Friday, March 11, 2016

Carrying Automobiles in Boxcars and Vehicle Racks

William Brown posted
William's comment:
Long before the invention of autoracks the traditional way to move automobiles was via the boxcar, as seen here with new 1938 Buick's. Colorization by Imbued with Hues. From a Facebook Photography Page.
Evidently the driver is just steering because they don't trust him to be able to drive the car slowly enough as they watch the spacing between the car and the boxcar's door edge. Considering even the pusher in the back is watching the spacing, it is obviously a tight fit and a slow loading.

I noticed the car is labeled "AUTO RACK". Fortunately a comment explained why they are special.

J Pete Hedgpeth These cars were known as "Evans Auto Cars"...or alternely "Evans device cars. Inside the car was a series of chain hoists and racks so that the autos at the end of the car could be raised up and another auto parked partially underneath the front of the car which was raised up IIRC you could load 6 automobiles in one of these cars.. As you might expect when a chain broke or became unhooked the results were not pretty. In later years after the automobiles by rail business ended...going to trucks...and then back to rail via tri level cars. these Evans cars were used for handling "high cube" low density commodities....Example corn cobs moving to a plant where they were used to produce alcohol.

Jeff Aley Technically, there were other makers of the interior racks besides Evans. But I'm not surprised that people called them "Evans Auto Cars" anyways. The horizontal white stripe on the door indicates that the car has automobile-loading racks.

Brian Patterson The Illinois Railway Museum has preserved CRI&P 264070, a 1930 wood outside-braced automobile car built by Standard Steel.

That gives me an excuse to go to IRM to try to find that car.

Daniel C Carroll Jr. shared Robbie Robertson's photo

Steve Lucas The white stripe on the doors indicated that the boxcar was fitted with an Evans Auto-Loader, which allowed four automobiles in it, two above the other two. Interesting to see how dollies were used on the back wheels to get the auto in.
Daniel Gless Until the auto carrier multi deck cars were developed in the late 50's/early 60's this is the way it was done...and not done very much. Good articles in last summers Classic Trains about them.
Imbued with Hues posted
1935 Packard being loaded onto a boxcar for shipment.
Packard Motor Car Co., first 120 models on loading dock, awaiting transport by special boxcar to Memphis, in doorway 1935 Packard one-twenty, twelfth series, model 120, 8-cylinder, 110-horsepower, 120-inch wheelbase, 5-person sedan (body type #893).
Clare Gilbert Evans Auto Loader in use. The first car was run onto a set of ramps that was then winched up towards the roof. The second car was then tugged, pushed and pulled onto the deck of the box car. The process was repeated at the opposite end of the car to get a total of four autos loaded. Very time consuming and labour intensive. A far cry from the multi level auto racks used by railways now.
This was almost as awkward.
Mark Hershoren posted
1937 (or there-abouts) Studebaker coupe bodies being loaded in a boxcar.

Matthew Frederick shared CRO's photo
Matthew's comment: "CP open-autorack at Agincourt, Ontario. July, 1964."

Most of the CRO comments talked about the need to add covers because of vandals. But a comment worth noting is the picture is by Jim Parker.

I read that the original reason why covers were put on the sides was that the cars were getting dinged by rocks. I think the rocks were being thrown by kids. Now they are completely covered, including the ends, to keep vandals out. I remember reading the Train's article on vehicle racks that the CD-player was one of the things that disappeared.

Traditionally, railroads build the rack on a TTX flat car. That is, the railroads own the rack and TTX owns the flatcar. Scroll down in IHB to see some older racks I caught in a train. When I visited Dolton Junction, two of the trains I saw go by while I was there were vehicle unit trains. And I saw another vehicle unit train when I visited the Blue Island Junction. Between the two trains, I think I caught all of the Class I railroads in North America (including two Mexico railroads). On closer examination, all of the KCS cars were Kansas City Southern de Mexico so I missed KCS itself.

This is the loading dock for the Ford Assembly Plant in South Chicago. The Trains article said that they are loaded five cars at a time. But I see they have some cuts with six cars. This is serviced by Norfolk Southern's former NKP route.



Southern Pacific

Three types of CSX logos.

Note this Canadian National car has two yellow columns. I believe that means it is of a newer design that allows the number of levels to be changed between three and two. Cars can use three tiers. But trucks, minivans, and many SUVs can only use two tiers. As oil prices changed, the ratio of cars to the other types would change and the railroads would have too many of one type and not enough of the other type. So a design was developed so the number of tiers in the car could be changed as the market conditions changed.
Norfolk Southern
Kansas City Southern de Mexico

An older Canadian National design

I see TTX will also make the rack as well

The original BNSF logo before the company changed its name to BNSF.

Canadian Pacific
Note the rest of these pictures were from the westbound UP that is coming.

Another KCSdM
CP Rail


This is another new design. Note that it is articulated --- both units share the truck in the middle. This means that it counts as just one car as far as billing is concerned. I have noticed that this design evidently was not popular because I have not seen a lot of them.
The westbound had a DPU
William A. Shaffer posted
"Auto Racks at Decatur, IL" (Photo by William A. Shaffer)
Mark E. Vaughan Later the op department issued instructions to place "spacer cars" between the locomotives and the open auto racks as the diesel exhaust left a hard-to-remove film on the autos on the top level. The N&W hated to pay for damage claims and repairs.
Sammy Smith I believe it. When I worked for the KCS, I had a white Impala company station wagon. I had to use the same steam cleaner and chemicals they used to wash locomotives now and then.
There is a wealth of information in the comments for this posting. (I verified with an Incognito Window that you don't have to be a member of the group to read the comments, but you do have to be a member of Facebook.)

