Some souces have claimed that one of the key purposes of the Santa Fe
Transloading operations such as the one at Barstow was to reduce car
hire on foreign cars by sending them home early. Los Angeles received
many more merchandise loads than it forwarded so there were significant
opportunities for savings. The dock was still there as of 2004.
There was also a similar operation at Mahoney, Kansas that transloaded
Westbound dry freight into empty SFRD cars.
Photographic evidence seems to indicate that the yellow transloading
placards may not have been painted on the Fe-26's until well after the
end of the steam era.