroad Freight Cars."
For a nice 1/87 scale drawing of one of those double-door X40's, plus one
of a single door X40b in Merchandise Service, look up Allen J. Brewster's
work on pages 46-7 of the June 1970 Model Railroader.
I have to confess that trucks have never been a strong point of interest
for me, and though I carefully collected and saved (but only skimmed through)
all of those long versions of the "When Were Roller Bearings..." thread,
which seems to pop up on this list even more frequently than the "When Were
Roof Walks (hey, make that "Running Boards") Outlawed" question, I probably
just fitted (bottomed-off rather than topped-off) those half-dozen or so PRR
box cars I finished with something like "Athearn Bettendorfs."
However, after quoting the ad above, I find myself looking forward to
reading the definitions offered by list members of exotic terms such as
"integral pedestals," as well as their explanations as to why they must be
machined in order that the axles be, and this is apparently essential,
maintained at all times "in tram."
Bx39crle -AT- aol.com
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