By B. Smith
Let’s go back to 1968 in my time machine and check out SP’s Kerrville branch that ran up from San Antonio 71 miles to the south. Not much time left for the line, traffic has been dwindling.
In 1969 the principle remaining railroad customers were described as feed and lumber dealers, a peanut producer, a beer distributor, a mohair producer and a small mineral company. Just two years earlier the biggest source of railroad freight was gypsum. Some 220 cars were moved, a combined weight of 16,156 tons. By 1969, this had fallen to zero. The largest remaining product in 1969 was cattle feed, 17 cars, 402 tons. Again just two years earlier, the railroad had moved 133 cars, 3,845 tons.
The decline is best reflected in the gross numbers:
YEAR CARS TONS
1967 553 27,091
1968 459 19,448
1969 50 1,765
We arrive just as the local arrives. A fairly big train for this line these days. Five empties for the small mineral company (not sure yet what mineral), a ATSF covered hopper of feed for the feed dealer, an empty SSW covered hopper to be loaded with peanuts, and a MP insulated box loaded with beer (what brand might it be Chuck?). Power as usual is an ALCO RS-11. An empty flat car (lumber for the lumber dealer), an empty covered hopper from the feed dealer, and two loads of the unknown mineral will make up the out bound train.
The crew leaves the empties and caboose on the main and pull down with covered hoppers and load of beer.
Leaving the beer on the main, the two inbound covered hoppers are swapped out with the flat and empty MP car already on the spur.
With the SSW hopper spotted, we’ll wrap up the rest of the job in Part 2 of this series.
Also enjoy C E Hunt’s recent non-rail blog post…https://ce-hunt.com/blog-feed/ … to learn about a most unusual bar.