Re: Pennsy F31 container cars vs B&M "Freightainers"

Donald B. Valentine
 

70 yearsa ago it may have been on the Pennsy, Richard, but the little Boston & Maine was doing the same thing in the late 1920's, or
eighty years ago, with its "Freightainers". These, too, were small truck-body like containers that were handled by both rail and truck.
Some good info ont he operation appeared in Railway Age of the era.

Cordially, Don Valentine

--- In STMFC@..., cinderandeight@... wrote:

Gary,
I did extensive research into the PRR's container service in the early
1980's, ending in an article in The Keystone (Vol. 18 #1, Spring 1985 PP
7-50). In my research I came away with the impression that it was a pretty
self contained, on line service. It required cranes which often had
special hooking devices that could engage the container hooks automatically, but
of course any set of chains and hooks could be used if you wanted to have
men actually climb atop the containers.
I am not aware of the RF&P operations, but it was a "friendly road",
which the Pennsy partly owned, so it doesn't surprise me. The F31 container
cars were very rare. Only 25 were built, and many of them were in use on
a truck body service in the Delmarva area, rather than the regular
container service. Most PRR containers were moved on a fleet of class FM flat cars
dating back to the 1910 era (and earlier), which were retrofitted with
container guides in the early 1930's.
As for that "truck body service", it foreshadowed today's container
service almost exactly over 70 years ago. Truck bodies, moved by rail, and
transferred to purpose built trucks for final delivery. Regulation, more
than anything killed the project.
Rich Burg


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