Re: Southern covered hoppers for coke

Frank Greene

On page 98 of the "Southern Railway Color Guide to Freight and
Passenger Equipment" is a photo of an offset side hopper converted to
coke service with a roof and square hatches. The photo was taken in
August 1964. However it's stated that the car was built at ACF in
1948. It is numbered 104475 and is a LO of 2226 cuft capacity.
I wondered if the built date was when the roof with square hatches
was added. I thought square hatches were a bit late for any 1950's
George Courtney
ORERs list series 103000-104499; Hopper, composite; 1640 cu. ft.; 1455 cars in July 1950 and 99 cars in January 1955. However, these were "Seley" open hoppers.

The ORERs list series 106500-107499; Hopper, steel; 2124 cu. ft.; 1000 cars in July 1950 and 992 in January 1955. The Southern diagram for these cars states that these offset side cars were built by ACF in 1948.

The Southern car diagram for series 104450-104499, dated 1971, agrees with the photo caption: ACF 1948. It also states "Program: SCP-678" (Special Car Program) and "Capy. 2372 cu. ft. completely full", but doesn't give a program date.

I believe the cars you're asking about were rebuilt from series 106500-107499 sometime after 1955. During the late 1950s, the Southern started rebuilding older cars into special designs for specific uses, such as box cars to chip gondolas with fold-up sides, a box car to an all-door car, etc., and these probably evolved in that period. Possibly, square hatches were better suited to loading coke than round ones (typically about 30" diameter).

Frank Greene
Memphis, TN

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