Re: Hauling Grapes By Rail (redux)

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
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.
I won't deal with the factual parts already posted (though I made a typo in giving class size; it was 600 cars). The farther flat might be a Class F-50-4, but might also be a later car, as there were succeeding classes very similar in appearance. Thus I would say the photo may be considerably later than 1905, though the combination car in the distance would likely make the date no more than 1920.
And no, in the post-1905 or so era, SP did not renumber flat cars with side boards, though they (and CP) certainly did during the 1890s; when such cars were assigned to coal service, they got 53,000 series numbers (if 30 ton) or 54,000 series numbers (mostly 40 ton).

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
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