Southern Pacific Freight Cars Volume 5: Hoppers, Covered Hoppers, Tank Cars
Southern Pacific, one of the West’s largest and most historic railroads, operated a major fleet of freight cars. The history of those cars is extensive, and this book series is aimed at describing all types of SP freight cars and their histories. The first volume included gondolas and stock cars, while the second covered cabooses, the third addressed automobile cars and flat cars, and the fourth presented box cars. This fifth volume treats hoppers, covered hoppers, and tank cars, and its primary time period is 1865-1965, with some coverage after those years.
Freight car history has a number of dimensions. Built dates, car numbers, car characteristics are only the bare bones. Also of importance are reasons for construction of a particular car class and exploration of its design heritage, and indications of the longevity and service use of the class, culminating in rebuilding or scrapping. All those factors are addressed here.
The book opens with an introductory section of background information, then the hopper section begins with the early coal cars, followed by open-top steel hopper cars through 1965. The hopper section then turns to covered hoppers (SP regarded them as “H” classes too), from the first cars of 1946, through new designs, and into cars for special lading, such as “Airslide” and related cars.
The section on tank cars begins with the early cars, including the Huntington era of the 1890s, then addresses the time of design advances in the early 1900s, followed by Harriman and post-Harriman cars. Then come the several car classes of the period 1920 to 1942. A concluding chapter presents tank cars of the 1960s.
Throughout the book, roster information and builder photos, as well as in-service photos at various points in the life of car classes, document the history. Drawings and lettering diagrams of selected cars are also included. Four appendices (one on standard colors), a detailed bibliography and an index round out the book.
The book’s 578 photos (77 in color) of SP hoppers, covered hoppers, and tank cars, most from company and museum archives and never before published, together with 109 drawings, extensive rosters, and bibliography, make it unusually complete and authoritative.
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, Volume 3, and Volume 4 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.
- Size: 448 pages, 8.5" x 11"
- 578 photos
- 109 drawings
- ISBN: 978-1-930013-24-7
Table of Contents
|Prologue and Acknowledgements
|2. Freight Car Basics
|3. Early Coal Cars and Hoppers
|4. Steel Hopper Cars, 1905-1942
|5. Postwar Open-Top Hopper Cars
|6. Early Covered Hopper Cars
|7. New Designs of Covered Hoppers
|8. Covered Hoppers for Special Lading
|9. Early Tank Cars
|10. Advances in Tank Car Design
|11. The Harriman Era
|12. Post-Harriman Tank Cars
|13. Tank Cars of the Mid-1920s
|14. Tank Cars, 1928-1942
|15. Tank Cars after 1960
|Appendix 1: Additions to Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4
|Appendix 2: Diagrams
|Appendix 3: Complete Specification, Class O-50-2
|Appendix 4: Color Drift Panels
Anthony W. Thompson