In a message dated 9/6/02 11:32:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
I know from research that the follwoing railroads operated piggybackLackawanna is a gray area in this discussion. It had one container-carrying
flatcar it bought from ACF in 1934, but niether the car or the containers
were duplicated on Pheobe's road. Its first flatcar conversions for piggyback
service hit the road well into 1954, the boxcar- and hoppercar-conversions in
1955. Steam was retired on commuter trains in June 1953, and the
yard-switching 0-8-0s in Scranton in July 1953, and on main line freights
sometime in 1952. There may have been a piggyback experiment in the
Scranton/Keyser Valley area in 1953 that may have locked knuckles with a
steam engine, and the TOFC cars from other roads may have rolled over the
Lackawanna behind steam, but to say that DL&W had steam-hauled piggy service
isn't quite the case.
Others may have other research, but the earliest of the modern piggyback
freight I had found was on the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee in the 1920s.
Truck trailers and horse-drawn wagons were moved on flatcars over this Insul
interurban. But since these didn't appear to leave the North Shore Line they
would have been steam-hauled. I have a photo that dates from the '30s, but
the experts say it began mid-1920s.
The true originator of piggyback and the container-on-flat-car concept has to
be the Camden & Amboy. In a 1951 Newark (NJ) Evening News paper from
mid-1951 is a period photo-like illustration of a late-1840s/1850s flatcar
with five C&A wooden containers on rollers that paralled the flatcar's axles.
These containers could be rolled onto the freight platforms. I recall the
written-for-a-general-audience caption described the car as used for baggage
on the passenger trains, but this clever conveyance had many elements of
containerized and piggyback cars running a hundred years later, sort of like
a cross between the National Car Company flatcars with milk containers on 'em
and the square containers on Railway Express flatcars.