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Help Identifying Unusual Boxcar (MoPac coke service?)


Ken Roth
 

I have a picture of a train on the S.P. Toledo branch in Oregon taken circa 1949.  I would like to know the prototype for the unusual double-sheathed boxcar directly behind the engine.  It appears to be a modified boxcar (roof removed and extra side doors added).  It appears also to have a "inverse Murphy ribbed end".  It is most definitely not an S.P. car and the reporting marks might be M.P.  The herald also perhaps might suggest M.P.  I looked in the 1950 ORER and found MoPac boxcars converted to coke cars.  If so, I have no idea what its doing on a branch in the Oregon woods! I have not been able to find any MoPac photo online that might confirm my guess.   Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Ken Roth


Richard Brennan
 

...an early-style SP Hog Fuel car might be a more likely candidate up in that part of Oregon.

The first letter of the road name peeking out under the shadow on the end appears to be rounded;
I can't convince myself it would be an "M".

--------------------
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
--------------------

At 05:43 PM 3/6/2021, Ken Roth wrote:
I have a picture of a train on the S.P. Toledo branch in Oregon taken circa 1949. I would like to know the prototype for the unusual double-sheathed boxcar directly behind the engine. It appears to be a modified boxcar (roof removed and extra side doors added). It appears also to have a "inverse Murphy ribbed end". It is most definitely not an S.P. car and the reporting marks might be M.P. The herald also perhaps might suggest M.P. I looked in the 1950 ORER and found MoPac boxcars converted to coke cars. If so, I have no idea what its doing on a branch in the Oregon woods! I have not been able to find any MoPac photo online that might confirm my guess. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.


Ed Hawkins
 



On Mar 6, 2021, at 7:43 PM, Ken Roth <krowth3249@...> wrote:

I have a picture of a train on the S.P. Toledo branch in Oregon taken circa 1949.  I would like to know the prototype for the unusual double-sheathed boxcar directly behind the engine.  It appears to be a modified boxcar (roof removed and extra side doors added).  It appears also to have a "inverse Murphy ribbed end".  It is most definitely not an S.P. car and the reporting marks might be M.P.  The herald also perhaps might suggest M.P.  I looked in the 1950 ORER and found MoPac boxcars converted to coke cars.  If so, I have no idea what its doing on a branch in the Oregon woods! I have not been able to find any MoPac photo online that might confirm my guess.   Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Ken Roth

Ken & others interested,
While the 1950 photo isn’t sufficiently clear to provide a car number, the visible clue is the Murphy end that’s the spotting feature to determine the origin. The MP coke car in the view was converted from a 36’ IL double-sheathed box car having 7-7 Murphy ends with inward-facing corrugations. The origin was 850 cars built by Pennsylvania Car Co. numbered 120000-120249 (1925) & 120250-120849 (1926).

Starting with 7 cars in 4-6/1945, MoPac converted 14 such roofless coke cars numbered as part of series 120000-120849 with Murphy ends by 4/49.

Another 900 similar MP 36’ DS box cars, but with Dreadnaught ends, were built by ACF in series 120850-121149 (1927) and by the MP DeSoto, Mo. railroad car shops, 121150-121749 (1929). During the same period as the Murphy-end cars, MoPac converted an additional 16 box cars having Dreadnaught ends as roofless coke cars with car numbers in the latter two series.

ORER’s from July 1945 thru Jan. 1951 have notes in the various groups in series 120000-121749 that relate to the MP roofless coke cars that list the specific car numbers in revenue service. The 30 coke cars retained the same car numbers as the original 36’ DS box cars. 

The service life-span of these 30 roofless coke cars was relatively short-lived as 28 remaining cars in 1/51 were reduced to zero cars in revenue service by 4/51. RP CYC Volume 14 included a short discussion of these coke cars & a photo of MP 121368 having Dreadnaught ends.

Attached is a MP diagram scan representing the first 10 coke cars converted in mid-1945 with 7 car numbers having Murphy ends & 3 car numbers having Dreadnaught ends. It denotes the sizes of three door openings per side, which were covered with slatted sliding wood doors.

