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  • Topic: Accucraft Idler flats and open gons.

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    • January 28, 2009 12:23 AM EST

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      Hello all,
      I think that I can shed a little "light" on the pipe gon, idler flat issue. The flats that are represented by the Accucraft car are the cut down gondola types. These cars never did get a stiffening rail (one wonders why?), and this can be seen in two photos on pages 113 and 114 of the original "A Century Plus Ten of D&RGW Freight Cars" by Dr. Sloan. As best as I could determine when developing the product, was that the D&RGW used a timber of some type, perhaps a 6" x 6" under the pipes and this then elevated them enough to clear the gon type of idler.
      George Konrad
    • January 28, 2009 12:23 AM EST

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      Sorry for not being more clear. I was asking what rail size to use for the reinforcement, which would look the best. The code 332 reference was based on how high the car sits when you get it; sort of a poor attempt at humor on my part. The picture of the real thing at Chama was so low that a proper scale rail size would still not look right on the model without making a low-rider out of it first I fear.

      Thanks for the heads up on the rail size, I have some 215 around here someplace....

      edit:
      Oh, so I don't need to worry about rails now, just the height of both maybe...
    • January 28, 2009 3:08 AM EST

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      Durango Dan has some photos and more explanation ... apparently the flats matched the gons.

      http://120pointme.blogspot.com/2009/01/false-alarm.html

      Matthew (OV)
    • January 28, 2009 9:26 AM EST
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      John,
      No apology needed.
      It's me that is the dimwit. I didn't realize you were talking about the reinforcing rail.

      George,
      Yes the Accu idler is a model of a cut down gon.
      But if anyone isn't particularly interested in actual modeling, just buy a couple regular flats, instead of the idlers. Cheaper.

      I'd really like Accu to make the fish belly heavy-duty flat that the D&RGW used.
    • January 28, 2009 5:30 PM EST

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      Matthew (OV) said:
      Durango Dan has some photos and more explanation ... apparently the flats matched the gons. http://120pointme.blogspot.com/2009/01/false-alarm.html Matthew (OV)
      Great pics, thanks for posting the link. I used to have that book, but it seems to have grown feet. Question; the pics in that link show the cut steel banding material in the open end gons was taken in 1963, how long has banding like that been in common use? I am guessing it was fairly new then; but I am basing that on when I began to see straps like that show up on lumber loads. Any ideas are always welcome, thanks.
    • January 28, 2009 6:35 PM EST
      • North Coastal, CA
         
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      Matthew (OV) said:
      Durango Dan has some photos and more explanation ... apparently the flats matched the gons. http://120pointme.blogspot.com/2009/01/false-alarm.html Matthew (OV)
      Looking at Durango Dan's Accucraft provided pictures, I see only a couple of pix of the gons, with no pix of the idler flats or coupled loads. They do appear to have some timbers on the deck that could be around 6 to 8" tall, but that would still put the idler deck close to the bottom of the pipe. Remember that this was a really a rough country railroad with many abrupt changes in elevation, grade and direction. One could assume that a piece of pipe dragging across the deck of an idler could result in serious problems ranging from load shifting and load shedding to derailment. Stan's pix and Bob's pix above show what appear to be idler flatcars that are really low. If these aren't typical of the idlers, then what are they? Most interesting to note is that John's pix show a 'standard' Accucraft flat to look much more suited to acting as an idler than the designed model idlers! I'll take a look at mine to see how hard it would be to move the brake staff and wheel. BTW, I'm not modeling the D&RGW. My interest is having a couple of pipe gons with attendant idler cars to deliver penstock pipe to my (under construction) hydroelectric facility. It would be a very interesting operation. Happy RRing, Jerry
    • January 28, 2009 7:29 PM EST
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Jerry,
      The Accu brake wheel is in the same place on both types of flats.
      It was moved to the side on the gon.
    • January 29, 2009 12:43 PM EST
      • North Coastal, CA
         
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      John:

      Thanks for the info!

      Looking at the pix Stan and Bob posted, there is not a brakewheel in sight.

      Re-reading the book excerpts Bruce posted reveals that "Later, the brake staff was removed and nailed horizontally to the car at which point only one idler was needed between each pair of pipe cars."

      I wonder what that arrangement really looked like?

