Tony Thompson

Autos were certainly shipped in box cars in the 50s, though in declining percentage thru that decade. Auto racks would reverse that decline after this list's time span. By the 50s it was almost all 50-foot cars. Older 40-foot cars often went into auto parts service.

Tony Thompson

On Oct 18, 2013, at 4:17 PM, <kruegerp@...> wrote:


Bill, awhile ago I posted some information to this list about the Janesville, WI General Motors/Chevrolet plant from the late 40s (about 1948).  Part of that information discussed the shipment of finished automobiles.

Here is a selection of that for your convenience:

"The shipment of finished automobiles and trucks is evenly divided between truck and railroad. In 1935 semi-trailer trucks were transporting 25% of the factory's production; today they carry 50%. The market area served by these trucks is circumscribed by a line connecting Wausau, Eau Claire, Des Moines, Peoria and Decatur. Practically all the vehicles shipped to Chicago go by truck, for it often takes the railroad company six hours or more to clear a loaded car from the siding and incorporate it into a train. Within that time a trucker can deliver a load to a Chicago dealer."

This plant produced 98,000 cars and 33,000 trucks in 1948 for the upper Midwest (IL,WI, MN, IA, SD, ND).

Paul Krueger

Seattle, WA

---In STMFC@..., <stmfc@...> wrote:

Hello Group,

I have a question regarding the shipment of new automobiles in box cars in the post WW II era and into the early 1950s.

The recent issue of Trains Magazine has a number of articles on the shipment of automobiles via rail but is a bit vague about the timeline for the use of box cars. It has been my understanding -- perhaps misguided -- that automobile shipments after WWII moved from rail to highway over the road trailer and very few cars were shipped in box cars at this time period.

My questions are:
1) is my understanding of the shipment of automobiles via rail correct?
2) were automobiles being shipped in box cars into the 1950s?
3) if YES, then what makes were shipped by rail?
4) after WWII was box car shipment of automobiles, if shipped in a box car, done using 40-foot or 50-foot box cars?

That is enough questions for now. I may have more. Thanks for any responses.

Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

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