The NCO’s New Wheels

One of the challenges we face in restoring our antique equipment is most of the original hardware and particularly, the trucks, for our cars disappeared many years ago. Now nearly 100 years later, finding suitable replacements poses some unique challenges. One of these challenges comes from the railroads themselves, each railroad had their own preferences for truck designs. Much like rail sizes from the era, each company had a “better mousetrap” when it came to truck design. As such the side bearings, center bowl, bolsters, side frames and wheelbase vary from railroad to railroad.

Our boxcar 518 was built by American Car & Foundry, originally for the Florence and Cripple Creek in Colorado. F&CC trucks aren’t common anymore, but fortunately for us they are very similar to D&RGW freight trucks, and we feel that they will look very good under 518 until a reproduced set of correct F&CC freight trucks can be constructed. Through connections with the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Museum, we learned they had a spare set. After inquiring, a deal was struck, and it was time for a road trip!

The road trip itself went quite smoothly and after a short night stay in Oroville (much coffee was consumed the next morning!) we arrived in Nevada City. Many thanks to John Christensen and his crew at the NCNG, not only for supplying us the trucks, but also for their help loading them! Even as relatively small as they are they are quite heavy and would’ve been a real chore to winch onto the trailer. After a tour of their beautiful shops, grounds, and equipment we departed for points north, arriving safely in Alturas that evening. A successful trip!

Photograph of freight trucks.
Recently acquired D&RGW freight car trucks.