Conductors Train Book, Ferguson, May-June, 1938


Wendye Ware
 

Hi Folks

This is a summary report of a Union Pacific Freight Conductors' Train Book by a conductor named Ferguson. It covers the dates from May 13, 1938, to June 21, 1938. During these 40 days, Conductor Ferguson rode 41 trains between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, on the UP mainline. Twenty trains were eastbound, and 21 were headed west.

Ferguson wrote complete train reports for 27 of the 41 trains, listing the railroad initial and number, contents, and destination for every car. He gave partial reports for an additional six trains, in which he only listed data for some of the cars. And for an additional eight trains, he gave no information on individual cars. However, for all trains he listed the number of loads and empties, the engine and caboose numbers, and the crew.

The 41 trains varied in length from 30 cars to 112 cars. The shortest eastbound train was 59 cars, with 48 loads and 11 empties; the longest was 112 cars, with 9 loads and 103 empties. The shortest westbound train had 30 cars, 29 loads and 1 empty; the longest was 110 cars, all empty. All but two of the trains were pulled by 3900 series 4-6-6-4s; the two exceptions were led by 4-12-2 9000s. Each trip took about three to five hours.

These trains pulled a total of 2,826 cars, 1901 with loads, 925 empties. The average train consisted of 69 cars with 46 loads and 23 empties.

The twenty east bound trains, Rawlins to Laramie, had an aggregate of 1,495 cars, 1,148 loads and 347 empties – the average train had 75 cars, 57 with loads, 17 empty.

The 21 west bound trains had 1,331 cars, with 753 loads and 578 empty; average train length was 63 cars, with 36 loads and 27 empties.

Ferguson listed the railroad initial and number, contents, and destination for a total of 1,938 cars, primarily for the eastbound trains. The railroad, and numbers of eastbound, westbound, and total cars for those lines with five or more total cars are as follows:

Railroad, EB, WB, Total
UP, 466, 156, 622
PFE, 408, 208, 616
SP, 79, 21, 100
SFRD, 44, 17, 61
CB&Q, 40, 8, 48
UTLX, 8, 28, 36
PRR, 21, 5, 26
WP, 20, 5, 25
CNW, 20, 2, 22
UCR, 21, 1, 22
MILW, 15, 5, 20
NYC, 13, 3, 16
PM, 14, 2, 16
MDT, 14, 1, 15
RI, 13, 2, 15
MP, 5, 8, 13
IC, 10, 2, 12
REx, 0, 11, 11 (Railway Express, I assume)
ATSF, 8, 1, 9
B&O, 8, 1, 9
GATX, 8, 1, 9
NADX, 7, 2, 9
ART, 2, 6, 8
GN, 3, 5, 8
MC, 7, 1, 8
NP, 3, 5, 8
SLSF, 5, 2, 7
SOO, 6, 1, 7
SOUTHERN, 6, 1, 7
TNO, 6, 1, 7
SLRX, 2, 4, 6
CGW, 5, 0, 5
SLU, 4, 1, 5
URT, 5, 0, 5

. . . (lines with fewer than five total cars)

All RRs, 1385, 553, 1938

The above list is subject to many potential errors. In particular, I may have misinterpreted the railroad initial – while Ferguson's numbers are generally easy to read, his letters are not. Also, in some cases he used inconsistent initials. For example, I believe that his use of "Pa", "Penn", and "PRR" all refer to the Pennsy, but perhaps not. He often referred to what I assume is the MP by "MoP", and the WP as "WesP".

As I get time, I'll provide information on the contents and types of the cars.

This Conductors' Train Book by Ferguson is only one of 128 that I found in the attic of the Laramie Depot. At an average transcription and analysis rate of one book per month, we should have a complete report done in twelve or thirteen years <grin>.

Best wishes,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming

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