Regards,
Ed Hawkins


mel perry
 

still interesting, that it wound up in the
backwoods of oregon?
;-)
mel perry

On Sat, Mar 6, 2021, 9:29 PM Ed Hawkins <hawk0621@...> wrote:


On Mar 6, 2021, at 7:43 PM, Ken Roth <krowth3249@...> wrote:

I have a picture of a train on the S.P. Toledo branch in Oregon taken circa 1949.  I would like to know the prototype for the unusual double-sheathed boxcar directly behind the engine.  It appears to be a modified boxcar (roof removed and extra side doors added).  It appears also to have a "inverse Murphy ribbed end".  It is most definitely not an S.P. car and the reporting marks might be M.P.  The herald also perhaps might suggest M.P.  I looked in the 1950 ORER and found MoPac boxcars converted to coke cars.  If so, I have no idea what its doing on a branch in the Oregon woods! I have not been able to find any MoPac photo online that might confirm my guess.   Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Ken Roth

Ken & others interested,
While the 1950 photo isn’t sufficiently clear to provide a car number, the visible clue is the Murphy end that’s the spotting feature to determine the origin. The MP coke car in the view was converted from a 36’ IL double-sheathed box car having 7-7 Murphy ends with inward-facing corrugations. The origin was 850 cars built by Pennsylvania Car Co. numbered 120000-120249 (1925) & 120250-120849 (1926).

Starting with 7 cars in 4-6/1945, MoPac converted 14 such roofless coke cars numbered as part of series 120000-120849 with Murphy ends by 4/49.

Another 900 similar MP 36’ DS box cars, but with Dreadnaught ends, were built by ACF in series 120850-121149 (1927) and by the MP DeSoto, Mo. railroad car shops, 121150-121749 (1929). During the same period as the Murphy-end cars, MoPac converted an additional 16 box cars having Dreadnaught ends as roofless coke cars with car numbers in the latter two series.

ORER’s from July 1945 thru Jan. 1951 have notes in the various groups in series 120000-121749 that relate to the MP roofless coke cars that list the specific car numbers in revenue service. The 30 coke cars retained the same car numbers as the original 36’ DS box cars. 

The service life-span of these 30 roofless coke cars was relatively short-lived as 28 remaining cars in 1/51 were reduced to zero cars in revenue service by 4/51. RP CYC Volume 14 included a short discussion of these coke cars & a photo of MP 121368 having Dreadnaught ends.

Attached is a MP diagram scan representing the first 10 coke cars converted in mid-1945 with 7 car numbers having Murphy ends & 3 car numbers having Dreadnaught ends. It denotes the sizes of three door openings per side, which were covered with slatted sliding wood doors.

Regards,
Ed Hawkins


Todd Sullivan
 

I think that finding an MP coke car on the SP Toledo Branch is a little far-fetched. The SP converted several different kinds of single sheathed boxcars into 'hog fuel' (woodchip) cars, including some 40 footers.  They al had pretty odd side doors for unloading.  Also, there was a fairly healthy business hauling woodchips from lumber mills to paper mills on the SP in Oregon beginning in the late 1940s. 

My SP freight car books are packed away, so I can't check, but did the SP have any 40 foot cars with inverse Murphy ends?  BTW, I could be easily convinced that the herald is an SP herald and not an MP herald.  Can anyone check in Tony Thompson's Boxcar book to see what this might be?

Todd Sullivan


Jerry Michels
 

Ken, I am sure this is an open-topped MP coke car. Why it is in Oregon is a mystery. Most pictures I have seen of these cars are from south of St. Louis on that portion of the railroad associated with the Lead Belt  (Missouri-Illinois). Jerry Michels


Tim O'Connor
 


Ed Hawkins verified the car is MP. Coke in MP (and L&N and others) cars was a common sight in Colorado
and coke-coal traveled over Donner Pass on a daily basis (usually in D&RGW cars) and probably may still.
How this car ended  up in Oregon - I don't know - but I can imagine someone needed coke there and then the
car might have been grabbed for hog fuel... who knows?

