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Origins of the Borate & Daggett RR rolling stock

Discussion of specific prototype locomotives and other equipment of all gauges.

Origins of the Borate & Daggett RR rolling stock

Postby PacificCoastBorax99 » Tue May 10, 2016 6:08 pm

Evening all.

I was doing some research behind the elusive rolling stock of the Borate & Daggett Railroad, to see if I could identify the origin of manufacturer with each car. I am aware the B&D had at least 5 gondolas (but only 4 were reported when the line was abandoned in 1907), possibly built by John Hammond's California Car Works circa 1898, and 3 flat cars of unknown origin, 2 of which were given vertical tub-like water tanks to act as water cars, and might have had detachable stake sides to act as ore cars if needed. According to Randy Hees, the B&D also had 5 push cars and 2 handcars to complete the roster.

Whilst looking closely at the pictures of the gondolas I have, I have noticed something interesting which I have not noticed before.

B&D #2 Francis hauling borax cars across the trestle near Borate_Good clear quality shot_TINCAL.png


The one gondola on the back of the 'Francis' appears to be of a different design than the other two cars on the front. The main differences being that the one ore car is taller than the two other ones, and has its trucks closer together with the lettering "Borate & Daggett R.R. Co." appearing in a different size and being higher up than the other cars. It has come to my attention after looking at this picture, that there were possibly two different designs of borax gondolas on the Borate & Daggett Railroad. The designs of the two sets of hoppers as seen in the two photos below show a stark constrast in structure.

B&DRR No.1 Marion on top of dump trestle at Marion Mill_fixd_FAYE copy.png

Close up of B&D #2 Francis and ore wagons on high trestle_FAYE.png


It would appear to me that the ones paired up with 'Marion' is of an earlier build of gondola, having arrived on the B&D early in 1898, the year operations begin. As with the ore cars paired with 'Francis' (as seen in Myrick's book), they were possibly built later, and recorded to be of 15 ton haulage capacity, which was supposed to be more than 6 times what a 20 Mule Team could carry in their wagons. It has been said in some sources that the gondolas had detachable sides to act as flat cars, but this doesn't seem likely to me.

It is said that these gondolas are similar in design to ore cars built for the Tonopah Railroad and the Pajaro Valley Railroad, but have not found photos of these certain cars to compare.
Last edited by PacificCoastBorax99 on Fri May 27, 2016 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Origins of the Borate & Daggett RR rolling stock

Postby PacificCoastBorax99 » Tue May 10, 2016 6:18 pm

B&D #2 Francis hauling borax in Mule Canyon, engineer Jerome Connolly in cab, circa 1907_fixd2.png


It is said that these gondolas are similar in design to ore cars built for the Tonopah Railroad and the Pajaro Valley Railroad, but have not found photos of these certain cars to compare.

As for the flatcars, photos I've seen of them are mostly consisting of the watercars used on the Death Valley Railroad to haul water for the workers along the route. They appear to have 4 slots on the sides to hold the railings on the sides to hold the water tanks. Only 2 of these 3 flatcars in the photo are of B&D I believe, the one in the middle looks longer than the other two and appears to have 6 or 7 slots on their sides, so this might be one of the ex-NWP flatcars...though the 3rd flatcar from the B&D was also said to have served as a temporary watercar.

Closeup of DVRR No. 1 on trestle with flatcars and watercars, possibly ex-Borate & Daggett RR.PNG

Francis on Borate & Daggett Trestle, near Borate, circa 1899.png


This one picture of the 'Francis' shows the flatcar behind it in better detail. It appears to be hauling a tank from one of the 20 Mule Team's wagons on top of it.

All I know about these cars is that they were supposed to have been sent to the Death Valley Railroad in 1913 and used for construction, given automatic "knuckle" couplers to keep up-to-date with the railroad safety regulations the ICC imposed on the DVRR during operation. The watercars were said to have been possibly used up in New Mexico when the DVRR was moved to haul potash out of Loving, NM, but that's about it.

