Friday, November 19, 2021

SP Supply Train (Part 4) - SPMW 2452 Ready Flat - Shop Car

SPMW 2452 with 2-board low sides installed.

The official 1956 Roster shows this car as "Ready Flat - Shop" I believe this car is also properly defined as a "Stores Dept" Wheel Car, many of these cars carried a "STORES DEPT" or "SAC GEN. STORES" stenciling.

The Prototypes

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

A great view is provided in this SP Company Safety Film from about 1955, with footage shot between 1949 and 1954.  In this view of the Sacramento Wheel Shops, a low-sideboarded Stores Dept car is loaded with wheels, probably already turned, three-wide across the car.  Note the removed sideboards and the steel bridge in place to access the car's deck.

Note two-board Stores Department cars at left between boxcar and bulkheaded wheel car, Inad Akeb collection.

I don't believe the low-sided Stores Department car in the photo above has this option, as the stakes are in every pocket.  Removing boards and stakes would be needed to side-center load with a bridge plate.  Also stacking them from one end to the other would not allow center bridge loading.  So I'm guessing that a small crane was used to drop each wheel onto the car deck, probably with hooks in two of the three casting holes in the back of the wheel.

I wonder if second hand (worn out) wheels were also shipped this way, or the more commonly modeled "throw it in the bottom of a gondola".  This stacking method seems safer and more controlled way to move the several hundred pound wheels.

Basic Kit Assembly

I built the SPMW 2452 per OwlMtModels instructions as standard F-50-5 with T-section trucks and K-brakes.  

Basic SPMW 2452 assembly coming together per instructions, incorrect 1944 date, should be 1942.

The SPMW 2452 was retired from revenue service on 6-12-1942, thus is very unlikely to have received upgrades to AB-schedule brakes.  Many SP F-50-series cars hung on into 1950, even 1955 before getting the upgraded AB-brakes.  The AAR requirements were that the cars in interchange service would be equipped with AB-brakes by 1953.  Obviously the revenue cars hanging on with K-brakes after 1953 were restricted to SP and subsidiary operations.

I went ahead and painted the carbody before building the sides.

Based on the prototype photos, I made the call during construction to paint the carbody and not the sides.  I allowed overspray of the SP Freight Car Red to happen on the deck.  The deck was then weathered with my standard methods of tearing up the deck and then weathering with Apple Barrel acrylic paints.

Building the Sideboards

I scaled the height of the sideboards off the photo at Sacramento Shops from the height of the carside.  The deck weathering can be seen below.  Mostly grays used on the deck and the "newer" sideboards still keeping some of the tan colors, but with some gray-silvering happening too.

Two Sideboards installed with all stake pockets used.

The sides the same way I did in SP Supply Train (Part 5), using ABS stakes left over from OwlMtModels lumber load kits and 2x10 basswood strips, pre-stained.  This time I only made the sides two boards high.  I placed 0.010" or 1x10" basswood pieces between the boards as spacers.  This was to give a little light gap, which is cool to see on a finished model, that the boards are actually separate.

Lower stake protrusions modeled on SPMW 215.

I'll probably be putting some little stubs of the stakes coming through below the pockets on in the future, as I've done with SPMW 215, but probably not as pronounced on SPMW 2452.

Interchangeable Loads?

0.020" Styrene Sheets cut to size to make false-floor load bases.

I made two full size floor sheets from 0.020" styrene sheets and a shorter 'partial' load floor sheet.  I scratched the surface with my deck weathering techniques using a razor saw.  The painting is done with my standard Apple Barrel paint techniques.

Modifying the false-floor with 2x4 stringers spaced to nest 33" wheel castings.

The first load I'm building will be 33" Tichy Train Group wheels, without axles.  2x4 basswood rails are glued to the floor with ACC/CA superglue.  The steel bar is placed on the floor to keep it flat as the basswood strips are glued in place.

Tichy Train Group 33" (freight) wheels nesting in place.

Both ends have tie material (8x8 stained wood) used to provide the inclination to the wheel castings.

One full side of wheels... and I need to get more wheels!

The load above is an example of a full set of wheels loaded. Forty wheels per side for a maximum load of 80 wheels per car!  Once I'm happy with the wheel's stacked configuration, I'll glue them to the false-floor deck.  The load and floor will then be removable as a unit very easily.

