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moderated Southern "Package Car" Services

Tim
 

Here is an aerial photo of the Spencer Transfer, which is mentioned prominently in the document that Ike posted. This is just south of the shops, adjacent to what is now called "Old Spencer Yard". The photo is from the archives of the NC DOT and was taken in November of 1959. From other photos I've seen, this facility was gone by 1965.

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC.

Dick Fisher
 

When I was with Wabco at that time we were directed to make shipments from Pittsburgh in the daily Spencer Transfer car, arriving 3 days later at Spencer.

Dick Fisher


On 10/16/2018 10:58 AM, Tim wrote:
Here is an aerial photo of the Spencer Transfer, which is mentioned prominently in the document that Ike posted. This is just south of the shops, adjacent to what is now called "Old Spencer Yard". The photo is from the archives of the NC DOT and was taken in November of 1959. From other photos I've seen, this facility was gone by 1965.

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC.

C J Wyatt
 

<<
Here are two items that will be included in a package car article being researched for TIES. We have two complete package car schedules in the SRHA archives, if anyone can copy or donate anything on the subject they may have, we'll use it in the article.
>>

Ike,

The Southern Railway directory of Industries which was printed around 1938 has ten pages of the package car routes for the various freight houses on the system.

One fascinating aspect was the textiles package business going from mills in the Carolina's to Pinners Point for both coastal steamship connections and international. Obviously that would have been a significant part of the business at Spencer Transfer, but many mills loaded package cars themselves. If I recall, the main time freight of the era from Spencer NC to Pinners Point VA was named the "Spinning Wheel".

Other important package commodities from the Carolina's were tobacco and furniture. R. J. Reynolds loaded a lot of cars at its plant in Winston-Salem. Some of those routes were destined for off-line freight houses.

Jack 

Bill Schafer
 

When I went to work for Southern Railway in Greensboro in 1971,  a few vestiges of package car service still existed, although I didn’t appreciate them at the time.

Southern apparently turned over its remaining LCL business sometime in the 1960s to independent freight forwarders [if there’s any files on this in the SRHA Archives, this should be part of an LCL article], which received, consolidated, and distributed the freight, loaded and unloaded the cars at facilities they [probably] rented from the Southern, and were served by some of the hottest trains on the division. The company in Greensboro was Western Carloading, just south of Pomona Yard. All I ever remember seeing at that facility were 40’ boxcars, and they frequently were forwarded south on the front of 219, which was the hot PotYd-New Orleans rail-highway train. (153, the equally hot all-merchandise PotYd-New Orleans freight didn’t normally stop at Pomona, but if 219 was on time, it stopped there to pick up pigs; if it was running late, 159 made the pickup and forwarded the cars to Spencer. If 159 was running late, the Thomasville Switcher, if memory serves, made a special run to Pomona, grabbed 219’s pickup, and forwarded it to Spencer, where 219 changed crews and routinely picked up and set off cars anyway.)

Sears had a large rail-served facility north of downtown Greensboro, not far from my trackside apartment, that still loaded or received 40’ boxcars, and was switched by a local switch engine in the morning. IIRC, the cars were taken to/brought from Pomona, where they may (not entirely sure) have been added to the Western Carloading pickup. 

Some of the details above may be off, but you get the idea - LCL was fading away, but in 1971 was not entirely dead. There may have been other examples of vestigial LCL service on the Southern at that time, but I wasn’t aware of it.

—Bill Schafer


On Oct 16, 2018, at 11:57 AM, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:

<<
Here are two items that will be included in a package car article being researched for TIES. We have two complete package car schedules in the SRHA archives, if anyone can copy or donate anything on the subject they may have, we'll use it in the article.
>>

Ike,

The Southern Railway directory of Industries which was printed around 1938 has ten pages of the package car routes for the various freight houses on the system.

One fascinating aspect was the textiles package business going from mills in the Carolina's to Pinners Point for both coastal steamship connections and international. Obviously that would have been a significant part of the business at Spencer Transfer, but many mills loaded package cars themselves. If I recall, the main time freight of the era from Spencer NC to Pinners Point VA was named the "Spinning Wheel".