Transportation can be weird. Yesterday I was reading that a major grain shipper (Scoular) loads soybeans into
empty 40 foot international containers in Kansas City and ships the grain via the port of Los Angeles to China!
You might think that sounds very inefficient - it does to me! But it makes sense to somebody. :-D

Tim O'Connor


On 3/7/2021 1:02 AM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io wrote:
I think that finding an MP coke car on the SP Toledo Branch is a little far-fetched. The SP converted several different kinds of single sheathed boxcars into 'hog fuel' (woodchip) cars, including some 40 footers.  They al had pretty odd side doors for unloading.  Also, there was a fairly healthy business hauling woodchips from lumber mills to paper mills on the SP in Oregon beginning in the late 1940s. 

My SP freight car books are packed away, so I can't check, but did the SP have any 40 foot cars with inverse Murphy ends?  BTW, I could be easily convinced that the herald is an SP herald and not an MP herald.  Can anyone check in Tony Thompson's Boxcar book to see what this might be?

Todd Sullivan

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Charlie Duckworth
 

Here's three images of the rebuilt 120000 series into coke cars.  


--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.


maynard stowe
 

Tim,
Pretty much anything will get loaded in back haul containers to avoid the empty shipment. As to the car in question, perhaps the SP was evaluating the design for wood chip use.
Maynard Stowe


Tim O'Connor
 


risking going off topic... but it MIGHT impact the price of Chinese built freight car models... :-P

The article about containers of grain was yesterday because NOW the empty containers are in such
incredible demand that shippers in China are willing to pay a $10,000 premium just to get the containers
and so the empties are being shipped empty all the way back to China rather than wait to be reloaded!
A vendor in Massachusetts of imported shoes from China just spent $67,000 to move a single loaded
container from China to Los Angeles! (from NY Times)

Tim O'Connor


On 3/7/2021 9:21 AM, maynard stowe wrote:
Tim,
Pretty much anything will get loaded in back haul containers to avoid the empty shipment. As to the car in question, perhaps the SP was evaluating the design for wood chip use.
Maynard Stowe

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Ted Schnepf
 

Hi Charlie,

What is the base starting car for the 1277? What was the year of the rebuild? Interesting composite car.

Ted Schnepf

On Sunday, March 7, 2021, 06:44:09 AM CST, Charlie Duckworth <omahaduck@...> wrote:


Here's three images of the rebuilt 120000 series into coke cars.  


--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.


Steven D Johnson
 

Tim,

 

I have a photo of an L&N coke car in Mexico!

 

Steve Johnson

Nashville, TN

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2021 5:50 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Help Identifying Unusual Boxcar (MoPac coke service?)

 


Ed Hawkins verified the car is MP. Coke in MP (and L&N and others) cars was a common sight in Colorado
and coke-coal traveled over Donner Pass on a daily basis (usually in D&RGW cars) and probably may still.
How this car ended  up in Oregon - I don't know - but I can imagine someone needed coke there and then the
car might have been grabbed for hog fuel... who knows?

Transportation can be weird. Yesterday I was reading that a major grain shipper (Scoular) loads soybeans into
empty 40 foot international containers in Kansas City and ships the grain via the port of Los Angeles to China!
You might think that sounds very inefficient - it does to me! But it makes sense to somebody. :-D

Tim O'Connor


On 3/7/2021 1:02 AM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io wrote:

I think that finding an MP coke car on the SP Toledo Branch is a little far-fetched. The SP converted several different kinds of single sheathed boxcars into 'hog fuel' (woodchip) cars, including some 40 footers.  They al had pretty odd side doors for unloading.  Also, there was a fairly healthy business hauling woodchips from lumber mills to paper mills on the SP in Oregon beginning in the late 1940s. 

My SP freight car books are packed away, so I can't check, but did the SP have any 40 foot cars with inverse Murphy ends?  BTW, I could be easily convinced that the herald is an SP herald and not an MP herald.  Can anyone check in Tony Thompson's Boxcar book to see what this might be?

Todd Sullivan


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Charlie Duckworth
 

It’s all detailed in Ed Hawkins response above. 
--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.


