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Title: Design of a Steel Railroad Warehouse
Author: Tallyn, Louis Liston
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                  OF A
                        STEEL RAILROAD WAREHOUSE


                          LOUIS LISTON TALLYN

                     DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
                           CIVIL ENGINEERING

                         COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
                         UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS


                         UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

                                                            May 29, 1901


                       Louis Liston Tallyn

 ENTITLED Design of a Steel Railroad Warehouse


 OF Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

[Illustration: _Ira O Baker._]

                                HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF Civil Engineering.



In choosing a thesis subject I have endeavored to select one that would
be of practical use to one in the work that is to follow the college
training. I have decided to present the design of a steel railroad
warehouse at New Orleans for the Illinois Central Railroad as I am
greatly interested in railroad work and intend to make that my
speciality and because the design of warehouses has so far received only
little consideration, but chiefly because a careful study of such a
subject will give a knowledge of steel structural work.


Nearly all railroad warehouses are of wood, but if a warehouse were to
be built today it is certain that, except for small buildings and in
localities where timber is exceptionally cheap, a wooden warehouse would
not be considered. At present steel seems to be the material which most
nearly approaches the ideal for such structures. This use of steel is
due to the increase in the cost of timber and to the decrease in the
price of structural steel, which now makes it possible to build a much
stronger, a better looking, and more economical structure than would
have been possible ten years ago.

With a steel structure a settlement of a couple of inches would not in
the least impair its efficiency, as the members would adjust themselves
by flexure to meet the new condition. This property of a steel structure
is of great advantage where the foundations must be located in soil
saturated more or less with water, as would be the case near the sea or
a large river. Where brick or stonework is built on such foundations,
the masonry would be quite likely to crack.

Large freight houses have in the past fifteen years generally been built
with a wooden frame covered with sheathing or corrugated iron, and with
wooden or combination roof trusses covered with gravel, tin, iron or
some form of patent roofing-felt which is supposed to be fireproof. To
cheapen the construction, a flat roof is frequently used; but this style
of roof is very hard to make absolutely water-tight. Again, where
corrugated iron is used as a roof covering the wind has a tendency to
drive the rain up under the iron. It is claimed that tin or iron when
used on a building near salt water, deteriorate rapidly and that a
gravel roof would be much better; but if the iron or tin is kept well
painted, there is little danger of its being attacked in that way. When
tin or corrugated iron is used as a roof, the trusses may be built much
lighter than when gravel is used.

Freight houses are often built very long, for example, the Illinois
Central banana sheds at Cairo, Illinois. Here, as at all long
warehouses, the length of train standing on the track becomes excessive,
and in switching the work of the “banana hands” is often interrupted,
while if a train is made up by loading successive cars, they are
sometimes detained longer than is advisable. Fifteen hundred feet is
probably as long as a warehouse should be. Freight houses should
probably not be more than two hundred feet wide, since otherwise freight
taken directly from the cars to the vessels must be trucked too far. On
the other hand, where package conveyors are used, this would matter
little; and the wide warehouse would have greater floor space for the
same cost of construction. If a large amount of freight is loaded direct
from the cars to the vessels, it may be well to run a track between the
freight house and the pier; but at most docks, unless space is very
valuable, such freight will be handled at a pier independent of the

Where ground space is valuable, a second story is added. This gives a
good space for long-storage freight, where it will be out of the way.
When the value of barrel and package elevators come to be properly
appreciated, two-story warehouses will be built to a greater extent than

Doors are introduced in the sides of the building at intervals to allow
the freight to be taken in and out. Where the doors are too close, a
great deal of space is occupied by passageways, and is therefore
rendered useless for the storage of goods. On the other hand, where the
distance between the doors is great, the number of berths for vessels is
diminished. In single story warehouses, windows in the sides of the
building are usually omitted, and light and ventilation is obtained by
skylights in the roof, or sometimes only by transoms over the doors. In
double story houses the upper floor is often extended across the
track-pit so as to utilize the entire ground space for storage, in which
case it is necessary to locate windows in the sides of the lower story.
Where this is done the windows must be set so high as not to be blocked
by freight piled along the sides of the building. A better design is to
omit the floor over the track-pit, which reduces the storage space, but
also secures an abundance of light and ventilation for the lower story
as well as avoids a costly girder construction over the track-pit.


Before considering the details of the proposed design, a short
description of some railroad warehouses will be given. These are not all
sea-board warehouses, but they are good examples of current practice.
The descriptions are taken from blue prints sent by the railroads.

_Michigan Central Freight House, Grand Rapids, Michigan._ This is a
single story structure, 480 ft. long, and 48 ft. wide sheathed on the
sides with galvanized iron, and roofed with tin. The clear height of the
building is 11 ft. 9 in. The bents are 15½ ft. by 16 ft. The 12 × 12 in.
wooden columns are supported on stone foundations 4 ft. square, having a
depth below the ground of 8½ ft. At the north end, 36 ft. of the
structure is two-storied the second story being used for offices, toilet
rooms etc. One peculiar thing about this warehouse is that it has what
may be called a continuous door system by which an opening may be made
at any point along the side of the building.

