A Railway Car-Builder's Dictionary

Click any letter below to go directly to that alphabetical table.

D — H

Deck Carline.  (See Carline.)

Deck Sash.  A glazed window sash in the deck side of a clerestory or monitor roof.

Deck side.  (below) The entire vertical side of the clerestory, or the vertical side of a monitor roof, between the lower deck and the upper deck, including the sashes, sill, plate and posts.

Door sill.  (below) A cross-piece attached to the floor on the underside of a door-opening. In car construction the term is usually applied to an iron plate used under passenger car and occasionally under freight car doors.

Door Sill
View looking into a passenger car, showing the metal door sill flanked by the door posts. The platform floor is in the foreground.

Double-pane window.  (below) A window with two panes of glass, one above the other. The lower window sash is usually the larger, and opens upward, sliding up to overlap the upper, fixed sash. In more modern cars (after 1910) the two may be of equal size, and sometimes both open, the lower sliding up and the upper sliding down.

Double-pane Window Double-pane Window

Draw-bar.  An open-mouthed bar projecting from the car frame at the end of a car to which the coupling links (as in link-and-pin couplers) are attached and by which the car is pulled or pushed. Usually attached to the underframe by springs to cushion forward and backward impact.

Drop-door.  A  door at the bottom of a drop-bottom or hopper-bottom car that will allow the car to discharge its entire load speedily when opened.

Duckbill platform roof.  (below) (also duck bill or duck billed)  Monitor roof reminiscent of a ducks bill; e.g., with a double curve, first downward, then outward. The clerestory tapers into the platform roof well before the roof apron, and the two flatten out together. This was the first streamlining of the original flat-ended clerestory, and went out of style by the mid 1870s, generally being replaced by the broken duckbill (below).

Eave line.  The top of the letter-board -- where the side of the car meets the roof.

Emergency Brake (Creamer’s).  (Has its own page.)

End platform.  (below) A floor at the end and on the outside of a passenger car supported by projecting timbers fastened below the car body (except in the case of the Miller platform), intended to facilitate the entrance and exit of passengers to and from the car.

Fascia.  Vertical trim board, usually just below the edge of a roof. The letter-board appears to be a fascia, but is generally an exposed frame member.

Flat car.  A car that is essentially a platform without side or top enclosure. In the old days sometimes called a “platform car.” Generally, stake pockets are mounted on its sides so that stakes can be used to keep the load from falling off. When sides are added, a flat car becomes a gondola car.

Gondola Car.  A flat car with low sides, either fixed in place, or hinged so they car be let down, and in some cases removable. Hopper bottom gondola cars are frequently used for ease of unloading bulk commodities such as coal or gravel.

Hooded platform roof.  (below) A duckbill roof where the clerestory tapers into the platform roof well before the roof apron, and the two flatten out together at a relatively vertical angle. This look is created by a sheet metal structure added to the end of the car body (as was the end platform itself prior to the Miller Platform. Generally an iron rod was formed to run from one side of the car body to the other, forming the bottom edge of the hood. Several rods were then run from that rod up to the upper edge of the car body roof to support the contoured sheet metal covering. In describing the Bowers & Dure cars of the Denver South Park & Pacific, writer Ken Martin once called this a weird duckbill. It appears to have been popular with the three Wilmington, Deleware, car-builders Bowers-Dure, Harlan & Hollingsworth and Jackson & Sharp between 1865 and 1875. It is quite noticeable in the Billmeyer & Small catalog drawings at our Billmeyer & Small Gallery page.

Hopper-bottom gondola car.  A hopper-bottom gondola car is a gondola car with an inclined bottom sloping down to drop-doors in the center, so that the entire load can be speedily discharged. They may be used to haul any commodity such as coal or gravel that will not be harmed by exposure to the elements. In the modern world are seldom used except for track maintenance, being largely replaced by hopper cars.

Horton's reclining chairs.  (Has its own page.)

11 Apr 2006

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