unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby scaro » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:15 am

Has anyone ever seen a covered hopper like this? It’s a Georgia & Florida wagon.

It looks purposely built rather than kitbashed from an open hopper.

I thought it might be related to an airslide car, but the peaked roof looks more pronounced and it seems to have 4 bays.

Ben

G&F covered hopper.jpg
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Re: unusual Gergia & Florida covered hopper

Postby Marquette » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:54 am

Never seen anything like it. Do you have a date? I'll look at the digital ORER copies I have after work, but quick check lists no covered hoppers for G&F in 1/1953.
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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby railtwister » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:27 am

I don't know much about the Georgia and Florida, other than there is an early RR by that name from about 1906 when it was formed, up to 1963 when it was absorbed by larger RR's. There is also a more modern railroad by that name, formed in the mid 1990's, and currently operated as a shortline.

The photo of the hopper car looks to me like some sort of Phosphate car, and judging from what I can see of the trucks, which look like friction bearing types, I would guess it was taken in the 1950's or 1960's. Phosphate cars were usually lower than typical hoppers and had steeper slope sheets due to the Phosphate material being fairly dense and somewhat reluctant to flow out of the hoppers. I know that most of the phosphate mining in Florida is primarily done in the West central part of the state between Bradenton and Arcadia (an area not reached by the G&F), although there may be places in Georgia where phosphate is mined as well. Please keep in mind that this is at the very best only a guess as to the purpose of the car in the photo.

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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby Marquette » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:13 pm

For a while, when I first got into North American prototypes back in 2005, my prototype of choice was the Piedmont & Northern in South Carolina; my plan was for a layout modelling Greenville to Greenwood, including a bit of the G&F in Greenwood. Never came across this car. I'll do some digging though and see if I can't find anything out...
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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby scaro » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:37 pm

the guy who sent me the shot concurs with the view that it might be some sort of sand hopper, which would explain the odd roof, ie, it was done in-house and the first priority was to keep the sand dry and the second was that it be cheap, and that it was not done with any expectation of anyone needing to access the roof. it's an odd looking wagon, but he doesn't know the date of the shot, or any further info. and the photographer is no longer with us.

the G&F had more than 500 miles of track at one time but is one of the most obscure US railroads. southern bought the remains of it in 1962-63; it was so broke they wouldn't even take over the company, just buying the line, facilities and rolling stock in a sale. traces of its independent existence were eliminated in short order, most G&F stock being fairly decrepit and quickly scrapped, aside from nine locos and a small fleet of 50' boxcars which were repainted in southern colours, albeit still lettered 'Georgia & Florida'.

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Re: unusual Gergia & Florida covered hopper

Postby scaro » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:59 pm

Marquette wrote:Never seen anything like it. Do you have a date? I'll look at the digital ORER copies I have after work, but quick check lists no covered hoppers for G&F in 1/1953.


marquette

the guy who owns the slide has found these cars listed:

The G&F shows 10 covered hoppers, No.s 12076-12085, in the April 1961 equipment register. Overall length 37' 3", 70 ton capacity.

not sure if the data helps you work out anything as to who built them or anything.

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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby Marquette » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:52 am

One reply I got on the subject at the Steam Era Freight Cars yahoogroup:

"The cars are mentioned in a history of the G&F, Rails Through the Wiregrass, published by the Northern Illinois Press. Since the road was never ever in decent financial shape, the Douglas, GA shops often improvised in building such freight equipment. These cards were meant for use on-line, for animal feed, as the road had no credit after WW II. That's all that's said about the cars."

