Richard Orr <SUVCWORR@...>

In 1952 the PRR was still running 7 dedicated LCL trains (LCL-1 Harrimus
Cove - Chicago; LCL-2 Chicago - Harrimus Cove; LCL-3 Harrimus Cove - E St
Louis LCL-4 E St Louis - Pitcairn; and LCL-7 Philadelphia - Chicago) All of
these ran 6 days a week except LCL-7 which operated 4 days a week. If the
amount of traffic did not warrant entire trains, it is likely that this
traffic would have moved as blocks on other trains. In addition at least 10
other trains had identified blocks of LCL traffic.

Obviously, cars other than those dedicated to LCL service were being

Rich Orr

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Gatwood, Elden SAW
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:26 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: LCL c. 1952 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE


In my digging through lots of data for my area of the PRR, over a
considerable timeframe, it seems to appear that "station deliveries", the
early way of delivering freight to the masses, may have actually peaked
sometime around the end of WW1, in the area around Pittsburgh. You know the
drill with station car full of boxed freight pulls into a
station, unloads boxes with labels for that station, and so on...LCL without
the fancy moniker. There is a notable build-up of stations with attached
freight houses, and cars being processed through them, up to that time, then
a big slide in both, into the 60's. Not coincidentally, this is the
timeframe for the rise of the automobile, or more to this issue, the truck.
Station/freight house demolition went along at a fast pace, with most of
being gone by the 1950's.

The correspondence I have read seems to say that the RR saw the erosion of
"public" freight as a bad thing, and sought ways to reverse the trend to
trucks, by instituting LCL. LCL also seems to have been heavily supported
from after WW2 into the early fifties, and then the PRR stopped devoting big
resources to it. As far as colorful, dedicated cars go, and the supporting
logistical service created around it, LCL on the PRR may have indeed
"peaked", right after WW2, but the fact is, the stations/freight houses that
could have better supported it, were long gone, from the vast majority of
communities, and it fell to the PRR to focus on facilities in large cities
handle LCL freight, and try to expand the public's use of RRs to move their

The PRR even built a brand-new freight house in downtown Pgh I remember well
as a kid, which received LCL in LCL box cars, and others, which was run like
a giant warehousing and freight-forwarding operation....for a time. The
facility was underutilized from the get-go, and slid into oblivion, finally
being chopped into, then finally demolished in more recent urban
reorganizations. It was a very cool facility, though, with all the box cars
and trucks moving in and out. Even the giant produce yard seems to have had
a better time of it, despite the PRR's record for mishandling that type of

There was also a big distinction, on the PRR, between LCL and public freight
moved in box cars, to perhaps the same facilities. LCL box cars on the PRR
had special loading (securing) equipment, to minimized damage by movement in
transit, which regular box cars did not. The PRR was a firm believer in
special loading equipment, with dozens of different equipments in use, from
Sparton, Evans, Pullman-Standard, and others.

The number of cars in formal "Merchandise Service", by the 1960's, on the
PRR, was 48 X29B, 2 X40, 57 X40B, 2 X26C, and 49 X41B, a total of only 158
cars. Compare this to the tens of thousands in steel service or auto parts,
and the utilization of one car here and there in the service, by station
records, and you can see it was a money-loser.

The bottom line for me is, there may have been a golden age for station
delivery, but on the PRR, LCL never really had one, unless you want to just
focus on the colorful box cars they created to promote it. Those were the
prettiest cars the PRR ever ran, in my opinion.

Now TOFC, on the other hand....

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Joel
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: LCL c. 1952

Hi Tony,
I started to work for the GN in July 1968. Sometime between that date and
BN Merger in 1970, I toured the GN's LCL facility in Fargo, ND. There were
about 10 to 12 cars spotted outside the doors and plenty of LCL in the
building. I am not sure when the GN/BN gave up LCL traffic, but in that time
frame they still carried quite a bit of LCL freight.

Joel Holmes

The railroads were still battling for LCL traffic in the 1950's.
The Burlington & the Santa Fe built new freight stations in the
Chicago area in the 1950's. The railroads were big into advertising
their LCL services. I consider the late 40's early 1950's as the
golden age of LCL traffic.
"Battling" doesn't mean there was much of it, only that it was worth
fighting for. Certainly in the Far West the LCL volume was tiny by the
1950s, compared to the 1920s. "Golden Age?" You sure have a different
definition than what I'm used to.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, <>
Publishers of books on railroad history

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE


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