Re: WP 19531

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


I can add to Ed's excellent information that this "small-feather" paint scheme was used on other load-restrainer or cushion-underframe cars purchased or rebuilt by the WP in the mid-to-late 1950s. The WP had been pretty inconsistent about their specially-equipped cars, and there were four or five paint schemes floating around, with striking (some might argue garish) silver or orange bodies, most with huge feathers. The paint is said by some not to have held up well, and since these cars were rolling billboards for WP's modest innovation programs, it was apparently decided to come up with a new paint scheme based on BCR.

Repaints included 1961-1970, an oft-renumbered block of 40' PS-1s with 8' doors and cushioned underframes delivered in 1954. In 1959 they were equipped with DF-2 loaders and given the small feather paint scheme along with a large DF-2 plate on their doors.

WP 3011-3050, 50' single 8' door, riveted PS-1s with DF loaders and cushion underframes received the small-feather repaint scheme at some point. At least one of these, renumbered as WP 3997, escaped repainting and survived into the 1970s as a storage car outside the Stockton roundhouse. My photo is black-and-white, but I remember the car sides were orange and my photo shows its car-length silver feather was still intact.

WP series 55951-56000, 50' RBI boxcars with plug doors and DF loaders,  probably came in this scheme from PF&F in 1956. Certainly sister cars 56001-56100 carried this scheme when new in 1957.

Subsidiary Tidewater Southern received several groups of RBLs from PC&F. 610-610 in 1957 and 611-620 in 1958 were delivered in the small feather scheme with CP in brush script on the doors to advertise PC&F's "Car Pack" loaders. 810-840, also 1958, were equipped with Evans DF loaders and carried the "DF" on their doors.

Most of the above information is from Jim Eager's WESTERN PACIFIC COLOR GUIDE.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 4/12/19 9:48 PM, Ed Hawkins wrote:

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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