Friday, November 20, 2020

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 4) - Freight Car Roster

 In the last blog post (SP Jawbone Branch Part 3) I covered some photo analysis to sort out which kinds of freight cars I'll need for the basic operations of the Jawbone Branch.  

SP Mk-4 leads the Owenyo Local, probably near Cantil or Owens Lake - RW Please collection


Note in the photo above the load of white ore/minerals in the first All-Steel SP GS-Gondola, possibly from one of the small ore dumps along the line.  The other cars are probably also loaded from the SPNG trestle at Owenyo.
Let's quickly review this list as follows for a 'Typical' Owenyo Local consist of 10-16 cars:

  • 4-5 SP Steel GS Gondolas (Red Caboose)
  • 1 Black (lease or SP) tank car, probably with fuel oil - Possibly leasers such as SHPX, UTLX, UOCX, GATX, etc.
  • 4-8 XM boxcars - generally a mix of mostly all-steel types after 1952, both SP and foreign car mix.
  • 1+ SPMW water tank cars


Of course a major difference between modeling a train and modeling an operational layout is the fact that the operational layout will require more cars to cycle and make a 'normal' consist to appear on the layout each session.  I'm figuring that at least two times the 'basic train' will be needed as the loaded cars and empty cars need to be swapped each trip which takes two days (3-trips per week) on the Jawbone.  Figuring in cars being held for loading for multiple trips, I can see each Owenyo Local trip consisting of about 40% of the cars on the layout.
Also not all of the prototypical 13-16 car trains would be worked in the few towns I will be able to model, namely Owenyo.  Lone Pine was also a fairly large town and traffic source/receiver for Standard Gauge cars.  This may result in my 'typical' train being only 8-12 cars or something in that range, to have suitable work at Linnie, Bartlett, and Owenyo.
Upon closer inspection of several photos, I have been able to recognize several foreign boxcars of interest that I could model.  Some rather interesting cars show up to which I wouldn't have expected.  I wonder how many of these cars were sent to the Owenyo Branch from LA as empties vs caught by Bakersfield or Mojave on the way back home or if the cars were sent loaded to the Jawbone and were simply being grabbed again for a new load out of Owenyo.

SP GS-Steel Gondolas


Red Caboose SP 151454 in service at Caliente, LMRC.


The majority of the GS gondolas being used on the Owenyo Branch by 1952-55 it seems were the standard SP G-50-18/22 class cars.  I have found one photo of the odd composite GS gondola (G-50-20/23 class) but generally composite cars were reserved for softer loads such as sugar beets and wood chips.  The all-steel cars were used for ore and mineral service.

UP GS-Steel Gondolas


Interestingly one photo of SPNG 18 at Owenyo on an F-70-3 flatcar shows a UP 65k-series gondola in Owenyo. 

Red Caboose UP 65003 G-50-13 kit for standard UP car


 I'm not sure why there would be UP gonds in Owenyo.  Possibilities that come to mind are Lumber, coal, coke, loading of materials (ore/minerals) off the SPNG to be sent off of the Jawbone back to UP territory?  Sometimes photos raise more questions than answers!  For now, I'm making the notes about what cars were there, not worrying so much about why they were there at the moment.

SP All-Steel Boxcars


The following five classes (B-50-18/19/20/21/23) totaled nearly 8000 cars with 10ft Interior Height (IH) placed in service between 1936 and 1942 and were a major expansion of the SP fleet.  The B-50-12A class of rebuilt USRA cars only amounted to 350 cars, but is an interesting side note.  I plan to have several All-Steel SP boxcars on the Jawbone Branch, as they do show up as the dominate car type in the 1952-53+ era photos.  That said, I do plan to have some earlier classes of SP boxcar as well filling out the roster with composite cars including B-50-8/10/11, B-50-12 (gone in 1949), B-50-13/14, and the signature B-50-15/16. 
I'll be covering the specifics of modeling these classes in a future post at some point.  For now, let's look at the All-Steel cars, as they were the type photographed on the Jawbone Branch.

B-50-18 - 1750 cars


Red Caboose RTR model of SP 32891, a B-50-18 class car

This class was built in 1936 to the 10ft IH standard which the SP preferred.  I have a couple of these Red Caboose models to use as examples of this class.  Wood lined with sharp 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, Youngstown doors, and wood running boards. - Description excerpt from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.4 Boxcars.