Andrew Keeney shared
[Case had their own boxcars designed to ship their tractors, plows, etc.]
Canada AutoNews
Dennis DeBruler shared Chuck Hart's photo.
This is a picture I took of a picture I saw in an antique store. The picture was priced at $55 so I passed on it. I may go back and buy it if still available. Anyone else seen or have a picture of an auto carrier on a flat car?
Dennis DeBruler shared William A. Shaffer's post.
A southbound N&W Freight Train passes Millikin University. Two railroaders are enjoying the view from the rear platform of the Caboose---a scene that is no longer repeated!
(Photo by William A. Shaffer)
Having a caboose means the picture is old. But I believe having open autoracks makes it even older. Rail clearance was probably not an issue for open cars.. The reason the upper corners of a covered car are curved is to increase the number of tunnels they can go through. If you look at the notches they are now putting into some tunnels for double-stacks, the curves make a big difference in the east in terms of route choice.]
Dennis DeBruler shared Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook's post
A couple days I posted a mystery photo of an IC auto racks/auto parts train rounding a curve on March 21, 1970, and asked where it was taken. Several folks correctly replied "Thebes, IL". Unfortunately there is no prize for giving the correct answer.
The train in question was a test train for General Motors. Auto parts and fully assembled cars from GM plants in Michigan were shipped by PC, Grand Trunk, and C&O and delivered to IC's Markham Yard in Homewood, IL.
At Markham Yard the cars were assembled into a single train and dispatched south over the IC to East St. Louis. The train was handed over to the Cotton Belt and then to the SP for final delivery to GM plants and dealerships on the West Coast.
An unknown IC company photographer caught the train as it charged around the curve leading to the Mississippi River bridge at Thebes, IL. The photographer also caught a going away shot of the train, included here.
BTW, many fans are familiar with the MoPac's and Cotton Belt's "Joint Line" operations across the Thebes bridge, and that in recent years MoPac owned 60% of the bridge, and Cotton Belt owned 40%.
The Thebes Bridge was built by the Southern Illinois & Missouri Bridge Company. When the company was formed, the SI&MBCo. was owned equally by the Cotton Belt, Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railway, the MIssouri Pacific Railway, the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Southern Railway, and the Illinois Central.
IC reached Thebes via a branchline from Carbondale, IL. Traffic never reached expectations and by the early 1930s (the exact date is unknown to me) the southernmost part of the branch had been abandoned. IC sold its interest in the SI&MBCo. to Missouri Pacific, which also took over the St.LIM&S Railway, and thus became majority owner of the Thebes bridge. Eventually the C&EI abandoned its line into Thebes and sold its interest in the bridge to the Cotton Belt. Of course, today Union Pacific owns both the MoPac and Cotton Belt.
Tod Riebow posted
A car load of classic Corvettes.
Jeremy Plant posted
Pre-Chessie on the B&O at Harpers Ferry: open auto racks, GP30 and F7. The good old days, from summer 1968.
Carl Venzke posted

Carl Venzke commented on his posting

Carl Venzke commented on his posting
Carl Venzke posted
Loading or unloading some model Ts. Apparently there was some assembly required at the destination. ;)
This is one of those postingx that has a wealth of information in the comments.
Mark Llanuza posted
Its Nov 1975 westbound with brand new auto's passes through Griffith Ind with three E-units.
Randy Crismore It's amazing how back in the day...very little vandalism occurred as compared to today.
Wayne Hudak commented on Mark's posting
Oh, there was vandalism back in the day.The reason auto racks were eventually covered was due to a lot of vandalism and theft from autos. When the auto rack cars had no sides you could see none of the cars had hubcaps. Due to constant theft they were eventually shipped in the trunk of each car. Here's an example below. photo 3-17-77.
Joseph Tuch Santucci And it’s why they are not shipped with the radios in them today. Even covered they are sometimes still broken into. The keys are no longer shipped with the cars either. They are sent separately by FedEx.
Wayne Hudak Thanks for the update. I often wondered about the keys.
Joseph Tuch Santucci Wayne Hudak for a time they put them in the ash trays. Then the put them all into an envelope and hid them in or on one of the cars. In the 80’s they stared send the keys separately. Today they have the airbags disconnected. Those are hooked up at the dealerships.

It wasn't just autos that were transported in boxcars. Scott Thomas shared three photos with the comment:
New engine delivery by rail....Lets DISCUSS! Here in NW Pennsylvania, the roads were really bad until the interstate came through in late 70, so new apparatus arrived via Erie Railroad. Here are three arrivals. We also had several major fires to our south and north in the 1930s & 40s where they ran our city's ladder truck to the rail yard, put it on a flat car and responded via locomotive! No pictures of those unfortunately. We had a large & active rail yard here so getting a loco manned and fired up was easy.

Carl Venzke posted
WC56 Dodge Command Car
[Larger side doors helped the loading and unloading.]
Carl Venzke posted
Southern's Big Boy - Ten-foot-wide doors make for quick loading and unloading of the "Big Boy." In this case, mechanical handling equipment that was easily maneuvered through .
[Big side doors helped load and unload other things as well.]
Carl Venzke posted
Greg Bunce posted two photos with the comment: "Here's a couple of builders photos of GTW Automobile boxcars built by American Car and Foundry in 1921. Photos from the John W. Barriger Railroad Library."