Re: Unidentified deep well flatcar

John Barry


Jan 43 ORER pg 931, CISX 500 Capacity 526100, suspiciously identical to the Load Limit in the photo.  

John Barry
ATSF North Bay Lines 
Golden Gates & Fast Freights 
Lovettsville, VA


PO Box 44736 
Washington, DC 20026-4736

On Monday, March 11, 2019, 11:07:26 PM EDT, Bruce Smith <smithbf@...> wrote:


I'm not sure where the CIA story comes from, but this particular photo has been available and in the public domain in excess of FIFTY YEARS!  😉

That said, there has also been a tremendous amount of speculation on line about the rail car that was involved.  What I could find out:

"Jumbo" was fabricated by Babcox and Wilcox in Barberton Ohio (a different source says Pittsburgh, but I believe that is incorrect) after pretty much every other steel company refused to try. It was 25 feet long, 10 feet in diameter and weighed 214 tons. It was shipped in April 1945, on a circuitous route due to weight and clearance issues to the AT&SF siding in Pope, New Mexico, where it was transferred to a specially built 64-wheel trailer and hauled overland 25 miles to the Trinity site.

Sources differ on the flat car. The Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Project's final report, Chapter 10, indicates that the car was specially built.

Another source indicated that it had been "specially modified".  

Close observation of the photos of the car
Jumbo was designed by Los Alamos lab to act as a failsafe device for the Trinity test explosion.

shows the following:

Light paint with dark lettering (this is highly atypical of the time)

Capacity         500,000

Load Limit      526,100

Light Weight   313,900

NEW  2-41 (note that this disproves the theory that the car was built for this move... but how many 500,000 lbs capacity cars were there in 1941-45???)

SO that leads to ORER. As best I can tell, and others have searched far more than I, it does not belong to any listing in the 1943 ORER. Interestingly, the paint scheme for B&W flats appears to be light, with dark stencils, but B&W does not have an ORER entry. I think that it may well be a B&W car and B&W chose not to list it, since it was not used for classic "interchange". Alternatively, it may have belonged to the US Government in some way. An example of another heavy duty flat not listed in the ORER, but seen all over the USA was Watervliet Arsenal #1, which also had a light paint scheme with dark lettering at times.

I'm afraid that in depth searches of Babcox and Wilcox and US Gummint sources may be required to further identify this flat car. 


Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

From: <> on behalf of Donald B. Valentine via Groups.Io <riverman_vt@...>
Sent: Monday, March 11, 2019 7:17 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Unidentified deep well flatcar
Hi folks,

   Does anyone have any idea of what railroad owned the deep well flatcar in the photo attached
that the first A-bomb was being unloaded from in the desert? This is from recently released CIA
documents. Then, too, it could have been government owned. Presume such things are still
shipped in a similar manner. Just as long as they are not armed!

Cordially, Don Valentine


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