Saturday, July 22, 2023

My MRH column for May 2023 (correction)

 Back in May, my latest “Getting Real” column in MRH (Model Railroad Hobbyist) appeared, and I wrote a blog post to say something about it. The column was about the wine business, wine tank cars, and wine traffic on railroads. That post is here: .

My friend John Barry just noticed a somewhat glaring error in the article (not in the post just cited), namely my next-to-last figure in the article, Figure [44], which was a waybill. To understand it, let me give the background: I included in the article the Type XT cars, which were house cars (usually refrigerator cars) with six glass-lined internal tanks, with this prototype example (1940 photo by Wilbur Whittaker at Oakland, Calif.):

This is a former PFE car, purchased by California Dispatch Line (CDLX) and converted to an XT car, CDLX 307, leased obviously to Bear Creek Winery in Lodi, California. Red Caboose once offered models of this paint scheme, though on a later reefer body, and I have one, CDLX 313.

I wanted to show a variety of waybills for wine cargoes in the article, and did show four altogether. It was the one for this car that unfortunately went wrong. With some trepidation, I show it again — only so I can point out the error. It represents a shipment of blending wine from my on-layout winery to the Bear Creek people for their use. Here is how Fig. [44] appeared in the article:

Most of this is fine. But the routing is ludicrously wrong, to anyone who knows California. It is routed onto the Northwestern Pacific at Schellville, a routing I do use for one of the Red Caboose wine reefers, for Italian Swiss Colony, which was indeed located on the NWP. But obviously the Bear Creek car should be routed in almost the other direction, via SP to Lodi.

Lodi had extensive industrial switching by SP, but also had considerable switching by Central California Traction Co. As shown in the excellent book by David Stanley and Jeffrey Moreau (The Central California Traction Company, Signature Press, 2002), there was a station on the CCT named Bear Creek, closer to Stockton than to Lodi, and there was a winery there (page 141). On pages 124-25 there is a 1930 map of Lodi trackage,which shows no such winery, but that was before Bear Creek Winery came into existence (1934).

Incidentally, the beautiful CCT map on the endsheets of the book (created by John Signor), shows that there was an actual waterway named Bear Creek, flowing into the San Joaquin River not far from the CCT station of Bear Creek. 

This leaves the possibility that the Bear Creek Winery had headquarters in Lodi but the actual winery, the vineyard, or both, in Bear Creek; or that by the time of the 1940 Whittaker photo above, the headquarters and principal winery of Bear Creek was indeed in Lodi (where it would certainly have had considerable company). Certainly in later years the production was in Lodi — and as it happens, still is: see their site at: .

I chose to follow what is lettered on the XT car, Lodi, further assuming it was on the tracks of the CCT, and accordingly modified the routing on the example waybill you see above, to this:

Sorry about the blunder, a result of having to hurry to finish the article for its submission deadline, and obviously entirely my own fault. for not double-checking. Anyone noticing the blunder, however, now has the correct waybill to look at. And maybe this is also a somewhat instructional description of one important component of a waybill.

Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. I love the shipper being Zaca Mesa. Visited the winery many times in the 80s and 90s when I lived in the area. Now I need to read your article, as well.