Thursday, November 29, 2018

In search of the Bx-35

Santa Fe purchased 500 single sheathed auto cars from the Pressed Steel Car Co in 1930.  They were essentially 50 foot versions of the Bx-11 and 12 variants of the ARA single sheathed 40’ box car design.  The cars had 4-5 recessed Dreadnaught ends with square corners, radial steel roofs, ARA steel underframes, hat section Pratt truss side frames, KC air brakes, Ajax geared hand brakes, double 6-7-6 Youngstown doors over a 12’ opening, and Dahlman 1-level trucks.   
Below is an in service photo of 66299 with a re-weight in San Francisco of 9-36.

Bob’s Photo

Santa Fe converted the entire class into Bx-35 box cars in 1940 when nearly all of the Fe-U’s became single door cars.  The seventeen cars in engine loading service remained as Fe-Us till 1943 when they too were converted.  All 500 Fe-U’s survived to become single door box cars. 
After the war, Santa Fe re-built the Bx-35s with steel sides and 8 foot doors and they ended up looking very much like the Fe-21s.

It’s been difficult to find photos of the single sheathed Bx-35 and so far, I haven’t found one of a complete car.  Absent a full body roster shot, the next best thing is a Jack Delano photo of an Fe-22 at the KC team tracks in 1943.  This shot shows a partial view of the A end of 150312.  The aux door is visible and appears to not have been changed from it’s Fe-U days, but may have been welded shut. 

Library of Congress, Jack Delano Photo 8d15156v

If any one has a more complete single sheathed Bx-35, please contact me at

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA
29 Nov 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Santa Fe's San Francisco Fleet Handouts

I presented a clinic last week at the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeler's Society at their 38th annual convention in Chicago.  I promised to provide the handouts electronically then had connectivity issues.  Well, that has been solved and the link to the San Francisco Fleet folder on Google Drive is below:

There you will find three PDF files with listings of the vessels and boat flats along with some selected slides from the talk that include a number of deck plans and other drawings. 

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Railway Accounting Codes Revisited

Thanks to the new job I took in the fall of 2014, I now work about a mile from one of the best, most complete libraries in the world.  I learned about the Accounting Codes from Tony Thompson’s blog back in 2012  Tony linked a PDF of the 1950 codes which I downloaded and cross referenced with the 1922 version I found on Google Books to come up with my best guess as to what was in effect during my modeling era of 1944 I previously wrote about them in 2014 and posted a spreadsheet of those results linked in that post.

Recently, I obtained a 1949 edition of the Railway Accounting Rules and discovered the richness of the additional information in these volumes.  Seeing the changes of the Code list from 1949 to 1950 set me on a path to see if I couldn’t get my guestimated 1944 list validated or replaced with something more accurate.  Al Daumann was kind enough to send me copies of the waybill form from his 1946 edition, which was subtly different than those of my 49 edition.  That got me even more interested in finding the exact “right” stuff.  Google Books turned up a 1921 version which I downloaded and Hathi Trust had darned good search only coverage for my year of interest.  I was about to make an interlibrary loan request when I remembered that great institution up the Hill from work.  Capitol Hill that is.  Doing an online search of the Library of Congress told me that they just might have what I was looking for.  Detouring through the Jefferson Building on my way to Union Station (I ride the MARC into the city) I was able to request the 1940 through 48 editions and set up my card for online requests.  The reference librarian cautioned me that all of them might not be available, but ask for what I wanted.  When I went back two days later to view them two days later, waiting for me were the 1941, 42, 43, 44,45, 46, 47, and 48 editions.  All in pristine condition with tight spines and no wear. 

I came prepared with my DAD (Digital Acquisition Device, aka Canon 30D DSLR) and proceeded to photograph the Code Pages of several copies before the reading room closed and I had to catch my train.  I repeated with additional additions the next week, then discovered the book scanner.  I now have good quality PDFs of the Code listings and the Waybill forms by year.  More on the forms in a later post.

Well how did I do on the interpolation?  There were 705 Codes effective 1 Nov 1944 of which I got 497 correct.  I had 18 that had errors, 10 incorrect names and 8 wrong code numbers.  Three of those were kind of important for my RR C&O, SP, and Bamberger had differences in the Name and would have thus had incorrect waybill headers.  I included 11 that didn’t come until later, including the Oakland Terminal where some of my traffic originates.  And I missed 192 railroads with codes, the most important ones to my layout were the Alton, Yosemite, and Virginia & Truckee. 
I have entered the data into Excel and the correct 1944 Accounting Codes can be found at:
If you are interested in the codes for additional years between 1936 and 1950, let me know and I may be able to provide additional lists.

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA