Wheel spots

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antonyjq
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Wheel spots

Post by antonyjq » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:17 pm

Hi all,
Don't know if anybody might be able to help but...
I recently came across "wheel spots." These are shown by white or yellow circles on the side of freight cars indicating either approved or non-approved.
Does anybody have a clue what this is about?
Thanks
Ant

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BrianMoore
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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.
Image
SP 401152 by bxmoore, on Flickr
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

antonyjq
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Re: Wheel spots

Post by antonyjq » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:26 pm

Brilliant, thanks guys.
Now I've finished and exhibited my contemporary N Scale layout, I'm just starting to model a new era in a new (to me) scale -HO. The era is going to be 1970 - 1978 so this information is critical.
The good old NMRA forum was the first place I turned and sure enough...
Thanks again.
Ant
PS if i could just find out about American flat roof coverings in the same period... I've been watching Dirty Harry movies and the like but all of the films of the period with roof scenes in them seem to be set in cities. Doh.

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