Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waybills, Part 53: car slips and tickets

In several previous posts, I have discussed the use of Empty Car Bills and related kinds of “simplified” waybill documents. A relatively recent example (see it at: ) added information about some Northern Pacific documents. The present post shows some Reading Company documents like this, of an interesting character. These documents were loaned to me by Rob Mantler, who has my gratitude for his generosity in sharing.
     Some of the tickets are for empty cars, as I have shown earlier for a considerable number of railroads (you can find many of these posts by using “Empty Car Bill” in the search box at upper right). These are interesting in that they are filled out.

The two cars here are Reading 36604, a 52-foot gondola, and RDG 115352, a 50-foot single-door box car. The latter slip has added interest with both a “from” stamp (Newberry Junction) and a “to” stamp (Sunbury PA). Another interesting aspect of these two tickets is that they are a different format from the Reading Empty Car Bills I showed in a previous post (it can be found at this link: ).
     The most interesting “car tickets” in Rob’s collection are those for cars which clearly were loaded, so these are not bills for empties. These may represent a transition between the days of conductors working from original waybills, to the electronic data and switchlists of today. All are dated in 1967. Here is a group of four such tickets. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

The one on the left, for CNW 24108, a 40-foot box car, is a load of lumber from Klickitat, Washington. Next to the right is Lehigh Valley 63108, another 40-foot box car, carrying rock salt, though the ticket doesn’t indicate if it is bulk salt or bagged (I would guess the latter). Next to the right is N&W 89608, a 45-foot gondola, carrying ties for the use of the Reading Company, and destined to a work train at Belt Bridge (as I read the ticket). Last, on the far right, is Union Railroad 8208, a 42-foot gondola, carrying steel beams from Bethlehem Steel to Penn Iron Works in Reading. All these tickets are interesting in part because they give business names of shippers and consignees.
     Here is another group of four tickets, equally interesting. One in particular, at the right of this group, deserves detailed attention, as it is a use of a ticket like this that I would not have expected.

But before taking up that ticket on the right, let me describe the other tickets in this group. First, on the left, is a Texas & Pacific car, no. 19408, a 52-foot gondola, carrying steel bars from Republic Steel in East Buffalo to Textile Machine Co. in Reading. To its right is a ticket for Central of Georgia 1808, a 2003-cubic foot covered hopper, carrying soda ash from Solvay, New York to Berkshire Color in Reading. Then next to the right is the ticket for WM 34008, with a load of pallets of steel wire from American Chain in Monessen, PA to a steel fabricator in Reading. This car is interesting because it was a 50-foot single-door box car with DF loaders installed.
     That ticket on the far right is for a diesel locomotive being hauled dead in train, from Newberry Junction to the Reading engine house in Reading. Locomotive 5308 was an Alco Century 630, and in October 1967, date of this ticket, was evidently in need of repairs. Most railroads bought small orders of this Alco model, including Reading with 12 units, of a total production of 70 locomotives. It is interesting that a car ticket, just like any other car in a train, was made out for this move.
     I should also note in passing that all these documents are roughly the size of an 8.5 x 11-inch waybill, folded in half the long way, permitting their easy combining into a stack of folded waybills. Obviously these “car tickets” appear to substitute for waybills, but perhaps there was not one for every car, but a mixed set of documents. And as one observer mentioned to me, the pigeon holes in cabooses were this size also, so even if there were no actual waybills, these tickets could still be handled in the usual way by a conductor.
     I really enjoy seeing documents like these, and appreciate the loan by Rob Mantler. Every one of these sets of freight car documents enlarges our knowledge of a vanished time in railroading.
Tony Thompson

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