1950's Auto & Auto Parts Trains


Shawn Beckert
 

List,

A question for the New York Central and Pennsylvania aficionados
out there. I'm trying to pin down what railroads would have run
dedicated automobile and auto parts trains into St. Louis from
the production centers in Michigan and Ohio during the 1950's.

Looking at a map of the U.S. tells me that a train coming from
this geographic area would have had to run through Indiana and
Illinois to interchange traffic at East St. Louis or St. Louis.
I'm postulating that most of this would have moved on the NYC, but
possibly from other railroads in the area as well.

Can anyone confirm or refute this scenario? Possibly someone could
look at an NYC or PRR freight schedule and tell me if there were
any trains from these railroads that were dedicated automobile and
auto parts trains? Thanks for the help.

Shawn Beckert


Richard Hendrickson
 

Shawn Beckert writes:

Looking at a map of the U.S. tells me that a train coming from
this geographic area would have had to run through Indiana and
Illinois to interchange traffic at East St. Louis or St. Louis.
I'm postulating that most of this would have moved on the NYC, but
possibly from other railroads in the area as well.
Shawn, you're overlooking the obvious importance of the Wabash, which
competed very vigorously for freight traffic from Detroit, Toledo, etc. to
St. Louis.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Shawn Beckert
 

Richard Hendrickson wrote:

Shawn, you're overlooking the obvious importance of the
Wabash, which competed very vigorously for freight traffic
from Detroit, Toledo, etc. to St. Louis.
Not intentionally; I don't have my historical railroad atlas
in front of me, and efforts to find one on-line have been
unsuccessful so far. I'm assuming any road that had trackage
from Michigan and Ohio to St. Louis would be running manifest
and symbol freights in competition with everyone else during
the 1950's. What I'm looking for are specifics, i.e., *which*
trains on these lines were dedicated auto and auto-parts trains.

As always, there's an ulterior motive behind my questions. The
Cotton Belt ran at least two trains out of St. Louis every night
with a high number of auto and auto-parts carloads: the Blue Streak
and the Motor Special. Often these trains ran in several sections.
Because this traffic was considered "hot", obviously any train
bringing the product in from the east would have to be on a tight
schedule as well.

What I'd like to find out is which railroads coming into St. Louis
would have had such trains in their timetables, and what their names
or symbols might be. Not having any timetables from other railroads
on hand, I figured I'd ask the question here, where there's more than
a few eastern railroad historian/modelers, some of which might be
just as fanatically into these details as I am.

Shawn Beckert


thompson@...
 

Richard Hendrickson said:
Shawn, you're overlooking the obvious importance of the Wabash, which
competed very vigorously for freight traffic from Detroit, Toledo, etc. to
St. Louis.
Right, and an even more obvious omission (to me) is the Nickel Plate,
which worked hard to make itself famous for high-speed service.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
 

Two esteemed entities spake thusly

Shawn, you're overlooking the obvious importance of the Wabash, which
competed very vigorously for freight traffic from Detroit, Toledo, etc.
to St. Louis.
Right, and an even more obvious omission (to me) is the Nickel Plate,
which worked hard to make itself famous for high-speed service.

At the risk of injecting some old traffic statistics here:

============================================================
BRIDGE traffic, passenger autos (tons, inclusive)

1928-1930 1937-1939
--------------------------------
Wabash 538,526 96,362
CGW 160,212 66,776
C&EI 107,220 40,518
Alton 159,025 16,869

COMMENTARY (July, 1941)

"In general, this movement has been characterized by the substitution
of the drive-away for rail movement, followed by the return of a
substantial portion of this traffic to the rails when the railroads
adopted the special automobile car equipped with the Evans loader.
The B&O has allocated for Alton use only ten special Evans loader
equipped cars, out of about 15,000 cars so equipped by all roads.
The Alton formerly had a substantial movement of this traffic from
the Michigan Central, Pere Marquette and Grand Trunk but ... [thanks
to B&O control] the Alton ceased to be an important factor in this
movement."

