NP Boxcars, one of my favorite schemes…

Towards the end, the Northern Pacific had some beautiful boxcars.  Surprisingly, there has not been many of their cars available from the high-quality manufacturers.  My favorite scheme that I wish to highlight, is their pine tree green scheme.

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978,  Photo by  William Rogerson, courtesy

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978, Photo by William Rogerson, courtesy

NP #2901 in Vidalia,  Georgia on April 29, 1993.  ©photo  F. Will Martin, courtesy

NP #2901 in Vidalia, Georgia on April 29, 1993. ©photo F. Will Martin, courtesy

It is really one of the classic boxcar schemes from the 1960s.  Many of these cars survived well into the BN era.

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins, courtesy

NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho.  Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy

Once again, NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho. Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy

I hope a company like Exactrail or Tangent takes notice of this glaring void.

Destination — Pecos, Texas, 1970 and 80s…(or to the set of “The Last Picture Show?”) (Part II)

Now we are going to focus on the hometown railroad of Pecos, the Pecos Valley Southern.

Our ace photographer was there to capture it in the 1970 and 80s.

Below are images he captured in 1980 around the City of Pecos.  Pecos had been the site of an airbase in WWII.  Some of it was re-purposed to support industry after the war.


Spurs at the old air base. ©B. Smith photo



Drilling mud, anhydrous ammonia, and something augured unloaded on these tracks. ©B. Smith photo


Team track in Pecos. The gondola is lettered for Conrail. Old airbase buildings that were leased out to various companies are in the back ground. ©B. Smith photo

Above represents West Texas railroading to a “t” in the 1970s–one boxcar here, a covered hopper or two there, a gondola here, etc.  It featured a lot of one or two car shipments.  We will see more of that as we venture further south in the next post.

South of Pecos sits a quarry which has been at various times a very important source of traffic for the railroad.  Below are images our photographer captured around the quarry in the late 1970s.  It remains today today but has changed sides of the highway since these photos.


Lots of MP, TP, C&EI reporting marks on the hoppers in the 70’s in Pecos. ©B. Smith photo

Note the C&EI reporting marks.

C&IE #587783 and 522363 coming to the quarry. ©B. Smith photo


Shoving cars across the highway to the old gravel plant.

Shoving cars across the highway to the old gravel plant. ©B. Smith photo


Shoving empties into the old gravel plant.  Note the TP hopper two cars ahead.

Shoving empties into the old gravel plant. Note the Texas and Pacific hopper two cars ahead. ©B. Smith photo

Next post we will venture further south to a part of the PVS that for the most part no longer exists towards Saragosa and Balmorhea.


The power of buildings and organic commerce…


More on Delaware in coming posts.  

See that light gray building to the left?  I was recently in Alexandria, VA.  I knew this area on the Potomac waterfront was slated for substantial “tourist and quality of life” changes.  I figured that building’s days were numbered so I had to check it out.


Alexandria Marine Service and Sales has been in business for 64 years. The locally-owned store sells new and used boat engine parts and also fixes outboard engines. The shop is located right on the Old Town waterfront. The Potomac river flows right behind the building.   A beautiful and rustic setting.


Check out the width of those walls.  I hope they continue to use this building with the waterfront development.  It would be tragic to see this solid structure come down.


I wish we could learn to re-develop neat areas like this without losing places like this.  It is so organic.


Service yard where motors are (or perhaps sadly were) brought in.  It will likely be a great project that Alexandria has planned with cool restaurants and a boutique hotel, but can’t we leave a little room for authentic businesses that have nothing to do with tourism?


I know, I know, the real estate is too valuable.  OK.  Just saying.  However, a business like this gives the area a sense of authenticity that is missing with many re-developments.


Enjoy this “organic” business structure while you can and try to capture them when you see a little jewel like this.  Sadly, I think a warehouse a couple of blocks away that still receives boxcars off the CSX is also slated to be “re-developed.”


The three green dots show boxcars in 2014 in downtown Alexandria just a couple of blocks from Alexandria Marine.


Street view.  Green dot shows box car spotted at Robinson Terminal #1.  Again, the waterfront redevelopment will likely be a very popular project with many benefits.  I just wish we could save a little of the organic quality of our living spaces.  Buildings that help people make a living unrelated to tourism can be special in their own way.  We need to get development professionals to be more sensitive to this.



“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Benjamin Franklin, Part II

We will now focus on the “beer caddies” used to get the beer from the brewery to the distributor, especially in the 1990s.

A long time ago, brewers shipped beer in cars that advertised their product.


Per the Colorado Railroad Museum, for several years beginning in 1934 Adolph Coors Company had a fleet of 30 of these cars to transport its product in the Rocky Mountain area.

This advertising practice continued through the 1960s.


Hamm’s Beer boxcar from the 1960s.

More recently, beer is shipped in cars lettered for railroads or private leasing companies.


Coors Brewery in Golden, CO, shows 8 railroad boxcars simultaneously being loaded with beer for distribution. These 8 boxcars alone carry the same amount of beer as 32 semi tractor-trailers.

The above cars waiting to be loaded at Coors Brewery are lettered for BNSF and predecessor road, ATSF.  Below is a closer photo of such cars.


ATSF 625385 in Denver CO on Aug 7 2013 — Photo by Paul Rice

Now for some 1990s beer cars that could appear on my ATSF in Roswell in the 90s.


Western Pacific 67030 in Elmira NY on Aug 21, 1989 –Photo by Greg Dickinson


WP 67021 in Iler OH on Oct 28 2006–Photo by Joe Rogers


Three loads of beers being delivered to the Roswell Budweiser distributor in the early 1990s. Many of the Western Pacific cars were painted into this livery after the Union Pacific bought the Western Pacific in 1983. The cars trailing the WP box car were lettered for the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific. ©C Hunt photo

ATSF 621056 in Bethlehem PA, October 12, 2007 -photo by Richard Leonhardt

ATSF 621056 in Bethlehem PA, October 12, 2007–Photo by Richard Leonhardt.  Many ATSF cars similar to this one delivered beer to the Budweiser Distributor in Roswell in the early 1990s, often in cuts of  3 or 4 cars.

For more Roswell action, also see my February 15, 2014 post entitled, “How about a Cold One?”

For a modern illustration of beer traffic on rails, enjoy this video on a BNSF beer train near Golden, CO November 16, 2012.


Hope you enjoyed this series.  Brewers and railroads have had an important relationship for a long time.  Think about that the next time you “pop a top.”