In Closing

An interesting screen shot of 3-wide wheel stacks in low-side Stores Dept flatcar. (SP Company Safety Film 5:03)

I plan to do some research on what size wheels are used in the 3-wide loading.  I'm guessing they're 28" wheels.  If so, I'm a bit surprised that the SP was shipping that many 28" wheels out to shops around the system.  About the only place I can think 28" wheels were used in the early to mid-1950s would be 4-wheel pilot trucks on engines like the T-28/31 class, M-class, and C-class.  This car loaded with all those wheels will cover a large number of rewheeled steam engines!

About the only other think I can think is they're shipping wheels for the SPNG at Owenyo.  I don't recall if the NG open-air shops at Owenyo had the presses to assemble the wheels on to the axles, or if these would be going to Bakersfield to be assembled, then shipped as wheelsets to Owenyo.

SPMW 2452 with 2-wide wheelset rails on removable load floor.

One nice benefit of building removable loads is I'll be able to nearly instantly swap the loads from 33" wheels to an empty car or maybe second-hand scrap wheels going back to Sacramento Shops foundry.  Then in staging yard, I can again swap the load for 24 or 28" wheels 3-wide, and send the car out again!

I am still debating what extra decals I'll be putting on this model.  Probably some "Return to SAC GEN STORES" will be appropriate.  I look forward to doing an update on this blog with a couple of completed loads.

 Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SPMW Flatcar Jan 1, 1956 Roster & Analysis - Let's look at the SPMW flatcar fleet

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang) - Update on SPMW 214/215 Lone Pine mystery car and outfit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

SP Headend Passenger Roster Modeling Data and Analysis

Almost finished SC&F kit built into SP 5199 crosses bridge in Niles Canyon on Seth Nuemann's layout

Sounds like Jon from Southern Car & Foundry is producing another run of his great resin one-piece body SP/UP Baggage and RPO cars!  A friend recently was asking for the consolidated SP/T&NO roster info for SC&F passenger car kits.  So here's some basic info from my spreadsheet list on the subject.  Enjoy!

Jason Hill

Cars with "*" indicate refitted around or after WWII with improved Train Baggage Man (TBM) facilities in car.  (Desk, enclosed toilet, water cooler, etc).

Note some cars are duplicated because I list to the right what car they became later in life.  The new car number is also listed again in the left column, but is the same car.

60ft Baggage Cars (60-B-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 class)

Standard 60-B-1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 Class 

60-B-1 class

SP 4243 rebuilt to 60-B-1 class in 1935, retaining 6-wheel trucks.  This class assignment is probably to match the original internal structural standard as-built, with new wall studs, sheets, and doors to match full baggage configuration.  The same is probably done in following conversions below. 

SP 60-B-2 class

SP 4083 rebuilt to 60-B-2 class in 1936, retaining 6-wheel trucks.

SP 6190 wrecked after 1933 and retired.

SP 60-B-3 class 

SP 4244 rebuilt to 60-B-3 class in 1935, retaining 6-wheel trucks.

SP 60-B-4 class cars

Note Central Pacific reporting marks were consolidated into the SP reporting marks in 1928.

SP 60-B-5 class Baggage cars

Several cars rebuilt from 60-PS or 60-P-series RPO cars.  These cars would have retained their 6-wheel trucks.

SP 60-B-6 class baggage cars

Note SP 4242 and 4245 were originally Storage Mail cars of 60-PS-1, but were then rebuilt to 60-B-6 standards, retaining their 6-wheel trucks in 1936.

60-B-7 class, all assigned to T&NO.

60-B-8 class cars.

SP 6029 was painted into Daylight colors in 1946 to protect SP 3300 and 3301 in San Joaquin Daylight service.  If the 3300/3301 combines on the SJD or the 3302/3303 on the Coast Daylight needed shopping then the protection service 60-B and a Daylight chair car would replace the combine in service.  Note: 3302/3303 were premier service cars, if they went to the shop, then one of the 3300/3301s would replace it, and the baggage car and extra chair would replace the 3300/3301 in the San Joaquin Daylight.

It would appear that 4086 was converted to a Postal Storage car possibly, then to a full baggage car with 6-wheel trucks in 1937, similar to the 60-PS rebuilds into 60-B-6 class above.

