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"Big Inch Pipe Loads"

OK, I'll take a shot at increasing the content here.  Below is a photo ofmy 24" diameter seamless pipe load, or if you prefer, "Big Inch" pipe.  On my railroad, this load was interchanged at Osoyoos BC from the Alberta Pacific Railroad, and was shipped from the Stelco pipe mill in Camrose Alberta (still in business, IIRC, owned by EVRAZ).   The load is headed to Casper WY for use on the Belle Fourche pipeline.  I'm modeling 1952.

The mill gondona is a Rapido product.


Wikipedia has a nice write-up on the "Big Inch" (and "Little Inch) pipeline, which is where I got my information:

This photograph from the Wikipedia article was the inspiration for the load.

I move a lot of pipe on my railroad, so I have a lot of loads to make.  I'm making eight for myself (after the prototypes), and four each for two of my construction crew.  The load was manufactured from "standard" plastic drinking straws that I "purchased" from Peets coffee (cost me an $8.00 tip in the tip jar, got a whole package from them).   Why did I get these from Peets?  Well, I like the color, and I knew I would get a standard drinking straw, which is 0.24" in diameter.  In HO, that is darn close to 24".  It is getting downright difficult to get plastic drinking straws.  Tried Walmart and Target, and struck out (Target only has small diameter straws, which looked to be 3/16").  I wasn't going to order off of Amazon, since the colored straws did not specify they were "standard" size, and I didn't want to waste the effort.

Below is the assembly line.  Six loads glued together with Walthers Goo (about the only thing I've found to glue these darn things together, plastic cement doesn't even touch them).  I cut the pipe to a scale 44' length.  It takes 10 straws to make a fourteen straw stack of 4 on the bottom, 4 above that, 3 above that, and four on the top.  Look at the Wikipedia picture to see the three top layers.


Once the assembly is glued together, I spray on automotive primer with a rattle can, followed by grey paint out of a rattle can, followed by a clear flat finish.  I do NOT attempt to get full coverage with the grey, and photos I have colorized show surface rust on both the ID and OD for this era.  Newer pipe in current times is coated.  After paint, I use 1/64" nail tape to simulate the banding, and Northeastern strip wood for the blocking (4x6" cut to appropriate length in a NWSL "Chopper". 

All of this was done in accordance with the AAR Loading Manual for this type of load.  I work from a 1960 copy, which I found on the web.


I'm going to do a couple of loads with this configuration also, which is shown in this Library of Congress photo from their Jack Delano collection.  This photograph is what got me interested in learning about the "Big Inch" pipeline.  This link gives you several photos from Jack Delano, and Bensenville IL in 1943.






Images (3)
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Last edited by gnnpnut
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