============================================================
Comparison to TRANSCONTINENTAL railroads' traffic, passenger
autos (tons, inclusive)

1928-1930 1937-1939
--------------------------------
[A] RR's 1,433,000 706,000
Wabash 793,000 139,000
Alton 187,000 17,000
CGW 163,000 70,000

[A] == AT&SF + D&RGW + GN + NP + UP + SP (Pacific Lines)

============================================================
Comparison to TRANSCONTINENTAL railroads' traffic, auto parts
and trucks (tons, inclusive)

1928-1930 1937-1939
--------------------------------
[A] RR's 1,239,000 1,351,000
Wabash 1,965,000 1,269,000
CGW 84,000 66,000
Alton 40,000 27,000

[A] == AT&SF + D&RGW + GN + NP + UP + SP (Pacific Lines)

Very interesting data. It shows that western roads actually
increased auto parts traffic during the depression, while
the Wabash dropped over 30%. Still, Wabash was clearly a
major player in this traffic, at least before WWII.


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


C J Wyatt
 

.... What I'm looking for are specifics, i.e., *which*
trains on these lines were dedicated auto and auto-parts trains.

As always, there's an ulterior motive behind my questions. The
Cotton Belt ran at least two trains out of St. Louis every night
with a high number of auto and auto-parts carloads: the Blue Streak
and the Motor Special...

Shawn Beckert
How much Ford traffic did the SSW handle? Wabash had a leg up on the other
railroads in Detroit handling Ford parts traffic to the West. Wabash leased
a covered platform at Wabash's Oakwood Yard with a capacity of 37 cars for
Ford's pool car operations. The "Pool Dock" loaded Ford cars for the
various plants with different autoparts - sort of a private LCL operation as
I understand it. Wabash also received Ford traffic from the DT&I at Delta,
Ohio. This traffic was handled to Montpelier, Ohio, where it would be
incorporated into trains for the various Western gateways.

Finished automobile traffic was tailing off greatly in the fifties until
multilevels were developed. I don't think the Wabash schedules in the
fifties would have had dedicated auto and autoparts traffic, but any hot
schedule probably carried its share. I have a Wabash schedule schematic
dated 1/20/1960 that has trains BS-1 departing Oakwood (Detroit) at 8:45 pm
CST and arriving St. Louis at 8:45 am the next morning, BS-3 departing 1:00
pm and arriving at 5:45 am, and MS-1 departing Montpelier at 3:30 am and
arriving 7:30 pm. I don't have a blocking chart, but I assume the SSW's
were setoff at Mitchell, IL for the A&S to handle to the Cotton Belt via
Davis Yd.

Jack Wyatt


Shawn Beckert
 

Jack Wyatt wrote, in part:

How much Ford traffic did the SSW handle? Wabash had
a leg up on the other railroads in Detroit handling
Ford parts traffic to the west. <snip>
Thanks Jack, this is just the sort of information I'm
searching for. I don't know - yet - the percentage of
Ford carloads vs.. GM carloads, but I have a sneaky
suspicion the traffic was weighted more towards GM. I
managed to find a copy of Wards Automotive Yearbook for
1954, but haven't had time to dig out the information
on where the production and assembly plants for the
various manufacturers were located. It's in there....

SSW's "Blue Streak" was scheduled to leave Valley Junction
Yard at East St. Louis in the evening hours, so if there
was a scheduled connection from the Wabash it was most
likely the MS-1 out of Montpelier that you mentioned. AFAIK
there were no direct transfers between railroads at St. Louis,
all the terminal switching was done by the Terminal Rail Road
Association. Fred Frailey's book mentions more than once that
SSW officials would climb aboard TRRA switchers in the middle
of the night to goad them into making transfer connections to
the Cotton Belt before scheduled cut-off times.

Bet that went over with the crews really well...

Shawn Beckert


jeffhalloin <jhalloin@...>
 

Shawn, the Illinois Central and GTW shipped auto parts via the St.
Louis gateway during the 1950s. I had the consist of IC SC-2, an
auto parts train returning empties which left East St. Louis in 1951
(scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. departure), posted in the files some time
ago. Paul Krueger posted the original document a couple of years
ago, and many folks here (Richard Hendrickson in particular) were
kind enough to help me identify most of the cars. The SP had cars in
the consist, as did the UP, GTW, CN, IC, B&O, RI, CNW, and MoPac.
Lots of the cars appear to be dedicated to axle loading.

The Wabash was indeed a major auto parts carrier, but I believe it
was more closely associated with Ford.

