Evans Gondolas By James Kinkaid The 2240/2244 cu ft des

Evans Gondolas By James Kinkaid The 2240/2244 cu ft des

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Evans Gondolas By James Kinkaid The 2240/2244 cu ft des
 
Evans Gondolas By James Kinkaid The 2240/2244 cu ft designs Freight Car Jounral May 1992 #45 Soft Cover 16 pages.   
The Evans Company, while perhaps not quite as well known as Pullman-Standard, ACF or Thrall, nonetheless accounted for many unique designs of their own in the field of railway equipment manufacture. Among the items produced by them were coil cars, flats, and bulkhead flats, tank cars, box cars, covered hoppers, (i.e. the 4780 design, see FO #41) and perhaps their most notable effort, the 5100 cult RBL, (or "Blue Island Reefer"), made ever so much more popular due to the wide diversity of paint schemes applied. Evans also produced a 52-foot, 100 ton mill gondola .... the subject of this article and drawings.
In the the mid-Seventies, the Southern Iron and Equipment Company of Atlanta, GA, (SIECO ATL), started the manufacture of this gondola design. By the 1980's, SIECO was under the control of the Evans Company, who then produced these cars, under their specification number 8200. This series of cars has several important spotting features which distinguish it from all other gondolas: An all welded construction; large 6" x 6" square lower side sill made up of a 13" x 20.7# channel, flanges turned in, and trapezoidal shaped gussets attached to the posts at the top of the 13" channels. The use of this channel as a lower side sill member is certainly not unique to Evans: Berwick/Whittaker, for example made gondolas with these features also. Gondolas with side post gussets are fairly rare, hut also not an Evans exclusive, as witnessed by the Thrall-built DRGW 6029. However, the combination of these two design elements clearly comprises the best spotting feature of an Evans-built 2244 gondola. The Evans cars are listed in their equipment diagrams as being 2244 cuft., as are the Official Railway Equipment Register listings. There is no dimensional change from one marked 2244 versus another that might be marked as 2240. No cars were known to be equipped with either cushion underframes or roofs. There is evidence that some cars were equipped with a "heavy-duty" version standard of underframe, but no details are available at the present time.
When production first started at SIECO in 1975, the first order went to the Maine Central, for 75 cars. Production continued at that facility on through 1981, although not as a continuous run.
As noted above, about 1980, SIECO came under the control of Evans, and one of their other subsidaries, the United States Equipment Company (USEX), began making this style of car also, both at the Blue Island, IL facility (USEX BI), and at their Washington, IN plant (USEX WA). As far as can be ascertained, the USEX B1 production run of these gondolas only existed in 1980 and only a small number of USEX WA cars were built, all in 1981. The approximate total production run from all three facilities was about 2125 cars.
While all of the 2240/2244 cult cars were built to the same general plans and specifications, there are several important distinctions to be made between the SIECO ATL cars and those made at the the USEX plants. All SIECO cars had 7" wide ribs at the body bolster centerlines, with 5' ribs elsewhere. All USEX cars had 5' ribs the entire length of the car side. This would presumably be done as a cost saving measure, it being cheaper to make and stock one size instead of two. In addition, the early (pre-1978), SIECO cars lacked the large towing holes and attendant reinforcement plates near each corner of the car. All post 1978 SIECO and all of the USEX cars had these items. The 1978 SIECO cars, for Amtrak, were slightly different than either the pre or post 1978 cars in that the tow rings were provided on the car sides. Either these cars were some sort of a transitional design, or Amtrak, who uses these cars for online trackwork, (and therefore not too concerned about these cars winding up all over the country in scrap yards and mills .... with the consequent tow induced damages to the car sides and steps), decided that two rings would suffice.
A third variation on the SIECO-USEX gondola design exists: The CNW cars. These cars, built by SIECO ATL in 1980 had higher sides than the regular production run cars, and are listed as having a capacity of 2493 cuft. Cars 130000130039 were modified early in their careers with end bulkheads by the CNW. The first Equipment Register listing of cars with bulkheads occurred in the October 1981 issue, at a full 40 cars, and the AAR mechanical designation changed from GB to GUS. Thirty-nine cars were still listed in the April 1991 issue of the ORER. Most of these bulkhead equipped cars, if not all, have since had their bulkheads removed. Some cars were also equipped with a continous tie down rodding along the top chords; whether this is related to the bulkhead installation is not known.
This car design is very simply built indeed, and is noteworthy in that it utilizes an absolute minimum of pressed/ formed parts and virtually no rivets; these only being used at the ladders, handgrabs and so forth. About the only pressed parts to be found are the hat section side posts, with just about everything else being standard structural steel shapes. The top chords are 6' x 6" square tube sections; the side sills are 13" channels and the center sill is a 13" x 41.2# zee section. The ends are also manufactured from standardized items: Starting with 4" x 7.7# 1" beams laid sideways, with 1/2" thick sheet steel stiffener straps welded over them. Note that on the pre-1978 cars, these stiffener straps did not extend the full width of the car end (also note that the CNW high-sided cars had the centerlines of the beam/stiffener groups spread slightly).

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