Re: FW: SP Grain Loading Boxcars

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


Tim is correct about the SP moving lots of rice, but other grains as well. That was one reason they built the Sacto-Yolo Port in West Sacramento. Full-sized ocean going ships were loaded with rice here, most coming via the SP, with a small part contributed by the Sacramento Northern. A lot of rice was grown in the Sacramento Valley, especially between Sacramento and Woodland. Still is, and you can see the paddies as you jet into the airport even today. I suspect the T&NO also moved a lot of rice down Louisiana and Texas way, but don't know much about that.

There has always been a lot of wheat and other grains grown in SP territory in Northern California. Wheat was a prime commodity in the Marysville/Chico area, especially in the first half of the 20th century. One piece of evidence for this comes not from the SP, but from a Northern Electric/Sacramento Northern wooden boxcar that survived on blocks as a farm shed near Chico from the 1930s until around 2000. A friend who investigated the car sent me photos of grain loading lines that could still be read inside the car, indicating full loads for wheat, oats, etc. Agreed, this was not an SP car, but the SP was the dominant railroad in this area and certainly would have moved a lot more grain than the NE/SN.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 6/2/14 6:30 PM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:

Lee, I think SP moved plenty of grain -- if you count rice! But I guess rice
was mostly bagged and shipped in box cars, until covered hoppers came into use.

The main reasons for the special grain doors were twofold -- first it saved the
cost of installing and then removing grain doors for each load. Second, the cars
could be employed for lumber or other products during the off-season.

Tim O'Connor

>Brian, the reason there is no coverage of them is precisely because the SP had none. They did use some general service box cars for grain loading, but without any special modifications. The SP never really served areas that originated a lot of grain. Their box car fleet was more specialized to haul lumber and auto parts. They also hauled bulk sugar and some fish meal in box cars down here with cardboard doors.

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