Re: Railroads and the Auto Industry: A Research Question

Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>

Shawn, SP carried Bay area traffic via the Sunset route as well
as via the Overland route. The exact distribution of traffic would
be very difficult to pinpoint at any particular time, but you can
make some generalizations about it. One is that traffic managers
were wined and dined by practically all railroads which resulted
in major shippers using many different routings. This practice of
spreading the wealth continued into the 1960's at least. So I'd
say that almost any car in auto parts service was likely to be
seen on the SSW or SP, if it also was seen on the AT&SF and UP,
at that time. And lots of equipment was pooled as well by the
1950's. The SP 1956 roster lists the assignments of a number
of box cars so that should give you some clue as to the pools
that the SP likely belonged to.

The best thing would be to get hold of a Ford or GM car pool
list of cars, if they even existed. I have never seen one.

An example: General Motors assembly plants were located in Southern
California, while Ford seemed to have its plants around the Bay Area.
I wouldn't want auto-parts cars that were assigned to Ford via the
normal CNW-UP-SP route showing up in SSW-SP trains that normally
carried General Motors traffic via St. Louis - Los Angeles.

Tony Thompson once mentioned that the Espee renumbered its auto
parts cars every time they were assigned to another manufacturer
or model year. If that's the case, I be hard pressed to know if I
was running the proper number series of cars for a given time period
or not. Granted, nobody else would know either, but that's not the
point. I strive for accuracy, unreasonable as that may be!

Shawn Beckert

Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
Sterling, Massachusetts

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