locked Original Big John Lettering

George Eichelberger

The attached Southern memo from the SRHA archives* (dated 12-3-59) is the only documentation found that discusses the stencil change for the two-bay 100-ton aluminum covered hoppers from Roman to block lettering. Apparently, the change occurred as Magor began building them (Sou 4000-4199) so only cars 4000-4003 needed to be re-lettered. (There is currently a discussion of “kit bashing” the 2-bay cars from undecorated ExactRail Big John kits on the “Modeling the Southern.io” group.)

When Southern asked the car builders to quote a larger 100-ton, cu ft capy. covered hopper for grain, Magor responded by simply adding two bays to their 2,605 cu. ft version. (Versions of the Magor 4-bay “Big John” covered hoppers used different General Arrangement drawings, had different dimensions and capacities.)

Stencil drawing SF-1625**, drawn 4-3-62 shows the first “block” stencil lettering on the four bay cars. (The drawing does not show “Big John” lettering, that came after the first cars were in service.) Some number (all?) of the first order of the 4-bay cars were given Roman style lettering. Most cars built with that lettering style were not in service until after the Supreme Court ”Big John” case was settled in Southern’s favor and 100-ton tariffs could be filed. Until then, only shipments for the US Gov’t and intra state services could be used.

* SRHA has only a few documents from the Coster Shop files. If anyone knows of any documents from the shop before it was demolished, please send me a note.

**SRHA can provide copies of drawings in the archives if there is enough interest. I’ve received very comments indicating any interest or suggested pricing. Please send any ideas to archives@....

Anyone interested in Southern rolling stock of any date and type is welcome to come to SRHA archives work sessions the third Friday and Saturday of every month. Contact archives@... if more information is needed.