Thursday, August 1, 2019

MI 2574

From files at the National Archives in Record Group 336, Records of the Office of the Chief of Transportation is a Government Bill of Lading for a dedicated military equipment train moving the guns and vehicles of the 941st Field Artillery Battalion in September 1943.  GBL# WQ12812080 documents the shipment of 24 4.5 inch guns, 25 4 ton trucks, 45 2½ ton trucks, one wrecker, and 67 trailers from Camp Polk, LA to the Desert Training Center, Freda, CA.  The shipment originated on the KCS and terminated on the Santa Fe.  The routing on the GBL was KCS CRIP ATSF.  Camp Polk is at Leesville, LA served by the  KCS.  Actual route traveled was very likely Camp Polk-KCS-Howe, OK-CRIP-Amarillo-P&SF-Clovis-ATSF-Belen-ATCL-Freda.  On the Santa Fe, the train would have operated Amarilo-State Line on the P&SF Plains Division thence ATSF Plains Div to Clovis then Pecos Division to Belen, ATSF Coast Lines Albuquerque Div to Seligman, Arizona Div to Cadiz then the branch line to Freda.

Commanded by 1st Lt Robert Fine, a force of two Sergeants, two Corporals and 21 privates guarded the shipment enroute.  The train was a dogs breakfast of cars consisting of one unknown DT&I car, 2 drop end gondolas, and 48 flat cars of various lengths ranging from a large Santa Fe Ft-T at 60 feet to a diminutive 33 foot D&H car.  Gilbert-Nelson distribution was not evident in the make up, nor was the typical home rode percentage.  PRR provided 6 flats, RI 5 (just under 10% of home road cars while on the Rock), CNW and CP 4 each, MILW 3.  Eight roads provided two cars each: ACL, ATSF, CTSE, GN, NP, SOU, NYC and UP.  Fifteen other roads had single cars in this movement. 

For those of you interested in modelling military equipment, the Bill of Lading shows the Army Vehicle registration numbers so you can get the right deuce and a half on each flat car.  I’ve also attached a link to a spread sheet of the cars and loads.  Click here to view/download

John Barry,
Lovettesville VA
1 August 2019,
20 years to the day after I entered the Air Force Retired List.

Update as of 2258 EDT 4 August
Thanks to a note from Jim Betz, I've updated the text above to reflect the correct owner (KCS) of the trackage at Leesville, LA.  In the wee hours of the morning, I had conflated the L&A at Alexandria from my research into another move from Camp Livingston.

Answering a query from John Thompson, I discovered I missed a NYC car in the spreadsheet I originally posted, there really were 52 cars in this shipment.  I've uploaded a corrected copy that also has a second page with the vehicle registration numbers.  I made two corrections of apparent typos on the GBL to more closely align the 2.5T truck serials with the pattern present with the others shipped.  Also, one of them seems to be missing a digit. No way to infer a correction for that. 

In answer to his question, the 2.5T trucks are probably the "closed cab" variant of the GMC CCKW as the "open cab" version was just coming into production in 1943.  Not sure whose 4T truck would have been used at this point in the war.  Modelling suggestions for the vehicles and flats welcomed.  For the ATSF Ft-N, you can use the original length Sunshine kit, not the stretched 53 ft versions.  I Know of no available source for the 60 foot Ft-T.  Bowser has a PRR F30a.  F&C has a twofer kit of the PRR Fm.

John Barry
Lovettesville, VA

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