Friday, November 19, 2021

SP Supply Train (Part 4) - SPMW 2452 Ready Flat - Shop Car

SPMW 2452 with 2-board low sides installed.

The official 1956 Roster shows this car as "Ready Flat - Shop" I believe this car is also properly defined as a "Stores Dept" Wheel Car, many of these cars carried a "STORES DEPT" or "SAC GEN. STORES" stenciling.

The Prototypes

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

A great view is provided in this SP Company Safety Film from about 1955, with footage shot between 1949 and 1954.  In this view of the Sacramento Wheel Shops, a low-sideboarded Stores Dept car is loaded with wheels, probably already turned, three-wide across the car.  Note the removed sideboards and the steel bridge in place to access the car's deck.

Note two-board Stores Department cars at left between boxcar and bulkheaded wheel car, Inad Akeb collection.

I don't believe the low-sided Stores Department car in the photo above has this option, as the stakes are in every pocket.  Removing boards and stakes would be needed to side-center load with a bridge plate.  Also stacking them from one end to the other would not allow center bridge loading.  So I'm guessing that a small crane was used to drop each wheel onto the car deck, probably with hooks in two of the three casting holes in the back of the wheel.

I wonder if second hand (worn out) wheels were also shipped this way, or the more commonly modeled "throw it in the bottom of a gondola".  This stacking method seems safer and more controlled way to move the several hundred pound wheels.

Basic Kit Assembly

I built the SPMW 2452 per OwlMtModels instructions as standard F-50-5 with T-section trucks and K-brakes.  

Basic SPMW 2452 assembly coming together per instructions, incorrect 1944 date, should be 1942.

The SPMW 2452 was retired from revenue service on 6-12-1942, thus is very unlikely to have received upgrades to AB-schedule brakes.  Many SP F-50-series cars hung on into 1950, even 1955 before getting the upgraded AB-brakes.  The AAR requirements were that the cars in interchange service would be equipped with AB-brakes by 1953.  Obviously the revenue cars hanging on with K-brakes after 1953 were restricted to SP and subsidiary operations.

I went ahead and painted the carbody before building the sides.

Based on the prototype photos, I made the call during construction to paint the carbody and not the sides.  I allowed overspray of the SP Freight Car Red to happen on the deck.  The deck was then weathered with my standard methods of tearing up the deck and then weathering with Apple Barrel acrylic paints.

Building the Sideboards

I scaled the height of the sideboards off the photo at Sacramento Shops from the height of the carside.  The deck weathering can be seen below.  Mostly grays used on the deck and the "newer" sideboards still keeping some of the tan colors, but with some gray-silvering happening too.

Two Sideboards installed with all stake pockets used.

The sides the same way I did in SP Supply Train (Part 5), using ABS stakes left over from OwlMtModels lumber load kits and 2x10 basswood strips, pre-stained.  This time I only made the sides two boards high.  I placed 0.010" or 1x10" basswood pieces between the boards as spacers.  This was to give a little light gap, which is cool to see on a finished model, that the boards are actually separate.

Lower stake protrusions modeled on SPMW 215.

I'll probably be putting some little stubs of the stakes coming through below the pockets on in the future, as I've done with SPMW 215, but probably not as pronounced on SPMW 2452.

Interchangeable Loads?

0.020" Styrene Sheets cut to size to make false-floor load bases.

I made two full size floor sheets from 0.020" styrene sheets and a shorter 'partial' load floor sheet.  I scratched the surface with my deck weathering techniques using a razor saw.  The painting is done with my standard Apple Barrel paint techniques.

Modifying the false-floor with 2x4 stringers spaced to nest 33" wheel castings.

The first load I'm building will be 33" Tichy Train Group wheels, without axles.  2x4 basswood rails are glued to the floor with ACC/CA superglue.  The steel bar is placed on the floor to keep it flat as the basswood strips are glued in place.

Tichy Train Group 33" (freight) wheels nesting in place.

Both ends have tie material (8x8 stained wood) used to provide the inclination to the wheel castings.

One full side of wheels... and I need to get more wheels!

The load above is an example of a full set of wheels loaded. Forty wheels per side for a maximum load of 80 wheels per car!  Once I'm happy with the wheel's stacked configuration, I'll glue them to the false-floor deck.  The load and floor will then be removable as a unit very easily.

In Closing

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

I plan to do some research on what size wheels are used in the 3-wide loading.  I'm guessing they're 28" wheels.  If so, I'm a bit surprised that the SP was shipping that many 28" wheels out to shops around the system.  About the only place I can think 28" wheels were used in the early to mid-1950s would be 4-wheel pilot trucks on engines like the T-28/31 class, M-class, and C-class.  This car loaded with all those wheels will cover a large number of rewheeled steam engines!

About the only other think I can think is they're shipping wheels for the SPNG at Owenyo.  I don't recall if the NG open-air shops at Owenyo had the presses to assemble the wheels on to the axles, or if these would be going to Bakersfield to be assembled, then shipped as wheelsets to Owenyo.

SPMW 2452 with 2-wide wheelset rails on removable load floor.

One nice benefit of building removable loads is I'll be able to nearly instantly swap the loads from 33" wheels to an empty car or maybe second-hand scrap wheels going back to Sacramento Shops foundry.  Then in staging yard, I can again swap the load for 24 or 28" wheels 3-wide, and send the car out again!

I am still debating what extra decals I'll be putting on this model.  Probably some "Return to SAC GEN STORES" will be appropriate.  I look forward to doing an update on this blog with a couple of completed loads.

 Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SPMW Flatcar Jan 1, 1956 Roster & Analysis - Let's look at the SPMW flatcar fleet

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang) - Update on SPMW 214/215 Lone Pine mystery car and outfit.

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