Product Details

Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol 1: Gondolas and Stock Cars
Anthony S Thompson
Signature Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2005-03-18 15:14:26
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Southern Pacific Freight Cars

Volume 1: Gondolas and Stock Cars

Anthony W. Thompson.

Cloth with dust jacket, 320 pages, 8.5x11"; 537 photos (8 in color); 30 drawings, bibliography, index.

"This is the first volume in a planned series on Southern Pacific freight cars. It covers gondolas and stock cars, and the era is approximately 1900-1960, though with some coverage before and after those years. 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.

"Included are not only work (ballast) gondolas, but such signature cars of the SP as the 1920s GS gondolas from Enterprise (often called "Ulrich" cars), the 1940s GS gondolas, including a chapter on side extensions for wood chip, sugar beet, and other services, 1950s solid-bottom cars, and ore cars. Stock cars, from the CS-11 cars of the 1890s, through the standard Harriman cars, to the various late conversions of other cars to stock cars, are also given a full treatment.

"Freight car history has a number of dimensions. Built dates, car numbers, car charactistics are only the bare bones. A complete history would also include reasons for construction of a particular car class and exploration of its design heritage; indications of the service to shippers to which a car class was assigned; and indications of the longevity of the class, culminating in rebuilding or scrapping. Though it is not possible to provide all this detail on every car class, this book does offer much of this type of history.

"The large number of photographs, particularly in-service images showing the cars at various times in their lives, make this a truly comprehensive volume. Complete roster information, including car specialties such as trucks and hand brakes, are presented in a nod to the modeling community. A few color photos are included among the 537 total tally of photographs, to show the appearance of these car types, though SP freight cars such as gondolas and stock cars were overwhelmingly painted boxcar red throughout the period covered.

"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."

"Author Anthony W. Thompson is a native Californian, and currently resides in Berkeley, CA. He earned a Ph.D. in metallurgy in 1970, and is currently employed as a Research Engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, in addition to his work with Signature Press. A resume and publication list for his technical career are available.

"He has long had an interest in the history of the Southern Pacific Railroad and in one of its subsidiaries, Pacific Fruit Express. He writes the modeling column in the SP Historical and Technical Society's magazine, Trainline,and has published a number of magazine articles about both Southern Pacific and Pacific Fruit Express. He was also the principal author of the 1992 book, Pacific Fruit Express, now re-issued in a second edition, and of the 1999 book, Southern Pacific's Coast Line Pictorial, co-authored with John R. Signor.

"Tony grew up along the rails of the Southern Pacific, and early exposure to that railroad was among his formative experiences. He has long been a model railroader in HO scale, and has built a layout depicting the SP main line south of San Luis Obispo, CA, in 1953. He is an experienced speaker on railroad historical topics and has presented numerous talks on these subjects. He is active in historical societies, and serves on the national Board of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. He has been on the Board of Directors of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society since 1991, and has also served five years as President of the Society.

"Among Dr. Thompson's current projects are a complete history of Southern Pacific freight cars. To provide adequate coverage of the major car classes between roughly 1870 and 1965 requires multiple volumes. The series is now underway, with the series title Southern Pacific Freight Cars. The first four volumes are now in print: Volume 1: Gondolas and Stock Cars, Volume 2: Cabooses, and Volume 3: Automobile Cars and Flat Cars, with the newest volume, Volume 4: Box Cars, now available."