Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Open Loads (Part 6) - Modeling WP 9002 with Steel Load-1126

This is the next post in the series of Open Loads articles I'm writing.  In Part 4, I looked at building  a Bridge Timber load for a Southern Pacific GS-gondola to match photos in Tony Thompson's SP Freight  Cars Vol.1.  In Parts 1, 2, and 5, I covered more generalized load topics, with multiple quick examples, but not much on the "how-to" aspect.  This post will change to specifically focused post on a single car and load combination, how it was modeled, the unique load built, weathering commentary, etc.  Then the next post will move to another specific car and unique load.

I should note that in some cases I've built multiple loads of a style to take care of several cars, as some loads would be replicated across several cars in a service or a train consist.

WP 9002 - WP 65ft Mill Gondola

The Athearn R-T-R model of WP 9002 is stenciled as newly built in June 1949, so for my era the car would be between "new" and maybe 3-years old during my modeling era.  The WP bought 50 cars in this series (WP 9001-9050), which show in the 1950 ORER.  This is why the exterior of the car isn't too weathered.  A bit of "running grime" is applied to knock the 'edge' off the straight black paint of the Athearn model out of the box.  I'm not sure if these cars had different trucks, which I could swap out to be more accurate, so for now the stock Athearn trucks will work.

Bad Order marks for the retaining valve on the car-side.

The Athearn model comes with longitudinal-mounted Ajax Power Handbrakes on the B-end.  I also put chalk marks on this side of the car pointing at the retaining valve, indicating a bad order valve or plumbing.

Chalk Marks...

WP 9002 ready for service.

Notice that I've already applied white and light gray chalk markings to the car.  The arrow on the lower car side points to the bleed release valve rod handle, which was always hard to see at night.  Even if I don't put the little 0.008" wire bleed handle on the model, running from each side under the triple-valve, at least I can have the arrow pointing at where it would be, which can be seen from a couple feet away from the model.

Another chalk mark on the upper side to the left of the "W" in Western Pacific, points a carman to a defective collapsible stake pocket on the interior of the car with the comment, "BO Pocket" in chalk.  Little details like this help the car feel used and somewhat abused.  Placing a "circle K", which was a fast way to write "OK" by carmen after the repair was completed could be used to show older repairs that have been fixed already.  Some of my cars have these types of chalk marks too, with an older looking Bad Order mark, maybe in fading gray chalk.

WP 9002 with chalk marks for routing back to CA, Pittsburg

On cars where I have good ideas about where the cars were assigned, I can chalk on them where I want the cars returned to, what routing the cars are being sent on, train symbols on which the car will move, etc.  The other place on the WP that I could send the car was the steel works over at Provo, Utah.  The cars at Pittsburg could easily be interchanged to the Santa Fe and routed to Southern California, supporting the building boom in the post-war years.

WP 9002 with Steel Load, chalk marked for San Bernardino on the Santa Fe's SCX-symbol.

The ends of the car are collapsible as well for over-length loads.  I decided to show on the WP 9002, that these ends would be subject to the same weathering actions as the interior of the car.  If the ends were in the lowered position, then the air born metal weathering factors (paint damage and rusting) would be happening on the exterior of the ends as well.

The Interior

I went a bit heavier on the weathering for the interior of the WP "Mill Gondola", which would primarily have been assigned to the WP's service at Pittsburg, CA's steel mill.  So despite the car only being a couple years old, I could see the interior already receiving a battering and extra weathering from hanging around the steel mill and moving steel loads.  Also the mill at Pittsburg, CA is on the confluence of the Sacramento & San Joaquin Rivers and the eastern end of the San Francisco Bay delta, subjecting the area to the damp, salty, and foggy conditions, typical of the eastern Bay Area.

Downward view of floor weathering on WP 9002

The interior was weathered with acrylic paints.  Initially a wash-coat was applied that changed the base color of the interior to ether a rust hue or more of a bare-metal gray hue.  Then closer to full strength acrylic paints were used by stippling the end of the brush to make concentrated rust spots and variations.

Close-up of the interior side weathering of WP 9002.

As with most Mill Service gondolas, this car has an array of collapsible stake pockets along the interior of the sides, which can be used for securing the load with iron wire, wooden stakes, etc. as needed.  A well planned model load can make use of these standard stake locations and make the load appear to be using them to hold various stakes, etc.

The Load-1126

I've been numbering all my Open Car Loads with a serial number for inventory and keeping track of them.  There's no intrinsically historical meaning to this load's designation.

Load-1126 is made out of four Evertgreen Styrene I-Beams, 52ft long.

There's nothing really special about the basic construction of this load.  Typically, if possible, the shippers would lay down the I-beams on their sides.  However, for bigger beams like this load, keeping them upright would be better.

The Load-1126 is not really using stakes to secure the load, but wedging four wood beams (4x8" or 6x8" scale strip wood) under the load in four places.  Holes are drilled through the deck of the car by workers for the shipper, yes... the railroads and shippers were allowed to modify the cars by drilling or welding tabs for the securing of loads to a point.

The weldments for securing loads were supposed to be removed when the car was unloaded, but this rarely happened... More likely the load would have what was needed removed, cut off, etc. and the car sent on to the next load, where the shipper there would have to cut away any interfering weldments for their new loading plan.

Wooden blocking supports the load and keeps it in place.

But back to the Load-1126, I don't actually drill any holes into the deck of the Athearn car, as they will be hidden by the wooden blocks supporting the load on the deck.  Diagonal timbers and wedge-blocks keep the beam supported from swaying or shifting sideways, while the tie-rods clamp down on the top beam.

Integrating the Load-1126 into WP 9002

Overview of Load 1126 in WP 9002

All of my loads are designed to be removable and transferable to other models to replicate load and empty cycles.  This type of load where it's sitting inside a gondola doesn't really hurt of the load moves lengthwise in the car a few 1/8 of an inch.

Higher angle view of Load-1126 in the Athearn 65ft Mill Gondola.

In this case, Load-1126 is secured with four wood pieces across the top of the load by eight threaded rods, which are compressing the top wood beams into the four steel beams, and down to the wooden cross beam/separators under the load, before theoretically going through the floor and being secured below the deck

In Closing

Generally, WP cars like 9002 are a bit afield from my regular modeling interests, but they do create opportunities for interesting loads and bridge traffic on Santa Fe trains into Southern California or WP traffic around Northern California, Nevada, and Utah.

WAB 12017, one of the Wabash's 65ft Mill Gondolas.

The removable steel loads, 1126 in this case, can just as easily be moved to a WAB, B&O, PRR, SP, ATSF, etc 65ft Mill Gondola to increase flexibility and keep the same load/car combination from reappearing in operation sessions, which can get boring.

B&O 259798, Tangent Bethlehem 52'6" gondola with Load 1125, which we'll look at soon.

As the Load-1126 is only 52ft long, it can also be put in any of the many 52'6" gondolas from P2K, Tichy, Tangent, etc. that can be found from many railroads.

Jason Hill

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