60ft Baggage-Dynamo Cars (60-BD-1,4,6)

During the same construction dates as the 60-B-1, -4, & -6, the SP built special head-end power cars called Dynamo (generator) cars.  The cars were built as baggage cars, with a part of the car filled with a gas generator.  A pair of extra windows were provided at the generator end of the car and roof vents as needed for the exhaust gas from the engine.

The cars then had power cables which were connected through the train, providing lighting.  This lasted until the major upgrades of the SP passenger fleet in the mid-1930s installing generators and air conditioning in many cars.  After the majority of the fleet upgrades made the BD-series of cars redundant and they were returned to full baggage service.  Many retained the extra window, which allowed these cars to be easily spotted in consist photos.

60-BD-series Baggage-Dynamo cars

60ft Baggage Cars (60-B - NWP Clones)

NWP 60-B clones of SP 60-B-series cars.

These cars were clones of standard SP designs, but did not carry the standard class format because of the co-ownership of the NWP with the ATSF.

60ft Baggage Cars (rebuilt from other classes 60-P, 60-BP-30-1, etc)

SP 60-B rebuilt cars - not all the same as standard 60-B-series baggage cars

I believe from the SPHTS Passenger Cars Vol3 book SP 6110-6114 were fully rebuilt to be 60-B-series clones with new sides of standard design, which can be modeled with standard SC&F 60-B-series kits.  Note that the 4100 and 4400-series cars were equipped with 6-wheel trucks, and retained those in their rebuilt baggage car form.

SP 6122-6132, 6366-6368, 6395-6399 were kept in their original 60-BP-30-1 wall configuration, dropping their Railway Post Office lettering under the RPO windows, and had their RPO apartment equipment (both inside and outside) removed. - Therefore, these cars would NOT be suitable for SC&F standard 60-B-series models.

70ft Baggage Cars (70-B-1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)

Suitable prototypes for SC&F 70-B-series kits.  


The first of the new 70-B-1 were built in 1918 by ACF.

Note: the later classes of 70-B-series were built with flat-stepped ends, not the angled sheet ends of the SC&F kit.  It is possible to kitbash the SC&F models to replicate this change in construction.

Note: GHSA, LW, and MLT cars became T&NO in 1928, then reassigned to the Pacific Lines, generally in the 1940s to early 1950s as the T&NO passenger service was cut back.

SP 70-B-1 baggage cars

70-B-3 & 70-B-4

The three 70-B-3s were built 3-1921 by Pullman.  The five 70-B-5 in 6-1924 by ACF along with the 70-BA-4s.

SP 70-B-3 & 4 baggage cars

3 cars transferred from T&NO to SP.

The 70-B-5s were built in 7 & 8, 1924.


SP 70-B-5 baggage cars

SP 6484 wrecked in 1933 and scrapped... Don't model that car after that date!


Built in 1925 by Bethlehem 

SP 70-B-6 baggage cars

T&NO 608 wrecked at Tortuga and rebuilt to SP 6309 in 1938, appears to have kept 70-B-6 class and baggage-express pool assignment.


Built in late 1926 by Pullman.

SP 70-B-7 class baggage cars

SP 6064 and 6073 involved in 1947 wreck of the Owl at Lerdo, CA (in the San Joaquin Valley).  I am not sure if these two cars were rebuilt or scrapped after the wreck.  I'm guessing they were repaired, as the SPHTS data doesn't say the cars were 'wrecked' as previous entries show.

SP 6080 was assigned to special NWP Redwood service in 1956 as effectively a News Agent-Baggage car with the News-Agent space at the rear, so that passengers to enter to buy food and magazines.


Built  1927 by Bethlehem.  These cars were built with then-current Postal standard ends with collision posts, thus a number of cars in this class were taken in hand 14 years later to be upgraded for high-speed LW passenger train service on the Lark, San Joaquin and Cascade.

I can't find photos off hand which show the ends of this class, if the 'new ends' constituted the change to the flat end-plate with taperred upper section.  The 'new end' certainly was applied to the following 70-B-9 class.

SP 70-B-8 class baggage cars

SP 6091 and 6092 were stream-styled for service in May 1941 for the San Joaquin, but were reassigned almost immediately to the Lark in January 1942. (Per Note 3 in SPHTS Vol3.)

