Southern Pacific Freight Cars Volume 4: Box Cars (revised edition)
Size: 496 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 846 photos; 92 maps and drawings, rosters, bibliography, index
This is the fourth volume in a series on Southern Pacific freight cars. It covers box cars, the most numerous type in the SP fleet. The era is roughly from 1865 to 1965. The book contains an extensive array of rosters, photos and, where possible, drawings of the major car classes, along with other material as available, such as construction photos, publicity photos, lettering drawings, and so forth. Survival of the cars over the years is presented, as are numerous photos of the cars in service.
The first section of the book contains an introductory section of background information, then covers the early box and combination cars, along with fruit, ventilated and refrigerator cars, and presents the important Huntington-era standard cars. The coverage then turns to the Harriman and post-Harriman designs, and to the World War I era, with several design differences, including USRA cars. The very numerous cars of the 1920s, followed by the all-steel standard designs built before and after World War II are presented in additional chapters. Separate chapters describe modifications to the various classes, the first of the specially-equipped cars, the last of the 50-ton box cars, and finally the box cars of the 1960s.
Box cars, of course, make up an essential part of the history of any railroad. The book's 846 photos (36 in color), most from company and museum archives and never before published, together with 92 drawings, extensive rosters, and bibliography, make it unusually complete and authoritative. This book provides a coverage that every railroad enthusiast, and of course Southern PaciÞc fans in particular, will enjoy.
Noted rail artist John Signor has created for the book the painting shown here, depicting a Southern Pacific yard scene containing the subjects of this series of books.
The well-known SP freight car historian Anthony W. Thompson has authored magazine articles on many SP cars, as well as researching and writing the car section of the book, Pacific Fruit Express, previously published by Signature Press, as well as Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 in this series. Once again, a strong contribution to the history of the Southern Pacific and of the West has been furnished by Signature Press. Enthusiasts of those subjects will find this a superb book.
Anthony W. Thompson