If anyone here could help me identify design features on these cars that could trace them back to their manufacturers or point-of-origins, it would be a big help....

Nic
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Re: Origins of the Borate & Daggett RR rolling stock

Postby Randy Hees » Wed May 11, 2016 7:27 am

Good eye Nic...

My first thought some cars were more rebuilt/repaired, but the end framing on the two styles is very different.

I suspect all the cars are 28' long... it is kind of a northern California standard. The appearance of shorter cars might be caused by the angle at which the photo was taken, compounded by some being taller.

There are a couple of options to explain the differences in the dump cars... Smith had some railroad equipment associated with his real estate developments in the Oakland area, and one car may have come from one of those companies. Alternately they may have started with 2 or3 cars, and having used them discovered that they had issues so when adding one or more cars asked for changes. I believe that there were only 5 dump cars on the B&D, with only 4 of those going to the Death Valley RR... of course it is possible that there were more, destroyed and replaced.

The water cars are flat cars with tanks... records suggest there were two... records suggest two flat cars. I suspect that the dump cars were flat car underframes with sides added...

With Smith based in Oakland, we would expect the cars to have been built by one of three northern California car builders active at the time, The Carter Brothers, with their factory in Newark and sales office in San Francisco, John Hammond, who's company is also known as the California Car Works, and William Holeman... All built minor variations of the same car. That car design had been developed by the Carter Brothers, based on Central Pacific practice.

Some of the common details (expected on both flat cars and dump cars) are the wood transom trucks, believed to all be swing motion. The side sills wrap under the end beam(sill). You may be able to see that the cars don't use turnbuckles on the truss rods. As far as we know all of these cars have wooden car bolsters. Beyond that there are several casting families that we track. On flat cars we expect to see elliptical truss rod washers on the side sill on either side of the bolster, for the traverse truss rods. On a Carter we expect elliptical truss rod washers on the end beam, Hammond is believed to have used both elliptical and round truss rod washers.

As you noted we know of three groups of these side dumping gondolas;
1) about 125 cars for sugar beet service on the Pajaro Valley Consolidated, built by John Hammond between 1894 and 1900
2) 5 or so cars for the Borate & Daggett, 1898/1899 (based on your photos I suspect in at least two orders) (4 cars to Death Valley RR)
3) 20 cars for Tonopah Mining Company, by John Hammond in 1904 (at least some later to Eureka & Palisades)

In all cases we don't know if these cars were flat or gable bottom...

The Pajaro Valley cars were built for sugar beets, which were much lighter. They were 15 ton capacity cars. They used stake pockets as part of the structure of the sides. The ends did not have diagonal bracing. They represent both the first and third group of cars built.

The B&D cars seem to be 15 ton capacity based on photos. They don't use stake pockets as part of the structure of the box. In at least one case they have diagonally braced ends.

The TM cars are 20 ton capacity. Like the B&D cars they were built to carry rock. I don't have any good photos showing car details.

Randy
Randy Hees

Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City
Railway Preservation News http://www.rypn.org
Chasing old trains where ever I may find them...
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Re: Origins of the Borate & Daggett RR rolling stock

Postby PacificCoastBorax99 » Fri May 27, 2016 11:38 pm

Interesting points you've made here, Randy.

Indeed, though based off of measurements I've made of the cars in the photographs, they appear to be about 21' or 22'...

I could imagine that the pairs of gondolas were built by different builders, of those Smith would be familar with from past orders for his streetcars and industrial railways, no doubt. 2 could've been used at first, as seen in the earliest photograph of Marion in 1898, then when output and traffic rose, more cars were bought in, perhaps 2 or 3.

I am familiar with Hammond and the California Car Works, but have not heard of Carter Bros. or William Holeman.

You'll have to send me pictures of these parts you've mentioned, so I could be able to identify them in the photographs. I shall find the time to look closer at the photos I have of the cars to see what I can find.

Nic
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