SP 6084 and 6088 stream-styled for service at Sacramento in April 1941 on Lark.  Doors were blocked to provide a maximum 4 foot opening. (Note 2 in SPHTS Vol3.)

SP 6083 & 6085 were rebuilt stream-styled for San Joaquin service in 5/1942. (Per Note 1 in SPHTS Vol3.)  These two cars became were transferred to Noon Daylight service in 1946 and remained with those trainsets.  These two baggage cars followed the transfer of the Noon Daylight's Chair Cars to the Starlight in 1949 as SP shifted the LW equipment assignments.

In August 1950, SP 6088 and 6092 were reassigned from protecting the Lark pool to protect the Cascade's LW Baggage car SP 6602, when it was rebuilt to RPO-Baggage SP 5011.


This class clearly started the 'new end' series of SP 70ft baggage cars.  These followed the later ends on Pullman HW sleepers.  The 70-B-9 was built by SSC through 1928.

SP 70-B-9 class baggage cars

The SP 6448 was repainted into Daylight colors for protection service by 1959, and continued into the 1960s as such.  Originally the car still had the wooden doors, but received ply-metal doors with single windows by 1961.  Several other cars in this class received the 1954 TTG General Service scheme and eventually ply-metal doors by the 1960s.

70ft Baggage-Auto Cars (70-BA-2,4,5)

These 70ft Baggage-Auto cars were built with the A-end replaced with a set of doors for end-loading automobiles for passenger train movement.  It would be possible to kitbash the SC&F kits to model these cars.

70-BA-4s were built in 6-1924 by ACF.  70-BA-5 were built by PSC in 1930.

Roster of SP Baggage-Auto cars with end-doors.

SP 6457 was also involved with the 1947 wreck of the Owl at Lerdo, CA. The car was repaired, eventually being painted into TTG3 (1954 General Service) scheme and then into dark gray (1958 scheme) before being retired at last in July 1968!

69ft Baggage-Postal 30ft Apartment (69-BP-30-2/3

Finished SC&F kit as covered in my SP 5199 blog.

SP 69-BP-30-3 class Baggage-RPO with 30ft RPO Apartment.

69-BP-30-3 painted in Sunbeam SSS scheme after 1950. - Challenger model (I believe)

T&NO 141 and 148 were specially painted for Sunbeam service in 1937, then into Simulated Stainless Steel (SSS) in 1950 when the Sunbeam changed paint schemes to match the Sunset Limited pool of equipment.  Eventually the two cars came to the SP in 1961.

Some of the T&NO cars were transferred to the Pacific Lines in the 1960s.
Four SP cars were converted to Baggage-Express in 1954 and 1959 as noted.

Related Articles

SP 5199 Part 1 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 2 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 3 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 4 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 5 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 6 - Building SC&F resin kit

SP 5199 Part 7 - Building SC&F resin kit - Lighting & Interior

SP 5069, Modeling San Joaquin Daylight RPO (Part 2) - Kitbashing to Stream-styled 70-BP-30-2/3

Monday, October 25, 2021

SPMW Flat Car 1956 January Roster Data Analysis

In this post I want to cover some research materials I've been working with for nearly 20 years, thanks to the SPHTS publishing the SPMW Jan 1, 1956 Roster in various SP Trainlines over the years.  I've been slowly adding the data into a spreadsheet over the years, which makes it much easier to sort through by assignment, car class, original car number, etc.

Let's look at some of the data I've been able to crunch out from this research.  Specifically, I want to look at the SPMW fleet of flatcars at the time, what assignments they had, and what the original classes of cars were that they came from.  This should help us choose what classes of cars, and to some extent what assignments we should be building and lettering our models for.

Six SPMW Supply Cars with low sides and a single-deck Wheel Car in this cropped photo of SP Sacramento Shops photo from mid-1950s - Inad Akeb collection

Not only revenue flat cars were converted to MW service as flat cars, many boxcars and other 'house' cars were 'cut down' to make more flat cars.  Some of these 'cut down' cars may have received stake pockets, but not necessarily in any "standardized" pattern or location.

I have put in comments in the data tables for groups of cars retired after 1950 when it starts heavily shifting the data, mostly the large numbers of 1954-55 retired cars in the 1956 roster.  These newly retired cars probably replaced older classes of cars.  However, without older rosters determining what those were is impossible.

SPMW 5323, F-50-12, retired 1959 at Carson City Museum, 2018 - Jason Hill photo

Some cars I know of were retired after 1956 have been noted, some F-50-10/12 class continued to be retired into SPMW into 1959-1960, which certainly would have been painted in the SPMW Light Gray scheme.

General Service "Ready Flats"

SPMW 810, F-50-7, Ready Flat kitbashed from Walthers-TM flatcar.

Ready Flats were basically the "General Service" flatcar used in MW service, available to be used in any service not requiring specialized modifications or mechanical standards.  Thus this service received many of the older classes, which may be in somewhat compromised mechanical status.

Foreign         3 (0.9%) *(CEI 37048 1932, M&WRR 100 1936, MI&T 35207 1929)
A-40-1         1 (0.3%) *(ex-Auto boxcar, cut down to flatcar)
B-50-1         18 (5.3%)
B-50-2         55 (16.2%) *(Cut down to flatcars, look similar to F-50-1/2/3 class, possible stakepockets)
B-50-4         1 (0.3%)
B-50-5         4 (1.2%) *(2 unmarked assignment, SPMW 3018, SPMW 3021)
B-50-8         1 (0.3%)
CS-33         7 (2.1%) *(older SP boxcar class)
"Box" 81k, 84k, 86k         14 (4.1%) *("Old" SP boxcar classes, not listed in 1956 roster)
CS-19A (ex-stock car) 10 (2.95%)
S-40-2         1 (0.3%)
Stock         2 (0.6%) *(Class not shown in 1956 roster)
CS-35A         31 (9.1%)
F-40-6         3 (0.9%) *(SPMW 2749 modeled)
F-40-7         4 (1.2%)
F-50-1         17 (5.0%)
F-50-2         61 (18.0%) *(Spread between 1936 and 1943)
F-50-3         42 (12.4%) *(Spread between 1911 and 1943)
F-50-4         31 (9.1%) *(Spread between 1937 and 1955)
F-50-5         10 (2.95%) *(1949-1953)
F-50-7         2 (0.6%) *(SPMW 810 modeled)
F-50-8         1 (0.3%) * (1954)
F-50-9         7 (2.0%) * (4 after 1953, 3 before 1941)
F-50-10         1 (0.3%) * (10-1954)
F-50-12         1 (0.3%) * (12-1955)
"Flat" 78890         1 (0.3%)
"Gon" 54977         1 (0.3%)
ex-Transformer car         1 (0.3%)
DT                 2 (0.6%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfits)
"All Steel"         2 (0.6%) *(would have to look up by original number)
Misc                 3 (0.9%) * ("Ditcher-Flat" F-50-3, "Rail Loader" CS-35A, "Flat" CS-35A shown as Ready Flat classification)
Unassigned "Rdy Flat"339 SubTotal, (49.8% of all SPMW Flats)

Note the shift in the Ready Flats fleet towards older classes of car and converted ex-boxcars and stock cars.

SPMW 2186, an early retired F-50-9 from March 1941.

Interesting that I've already modeled three of the classes with less than 1% of the Ready Flat pool!  SPMW 810 (F-50-7), SPMW 2186 (F-50-9 "early" group) and 2749 (F-40-6).  Looks like if I want to do any more Ready Flats, which should be half of my SPMW flatcars modeled!  I should focus on the 'decked' B-50-2 boxcars, F-50-2/3 flats and maybe an F-50-4 or an CS-35A class flat cars.  Good data to crunch looking for modeling projects.

Shop "Ready Flats"

Shop Flats were used to move materials between the SP's main or larger shops.  Often this included unmounted wheelsets, diesel prime movers, traction motors, drivers, etc. These cars may have specialized stakes/sideboards for keeping equipment secured.

Six SPMW Supply Cars with low sides and a single-deck Wheel Car in this cropped photo of SP Sacramento Shops photo from mid-1950s - Inad Akeb collection

I'm thinking about building one of the two cars in the string to the left of the wheel car.  Maybe make a load of the unmounted wheel castings.

