Re: Automobiles by rail - a question for Tim Gilbert

Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>

Malcolm Laughlin wrote:

We know that in the 50's the railroads were rapidly losing the movement of setup automobiles to trucks. From what I remember, there was very little if any rail movement of finished automobiles remaining. But with the advent of the multi-level auto carrier in 1959 (?) the rail movement of autos rapidly grew.
In 1959 as part of my summer job in the Market Research department at the NYC I analyzed automobile sales by SMAS in all of the northeast. This project led to the purchase of the flexi-van auto carriers that went into service in 1960. My summer job in 1960 was in the clearance bureau out on the road measuring clearances to verify that we could handle the auto racks. Beginning in late 1960 the NYC auto traffic grew rapidly. My recollectionis that thenFrisco was one of the first to handle those cars from 1959.
Tim, can you provide any statistics on the actual movement of automobiles in those years, or is it buried in aggregate satatistics that also include the auto parts traffic ?

I can give you tons for selected years between 1940 and 1960 as per the ICC's "Blue Books." These are tons originated for passenger automobiles, freight automobiles (I assume "trucks"), and Vehicle Parts in thousands of tons.

Year Autos Trucks Parts
1940 2,228 258 4,773
1944 294 1,961 4,834
1946 1,553 850 4,180
1947 2,082 618 6,226
1949 2,083 499 7,456
1950 2,287 480 9,681
1951 1,586 627 8,404
1952 1,020 604 7,354
1954 982 321 9,089
1955 1,593 301 12,353
1956 1,058 237 9,617
1960 1,317 127 10,393

In Thousands of Originated Carloads (not in the Blue Books, but from other sources)
1947 306 71 332
1960 150 12 592

I don't have the 1945, 1948, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959 or later Blue Books. If you want data from 1956-1966, you may want to check the Walker Transportation Collection at the Beverly MA Historical Society for their "Blue Books." Their web site is at , but check first whether they still have those volumes. They are open Wednesday Evenings between 7 and 10, and as a neighbor, you ought to check them out anyway.

In the Blue Books, the tonnage data is presented in Table 51.

Hope this helps, Tim Gilbert

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