In previous posts in this series, I described some resources for information about the rail traffic of the automobile industry, and showed specific information about assembly plants in California, along with information on auto parts companies; I supplemented that with a following post about waybills. Links to both those posts are in Part 3 (you can see that post at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2017/12/auto-industry-traffic-part-3-prototype.html ), which dealt with the hardware inside prototype cars that carried set-up automobiles or auto parts.
In this post, I want to show examples drawn from the model car fleet I use to try and represent this traffic on my layout. I have described elsewhere the Southern Pacific trains that handled traffic of this kind on the Coast Route (see my post at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/02/choosing-model-car-fleet-4-automobile.html ).
For this summary, I’ll begin with a fairly conventional 50-foot CNW automobile car of AAR Class XMR, with its characteristic white door stripe; the model was built from a Sunshine resin kit.
This kind of car, whether 40 feet long or 50 feet long, carried set-up automobiles. As an illustration of this, shown below is an Allen DeLay photo from the Portland Oregonian newspaper, showing 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air sedans being unloaded in Portland.
But a great deal of auto industry traffic was in the form of auto parts moving to assembly plants around the country. Many such loads traveled in 50-foot double-door cars, but of course without the distinguishing door stripes signifying automobile racks, such as this DT&I car (an ancient Athearn metal round-roof model) in AAR Class XAP:
The football-shaped emblem at the left of the doors reads, “auto parts loading only – racks – return empty to Detroit.”
Many railroads purchased batches of 50-foot single-door cars specifically for auto parts. Their 8-foot doors facilitated use of forklift trucks for loading and unloading. Southern Pacific was no exception, beginning with the 1941-built Class B-50-22, shown here as a Proto2000 model:
But plenty of cars in auto parts service were 40-foot cars. Some railroads with substantial auto parts traffic, like Wabash, operated wood-sheathed cars well into the diesel era, such as this car, an Overland brass model:
Some railroads, including SP, even assigned groups of 40-foot cars with single 6-foot doors to auto parts service (presumably ones not requiring fork lift trucks for loading or unloading). For example, when SP rebuilt 600 or so of its USRA box cars, originally Class B-50-12, with new steel sides and roofs, reclassified B-50-12-A, the cars also got an additional floor stringer on each side of the center sill, described as a modification for auto parts use. Their narrow doors not being suitable for handling parts racks, most were AAR Class XM, rather than XAP, though they were carrying auto parts. Here is a photo of such a car, modeled with a Challenger brass car:
This car runs in my mainline trains with the other cars in the auto-parts cuts. Note the inset side sill, typical of cars rebuilt from single-sheathed originals.
This is not the entirety of model car types that I use for my auto parts trains, but will suffice for now. I will add additional cars in a future post. More importantly, I will be adding some information about which railroad’s cars to include, and how I know.