Southern Pacific Freight Cars Volume 5
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By Anthony W. Thompson. Hardcover, 448 pages.
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. This fifth volume treats hoppers, covered hoppers, and tank cars, and its primary time period is 1865-1965, with some coverage after those years. 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.