Re: Car initial question

Richard Hendrickson

Dave Nelson wrote, about some reefers he found in a 1948 UP conductor's
time book:

I've written them down as URTX and I'm assuming they're all reefers,
but the original initials looked like Rd, RQ, or Rx. There is a mix of east
and westbounds here.

road car_nrcar_type contents
URTX 34861 REEFER Candy
URTX 25771 REEFER Mdse
URTX 34840 REEFER Mdse
URTX 4352 REEFER Potatoes
URTX 7325 REEFER Potatoes
URTX 26225 REEFER Potatoes
URTX 14349 REEFER Potatoes
URTX 23819 REEFER Mdse
URTX 25927 REEFER Mdse
URTX 20399 REEFER Cherries?
URTX 14737 REEFER Beer
URTX 34820 REEFER Waste
URTX 34276 REEFER Juice
URTX 36427 REEFER Wine

...could these cars belong to some other owner?
Dave, I'm very doubtful that these are all URTX cars. First of all, there
are a lot of them. I don't know how many cars total are listed in the data
you have, but in 1948 the URTX fleet only totaled slightly more than 6,000
cars, and I'd be very surprised if that many of them were running at that
time on the UP. Secondly, almost all of those numbers could be SFRD cars
(from a fleet that totalled about 15,000 cars). And some of the loads look
like backhaul cargoes for westbound empties, which would explain what SFRD
cars were doing in UP trains. (It might be some help to know which
direction the cars were moving.) Offhand, the one exception that jumps out
at me is 63013, which would almost certainly have been a URTX meat reefer.

I've had some experience trying to interpret the chicken scratches in
conductors' time books, and what it tells me is that reporting marks were
often recorded in a cryptic shorthand that only the conductor himself could
decipher with assurance (and that weren't necessarily consistent from one
entry to another, either). So I'm going to suggest that a lot of those
entries represented "RD," which was common trainmen's shorthand for SFRD.
If you like, I can go through the list and identify possible SFRD classes
(or you can do that yourself from the rosters in the Jordan et. al. Santa
Fe reefer book).

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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