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Date: 04/02/07 20:22
Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: kdrtrains

Greetings
Could some explain the term (Commonwealth) in regards to passenger car trucks. Was Commonwealth a company like Pullman, or a truck designation?
Is there an information source regarding the heavyweight trucks?

Thanks
Ken Rhoads



Date: 04/02/07 22:33
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: bnsfbob

kdrtrains Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Greetings
> Could some explain the term (Commonwealth) in
> regards to passenger car trucks. Was Commonwealth
> a company like Pullman, or a truck designation?

The name came from Commonwealth Steel Co. which merged with General Steel Castings Corp. "Commonwealth" was a trade name applied by GSC to numerous products including several designs of locomotive and car trucks. "Commonwealth" was also associated with the namesake factory located at Granite City, Illinois.

"Commonwealth" was too broadly used to reference a particular truck design although the ubiquitous postwar lightweight GSC drop equalized, inside swing hanger, clasp brake truck is frequently called the "Commonwealth Truck". Nonetheless, because the "Commonwealth" trade name was so widely used, it usually was combined with additional descriptors, i.e., "Commonwealth Four Wheel Outside Swing Hanger Disc Brake Truck."

> Is there an information source regarding the
> heavyweight trucks?

The American Railway Passenger Car by White has some info. The book is long out of print but is available used.

I also have some photocopies of articles on lightweight passenger car trucks if you are interested.

Bob



Date: 04/03/07 05:00
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: wlankenau

A couple of years ago Model Railroader magazine had an article on passenger car trucks. Some of the photos were a bit dark, and I don't remember if they covered heavyweights.



Date: 04/03/07 06:33
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: kdrtrains

Thanks Bob
I have ordered the book from Amazon. Thanks for the info, it helps clear up some questions. There has been a lot of good info written regarding the lightweight trucks, but not much on the heavy weight stuff. Thanks again.

Ken Rhoads



Date: 04/03/07 09:03
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: Jack_Deasy

The collections of the Newberry Library http://www.newberry.org in Chicago includes the archives of the Pullman Palace Car Company and the Pullman Company from 1867 - 1981. I'll bet they have what you want. However, you may have to make a trip to Chicago to find the documents you want to review/copy.


AAPRCO http://www.aaprco.com has all of the Amtrak SMPs applicable to truck rebuilding for private cars in the "members only" (user id and password protected) section of their website. You might persuade an AAPRCO member to give you a copy, or join and obtain access yourself. What you will NOT find there is an illustrated compendium of all types of trucks used underneath heavyweight cars. However, I do remember several illustrated articles on passenger car trucks, written by Martin MacDonough and published in Private Varnish; these are available to members at the website in PDF format.



Date: 04/03/07 16:48
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: px320

See if you can find a copy of a Car Builder Cyclopedia from the teens or twenties. They will give you more info than you ever wanted to know.

I do know that my car, the Pony Express has a Straight Equalizer Commonwealth Truck unique to the Canadian Pacific prewar Angus style passenger cars.



Date: 04/04/07 20:32
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: bogieman

bnsfbob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The name came from Commonwealth Steel Co. which
> merged with General Steel Castings Corp.
> "Commonwealth" was a trade name applied by GSC to
> numerous products including several designs of
> locomotive and car trucks. "Commonwealth" was also
> associated with the namesake factory located at
> Granite City, Illinois.
>
>
> Bob


I work part time in Granite City and see two large, make that huge, old factory buildings when going south of Niedringhaus Ave on the east side of IL Highway 3. They look mostly abandoned. I have been told one of them was the GSI-Commonwealth facility but wondered which one it is. Both have 4 or 5 very tall brick chimneys as one would expect at a large foundry - the one closer to Niedringhaus Ave looks to be larger but is in worse shape with most windows broken, the one further south looks it might be still used for something as the windows are mostly intact and there's lights on at night. People I've asked aren't sure which one was GSI, I am just curious as a lot of major truck and other railroad castings came from one (or maybe both) of them. If anyone knows, I'd appreciate it.

Dave



Date: 12/26/07 09:02
Re: Heavyweight passenger car trucks
Author: pffischer

bogieman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> bnsfbob Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The name came from Commonwealth Steel Co. which
> > merged with General Steel Castings Corp.
> > "Commonwealth" was a trade name applied by GSC
> to
> > numerous products including several designs of
> > locomotive and car trucks. "Commonwealth" was
> also
> > associated with the namesake factory located at
> > Granite City, Illinois.
> >
> >
> > Bob
>
>
> I work part time in Granite City and see two
> large, make that huge, old factory buildings when
> going south of Niedringhaus Ave on the east side
> of IL Highway 3. They look mostly abandoned. I
> have been told one of them was the
> GSI-Commonwealth facility but wondered which one
> it is. Both have 4 or 5 very tall brick chimneys
> as one would expect at a large foundry - the one
> closer to Niedringhaus Ave looks to be larger but
> is in worse shape with most windows broken, the
> one further south looks it might be still used for
> something as the windows are mostly intact and
> there's lights on at night. People I've asked
> aren't sure which one was GSI, I am just curious
> as a lot of major truck and other railroad
> castings came from one (or maybe both) of them.
> If anyone knows, I'd appreciate it.
>
> Dave


Commonwealth Steel Co., of Granite City IL was incorporated in 1902 and then bought by General Steel Castings for $35M in 1929. GSC was founded in 1928 in Eddystone PA by Baldwin, ALCO, ASF, ACF, and Pullman - primarily as a response to the threat posed by the one piece cast locomotive bed, patented by Commonwealth. With such beds, the manufacturers were dependent on a sole source and larger railroads were no longer totally dependent on them as they could buy the frames, fully aligned and machined, directly from Commonwealth. The Commonwealth plant (known in the 30s as the Commonwealth Division of GSC) can be viewed at:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Granite+City,+IL,+United+States+of+America&ie=UTF8&ll=38.696145,-90.160418&spn=0.011874,0.017273&t=h&z=16&om=1

(with luck...) It has a triangular shape. In the mid-50s, GSC moved its headquarters back to Granite City.

It's not clear to me if locomotive beds continued to be made at Granite City after the acquisition -- much of that work did sensibly move to Eddystone. Of course, GSC had many other products, including passenger car trucks, which was one of the Commonwealth bread-and-butter products. The Commonwealth Division was shut between Sept. 1931 and April 1934, the heart of the Depression, but at capacity could accommodate more staff and a greater monthly output (in tons) than the Eddystone Division.

Note that ASF also started in Granite City (though it was really a conglomerate of about a dozen foundries east of the Mississippi). A key breakthrough in the casting of intricate parts in steel was the development of the green sand molding process, which was discovered and patented in Granite City in 1893-95. The patent holder was able to get financial backing from Rolla Wells (before he was mayor of St. Louis) to start ASF.

I'm always looking for more information about Commonwealth Steel and General Steel Castings, particularly at the Granite City facility and would appreciate hearing more. Also, as I've wandered a bit off topic, I'm going to try re-opening this discussion under a new heading.

Paul



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