Friday, February 9, 2018

Auto industry traffic, Part 7

There have now been several posts in this thread. The previous posts gave links to the preceding ones, if you wish to track back to the beginning; or you can use “auto industry” as a search term in the search box to the right. In particular, here is a link to Part 5, which contains links to the posts before that: , and in addition the following post brings many parts of the topics a little further (see it at: ).
     One of the major players in car supply for Bay Area auto parts was the Grand Trunk Western, as shown in the post about traffic components (Part 5, link in the paragraph above). Accordingly, I have models of a couple of GTW cars. One is a 40-foot car, mirroring a Canadian National design which in fact was the prototype of the Accurail single-sheathed box car; Richard Hendrickson made up a new door master to make this into a door-and-a-half car, and molded it in epoxy. Here is a completed car:

This model was built and weathered by Richard; I have one of his door moldings and have a partly completed additional car on my workbench.
     The GTW also had 50-foot steel automobile cars, most with end doors. Back in the day, I began with an Athearn “Blue Box” automobile car and added a pair of end doors at the A end, with a casting from Cannonball Car Shops (the former Red Ball line). I also made sure the car number (GTW 591570) was correct for an end-door car series. But this model remains a stand-in, or as I term it, a “mainline” model only, to be seen exclusively in passing trains where it won’t be scrutinized. Here is the model:

     One other player of importance in auto industry traffic was the Pennsylvania, serving not only parts of Michigan but areas of the upper Midwest where many auto parts were produced. Accordingly it is essential to include PRR automobile cars in any transition-era fleet. Both the cars I have are AAR Class XM and would have been in auto parts service at least at some times, and both are distinctively Pennsy round-roof cars. One of them is a 50-foot car, PRR 58845, PRR Class X32a (it is a brass model from Rail Works Limited).

     Next is a model of an X31c car, PRR 60825, in the form of a brass import by W&R Enterprises. This one was painted and weathered by Richard Hendrickson; note that the car formerly had auto racks, but these had been removed (as verified by the Official Railway Equipment Register) in the late 1940s, and the white stripe on the right hand door has been painted out. You can click on the image to enlarge it, if you wish.

The car is very appropriately weathered to the state you see, typical of the PRR in the 1940s and 1950s.
     It is important to realize that double-door automobile cars, especially those with end doors, found additional use for much larger vehicles than standard automobiles. This might include heavy trucks, farm equipment, and buses. Shown below in a dramatic photo is a Greyhound bus being unloaded at San Francisco in 1965 (Southern Pacific photo, negative N-7435-2, Shasta Division Archives). As is evident, the bus is a close fit. Probably the side doors were opened first to release tie-downs.

This photo (and others like it) clearly shows that in thinking about the cargoes carried by automobile cars, it’s important not to think only of automobiles.
     I continue to work on my layout’s representation of auto industry traffic, because at the time I model (1953) it was a very lucrative traffic, and for that reason was one which the railroads worked hard to serve. I hope I can adequately depict the range of car types and car ownership which fits with my modeled geographic locale and era.
Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. Tony:

    That is a fascinating photo of the Greyhound bus being unloaded. As you note, I never thought about the cargoes carried by auto cars. Need to rethink this point.

    Thanks for sharing

    ~ John