Boston & Maine Railroad
34' 30 Ton Gondola Cars
From 1899 to 1900, the B&M constructed 595 34' wood underframe, 30 ton capacity, drop end, sideboard gondola cars at their company shops in Concord, NH. Over the next couple years, the railroad acquired similarly small numbers of a variety of other wood gondola designs. By 1906, the 34' sideboard design appears to have gained favor, and nearly 4000 additional identical cars were acquired from the Laconia Car Company by 1908. For more than a decade, these cars represented greater than half of the railroad's coal hauling equipment, and up until the time of the ban on wood underframes in interchange service, these wood cars were the B&M's single largest series of open top cars.
Over the lifetime of these cars, several improvements and upgrades applied to extend their service. Revised safety equipment, steel center sills, steel ends, and other upgrades were made. The Railway Safety Appliance Act of 1910 required grab iron locations somewhat different than that which the cars received when built. And those revised grab iron locations on the car sides, and the flat area required for that new location, then drove a change to the side stake locations. In order to relocate the side grabs as specified by the new regulations, the endmost stakes on both ends of the sides were shifted inwards on the car. This in turn further necessitated moving the endmost stake pockets, which, in order to not interfere with employee's access to the grab irons, were relocated to the very ends of the sides above the new grab iron locations. To prevent a timber from dropping to deeply in the stake pocket and blocking the grab iron, photos suggest the car shops installed a wooden block below the high mounted stake pockets that a timber could rest on.
B&M 34' Gondola Class Diagram (Click for full size.)
B&M 34' Gondola #23408 & #23410, 1907, cropped from larger photo, Library of Congress (original found HERE.)
B&M 34' Gondola #39790, Laconia 1908, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola #23834, Salem, MA, 6/25/1914, cropped from larger photo, Boston Public Library (original found HERE.)
B&M 34' Gondola #21621, Mystic Terminal, 1914, Tim Gilbert collection
B&M 34' Gondola, unknown #, date, and location, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola, unknown location, after 1920, Tim Gilbert collection (Walker Transportation collection?)
B&M 34' Gondola, reweighed 11/19, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola #22371, reweighed 10/22, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola #22486, Salem, MA, 1925, cropped from larger photo, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola, unknown location, after 1920, Tim Gilbert collection
B&M 34' Gondola, Boston, 1922, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola #21974, unknown date and location, author's collection
B&M 34' Gondola, Converse, NH, ca. 1930, Bob's Photos collection
B&M 34' Gondola #M3930, MOW service, 1936, Boston Public Library (hi-res original HERE)
B&M 34' Gondola #39427, MOW service, 1940's, Tim Gilbert collection
B&M 34' Gondola #W3011, MOW service, Mechanicville, 9/26/1948, Bob's Photos collection
According to Tim Gilbert's B&M freight car research, these cars were fully retired from revenue in 1934, after having been made obsolete by two later generations of new gondola cars on the road. A few soldiered on for some years more in MOW.
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Posted 11/28/17. Updated 12/7/17. Maintained by Earl Tuson.