(Re that book: I used to own it - it's a great read, but it doesn't say much at all (almost zero) about the trains themselves, it's more about the railway's development and the politics etc around it).
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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby scaro » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:38 pm

yep, that is so. 'rails through the wiregrass' is an interesting read. but forget it if you want train pictures. lucky for me, it arrived last week here, only a day or so after al langley's 'georgia and florida album', so i was able to look at the trains i was reading about in the grant book. the G&F was so broke they ordered their GP7s with friction rather than roller bearings, which gave the trucks an interesting appearance. SR gradually remedied that once they got control.

however i kind of appreciate knowing more about the social, business and political background to the line. every second employee he mentions, though, seemed to have a drinking problem, not to mention a bit of womanizing (encouragement and knowledge of which was used to co-erce one of the bankruptcy judges into allowing expenditure). grant mentions all this in a non-judgemental kind of way, and he's not being sleazy, just relating what life was like for the railroad men.

i wasn't quite sure what to think about the jim crow cars and the fact they ran specials to take a bunch of clanners to a KKK convention. (well, actually, i think i do know what i think...)

still, anything that reminds me of gene hackman's barbershop scene in 'mississippi burning' isn't all bad.

ben
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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby Marquette » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:06 pm

scaro wrote:i wasn't quite sure what to think about the jim crow cars and the fact they ran specials to take a bunch of clanners to a KKK convention. (well, actually, i think i do know what i think...)


Actually, that was one of the things that helped me decide NOT to end up modelling the Piedmont & Northern.

I was planning to model October 1951 - the last month of passenger service on the South Carolina division, everything was still mostly electrically-hauled but the first two RS3s had arrived... well, I'm sure you know how I am about wanting to be as accurate as possible, even with buildings, but when I came to the passenger depot (one of which I did build and almost-finish in HO), I was torn. The standard P&N passenger depots were lovely, but I really couldn't decide: do I build it all accurately down to the last detail, or do I omit the big "WHITE" and "COLORED" signs above the doors to the respective waiting rooms?

Interesting tidbit re Jim Crow cars: on the ACL at least, they didn't have separate Jim Crow cars for the crack name trains; externally, the car had to mesh nicely with the rest of the train. So, they simply had flippable signs specifying whether that car was reserved for whites or blacks. On less-important rural lines, though, the Jim Crow cars were usually ancient hulks of rubbish ("separate but equal", my arse).

Another interesting tidbit, this time from the SP: on the Sunset Limited from LA to New Orleans, everyone sat where they wanted all the way through California, Arizona and New Mexico... but on arriving at the Texas border, Texas Rangers would come onto the train and ensure that everyone was "properly" segregated. On trips the other way around, as soon as the train cleared Texas, everyone got up and went where they wanted.

Crazy times. Thankfully, I don't have this problem in Michigan of the early 1950s. (I also don't have to worry about repainting a bunch of TT scale figures...)
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Re: unusual Georgia & Florida covered hopper

Postby scaro » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:34 am

Marquette wrote:Actually, that was one of the things that helped me decide NOT to end up modelling the Piedmont & Northern.

I was planning to model October 1951 - the last month of passenger service on the South Carolina division, everything was still mostly electrically-hauled but the first two RS3s had arrived... well, I'm sure you know how I am about wanting to be as accurate as possible, even with buildings, but when I came to the passenger depot (one of which I did build and almost-finish in HO), I was torn. The standard P&N passenger depots were lovely, but I really couldn't decide: do I build it all accurately down to the last detail, or do I omit the big "WHITE" and "COLORED" signs above the doors to the respective waiting rooms?



I am not sure that would deter me ... but it’s something i have not thought through fully. generally though, railways are a human endeavour and i think an accurate portrayal need not shy away from showing the bad along with the good:

http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/in ... st&p=22448

my grandfather was forced by the imperial japanese army to work on the infamous ‘burma death railway’. i took a trip over it a few years ago. it’s sad at one level, but at the same time it is a great train ride. time heals, i suppose.

i suppose though it's up to how the portrayal makes you feel. i like the trains of the australian state of western australia but i like wheat belt rail operations, and as interesting as the locos and stock are, i know from personal experience that these are seriously violent and racist places a lot of the time. you won't find too many aboriginals modelling australian trains and i am sure similarly there are not many african-americans who reminisce fondly about the 1950s transition era in the south.

ben
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