B-50-19 - 1000 cars


Essentially repeats of the B-50-18 class ordered only one month later.  Wood lined with sharp 4/5 Dreadnaught Ends, Youngstown doors, and wood running boards. - Description excerpt from Anthony Thompson's Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol.4 Boxcars.
I will probably change the number of one of my B-50-18s, as it is only one number off from the 32891 shown above.  

B-50-20 -1500 cars


Red Caboose SP 84268, B-50-20 with black patch to the left of the door with "return when empty" data.

This class can be made with RC's kits.  This particular car is from the special run of 300 cars for La Mesa Club in the 1990s with the special "When Empty Return to Agent Bakersfield, Calif."

B-50-21 - 2000 cars


BLYM SP 82992, a B-50-21 class boxcar with minor redecalling.

This class of 40ft boxcar can be found from RC or BLYM.  The example I have is a BLYM car with Speedwitch SP boxcar decals to replace the reporting initials with the spelled out "SOUTHERN PACIFIC", which is more correct for my modeling era of 1946-1953.

B-50-23 - 1744 cars


Built into 1942 when Pullman exhausted the supply of parts, ending the order at 1744 cars.

Post-War Boxcars


The SP ordered several classes of new boxcars after WWII and received new cars all the way into 1953, which is about my cutoff point for era.  There is some chance that I should have some of these cars, but I'll cover those another time as I have no models of them at present.

B-50-12A - Rebuilds

The SP also rebuilt 350 B-50-12 cars in 1949 to the current construction standards of the industry, so these could be showing up in the photos on the Jawbone Branch as well.  I covered this briefly on my SPMW Supply Train (Part 3) - Boxcars SPMW 2767 B-50-12 article.

Foreign Line Boxcars


NP 15000-17996


IMWX NP 15046 boxcar kit

This series of cars covers about 3000 cars all of almost identical measurements according to the 1950 ORER as 10ft IH all-steel boxcars.  I see two easy ways to model the car in this series that was photographed at Owenyo.  One is the IMWX HOBNP046 (IMRC) 10ft NP 1937 AAR boxcar.  I happen to have NP 15046 as a prepainted model (built 1040).  The IMWX kit has the "Main Street of the Northwest" slogan.
Another option to model the NP car is the Branchline Yardmaster series kit 8013 which I bought around 2003-2004 which is NP 17182 which shows a built date of 5-41.  The BLYM kit doesn't have the slogan below the herald.
Unfortunately, the photograph quality doesn't allow me to read the car number on the end, it is pretty clearly a 15-16k car number.  The photo is about a 7/8 end view, so I can make out that the NP car in question does have the slogan painted on the carside below the herald.  While I'm not currently planning to model every exact car that I have a photo of on the branch, I at least take the hint of what cars did show up.  Given the IMWX car is closer with the slogan, I'll probably use that car in this case.

OWR&N 188300-189299 (UP subsidiary) 


Red Caboose OWR&N 189095 kit, similar to the car photographed at Owenyo in the early 1950s.

This 1000-car group of 1937 AAR boxcars was assigned to the Oregon Water River & Navigation Co.  One of which showed up in a photograph of a bulk vertical conveyor loader at Owenyo.  The shot shows a NG boxcar loading minerals into the boxcar, probably something like Perlite or Talc.  I'll be using a RC-8040-2b, a 1937 AAR model of OWR&N 189095 will become a typical model to represent the prototype car which I can't read the number on, other than to see it's a 188 or 189k-series car from OWR&N.

PRR All-Steel Boxcar


Branchline Blueprint-series X43B boxcar, built-up kit in service at LMRC in 2011.

In the photos from Tom Dill's San Joaquin Valley book of Lone Pine being switched in January 1953, there is a all-steel boxcar that appears to be a PRR car.  All I can make out is lettering consistent with the PRR's normal lettering scheme.  Reaching back into my 15-20 year old stash of models, I've pulled out a Branchline Blueprint (BLBP) series kit for an X43B boxcar PRR 600633, built NEW 9-51.  This will be a fairly clean model, but I'll probably put some fading on it to represent a car two years old.

PRR Boxcar (Alternate Options)


Given the size of the PRR, I'll probably run two other PRR boxcars if I want to simulate before late 1951.

Atlas X26C USRA rebuild boxcar - not yet weathered.

One is Atlas's X26C, WWI USRA boxcar rebuild PRR 105808, which comes RTR, but I'll be doing some upgrades to the mechanicals and weathering it obviously.