Other important package commodities from the Carolina's were tobacco and furniture. R. J. Reynolds loaded a lot of cars at its plant in Winston-Salem. Some of those routes were destined for off-line freight houses.

Jack 

George Eichelberger
 

Jack and Dick:

Great information!….

Dick: Do you remember if your shipments went out on the PRR or B&O?

I have always known about package cars but did not realize how significant the business was. I am not clear on the distinction between “package cars” and “LCL” traffic. Package cars originated and terminated at company freight houses, where LCL could (Pls correct me somebody if I’m wrong) be loaded at more than one location for shippers and receivers that had less than carload shipments.

Package cars could make intermediate stops. It was apparently up to the train crew to load and unload shipments along line of road. Some of the local locations were not much more than bus stop (“wait shed”) with a closet. Gurnee Jct, AL (attached) was basically just the “closet”. (I was “working” (as much as a forth grader could) on the Baltimore and Annapolis one day about 1955 when we stopped at the depot in Glen Burnie. The crew opened the door on a B&O box car, the freight room depot door, set a bridge plate between the doors and unloaded a new refrigerator for a local store….”LCL” B&A style.)

Another thing I do not really understand (there are many) is the relationship between package cars and REA. I realize they were separate operations, REA being passenger train oriented but I have seen minor references to shipments being transferred between the two.

Ike


Dick Fisher
 

I'm not sure.

Dick


On 10/16/2018 2:27 PM, George Eichelberger wrote:
Jack and Dick:

Great information!….

Dick: Do you remember if your shipments went out on the PRR or B&O?

I have always known about package cars but did not realize how significant the business was. I am not clear on the distinction between “package cars” and “LCL” traffic. Package cars originated and terminated at company freight houses, where LCL could (Pls correct me somebody if I’m wrong) be loaded at more than one location for shippers and receivers that had less than carload shipments.

Package cars could make intermediate stops. It was apparently up to the train crew to load and unload shipments along line of road. Some of the local locations were not much more than bus stop (“wait shed”) with a closet. Gurnee Jct, AL (attached) was basically just the “closet”. (I was “working” (as much as a forth grader could) on the Baltimore and Annapolis one day about 1955 when we stopped at the depot in Glen Burnie. The crew opened the door on a B&O box car, the freight room depot door, set a bridge plate between the doors and unloaded a new refrigerator for a local store….”LCL” B&A style.)

Another thing I do not really understand (there are many) is the relationship between package cars and REA. I realize they were separate operations, REA being passenger train oriented but I have seen minor references to shipments being transferred between the two.

Ike



D. Scott Chatfield
 

At some point Sears moved its business over to its trucking subsidiary, Terminal Freight.  Remember the baby blue trailers?  We handled quite a few trailers for them into Atlanta, although I don't recall which train(s).  TF's facility was at the corner of Marietta and Ashby Streets, across from King Plow.  Building is still there.


Scott Chatfield

A&Y Dave in MD
 

The Southern conductor wheel reports for the Winston-Salem division in 1934 show a routine set of four 36’ house cars that are opened at every major station on the route to Elkins. Al Brown and I suspected they were lcl or package cars from the pattern.  Would that be of interest? I can share pdf files of the logs and the excel transcription of all the trains.

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Oct 16, 2018, at 9:43 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

With SEARS bankruptcy in the news, it may be interesting to mention how "big" they were in the Southern's LCL business. SEARS had a distribution facility on the Southern belt line in Atlanta. The (large) building still exists and I expect the ROW of the tracks into it off the Southern are still visible. In addition to the Southern's own freight houses in Atlanta, plus Inman Transfer, (a FedEx like hub at Inman Yard) package cars were loaded by SEARS at their facility and left on scheduled freight trains every week day.

