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Freight Car Frenzy

A Missouri Pacific Vert-a-Pac car splices two open double-deck auto carriers carrying brand new 1973 Chevrolet vans. If that center car had clear sides, you would see 30 Chevy Vegas being hauled with their tailpipes in the air! The Vert-a-Pac cars were design for this specific purpose and were only in use during the Vega’s 1970-1977 production run. Although the superstructure is lettered for Missouri Pacific, the flatcar is lettered TTVX. Southern Pacific, Illinois Central and Southern Railway were the only railroads to have Vert-a-Pac cars with their own reporting marks on the flats. Take one more good look at the open racks — remember when those Bell Telephone utility vans used to be everywhere? This interesting set of cars was photographed at Flagler, Colo., on the Rock Island in January 1973 by Paul Stradley. Collection of Kevin EuDaly

Freight Car Frenzy

Trains & Railroads of the Past Magazine is THE place to go to see vintage rolling stock. In every issue we present a variety of freight cars that is sure to bring back great trackside memories. Here are a few examples from past issues…

Western Maryland hopper 10234

Western Maryland 10234 is a two-bay hopper car that is probably carrying its first load of coal since being repaired and painted by WM’s Elkins shop forces in August 1958. It was originally constructed in October 1939 and carries 55 tons of coal, as opposed to today’s modern rotary aluminum coal gondolas that carry more than twice as much, while weighing nearly the same when empty. Slide from the William F. Strassner Collection

Boston & Maine boxcar 76237

According to the stencil this Boston & Maine 40-foot boxcar has just received a fresh coat of blue paint in March 1957 and is one of the early recipients of the new scheme introduced by Patrick B. McGinnis after ascending to the railroad’s presidency in 1956. The similarity to New Haven’s bold graphics is not a coincidence — McGinnis ran that railroad from 1954-1956. Collection of William F. Strassner

Green Bay & Western boxcar 765

Green Bay & Western 40-foot boxcar 765 was built by Pullman-Standard in November 1950 as part of a 200-car order (lot 5977), which included cars numbered 700 to 899. There is a message stenciled on the carbody to the left of the door that reads, “This car must not be loaded with any commodity that will render it unfit for flour or paper loading.” Wouldn’t you think that loading it up with flour would render it unfit for paper loading? We’re also amused by the choreographed moves of the yardmen. Itís hard to believe how many people were once involved in running a railroad before computers and automation. Kodachrome from the William F. Strassner Collection

Florida East Coast hopper 3734

Brightly painted rolling stock to impress a customer? No, this is a utilitarian ballast hopper that sees service in work trains, not hotshot freights. Florida East Coast 3734 is weighted down with a fresh load of rocks and is illuminated by the bright sunshine at Bayard, Fla., on July 21, 1978. Some of the car data on the far end is hard to read, but it appears that this hopper was built in November 1957 and rebuilt in February 1968. Kodachrome by S.H. Jackowski, collection of Kevin EuDaly

Rutland boxcar 274

Here’s another classic freight car that looks like it came right out of the paint booth. This beauty is Rutland 40-foot boxcar 274, which was rebuilt and repainted in March 1956. Notice how it stands out from the rolling stock on either side painted traditional boxcar red. Photo from the William F. Strassner Collection

Western Pacific boxcar 60106

This slide is undated and there is no location documented, but it looks like it was taken shortly after the built date for this boxcar, which is June 1962. Western Pacific 60106 is an “RBL” (Refrigerated, Bunkerless, Loader-equipped), which means this boxcar is insulated to keep things cool and it also has load-protection devices to prevent damages, which makes it very useful for shipping things like bottled wine! Photo from the collection of William F. Strassner

URTX Oscar Mayer 66212

Although the average person might think that Union Refrigerator Transit Line plug door refrigerator car is carrying Oscar Mayer hot dogs, it actually is designed for hauling meat for processing on hooks hanging from the roof of the car. “Swinging beef” has been the cause of many wrecks over the years when the rocking motion of the cars would get all of that weight moving in synchronicity like a pendulum and the train would derail from the side-to-side forces. This car was built by General American in 1954 and uses ice to keep the contents cool. Notice how much lower the plug door is than the top of the car. Photo from the collection of William F. Strassner, courtesy of Kevin EuDaly

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This article was posted on: January 17, 2019