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1910s era auto carriers?

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1910s era auto carriers?
Posted by Wolf359 on Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:08 PM

I am a big Colorado Midland fan, and as such I've been trying to cobble together a small fleet of CM rolling stock. I read in Morris Cafky's Colorado Midland and Mel McFarland's The Midland Route that the CM owned three (as they designated them) automobile cars, (auto carriers) numbered 6997-6999. 6997 was built in 1911 by the CM shops and was around 35' long, and 6998-6999 were both built in 1917 by A.C.&F. and were about 40' long. So my question is, does anyone know what a similar sized automobile car from this era would look like, (as there aren't any photos or drawings of these cars out there that I know of)?

Edit: It would probably help more to add that from what I read in Mr. Cafky's book, it seems that the Midland was trying to use these cars in a similar manner to today's Amtrak Auto Train.

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:13 PM

I think cars were moved in crates back then.

Image result for 1915 automobile carrier"

But not always.

The caption says new cars being loaded on trains.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, January 9, 2020 5:11 PM

I don't know about the 1910 practices for shipping automobiles, but the crate-version which Brent offered sounds plausible.

I have seen photos of Model Ts being loaded in an automobile boxcar on-end, without crating of any sort, but there must've been some blocking added to keep them from moving around or falling over.

As for 1917, there were proper automobile cars, although not necessarily with all the auto-loading devices which appeared soon thereafter.

I built this automobile car to match a photo of a real car built for the New York Central in 1916...

I used a Train Miniature doublesheathed boxcar, re-working it into a taller car, and replacing the single door with a door-and-a-half.  I also replaced the wooden ends with corrugated Murphy ends.  I don't recall if the underbody was scratchbuilt or is one from an Accurail boxcar.

The car shown was one of 9500 built between 1916 and 1918, and I've lettered mine with a re-weigh date of September 1935, as beginning sometime in 1935, through to 1937, the cars were re-built as all-steel cars, both as autombile cars and regular boxcars.  The re-built cars lasted into the mid-'50s.

Wayne

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, January 10, 2020 8:10 AM

And "automobile" car was the same as a "buggy" car.  A larger boxcar (40-50 ft) with wider doors.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, January 10, 2020 8:59 AM

Wolf359
So my question is, does anyone know what a similar sized automobile car from this era would look like, (as there aren't any photos or drawings of these cars out there that I know of)?

When I Google "automobile boxcar" images, I get a flood of images. True most are from a bit later than your 1910 period, but the cars weren't all that different...basically standard (for the day) 40' (or 50') boxcars with double doors so autos could be driven into them. Automobile cars were some of the first cars built to 10'6" height; before about 1935 most boxcars were 8'6". The taller cars sometimes had a device allowing one auto to be hoisted up towards the top of the boxcar, so another car could be put in under it.

BTW most automobile boxcars in the steam era into the transition era had "AUTOMOBILE" stencilled on them, and cars with the lifting device sometimes had a horizontal white stripe on the doors.

Stix
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Posted by dknelson on Friday, January 10, 2020 10:53 AM

I was a bit surprised to learn that early on there was a Ford Motor Co. "factory" here in Milwaukee, along the C&NW line that went north from the lakefront depot.  The building still stands.  As I understand it, the factory did not "create" parts but received parts or rather significant subassemblies from Detroit and assembled the finished automobiles locally for local sale.  Somewhat in the manner that Swift meat packing had regional and local distribution centers where already-slaughtered beef was further refuced to salable sized cuts.  There was no local slaughter.  One such local Swift distribution center is in Galesburg IL and serves as a local restaurant, The Packing House, with much of the old interior refrigeration and meat rails still intact, and lots of interesting pictures on the walls.  

I have seen photos of entire Model T cars being pushed into ordinary boxcars but evidently Ford also shipped partial assemblies, perhaps in crates, and likely also in boxcars.  I recall reading that some of Ford's subcontractors were surprised that Ford Motor was so particular about the exact measurements of their shipping crates and precisely where every screw hole had to be drilled.  Turns out crafty old Henry Ford was using the shipping crates as floor boards for the Model T and his subcontractors were supplying them to him "for free"!

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by Wolf359 on Friday, January 10, 2020 1:40 PM

dehusman

And "automobile" car was the same as a "buggy" car.  A larger boxcar (40-50 ft) with wider doors.

 

Thank you. This description along with the photo that Wayne shared is exactly what I was thinking these cars probably were, but I figured it would be best to ask before I went looking for a suitable car that's pre-built or one that I could kit-bash. Thank you everyone for your help.

By the way Wayne, you did a great job on that car. If you didn't say it was a model, I'd think it was the real thing.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, January 10, 2020 3:34 PM

Thanks for your kind comment Wolf359. 

Ted Culotta's various books on steam-era freight cars are a good source of prototype photos and background information.

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 10, 2020 4:40 PM

wjstix
boxcars with double doors so autos could be driven into them

.

Were the automobiles actually driven into boxcars? Even with a 12 foot opening, that is one difficult turn to make.

.

Someone once told me they were rolled in on dollies.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 10, 2020 6:35 PM

The photos are not sorted or cataloged in any way, however, there is a wealth of information at the John W. Barriger, A.C.& F. album at Flickr.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/barrigerlibrary/albums/72157649155982802

Without strolling in too far I came across this 1926 view of a Mo-Pac car:

 102001 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

Wabash:

 114 001 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

Mobile & Ohio (note the interesting end construction)

 142 002 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

 152 001 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

And for good measure, although not specifically an auto car, here's a Colorado Midland box car.

 1533001 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

These are nice, high resolution scans from the AC&F builder's photos. Worth a look. There are also several issues of the Car Builder's Cyclopedia available on-line which contain a wealth of car construction details:

https://tinyurl.com/rhen93h

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:33 PM

Since the beginning of the auto industry autos were largely shipped in box cars. The double door 50' box car was developed for this purpose, and later the Evan's company developed rack systems to allow those box cars to carry between 4 to 6 autos rather than just two or three.

Some notes about loading, generally the autos were loaded by a crew of three, a driver and two pushers, the cars were pushed in neutral, not driven. 

The Evan's auto rack allowed the first auto to be parallel parked into one end of the box car, then the center of the rack swung down, and a winch was used to pull the auto on to the ramp section. That was then raised level, and the auto backed into the upper deck end. That process was repeated until two or three autos were up top.

Then two or three autos were loaded into the bottom, first one end, then the other end, and final one carefully parallel parked into the middle.

Much of this loading was done indoors, or under covered loading areas.

Most automobile box cars had 7'-6" doors, providing a 15' opening for loading.

Early in the 50's Evan's put the rack system on a flat car, creating the prototype for the famous Athearn 50' auto carrier, yes they did exist, but in small numbers......

The biggest irony of the 80' auto rack is that eventually they ended up closed in to protect the autos.........just like the box cars did........

My new layout will have an auto assembly plant, and I already have a large fleet of 50' double door box cars.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:38 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
wjstix
boxcars with double doors so autos could be driven into them

 

.

Were the automobiles actually driven into boxcars? Even with a 12 foot opening, that is one difficult turn to make.

.

Someone once told me they were rolled in on dollies.

.

-Kevin

.

 

To answer your questions directly, the cars were generally pushed in neutral, not driven.

And the double doors generally provided a 15', and sometimes 16' opening.

Dollies and floor jacks were sometimes used and always available for problems.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:50 PM

More info,

Going way back, FORD had lots of different transport schemes. Some cars were shipped complete, some were shipped partly broken down and crated for dealer assembly, others were shipped as serious "kits" for regional assembly at FORD plants.

During model A production, almost every part of the car was made from raw materials at the Dearborn Rouge River Complex. But many cars left there for final assembly elsewhere.

But no matter which scheme, they virtually all left Dearborn in box cars until the 60's.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, January 11, 2020 10:45 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
To answer your questions directly, the cars were generally pushed in neutral, not driven.

https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/2016/03/carrying-automobiles-in-boxcars.html

 

Scroll down for drawing showing interior of boxcar with rackss

https://www.core77.com/posts/27432/Unlikely-Ways-They-Used-to-Transport-Cars-by-Train

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by Eric White on Monday, January 13, 2020 1:49 PM

For those who want to know more about automobile and railroad history, Jeff Wilson wrote just such a book, "Railroading and the Automobile Industry:

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12503

Eric

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