Talky Tuesday #52

Last week’s “WW #80” comes courtesy of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This view shows flat cars nos. 1239 and 1235, probably at Newberry, PA sometime in the mid-late 1920’s.

In 1905, the S&NY rostered 80 36-foot flatcars numbered 401 to 500. I cannot account for the difference, unless some were lost in earlier wrecks. 21 “racked flats” listed as being 33 feet in length and numbered 601-699 are also present on the 1905 ORER. These were presumably used to haul hemlock tan-bark and lumber out of the large tracts of forest surrounding the S&NY.

By 1926, all but 6 were gone, and were renumbered between 705 and 726, with an outlier numbered 838.

Interestingly, by 1938 there were 7 flatcars on the roster, numbered 1230-1239. These measured 38 ft. 10 in. long, and therefore the cars in the photo are not renumbered survivors of the cars on the ORER from 30 years earlier, but must have been acquired in the interim between 1926 and 1938.

Likely these 7 were used as tie cars in MoW service, as evidenced by the old and new railroad ties in the foreground of the photo.

2 Thoughts on “Talky Tuesday #52

  1. Cord wood for the wood chemical plants was commonly hauled in such “rack cars”. Were there any wood chemical plants on the S&NY? Wood chemical plants were common in PA and NY. The largest such plant I know of was in Mayburg, PA and it had 10 retorts.

    The decline of such cars on the S&NY could be because of age, but also seems to coincide with the decline of Tanning and Wood Chemical industries in PA.

    Dave Keith

    • on July 15, 2016 at 09:54 said:


      Yes, there was a large wood chemical plant at Laquin, PA. I would have to look up the number of retorts. I believe it was closed around 1929.

      Mike H.

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