Jerry Michels
 

Ah, nothing like getting MPHS minds together!  Jerry Michels


Chris Barkan
 

I agree that the cars in the SP train appear to have the general appearance and MP stenciling that in almost every way resembles the cars in the photos that Charlie Duckworth posted with one notable exception; the car in the SP train lacks the diagonal bracing.  It is evident that the MP rebuilt several types of cars so there may have been some other variants that one of the MP experts here can speak to.  As to the load, could it have been lumber?  Stock cars were also used for lumber service and as Tim O'Connor pointed out as long as a car was suitable, it might be pressed into service for a commodity that it was not principally intended for.
--
Chris Barkan
Champaign, IL


Charlie Duckworth
 
Edited

I’ve learned something new; the photos I posted were from 40’ SS boxcars, hence the ‘Z’ bracing and not rebuilt from the 120000 series. The cars in Ed’s diagrams are the earlier 36’ DS cars and would be the car in the original photo that started this thread.   So still a Mop car just the shorter version. 
--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.


Ken Roth
 

Thanks to Ed Hawkins and everyone who chimed in with this interesting puzzle.  Just to summarize what has been said:

1. Ed provides an airtight indentification.  Bravo!

2. I checked all my SP resources (carefully checking Tony Thompsons' SP boxcar and SP automobile car books).  There are NO SP boxcars which could have been the basis for this conversion.  One additional observation, the road number is not readable, but it does have 6 digits, which would be requisite for being a MoPac coke car.

3. The question remains HOW and WHY the car ended up on the Toledo branch in Oregon which mainly existed to service lumber industry on the branch.  As many have suggested, it is likely that the car was hijacked for transporting hog fuel from mills on the branch to the Willamette valley ("railroad west" but geographically eastbound) for heating.

This looks like it could be a great kitbash from an Accurail 36' box for all you MoPac fans, and those Espee fans clever enough to invent a story to justify its existence on their pike (sadly it won't fit mine - Siskiyou Line in So. Oregon).

I'd love to see the photo Ed mentioned from the RPCyc vol 14.  I don't own this one. 

Ken Roth


Jim Ogden
 

Maybe the coke car was lost.

One of the things that did happen with alarming frequency is a car would get misdirected. On the MoPac there was an El Dorado, Kansas and an El Dorado, Arkansas and both were in oil fields and one had a Skelly and the other a Lion Oil refinery. Both were pronounced El-Doe-RAY-doe and the team tracks would sometimes get misdirected equipment will oilfield machinery. The Kansas machinery should have been sent to Arkansas for example.

The car might have been sent to Salem, Oregon instead of Salem, Illinois for interchange. Salem, Illinois was in an area where a lot of railroads crossed. Watch someone in Oregon send it to Massachusetts next.

Jim Ogden
Argyle, Texas


Jerry Michels
 

Like the Merchandise boxcars, the MP built cars in two different lengths. The MP had thousands of 21000-series 36' boxcars they seemed to use a lot for building new classes of cars, including a lot of cabooses. Jerry Michels


Ted Schnepf
 

Hi Jim and list,

The railroads were notorious for mixing up destinations. I was shipping rail out of Casper Wyoming in the 1990's to Crawford, WISCONSIN. About half the loads went to Crawford, NEBRASKA, with several days of delay enroute. Both locations were on the BN.

Ted Schnepf


On Monday, March 8, 2021, 08:36:58 AM CST, Jim Ogden <sjogden@...> wrote:


Maybe the coke car was lost.

One of the things that did happen with alarming frequency is a car would get misdirected.  On the MoPac there was an El Dorado, Kansas and an El Dorado, Arkansas and both were in oil fields and one had a Skelly and the other a Lion Oil refinery.  Both were pronounced El-Doe-RAY-doe and the team tracks would sometimes get misdirected equipment will oilfield machinery.  The Kansas machinery should have been sent to Arkansas for example.

The car might have been sent to Salem, Oregon instead of Salem, Illinois for interchange.  Salem, Illinois was in an area where a lot of railroads crossed.  Watch someone in Oregon send it to Massachusetts next.

Jim Ogden
Argyle, Texas