Red Caboose PRR X29 boxcar, a little worse for wear.

This is one of Red Caboose's famous X29 kits.  I started buildign this kit many years ago.  When I finish it, the Owenyo branch should give it a good home as almost every layout in the USA from the late 1920s to the 1960 timeframe should have an X29 on it.  About 2/3s of the X29s were upgraded with new bodies above the floor into X29B, which looked more like AAR boxcars, save the narrower frame sidesills from the original X29.  I may end up kitbashing one of these X29Bs at some point.  They have also been available in resin.

NYC "Standard" Boxcar


BLI's version of NYC's "Standard" boxcar which competed with X29 for the ARA standard in the 1920s.

While I've not found a photo of it, if a PRR boxcar went somewhere on the SP, chances were that an NYC car also went there at some point.  The BLI model of the NYC's 'standard' boxcar is not a bad choice.  I'm also planning to redecal a BLYM car as one of the NYC's all-steel boxcars based on the pre-war (1937-1941) boxcars.

ATSF All-Steel Boxcars


Kadee ATSF 31564, new 1950 - LMRC 2011 photo

In the January 1953 photos in Tom Dill's San Joaquin Valley book, there is a photo of an ATSF all-steel boxcar at Lone Pine being switched.  It is a little hard to read the car number series off the photo, but I expect it could be a 31k series boxcar, like the Kadee car above.
Again IMRC, IMWX, or RC 1937 AAR cars will work for modeling these cars in the 38k series or a 138k series car.  I also have several BLYM series kits for BX-27 class cars.  I'm uncertain which kit I will be using on the Owenyo Branch versus building for operations at LMRC.
The prototype photo shows no map on the side of the car, but the 'Ship Santa Fe - All the way' slogan on the carside as shown in the photo of Kadee ATSF 31564 car above.  I currently don't have an ATSF car with this exact scheme.  Something to ponder at some point down the road, as I have 4-6 of the previously mentioned car kits, I probably will not be looking for a Kadee car.

Other Boxcars


I'm sure there were other foreign road boxcars that traveled the Owenyo branch which will justify operations of some of my other boxcars.  A Seaboard Air Line car photographed at Bartlett shows that there certainly could have been some other esotaric cars on the Jawbone.  Several cars that are in the background of the photos are too dark or weathered to positively read their reporting marks or recognize the owner.

In Closing


Some cars like the ATSF boxcar wouldn't be that surprising, probably some east coast freight forwarder company sending something out to the Jawbone Branch or it could have even been sent from a more local freight house at San Bernardino, Los Angeles, or even Bakersfield with Santa Fe freight forwarder traffic recombined into an freight forwarder LCL shipment to Lone Pine's community.  Some
of the foreign cars on the line were probably also freight forwarders and LCL shipments to the branch.  Some would have been empty cars sent for loading for off-SP destinations, with the empties either 'captured' as they went past Mojave by the Agent, or specificly sent to the Mojave Agent for distribution to Monolith on the KI Local, Palmdale and the Mojave desert on the "Blitz" Local, or to the Jawbone's traffic generators on the Owenyo Branch or the Trona Rwy.  


Loading of Freight Cars, as published in 1953 ORER Register. 

At a certain point, a boxcar is just a boxcar and the customer needs one.  We'll follow the AAR's loading practices as much as possible (see upper half of above image, click on image for larger view).

Hopefully this has been an interesting look at all the colorful traffic that showed up!  In the future I'll be looking into the traffic patterns on the branch if there was any rhyme or reason to which foreign cars were showing up where.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:


SP Jawbone Branch (Part 3) - Consists & More Bartlett Research - Starting to look at photos of the Owenyo Local on the Jawbone Branch and more research on the industries around Bartlett and the Owens Lake.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 2) - Research & Changing Track Plan - Some tweaks to the plan and more research info from SP Trainline #135.

SP "Jawbone" Branch (Part 1) - Concept & Planning - A new crazy idea in my head...

West Bakersfield (Part 1) - Laying Out Industries - Working with SP ValMaps to size and place prototype industries west of Baker St. in Bakersfield.

Laying Out Tehachapi (Part 1) - Research & Layout - Working with SP ValMaps and aerial photos to scale and place prototype structures along the town of Tehachapi

Modeling SP Medium Steam Road-Switchers - Modeling options for SP Mk-series 2-8-2 and other medium size steam engines.

1 comment:

  1. Always interesting to watch where your research leads.

    ReplyDelete

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