      For my 2 pipe gondolas + 3 idler cars setup, I might just remove the brake staffs on the idlers and ignore the fact that there is no way to tie the cars down until some visitor points out that I have done it wrong!! Another possibility is to put the brake staff ends of the leading and trailing idlers at the end away from the pipe gons, then only remove the brake staff from the center idler. Sort of a special purpose 'unit train' arrangement.

      Happy RRing,

      Jerry
    • February 1, 2009 12:59 AM EST

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      First of all, I don't have a dog in this fight; I don't model the D&RGW (as such) and I don't have any pipe trains.... but the history interests me.

      So... Let me see if I have this correctly:

      There were TWO types of car used by the D&RGW to make idler flats for use in pipe trains.

      1) Some were originally made from the same type of high side gondola as the pipe gons were. These, then, had decks the same height as the pipe gons, having been made from the same high sided cars. They were originally run with two flats between each gon of pipes, with the handbrake on the ends away from the pipe gons so the swinging pipes wouldn't clip them off. These were plagued by structural issues and a lot of them ended up badly damaged or unuseable. Some of these were reinforced with lenghts of light rail under the side sills, but they still had issues.

      2.) Some later idler flats were then made from stock cars. These were stronger, apparently, than the high side gons were, and had lower decks. Due to some corporate subterfuge, there's a problem with the numbering, but based on what was posted earlier, it looks as if the ones in the photo in this thread would be in the 6700 series, made from stock cars, and that looks like the one Stan's links point to which is presumably the same type. The deck height is different because ... the deck of a stock car is lower than a high sided gon? I didn't know that ... but then, I don't have any stock cars, yet. From the photos, apparently some of these, at least, were also reinforced with lengths of rail under the sides.

      There was a third try at making a few of these idler flats from boxcars ... these can be spotted from the remnants of siding along the sides, as the boxcar parts were just cut off with a chain saw.... and there aren't a whole lot of them. (how does a boxcar floor height compare to a stock car or high sided gon?)

      So... it would appear that Accucraft chose the first prototype to model. Folks wanting the second type, like the ones in the 6700 series in the photos, would need to cut down a stock car, or ... use a regular flat car which appears to be similar in height, only with the stake pockets removed, and rail reinforcements installed, and possibly adjust some handbrake orientations so they could be run (prototypically) with only one flat between pipe gons.

      So, then, have I got that the right way around, now?

      Matthew (OV)
    • February 1, 2009 9:28 AM EST
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Sounds good to me.
      I have an old video somewhere of a set of pipe gons with one idler between them.
      I'll have to go look for it and see if I can determine where the brake staff and wheel is.
      Mebbe they didn't even have any..............
    • February 1, 2009 11:06 AM EST
      • Chelmsford, MA
         
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      Matthew

      I had a discussion with Accucraft this weekend at O scale west. They had the idler and pipe gon on display. NG railroads were very creative lot and there is a prototype for most everything.

      The actual prototype Accucraft uses was a very early idler cut doen from a gon. This was in the day where two idlers were used between each pipe gon. This choice is very prototypical for this type of idler but as you and others have correctly pointed out the railroad moved on to other idlers with rail braces and a movement of the brake wheel so that only one idler was needed between two gons.

      So as you correctly point out it all depends on which type of idler you desire. The Accucraft one is a very early example and the protos posted are of a much later example.

      Stan Ames
    • August 10, 2009 6:03 PM EDT
      • Anaheim, CA and Bayfield, CO,
         
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      I realize this is an older post, but I wanted to thank you all for the information posted here as it was most helpful for my pipe train kitbashes on our predominately 1:22.5 layout (LGB "G" scale). The information about the idler flats was especially helpful. Here are some of the photos of our kitbashed pipe train (the gondolas are LGB cars with the ends cut off, and the idler flats started as Hartland cars):

      ____________________________________

      Click Here for photos of my train layouts

    • August 11, 2009 10:20 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Matt,
      Very nice.
      I used a Delton/Aristo classic series gon for a smaller scale set for my 1:22.5 LGB.
    • August 30, 2009 2:33 AM EDT

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      i was just involved in moving 2 idler cars and 1 gondola loaded with 2 100' long x4' wide x 7' tall laminated bridge beams there was about 6" clearance on the flat cars the gondola had a tie on each end of the car to raise the beams for clearance on the flats all the cars were BCOL carshttp://

    • August 30, 2009 11:14 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      Those things are huge!

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