Seaboard Early Wood Racks : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Gentlemen, In my never-ending research on Seaboard freight cars, I come to you again with questions about SAL's early wood racks. I'm looking for information on SAL's R-1 through R-4 class cars. I have dimensions of R-1s and late R-5s but have no data on any of the cars in between. I understand they were built from old flat cars and a few from old gondolas. The R-1s first appeared in the early 1940s. In addition to specific information on SAL cars, I'm also looking for any specific information on why RRs in general switched from cut-down cars of all makes/sizes to building dedicated wood racks. I understand ease of loading, etc., but were there any changes mandated by ARA or other organizations that facilitated the move to specially-built cars? Whatever help you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Yours, John Golden Travis AFB, CA

-- John Golden (, July 12, 2001


Johnny: Regarding the transition to dedicated wood racks (and chip hoppers). Can't say that this is THE correct answer, but the new equipment has much greater capacity than the original converted equipment. Pulpwood (and chips) were a loser and the railroads hauled these commodities to get the more lucrative finished paper traffic. W. Graham Claytor once noted that paper was the No. 2 commodity on the Southern. In seeking an increase in paper rates, International Paper made it known that they would oppose such an increase, would seek alternate transportation, etc. "OK", said Mr. Clayor. "You oppose the rate hike and Southern will scrap every wood rack in the fleet." Southern got the rate increase. As the older equipment wore out, I suppose the railroads realized that hauling a bigger payload might offset some of the losses and built bigger (dedicated) cars. As I recall, having typed up many a pro for Weyerhaeuser, the revenue of a load of pulpwood from Ferrells Siding (Moyock, NC) to Plymouth, N.C. (about 65 rail miles) was about $30 (1960 prices). Incidentally, the rate on pulpwood and chips is based on cords, not pounds (or tons) and estimators would come to the yard to determine the cords each car was hauling.

-- Harry Bundy (, July 13, 2001.

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