Re: Photos: Hills Brothers Coffee Boxcars

Claus Schlund \(HGM\)

Hi Garth and List Members,
Thanks for the image of HBCX 162. The San Francisco Oakland Bay bridge can be seen in the background, giving us a quite exact location for this photo.
An image of the Hills Bros coffee building in San Francisco can be seen at the link below. Three boxcars are visible in the photo serving the plant - two of then are clearly ATSF cars, I cannot discern the road name for the third one. The web site gives a date of 1940, but the automobiles make me think this is from an earlier date. The building itself was built in 1930
There is also a video on the topic of Hills Bros coffee at the bottom of the above linked page - at 6:12 there is a brief sequence showing the Hills Bros building and some STMFCs in front of it
Claus Schlund

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2021 2:31 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photos: Hills Brothers Coffee Boxcars

Bob and Friends,

According to the late Richard Hendrickson, these cars were confined to the State Belt Railroad in San Francisco. They shuttled bags of beans from a dock to Hills Brothers' plant which was somewhat inland in the industrial part of The City. Silver Streak and TM both offered (incorrect) HO versions of these cars, and no doubt the "models" wandered around on many a layout as interchange cars. I managed to scare up an online photo of these cars that shows at least car 162 had steel ends.

Back in the 1960s my parents took my first girlfriend and myself to San Francisco for the day. We were treated to a tour of the Hills Brothers factory shortly before it closed (it was converted to an office building). She and I were both avid Man From Uncle fans, and had a lot of fun speculating about an episode set in the factory with lots of interesting conveyors and such for knocked out THRUSH baddies to be carried up.

On an unrelated point, I was recently looking at old PROTOTYPE MODELER articles on TrainLife, and stumbled across one on Santa Fe freight car detailing written by "Dick Hendrickson". I have no doubt this was one of Richard's early pieces.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 12:01 PM Bob Chaparro via <> wrote:

Photos: Hills Brothers Coffee Boxcars

Photos from the Protocraft Decals website:


“Hills Bros ­Coffee Company, located on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, owned two wood colorfully decorated boxcars they received in

March of 1930. They were assigned road numbers 161 and 162, and restricted their use to the shipment of bags of ­coffee beans only.”

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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