Contact me off-list if you want a copy of this information. I too
have been tracking down traffic in and out of the St. Louis gateway
for some time.

Jeff Halloin.


Tim O'Connor <timoconnor@...>
 

The Wabash was indeed a major auto parts carrier, but I believe it
was more closely associated with Ford.
Ford was more concentrated in southern Michigan, while GM dominated
north of Detroit (e.g. Pontiac, Flint). C&O (PM), GTW and AA got the
lion's share of auto traffic from the north, and Wabash, NYC, PRR, DT&I
got the lion's share from the south.

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


Guy Wilber
 

In a message dated 11/25/02 2:57:40 PM Pacific Standard Time,
timoconnor@... writes:

<< COMMENTARY (July, 1941)

The B&O has allocated for Alton use only ten special Evans loader
equipped cars, out of about 15,000 cars so equipped by all roads. >>

Tim,

15,000 cars equipped with loaders falls far short of the total for the
period. As of March 1942 the railroads reported a total of 30,935 cars
equipped with loaders, a decrease from the August 1939 total of 34,099. That
decrease is of course attributable to the removal of racks for war time
purposes.

Regards,

Guy Wilber
Sparks, Nevada


Jim Wolf
 

--- In STMFC@y..., thompson@s... wrote:

Right, and an even more obvious omission (to me) is the Nickel
Plate,
which worked hard to make itself famous for high-speed service.
Actually, it isn't that obvious. The Nickel Plate had no direct
connection to Detroit except for 50% ownership in the Detroit and
Toledo Shore Line that would have been handed to the Clover Leaf
District at Toledo.

According to Rehor, the NKP did operate a service handling auto parts
to Madison connections in conjunction with the Pere Marquette via
Belfast, IN (PM Detroit to New Buffalo to Belfast; NKP IMC District
Belfast to Kokomo, IN; NKP Clover Leaf Dist. Kokomo to
Madison/TRRA). It's not clear that this service lasted much beyond
the early 1950's, and I would guess that it was pretty much limited
to PM-captive plants (mostly west side of Detroit and the Ford Rouge
plant). I would be happy to furnish the symbols of these NKP trains
when I can get to my source materials.

I'm also curious as to how much actual "captive" auto service there
was in the era we are modeling. I know from my time at Conrail that
there was a general aversion on the part of management to captive
anything (less unit trains), and I know from my time at Southern
Pacific that the Blue Streak carried whatever was available. I would
guess that, although there might be many trains that were
predomiantly auto traffic, there was other traffic along for the ride
to fill to tonnage. Since that's a guess, however, are there any
former traffic people from the '50's or documents that would confirm
or refute that?

Jim Wolf
Denver, CO


jeffhalloin <jhalloin@...>
 

Interesting stuff, I didn't know the PM and NKP ran an autoparts
connection to Madison. I pulled out my Pere Marquette annual report
from 1945. The report does not this in a photo caption of a PM 0-8-0
outside of a Buick plant.

"Another typical long-established industry, served exclusively by the
Pere Marquette, is the Buick plant at Flint, Michigan. This is one
of the largest automobile manufacturing divisions of General Motors
Corporation. From this plan go set-up automobiles for nearby
delivery, and fright car loads of auto parts -- nested and closely
packed -- to far flung assembly plants from which complete
automobiles are distributed." See 29th Annual Report of the PM, page
19.

So, there was some captive GM auto parts traffic on the PM at least.

Jeff Halloin


__________________________

--- In STMFC@y..., "wjimwolf" <wjimwolf@y...> wrote:

According to Rehor, the NKP did operate a service handling auto parts
to Madison connections in conjunction with the Pere Marquette via
Belfast, IN (PM Detroit to New Buffalo to Belfast; NKP IMC District
Belfast to Kokomo, IN; NKP Clover Leaf Dist. Kokomo to
Madison/TRRA). It's not clear that this service lasted much beyond
the early 1950's, and I would guess that it was pretty much limited
to PM-captive plants (mostly west side of Detroit and the Ford Rouge
plant). I would be happy to furnish the symbols of these NKP trains
when I can get to my source materials.


