Sunday, July 10, 2016

Route cards, Part 12 — more examples

In a previous post, I showed a number of prototype route cards from the collection of Ralph Heiss, and commented on the various switching and train identifications they appear to have been used for. (That post can be found at this link: .) But the images he sent me from his collection include a number of other types of route cards.
     Here are a few evidently used on outgoing cars from a shipper or yard. It appears that they describe needed actions (weigh, ice) or the cargo on board (lumber). These of course are not destination cards except in the sense that weighing the car, or icing it, might be the first things before departure. The lumber card may describe a cargo with special needs, or may simply be informative. Note that none of the three are identified as to the railroad which printed them.

     A couple of Pacific Fruit Express cards are also interesting in that they inform crews about how the car is set up (heaters installed though car is empty, or half-stage grates enabled), and may have been on the auxiliary placard board alongside the car door, rather than on the route card board.

That auxiliary board is the smaller of the two to the left of the door on this InterMountain model of a Class R-40-10 car repainted into the 1950 paint scheme (the post-1945 paint schemes were reviewed in previous posts, this one at this link: ). This car has its route card board on the bolster end at left, and as you can see, a small rectangle of paper has been used to represent the presence of a card. A second card is on the auxiliary board near the door.

     Finally, an interesting shipper card from Shell Oil, simply describing the cargo. There would also have been a “flammable” placard, but this card, likely stapled on the edge of a wood running board, would further inform switch crews as to the cargo. It’s even an elongated shape suitable for that location.

     Some additional route cards, somewhat reminiscent of those in the previous post about these cards, are shown below. The one on the left has such faded pencil marks, nothing can be read, while the middle one likewise contains almost no information beyond what is printed, and the rubber stamped “RUSH.” The one on the right might be a Cotton Belt card used at Valley Junction, or it might be some other road’s card directing cars to the Cotton Belt.

     These cards offer further illustrations of the range of prototype route cards, and I will continue with more of them in future posts.
Tony Thompson

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