Re: Rice Shipments By Rail

Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>

Richard Hendrickson writes

Well, I can't say that I agree. The 1955 and 1959 SSW orders were
doubtless intended for and were largely used to move SSW traffic. While it
has been true more recently that SP and SSW equipment were used more or
less interchangeably, that wasn't the case in the 1950s. I'd be surprised
of those SSW cars turned up in Calif. more than occasionally. And as the
1959 SP order consisted of only a hundred cars, it can hardly have
revolutionized the SP's handling of rice shipments. I'd say that Calif.
rice was transported almost entirely in box cars through the 1950s and well
into the 1960s. In fact, it probably wasn't until the 1970s that covered
hoppers would have outnumbered XMs in this service.
Richard, I mostly agree with you that railroads were slow to utilize high
capacity covered hoppers for grain service -- a major reason being that
until the landmark "Big John" decision, railroads were unable to implement
incentive rates for more efficient use of the cars. However, that said, I
suspect SSW did use those 3-bay cars from the 1950's for rice, since rice
was a major commodity on the Cotton Belt. And rice travels quite far --
if there are any Budweiser breweries in California, then I would be very
surprised if SSW hoppers were not carrying rice to them before 1960... As
for California rice, I don't know. Was rice a big crop in California?

I do have photos of 50 foot double door SP box cars circa late 1960's with
large "R" symbols painted on their left hand (yellow painted) door. One guy
told me this meant the car was in rice service, another said it was rubber

Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
Sterling, Massachusetts

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