Ralston Steel Car Co. - 1910-19


        By 1910 it seem that the Ralston Co. could build just about any freight car a customer might want.  Some are very specialized, such as the Ventilated box car below.  In 1917 the Carnegie Steel Co. was getting ready for the war to end all wars.


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        A 40 ton ventilated box car built for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad January, 1910. 


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        The T&OC was a big customer for the drop door gondolas.  A heavy coal hauler from southern Ohio to the Lake Erie docks these cars provided big labor savings at the docks.  The car was new February, 1910.

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        A 50 ton drop bottom gondola - Ralston's reason for being - new August, 1910.  There were four levers controlling the sixteen drop doors, two at each end of the car.  Each lever controlled four doors. 

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        An Erie Railroad all metal 50 ton drop bottom gondola, new January, 1912.


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        A 30 ton Baltimore and Ohio drop bottom gondola not of the classic Ralston Co. design as it dumps onto the track.  It was built new June, 1912.  There is a stencil that says " designed and built by the Ralston Steel Car Co."





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        A 50 ton ore car for the Carnegie Steel Company, new May, 1914.  The stencil said "build under patients of the Clark Car Company by the Ralston Steel Car Co."



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        There were wide-ranging variations in early steel hopper car design and construction 1898-1920.  This is Ralston's early version, probably used for both coal and ore.  Note the heavy top bulb, the heavy I-beam side stakes and angled end supports. The "light weight" of 42,600 lbs. is heavier than needed for coal service; average 50-ton hoppers had an empty weight of 38-39 K lbs.  The first hopper which could be considered "modern" was the Pennsy's GLa class of 1902, of which their were more than 31,000, and they lasted through the 1950's on PRR and Berwind Coal Co.

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        A 40 ton variation on the classic Ralston drop door gondola, new November, 1914.  The Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company of Akron, Ohio was an electric interurban line.  Interurban lines that had track in city streets would use Janney Radial Couplers mounted on rounded car ends that allowed the coupler to pivot when going around sharp street turns.  They wouldn't interchange these cars with a steam road, however box cars with this design would  interchange with other interurban lines.  This car may have been used exclusively for company business like hauling ballast for the track and ash from their power plant.


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        A 50 ton all steel gondola, with cast truck side frames, for the T&OC, new October, 1914.  In 1915 the New York Central Railroad gained control of the T&OC by lease.  This new car already sported a "New York Central Lines" herald.  In 1938 the T&OC name was replaced by New York Central.

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        A 50 ton Iron ore hopper for the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railroad, new May, 1915.  The Ralston Company is almost 10 years old and branching out to build a wide variety of railroad freight cars.


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        A 70 ton hopper car for the Carnegie Steel Co., Isabella Furnaces in Pennsylvania, new September, 1917.


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        Another 70 ton hopper car for the Carnegie Steel Co., new September, 1917,  possibly from the same order.  Carnegie may have been gearing up for the World War I effort.