Edward Dabler
 

In a message dated 11/27/02 3:01:41 PM Central Standard Time,
cfrench@... writes:

<snip>

The Wabash received most of the Ford traffic from the DT&I at Detroit >
and Delta, Ohio. For example, during the first 10 months of 1948,
the Wabash received 11912 loads which included 9691 cars of Ford
traffic from the DT&I at Detroit; and 25674 loads including 18688
Ford loads at Delta, Ohio. During this same period the Wabash
delivered 15343 mtys at Detroit and 23575 at Delta. A one month
example, Oct 1950, the Wabash delivered 371 loads and 4401 mtys at
Delta and received 5020 loads and 200 mtys, most of the loads would
have been Ford traffic.

The Delta interchange was 29 miles east of the Montpelier, Ohio
division point yard of the Wabash , on the line to Toledo. Traffic
was usually moved in Delta Turns operating out of Montpelier.
Traffic was then forwarded down the main line to Decatur, Ill and
beyond to St. Louis or Kansas City, and on the line from Montpelier
to Chicago.
Trains handling the loading included ML and Chi 89, Adv 91, 91 and
time freight extras.

The following is Delta turns run on three consecutive days in Dec.
1950.

12-20 Ex 2806 W 61-1 57 Ford
12-20 Ex 2720 W 44-0 44 "
12-20 Ex 1143 W 89-1 75 "
12-21 Ex 1140 W 104-1 no Ford count
12-21 Ex 1142 W 69-1 69 Ford
12-22 Ex 1101 W 80-4 80 "
12-22 Ex 1140 W 100-2 no Ford count
I would expect most of the Ford traffic to move through Decatur to Moberly
and then to Claycomo (Kansas City) where Ford had/has a large assembly plant
rather than through St. Louis. It is very likely that the Wabash owned the
property on which Ford built the Claycomo plant. IIRC this plant was built
immediately following WWII.

Ed Dabler


Mike Auf der Heide <maufderheide@...>
 

Not intentionally; I don't have my historical railroad atlas
in front of me, and efforts to find one on-line have been
unsuccessful so far.

Shawn Beckert
Shawn,

There is the 1948 Rand McNally Railroad atlas at:

http://nyow.railfan.net/pfmsig/atlas48.html

There, I just caused 500 people to waste hours at this site!

Gobble,
Mike


Chet French <cfrench@...>
 

--- In STMFC@y..., "Beckert, Shawn" <shawn.beckert@d...> wrote:
Jack Wyatt wrote, in part:

How much Ford traffic did the SSW handle? Wabash had
a leg up on the other railroads in Detroit handling
Ford parts traffic to the west. <snip>

The Wabash did handle a large amount of Ford traffic west to the St.
Louis, Kansas City, and Chicago gateways. This traffic increased
yearly starting after WWII and continued past our time period.
The following is the total tons of autos, trucks, tires, and parts
handled by the railroad, % of total tons, and revenue for eight years
starting in 1945.

1945 572,006 1.94% $2,815,716
1946 697,254 2.56% $4,160,664
1947 998,804 3.48% $6,809,239
1948 1,027,513 3.64% $8,680,681
1952 1,247,423 4.86% $13,558,552
1953 1,667,550 6.72% $18,678,693
1954 1,560,707 7.00% $17,399,786
1955 1,967,104 7.92% $22,320,770

The Wabash received most of the Ford traffic from the DT&I at Detroit
and Delta, Ohio. For example, during the first 10 months of 1948,
the Wabash received 11912 loads which included 9691 cars of Ford
traffic from the DT&I at Detroit; and 25674 loads including 18688
Ford loads at Delta, Ohio. During this same period the Wabash
delivered 15343 mtys at Detroit and 23575 at Delta. A one month
example, Oct 1950, the Wabash delivered 371 loads and 4401 mtys at
Delta and received 5020 loads and 200 mtys, most of the loads would
have been Ford traffic.

The Delta interchange was 29 miles east of the Montpelier, Ohio
division point yard of the Wabash , on the line to Toledo. Traffic
was usually moved in Delta Turns operating out of Montpelier.
Traffic was then forwarded down the main line to Decatur, Ill and
beyond to St. Louis or Kansas City, and on the line from Montpelier
to Chicago.
Trains handling the loading included ML and Chi 89, Adv 91, 91 and
time freight extras.

The following is Delta turns run on three consecutive days in Dec.
1950.

