Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Car Cards for the North Bay Lines

I’ve had a pleasant day giving Raisin his Christmas treat of apple cider and working on the blank forms for my car cards. 

It turns out that both Car Card & Waybill (CC&WB) and Tack on car are prototypical car forwarding methods used by the Santa Fe.  Yard clerks did tack route cards onto the 1:1 scale box cars, so an appropriately labeled thumb tack on an HO car would at least have a basis in prototype reality.  That said, that thumbtack looks grossly oversize and detracts from the visual appeal of the model.  Don’t think I’ll be using that method. 

Which brings us back to CC&WB.  Most of us are used to the Old Line Graphics CC&WB system with the two/four sided way bill sliding into a car card pocket.  I’d like to use more prototypical paperwork for my car forwarding, along the lines of what Tony Thompson and others have been advocating over the last decade or so. As it happened, Santa Fe, used an Empty Car Bill and Home Route Card, Form 1850 Standard, to get those pesky foreign freight cars off the railroad and back where they came from.  The destination agent was responsible for filling out the 1850 from the inbound waybill so the car could be properly routed home.  Using a bit of modeler’s license, I am shifting that responsibility to the originating or junction agent so the card can take the place of the Old Line Graphics car card and always move with the car. 

Form 1850 Standard

I am fortunate that the 1944 version is among the forms published in the Warbonnet a few years back.  I have duplicated it at ½ scale in Word and can print a sheet of eight blanks on a letter size sheet of cardstock.  In the same issue they also published a 1944 Meat Car Card. 

Form 1390 Standard

I have a few meat reefers that will originate off layout on the SP at South San Francisco.  The original was a little shorter than the 1850, so I was able to fit twelve into the same letter sized sheet.  And like the original, I will use green cardstock, which will help prioritize getting the empties home for another load.

Next, is a card for Consigned Empties.  The original Form 1851 Standard is white cardstock with green ink, something I can duplicate on a color printer.  That’s the good news, as is the twelve blanks on a sheet.  The bad news is that this form wasn’t in use during 1944, nor was it in the 1947 index of blank forms and the published example dates from 1965.  It is useful, though, for cars in assigned service and was a good idea.  Plus, it makes things more obvious to the casual operator, so with a bit more modeler’s license, I created a version as it might have appeared in 1944 by combining the elements of the 1965 version with the look of the 1944 Form 1850. I will use this version for the auto parts cars bringing Jeep components to the Ford plant in Richmond’s Inner Harbor.

Form 1851 Standard

(My interpretation of what could have been)
Next is a bit of speculation.  The 1947 index has a Form 1391 Standard, Empty Tank Car Card, listed right after the Form 1390, Meat Car Card.  I’ve not seen a real one, but would like to confirm my assumptions.  I modified the format of the 1390 to include the last contained lading, important for empty tanks, and eliminate the MCB classes, as a tank is a tank.  I’m not sure what color cardstock to use, green, buff, white, or some other color.  Below is my interpretation of how I think this Tank Card might have looked.  And yes, they were supposed to return on non-revenue waybills, but this specialized card could have served that purpose.

Form 1391 Standard

For now, I’ll run with black ink on green cardstock.  That gives the same sense of urgency and differentiation that the Meat Reefers get and facilitates the prompt return of a scarce, in-demand freight car.  In future posts, I’ll describe how I plan to implement the waybills to go with these car cards and also explain the Santa Fe way of labeling the myriad of forms that made the railroad run.  I think that using the specialized car cards that the prototype actually used makes a lot of sense and will contribute to that sense of time and place that I'm trying to achieve as the US gears up to defeat the Japanese Empire at the close of 1944.  Now if I can find suitable prototypes for locomotive and caboose cards . . .

Merry Christmas!

John Barry,
Lovettsville, VA