If you look at many photos of SR steam era freights, you may notice a group, of Southern 40' box cars directly behind the engine. While SR freights had a high percentage of home road cars, seeing six, eight or a dozen together on the front of a train defied what would be expected out of a classification yard such as Inman. A reason was that scheduled afternoon departures from Atlanta (and Knoxville and Spencer) would depart the yard then make a pickup as they passed the different freight houses. In turn, the Southern used only SR 36', 40' and then 50' box cars for the service. All of the large freight houses had multiple tracks accessed from the same platforms. To make that work, all car doors were opened and aligned so bridges could be used between cars on different tracks. Everything was handled by men with hand-trucks so the system worked. When cut-off time for shipments came, the bridges were removed and doors were closed.

Depending on the day of the week, as many as 50 package cars left Atlanta every evening. The SEARS cars for Florida would be in Jacksonville the next morning with some passed to the FEC, ACL and SAL.

Here are two items that will be included in a package car article being researched for TIES. We have two complete package car schedules in the SRHA archives, if anyone can copy or donate anything on the subject they may have, we'll use it in the article.

Ike
<Aug 1927 package car directory Eastern terr to SR.jpg>
<SNB 1_28 Package Svc 1.jpg>

A&Y Dave in MD
 

I have Greensboro maps from Marvin Black and Greensboro library plus the ICC blueprints depicting the Sears catalog distribution center if you need them for the article too. 

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Oct 16, 2018, at 2:08 PM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Sears had a large rail-served facility north of downtown Greensboro, not far from my trackside apartment, that still loaded or received 40’ boxcars, and was switched by a local switch engine in the morning. IIRC, the cars were taken to/brought from Pomona, where they may (not entirely sure) have been added to the Western Carloading pickup. 

George Eichelberger
 

Dave:

It’s not scanned (should be) but I will look for the two Package Car directories we have. There was probably a package car out of Spencer transfer, maybe more than one depending on how much business there was on the route. For shipments west, we may find a car out of Sevier Transfer?
Ike


On Oct 16, 2018, at 8:56 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

The Southern conductor wheel reports for the Winston-Salem division in 1934 show a routine set of four 36’ house cars that are opened at every major station on the route to Elkins. Al Brown and I suspected they were lcl or package cars from the pattern.  Would that be of interest? I can share pdf files of the logs and the excel transcription of all the trains.

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Oct 16, 2018, at 9:43 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

With SEARS bankruptcy in the news, it may be interesting to mention how "big" they were in the Southern's LCL business. SEARS had a distribution facility on the Southern belt line in Atlanta. The (large) building still exists and I expect the ROW of the tracks into it off the Southern are still visible. In addition to the Southern's own freight houses in Atlanta, plus Inman Transfer, (a FedEx like hub at Inman Yard) package cars were loaded by SEARS at their facility and left on scheduled freight trains every week day.

If you look at many photos of SR steam era freights, you may notice a group, of Southern 40' box cars directly behind the engine. While SR freights had a high percentage of home road cars, seeing six, eight or a dozen together on the front of a train defied what would be expected out of a classification yard such as Inman. A reason was that scheduled afternoon departures from Atlanta (and Knoxville and Spencer) would depart the yard then make a pickup as they passed the different freight houses. In turn, the Southern used only SR 36', 40' and then 50' box cars for the service. All of the large freight houses had multiple tracks accessed from the same platforms. To make that work, all car doors were opened and aligned so bridges could be used between cars on different tracks. Everything was handled by men with hand-trucks so the system worked. When cut-off time for shipments came, the bridges were removed and doors were closed.

Depending on the day of the week, as many as 50 package cars left Atlanta every evening. The SEARS cars for Florida would be in Jacksonville the next morning with some passed to the FEC, ACL and SAL.

Here are two items that will be included in a package car article being researched for TIES. We have two complete package car schedules in the SRHA archives, if anyone can copy or donate anything on the subject they may have, we'll use it in the article.

Ike
<Aug 1927 package car directory Eastern terr to SR.jpg>
<SNB 1_28 Package Svc 1.jpg>