Wheel spots

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BrianMoore
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Location: Plymouth, UK

Re: Wheel spots

Post by BrianMoore » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:38 pm

From memory, it's to show the freight car wheels have been inspected for fractures. The yellow spots showed that the work had been done; if a white spot, then the car had prohibited wheels and was possibly barred from interchange. It happened in the early seventies.
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Brian Moore

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Gloriousnse
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Re: Wheel spots

Post by Gloriousnse » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:05 am

Brian has it - but I think it's later than his recollection, I think 1978 was the key year, with an FRA mandate in March that year.

It was discovered that a bad batch of wheelsets had been manufactured and shipped out to various railroads all over the country, the issue had been discovered by investigating a couple of major derailments, unfortunately it wasn't possible at the time to track down where the bad wheelsets had gone (IIRC better record keeping was also a result!) - so the only way to deal with it was to inspect every car that might have received a suspect wheelsets, and a time limit was put out to inspect every freight car that may have been affected.

Cars that had been inspected and were okay were given a sticker with a yellow wheel dot on a black background, new-build IPD boxcars built 3/78 to 12/78 should have had yellow dots from the factory.
Cars that were inspected and found to have bad wheels were given a white dot on a black background, in effect saying "repair ASAP" with a deadline of the end of 1978, in addition they had a restriction banning them from any train that carried Hazmat.

It was only 33" wheelsets affected, so it should only have been 50t/70t cars affected, but I have seen a (very) few images where 100t cars also received a dot.

Once the cars had been checked the dots were effectively obsolete, but as repaints aren't over-common I suspect you can still occasionally see them!

Info from here: http://www.hosam.com/mod/rsdet.html - also has useful info on things like ACI tags and COTS labels, which are also relevant to the era!
Martyn Read

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