Re: WP 19531

Ed Hawkins

On Apr 12, 2019, at 6:25 PM, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:

Anyone have the skinny on this WP PS-1 box car? I -think- it was renumbered
by from what? And has it been repainted as well? The photo date is 1956 but
I can't make out when the car was built.

The image is a scan of a slide that I own.

In Oct.-Nov. 1951 the WP received 600 PS-1 box cars WP 20801-21400 built by Pullman-Standard in lot 8027. The first 20 cars 20801-20820 were equipped with Compartmentizers and received aluminum-painted sides & ends along with a full-car length orange feather. The other 580 cars were delivered with freight car red sides & black car cement on the ends, a detail of which will be later discussed. 

Related to the story of WP 19531, starting in 1952 series 20801-20820 was renumbered 19501-19520 with the renumbering being completed by 1-54. Also in mid-1952 the WP sent 20 cars from series 20821-21400 back to Pullman-Standard to be be equipped with Compartmentizers that were built in P-S lot 8121. WP’s intent was for the 20 cars to be painted by P-S to match the 20801-20820 cars & to be renumbered 19521-19540. 

In a letter dated July 15, 1952 addressed to WP, Pullman-Standard advised it would cost the railroad $295.02 per car to sand-blast the black car cement from the ends because the aluminum paint would not adhere well to the black car cement. I came across the letter some 20 years ago while researching the lot 8027 Pullman-Standard correspondence file, documents relating to the construction of selected P-S freight cars that are available for review at the Pullman Library in Union, Illinois.

The railroad decided to not pay P-S to sand-blast the black car cement from the ends, so after installing the Compartmentizers Pullman-Standard returned the 20 cars to WP still in original paint but renumbered 19521-19540. Two additional cars numbered 19541-19542 soon followed to make a total of 42 Compartmentizer-equipped PS-1 box cars by 1-54.

Upon the cars’ return to the railroad, the Sacramento car shops repainted 19521-19542 with aluminum sides & large orange feather to match the original 20801-20820 cars but with the ends that retained the original black car cement as well as black car cement on the roofs. 

Fast-forward to early 1956 when WP 19501-19542 cycled through the Sacramento shops to be repainted in an all freight car red scheme as shown in your slide of 19531 with orange & yellow stencil and small orange feathers. A few photos I’ve seen of these cars denote “SAC. 3-56” when repainted & reweighed. The door & end placards were also lowered at this time.

A photo published on page 25 of the WP Color Guide book shows a MoW car in 1981 (out of scope for the STMFC) in the 1956 paint scheme that remained 25 years later. 

A long-winded answer to your question, but I thought it might be of interest to reflect on some of the details in the sequence of events.

Ed Hawkins

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