B-50-2         2 (4.3%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-4         1 (2.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-6         1 (2.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-19A         2 (4.3%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-33         2 (4.3%) *(ex-boxcar)
DT                 1 (2.2%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfit)
EPSW Stock         1 (2.2%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-35A         7 (15.2%)
F-40-6         3 (6.5%)
F-50-1         1 (2.2%)
F-50-2         6 (13.0%)
F-50-3         1 (2.2%)
F-50-4         1 (2.2%) * (1952)
F-50-5         6 (13.0%) * (1 1942, 1 in 1944, 2 in 1952, 2 in 1955)
F-50-8         3 (6.5%) * (All 1955)
F-50-9         4 (8.7%) * (All 1955)
Misc          1 (2.2%) * ("Flat", "Stock", "Tank")
Shop Flat Cars 46 SubTotal (6.8% of all SPMW Flats)

SPMW 2452 under construction with notes marked on weight cover. Oct 25, 2021

The Shop Flat cars certainly were fewer in number than the Supply cars and even the T&M cars, so I'll probably limit myself to just one of these cars.  However, if modeling a section of SP mainline operations, then more of the Supply and Shop cars will naturally show up as they move between shops and across the SP system.

By the numbers I should probably go with an F-50-2 or CS-35A... however the car in the photo is certainly an F-50-4/5/8/9 class car... so I'm choosing SPMW 2452, one of the F-50-5s converted in 6-12-1944 from SP 41069, which certainly could be one of the cars in the photo at Sacramento!

T&M "Ready Flats"

Track & Maintenance flats were assigned to track crews, extra gangs, etc.  These could be seen left out in the field supporting track crews.  

SPMW 3605, F-50-5, a 1944 conversion to T&M service, shown here with removable tie load.

Sometimes these cars were used as idler flats or tenders for other SPMW equipment, such as pile drivers, such as SPMW 1782 (F-50-9 retired in 1954) photographed with pile driver SPMW 3460 on page 216 of Anthony Thompson's SP Freight Cars Vol3.

A-50-6         1 (1.2%) *(ex-auto-boxcar)
A-50-7         4 (4.8%) *(ex-auto-boxcar)
A-50-8          2 (4.4%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-4          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
B-50-6          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-19A         1 (1.2%) *(ex-stockcar)
CS-33         1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
DT                 3 (3.6%) *(reassigned from wrecker outfit)
B-50-14          1 (1.2%) *(ex-boxcar)
CS-35A          6 (7.2%)
F-50-1          1 (1.2%)
F-50-4          7 (8.3%)
F-50-5          20 (23.8%) * (1 before 1950, rest after 1950-54)
F-50-8          6 (7.1%) * (1954)
F-50-9          24 (25.6%) * (4 in 1954-55)
F-50-10         2 (4.4%) * (1954 & 1955)
T&M Misc         2 (4.4%) *(RI 42830 1931, (SP)MW 2485 wood 1924)
T&M Flats         84 SubTotal (12.3% of SPMW Flats)

These cars certainly moved around, I would think mostly from Division Shops out to the field when regular gangs or extra gangs were working on the division, then back to the stores department to reload with the next set of materials.  Some could have been assigned to specific outfits for storing supplies and equipment on.  

As of Oct 2021, I'm not sure exactly where the distinction was drawn between Ready Flats, T&M Flats, and Tool Cars in regard to storing regular outfit tools.  There are not very many "Tool" assigned flatcars in the 1956 roster, so most outfits must have snagged Ready Flats or T&M Flats to serve their needs transporting things like speeders and such, which don't fit well in boxcars!

"Supply Car" Pool Flats

This is My Railroad - 1947 version screen shot of SPMW Supply Flatcars, - fair use.

These cars may have specialized stakes/sideboards for keeping all manners of material secured, including the kitchen sink.  The car above appears to have multiple 30 and 55 gallon drums, kegs of spikes, switch points, switch frog, and all sorts of other materials loaded.  Another car in this clip has about 1/3 of the end of the car loaded with a pile of tie plates.  Notice that the car above has stakes extending above the sideboards, where as the SPMW 229's stakes (below) are cut down, nearly even with the sides, which is modeled more after the cars in the mid-1950s photo at Sacramento above.

SPMW 229, F-50-5, Supply Flat with 30" sideboards for materials.  Oct 25,2021

I'll be working on a couple of supply loads for the 229 car, which will drop in on a false-floor painted and weathered to match the interior floor of the car's wood deck.  Something to look forward to in future blog posts!  I still need to add the capacity data decals to the SPMW 229 model in the photo above.  Many Supply Cars seem to keep their load stenciling data, even after assigned to SPMW service, often keep the lettering change to a patch over the reporting marks and maybe stencil the new assignment.  

