Re: Hauling Grapes By Rail (redux)

Richard Hendrickson

On Jul 26, 2007, at 2:48 PM, Richard Brennan wrote:

the early steel-framed flat car on the left in the photo was not

My initial thoughts:
- the Turlock "depot" is on the SP line down the Central Valley...
the Santa Fe is a few miles east, and the Tidewater Southern to the
- showing five digits: 78947 This would seem to be a complete number
- circa-1905 most cars were max 5 digits... BUT
- the number does not seem to fit SP or T&NO car numbering?
- has a stenciled sign on the sides says:
MOVE ONLY ?? ??????? (perhaps "to somewhere" or "in evening"?)
Given the commodity shipped, and the open car... IMHO this would
imply a relatively local destination.
Richard, Tony Thompson can probably respond in more detail, but the two
flat cars were definitely Harriman Standard cars, the nearest one an
F-50-1 through F-50-3 with pressed steel shallow fishbelly side and
center sills and the car beyond it an F-50-4 with Bettendorf
underframe. Which means that the photo is incorrectly dated, as the
first of the F-50-4s weren't delivered until 1910. I can't explain the
car number, but it's close to a number series assigned to F-50-2s:
78410-78499. And its possible, of course, that the SP may have
renumbered some cars when they were equipped with sideboards to
function as gondolas, though in other cases that doesn't seem to have
been SP practice. And certainly those grapes must have been going to a
local destination, as a trip of any length would have reduced them to
unusable mush. At that time, a lot of freight was shipped by rail only
a short distance, since the only alternative in most cases was horses
and wagons.

Richard Hendrickson

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