_Union Pacific Railroad Standard._ The standard freight house for this
road is a one-story structure built of brick laid in lime mortar. The
foundation is of rubble laid in cement mortar. Above the ground the
masonry is range work with ¼–in. joints. The masonry is built up to the
underside of the roof boards between the rafters. The door jams are
formed of cast iron columns, on which are placed two nine-inch I beams
with cast iron separators, on which the wall is continued to the roof.
In the office portion the walls are covered with ¾–in. × ½–in. furring
strips. The building is covered with a combination roofing-felt.

_Chicago St. Paul Minneapolis & Omaha_ _Railroad._ The warehouse at
Allouez Bay Docks is 1500 ft. long by 80 ft. wide. The sides are covered
with No. 24 corrugated iron, and the roof with tin. The entire building
is founded on 10–in. oak piling, with the exception of the fifteen feet
towards the bay, which is built upon 12 × 12–inch cribwork. Just inside
the doors of the warehouse are six platform scales, three on the west or
receiving platform and three on the east or delivery side. The doors are
white-pine frames covered with No. 26 corrugated iron.

The warehouse of the same road at Duluth is of the same general type,
the main difference being that along the sides of the pier movable
inclines or gangways are provided which follow the rise and fall of the
water and which can be adjusted to suit any boat whether floating high
or low in the water. The principal material used in these buildings is
creosoted yellow pine, the caps and stringers being 12 × 12–inch, and
the posts 10 × 10–inch. The roof trusses are of white pine.

_Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe´ Railroad_. The freight houses of this road
are much the same as those of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and
Omaha railroad, except that more pains have been taken with the
appearances of the structures.

_Mobile and Ohio Railroad_. The standard freight house of this road is a
double-story frame structure, 560 ft. long by 80 ft. wide, sheathed on
the outside with galvanized iron, and roofed with a composition
roofing-felt. Two tracks enter the building, one near the side and one
in the middle. The former is for freight which requires no storage. By
the use of iron joists and girders, the floor of the second story is
continued without a break across the track-pit. Freight is transferred
from and to the upper story by package elevators.

                         _THE WRITER’S DESIGN_

The site for the warehouse has been taken at New Orleans, Louisiana, on
the property of the Illinois Central fronting the gulf known as
Stuyvesant Docks. The design, however, is adapted to any sea-board town
where a great deal of heavy freight is received from railroads for
shipment by water, or vice versa. It might also with a few variations be
suitable for an inland town.

The warehouse will be 600 ft. long. This length is chosen because it
represents the length of wharf available for that purpose. The width of
the building will be 148 ft., of which 20 ft. in the center will be
occupied by two tracks spaced fifteen feet center to center, which
allows an ample passage-way between the tracks and also between the
floor and the track.

_Load._ The size of warehouse having been decided upon, the next thing
is to select the proper floor load to be allowed for. This depends upon
the class of freight to be expected and also upon the manner of storing
it. Passage-ways will at most times be left in the freight for
accessibility, which will make some difference in the loading; but as
the passageways are likely to be omitted at some time, the unit load
should be on the side of safety and cover all contingencies. A load of
250 lbs per. sq. ft. on both the upper and lower floor has been taken in
this design, which it is believed will be ample as iron ore, lead, etc.,
will not be stored here.

_Support of Upper Floor._ The columns will be spaced 20 ft. apart in the
direction of the length of the building, and 15 ft. in the other
direction. The girders will run parallel to the length of the building
and therefore the girders will be 20 ft. long and the joists 15. The
economic length of the girder is somewhat less than 20 ft. but by this
spacing of the columns more clear room will be obtained, which is a
thing worthy of some consideration.

_Roof Trusses._ The vertical load on the roof will be taken as 35 lbs.
per. sq. ft. of horizontal projection, of which 20 lbs. is supposed to
cover the weight of the roof itself, and 15 a possible load due to wind.
The horizontal effect of the wind is taken as 30 lbs. per. sq. ft. of
the vertical projection. A design was first made in which it was
intended to span 60 ft. with one Fink truss, but this required such
heavy construction in the truss members, that the span of the trusses
was reduced to 30 ft. and a column was projected up through the second
story to carry one end of the trusses.

For an elevation of the trusses see Plate III, page 23. The stresses in
the several members of the trusses were found by graphical resolution.
In many cases a stress was found smaller than would be safely carried by
a 2 × 2–inch angle, but on account of riveting a smaller section could
not be used. For details of the trusses see Plate III, page 23.

_Purlins._ The purlins are spaced 7 ft. apart and have a span of 20
feet. This requires rather a heavy purlin, and on account of the length
there will be more or less deflection in it; but this will not be in the
least detrimental. Five-inch nine-pound channels will be used, and on
these will be bolted the nailing pieces.

