Re: An illustration of auto loading inboxcars, 1932

Guy Wilber

Claus Schlund wrote:

“An illustration of auto loading in boxcars, 1932...”

An experimental installation of an auto loading device produced by Evans Products Company, Detroit.  The design was from Keith Tobin, an inventor assigned to Evans.  

Several elements of this design would raise concerns within the shipping departments of various automobile manufacturers.  

The system provided no means of elevation at the rear axle of the automobile, thus (when in the semi-decked position) the size of automobiles loaded on the floor were limited to smaller models.  By the mid 1920’s this was an important factor as closed auto models had increased in both height and length.

The support chains cupped on the tires chaffed tires as cars moved on the rails.  Wrapping the tires in canvas was labor intensive and offered little relief.  This same problem led to the demise of New York Central’s first auto loading racks’ tie down system.  The autos on the rack and the floor were secured with chains very much like snow chains.  All of their (NYC) original auto cars equipped as such were eventually modified utilizing the Evans tie down system prior to WWII.

The major drawback of the early “semi-decking” systems was the lack of a permanently installed lifting mechanism.  As within this photo, the loaded automobiles were still required to be lifted into position within such an apparatus.  Heavy and cumbersome chain block hoists were utilized in order to lift autos into travel position as well as lowering them at deliver points.  

I presume from the photo information that this device was installed within a Pere Marquette auto car(?)  PM was very progressive with auto loading and entertained many such devices in experimental service though most failed and would give way to the Evans Auto~Loader which was already under development at the date of this photo.

Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada

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