12-20 Ex 2806 W 61-1 57 Ford
12-20 Ex 2720 W 44-0 44 "
12-20 Ex 1143 W 89-1 75 "
12-21 Ex 1140 W 104-1 no Ford count
12-21 Ex 1142 W 69-1 69 Ford
12-22 Ex 1101 W 80-4 80 "
12-22 Ex 1140 W 100-2 no Ford count

Chet French
Dixon, IL


Edward Dabler
 

In a message dated 11/27/02 5:04:34 PM Central Standard Time,
cjwyatt@... writes:


Undoubtedly Claycomo was a factor in the postwar increase in the Wabash's
Ford business, but I believe Wabash also directly served the Ford plant
outside of St. Louis at Berkeley. I'm not sure when Berkeley was built. I
believe that there was also a Ford plant in the Chicago area not located on
the Wabash, but certainly opened to switching. Wabash had favorable
connections for the other western Ford business, particularly the west
coast
Ford plants.

If you are including Ford parts traffic in the West, the chance is good
that
Wabash was in the route for Detroit area originations.

Jack Wyatt
Jack

You are absolutely correct about the Ford plant at Berkley. It's been there
for a very long time and is still in operation. I recently heard that Ford
wanted to permanently close this plant within the next 3 or 4 years. It is
situated on the North side of Lambert St. Louis Metropolitan Airport.

I lived in Moberly from 1945 to 1950. My father was employed as a civil
engineer in the Division Engineers office of the Moberly Division. I worked
in the department during the summer while attending the University of
Missouri. Thus operations through Moberly and on the Moberly Division came
to my mind first. The Ford plant in Berkley was part of the St. Louis
Terminal Division operations.

Ed Dabler


Edward Dabler
 

In a message dated 11/27/02 6:07:02 PM Central Standard Time,
wabashrr@... writes:

I won't say for sure; but I doubt it very much. Not unless they bought it
for the sole purpose of reselling it to Ford. The Claycomo plant is
reached by traversing about a mile of CB&Q branch line running northward
from the CB&Q/Wabash joint trackage at Birmingham, then up another few
miles of spur built and owned by the Wabash.

gary roe

Gary

You may be correct. I recall the Wabash owning some large tracts both in the
KC and St. Louis industrial areas and assumed that the Ford plant might have
been built on railroad owned property.

I made several trips to KC with Mr. William Harding, who was the Wabash
Manager of Real Estate, in the late 1940's to make property surveys and
layout industrial spurs.

Ed Dabler



C J Wyatt
 

<<I would expect most of the Ford traffic to move through Decatur to Moberly
and then to Claycomo (Kansas City) where Ford had/has a large assembly plant
rather than through St. Louis. It is very likely that the Wabash owned the
property on which Ford built the Claycomo plant. IIRC this plant was built
immediately following WWII.

Ed Dabler>>


Undoubtedly Claycomo was a factor in the postwar increase in the Wabash's
Ford business, but I believe Wabash also directly served the Ford plant
outside of St. Louis at Berkeley. I'm not sure when Berkeley was built. I
believe that there was also a Ford plant in the Chicago area not located on
the Wabash, but certainly opened to switching. Wabash had favorable
connections for the other western Ford business, particularly the west coast
Ford plants.

If you are including Ford parts traffic in the West, the chance is good that
Wabash was in the route for Detroit area originations.

Jack Wyatt


Gary Roe
 

Ed wrote:
It is very likely that the Wabash owned the property on which Ford built the Claycomo plant.


Ed,

I won't say for sure; but I doubt it very much. Not unless they bought it for the sole purpose of reselling it to Ford. The Claycomo plant is reached by traversing about a mile of CB&Q branch line running northward from the CB&Q/Wabash joint trackage at Birmingham, then up another few miles of spur built and owned by the Wabash.

gary roe


Chet French <cfrench@...>
 

--- In STMFC@y..., rrfaned@a... wrote:
In a message dated 11/27/02 3:01:41 PM Central Standard Time,
cfrench@g... writes:

<snip>
I would expect most of the Ford traffic to move through Decatur to
Moberly
and then to Claycomo (Kansas City) where Ford had/has a large
assembly plant
rather than through St. Louis. It is very likely that the Wabash
owned the
property on which Ford built the Claycomo plant. IIRC this plant
was built
immediately following WWII.

Ed Dabler

Ford plant at Claycomo opened in 1951.

Chet French