_Roof Covering._ Over the purlins will be laid 1½–inch fine sheathing
covered with tin. Tin is used in preference to corrugated iron, as it
may be soldered so as to be absolutely water-tight. On the underside of
the sheathing will be nailed a layer of asbestos to prevent sparks from
the engines below setting fire to the woodwork.

_Flooring._ The flooring for the upper story will be 3–inch
well-seasoned long leaf yellow pine surfaced to a thickness and laid
with square joints. The floor can safely carry the required load with a
span of 4 feet, and therefore the joists will be spaced 4 feet center to
center. The joists will be supported by girders which are in turn
supported by the columns. The joists will be 15–inch 42 lb. I beams, and
the girders 20–inch 65–lb. I beams.

_Columns._ Only two columns will be designed: one having only a part of
the roof to support, and one that supports this column and the load on
the upper floor. The first is designated A on Plate III, page 23, and
the second B.

Column A. The load due to the weight of truss, wind and snow is 24000
lbs. A column composed of 4 angles 3½ × 2½ × 3⁄16–in. and 2 × ½–in.
lacing will be used. The cross-section is shown in the figure


]. The moment of inertia about the axis AB = 20.4 × 4 = 81.6 inches, and
the distance C, from the center of gravity of the cross section to the
most extreme fibre, = 4. The bending moment, M, caused by the wind on
the roof = 1,442,000 inch pounds. Substituting these values in the
formula M = SI ÷ C and solving for S, we obtain a value of 7100 lbs.
per. sq. in. The stress per. sq. in. due to the weight of the trusses =
3300 lbs. Therefore the total stress = 7100 + 3300 = 10400 lbs. per. sq.
in. The allowable stress = 16000 − (45 l⁄v). l⁄v = 13.7. Therefore the
allowable stress = 11400 lbs. per. sq. in.

Column B. The dead load caused by column A is 12 tons, and the load on
the column due to the second floor is 41.5 tons, making a total of 53.5
tons. The length of column is 12 ft. Try a column composed of four 3 × ½
in. Z bars laced. Half of the wind pressure on the windward side above
the floor is transmitted by the roof and the lateral bracing to the
columns on the leeward side of the building, and half is carried
directly by the columns on the windward side. The wind pressure to be
resisted by 10 columns = 46 × 30 × 20 = 27,600 lbs. The columns being
fixed at the base, the total moment of the wind = 27,600 × 12 × 6 =
1,987,200 in. lbs. and the moment resisted by one column = 198,720 in.
lbs. I ÷ C for this column = 35.1. By substitution in the equation M =
SI ÷ C, S = 2300 lbs. per sq. in (approx.). The area of the column =
9.31 sq. in.; and the stress in the column due to the dead load = 83000
÷ 9.31 = 8900 lbs. per. sq. in.

The other columns will be stressed less than this one; but this section
will be used throughout for the columns on the lower floor.

_Wind Bracing._ Only the method of designing member AD (see Plate III,
page 23) will be explained. The wind pressure to be transmitted = 4800
lbs. The secant of the angle of inclination = 1.06. Therefore the stress
in AD = 4800 × 1.06 = 5100 lbs. A ¾–in. round rod will be used.

In the same way the sizes of the members CE, EF, and FG are determined.

_Foundation._ The maximum load for the column is about 55 tons. The
foundation will be built on piling, as experiments made by F. J.
Llewellyn—Engineering News, May 11 1899—show that the safe load for the
soil at New Orleans is only about 700 lbs. per. sq. ft. Nine piles will
be used in supporting each column. The depth of pile necessary to safely
support the load will be found by driving a few trial piles and using
what is known as the Engineering News formula (Baker’s Masonry
Construction page 245) P′ = 2Wh ÷ d + 1, in which P′ = the safe load in
tons; and d is the penetration in inches under the last blow. W is the
weight of the hammer in tons; and h h is the fall in feet. The piles
will be of good quality straight-grained white oak, and before being
driven, the entire bark will be stripped off. No pile less than 15 in.
at the top will be used. The piles will be spaced 3 ft. center to
center. A detail drawing of the foundation is shown in Plate III, page
23. The concrete used in the foundation will be composed of 1 part
Louisville Natural cement and 4 parts of sandstone broken to pass a
2½–in. ring, the part passing a ½–in. ring being screened out. The
concrete is assumed to have a compressive strength of 10 tons per sq.
ft., and then the area of the cast iron base to support the column will
be 55 ÷ 10 = 5.5 sq. ft. A base 30 inches square will be used.

The first floor will be composed of 6–inches of concrete made as that
for the foundation resting directly on the ground. Over this will be
spread ½–in. of neat Portland cement to give the floor an even surface.


The writer realizes that he has not treated such details as cornices,
gutters, window frames, etc. but time will not permit of a further
elaboration of the design.

[Illustration: PLATE-I]

[Illustration: PLATE-II]

[Illustration: PLATE-III]


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 3. Enclosed block printed font in _underscores_.

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