At least in SPMW 1782's case (Assigned T&M), the tare date from the last revenue weighing was kept, which was two years before the retirement date, and even in SPMW service it still carried the "HEAVY BAD ORDER" stencil from when it was retired!  I believe "Supply Cars" were cars in good mechanical condition, as they would be running as many miles as regular revenue cars, around the SP system.

F-50-2         13 (7.3%)
F-50-3         18 (10.1%)
F-50-4         25 (14.0%)
F-50-5         37 (20.7%)
F-50-7         1 (0.5%)
F-50-8         6 (0.5-3.4%) *(1 in 1953, 5 in 1954)
F-50-9         49 (27.5%)
F-50-10         10 (5.6%) *(all 1955)
F-50-12         26 (14.6%) * (all 1955)
F-50-5 "Track Mtr"         1 (0.5%) *(SPMW 1643 1953)
F-50-2 Supply "T&M" 1 (0.5%) *(SPMW 3362 1911)
Supply Pool - Flats 178 SubTotal (26.1% of SPMW Flats) *(41 converted after 1954, probably replacing older cars)

Specialized Wheel "Supply Cars"

SPMW operated a small pool of wheel cars.  Most were designed for shipping standard 33" freight car wheels from the Sacramento Wheel Shops out to the various R.I.P. tracks and car shops around the system at many division points.

SPMW 3116, an F-50-12 converted 12-56, Wheel Car 1960 Taylor Yard - Cornell University collection Public domain - cropped

However, specialized single-deck wheel cars with inboard 'rails' and 'yokes' to secure the axles were used to move varying size wheels, including 36" passenger car wheels and 40" diesel wheelsets out to various shops that needed to do any replacement work on cars or engines.  Notice the roller bearing wheelsets and the "Napoleon-hat" triple-bolster profile of the closer wheelset from a (1937-1941 built) Daylight-series car.  

SPMW 847, F-50-9, 1951 single deck wheel car, kitbashed from OwlMtModels #2003 kit

Notice that SPMW 3116 did not rebuild the sub-deck blocks, where as the SPMW 847 has the stake pockets removed and new solid sub-deck timber blocks fashioned.  I still need to make the yokes to secure the wheels on the 847.

F-50-2 DD Wheels         7 (23.3%)
F-50-3 DD Wheels         9 (30%)
F-50-9 DD Wheels         2 (6.6%)
DD Wheels         20 (66%) all wheel cars - Sub-group

F-50-2 Wheels 2 (6.6%) * (1943)
F-50-9 Wheels 2 (6.6%) * (1950)
F-50-12 Wheels 1 (3.3%) * (12-56)
Special Rail Wheel Cars 5 (16.6%) *(SPMW 847, F-50-9, still Wheel Car 1953, returned to pool by 1956)
Wheel Cars         30 cars Total Wheel Cars (4.4% of SPMW Flats)

Misc Assigned Supply Cars

"Trailer" F-50-2         1 (Not exactly sure what the roster means my 'trailer' flat, perhaps speeder cars?)
"Tunnel" F-50-4 2 (SPMW 593, 594 both 1951)
Ditcher Flat         1 (SPMW 959, F-50-8 Misc.Supply)

SPMW "Rdy Flats"    681 Grand Total (not shown are flats assigned to wrecker outfits)

In Closing

Hopefully the upcoming SPHTS book on SPMW will have photos of the Tunnel cars!  Those will be interesting to see.  I also want to see what the book will tell us about 'Ditcher Flats'... if that is in reference to cars that were used to haul ditching shovels, etc on them, or if they were converted to have Jordan Spreader type wings to do the ditching themselves.  Given that in 1954 several F-50-11 (50ft) flatcars were converted to ditcher service, I believe the prior is more likely than the latter option.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Kitbashing Mystery SPMW 215 (Part 2) F-50-series Flatcar (Extra Gang) - Update on SPMW 214/215 Lone Pine mystery car and outfit.

Modeling SP Supply Trains (Part 4) - SPMW 2452 - Ready Shop Wheel Car