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Union Pacific Freight Cars

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on February 17, 2017.

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Freight Car Photos -- Photographs of Union Pacific freight cars, taken by Union Pacific.

Rail Box

In May 1983, Union Pacific received 550 former Rail Box (RBOX) cars, and Missouri Pacific received 998 former RBOX cars. Instructions were issued on May 17, 1983 for the MP cars to be renumbered from the RBOX 11000-11996 series, to the new MP 356700-357684 series. New MP reporting marks were to be applied as follows: 9-inch on side; 4-inch on end; 3-inch on center sill and 2-inch inside of car, car doors, and truck bolsters. At least 53 MP cars were completed at UP's Salt Lake City One-Spot car shop between March 29 and May 19.

For the 550 cars returned to Union Pacific, the cars were to be renumbered from the RBOX 20080-20399 and 21360-21599 series, to the new UP 130000-130311 and 130400-130637 series. A standard 14-inch UP reporting mark was to be applied to the sides, 4-inch mark to the ends, and 2-inch marks were to be applied on the inside of the car, to the trucks, and any place else a reporting mark was located. at least 24 cars had been completed during the same March 29 to May 19 time period.

Pocatello On-Ground Storage

The on-ground storage facility at Pocatello went into service in July 1979, and was to be expanded during 1981. It was an industry first of storing bad-order freight cars without trucks to save yard congestion, time and money. The on-ground storage facility used Drott rubber tired cranes to move the freight cars to their selected storage sites, and to move the freight cars to the repair sites. (Union Pacific INFO magazine, February 1981, page 2)

In 1987, among the 900+ cars stored on the ground at Pocatello, without their trucks, were 19 former Western Pacific cabooses. The on-ground storage was a unique program meant to save space while freight cars awaited their turn through Pocatello's heavy repair car shops. In April 1987, the on-ground storage program came to an end, and all cars awaiting heavy repairs at Pocatello were sold for scrap, most to General Metals of Tacoma, Washington.

(This change in early 1987 for such a large program, i.e. scrapping 900+ freight cars because they needed heavy repairs, took place at the same time that UP retired and sold over half of its remaining fleet of passenger cars. This was in October 1986 through March 1987, while Mike Walsh was president of Union Pacific.) (Read more about the yaers that Mike Walsh was president, Oct 1986-Aug 1991)

Demolition Shop

The Omaha demolition shop opened in January 1981, to scrap freight cars. It was similar to a shop in Pocatello, Idaho. The demolition shop included four pits in which cars were laid on their sides and cut up by men using cutting torches. Capacity of the shop was reported as four cars per day. (Union Pacific INFO magazine, January 1981, page 2)

UPFE Refrigerator Cars

From Trainorders.com, February 14, 2002:

The higher-numbered UPFE refrigerator cars are not ex-FGE. The FGMR cars obtained in the late 1990s were just relettered UPFE without being renumbered (they're in the 12000 series).

More ex-FGMR cars were obtained in 2001, and were relettered ARMH. Four-digit numbers are ex-SFLC (same numbers), five-digit numbers are ex-BNFE (same numbers). These numbers are derived from their FGMR numbers...same as the BNFE numbers; SFLC dropped the first digit.

Still more ex-FGMR cars came to UP in late 2001, from BNFE, SFLC, and WC. Those cars have kept their original reporting marks until they are rebuilt into the new "Chilled Express" cars (ARMN 991000 series).

Now, as for the original UPFEs and the higher-numbered reefers:

Anything numbered 461000 and above is either secondhand or "rehabilitated" from previous series.

Secondhand cars came from both ARMN (American Refrigerator Transit) and BAR, and are in the 461000 series, for the most part. Cars in the 462000s through 469000s are rehabilitated from older UPFE cars; the best way to determine the series is to compare the R-70-nn classifications (which didn't change). Some of the highest-numbered series here are rebuilt from ex-SPFE cars, obtained in the merger with SP.

Beginning in mid-1989, mechanical refrigerator cars of the Union Pacific Railroad Company were given program repairs, and were repainted and renumbered into various series ranging from UPFE 461401 through 469425. Equipment Registers accurately represent the introduction of these series, which were often filled over succeeding months. Origins of individual series are shown below.

Old UPFE/SPFE to New UPFE; Sorted by Year

Year
Renumbered
New Reporting
Mark
New Number
Series
Class Old Reporting
Mark
Old Number
Series
1989 UPFE 461401-461490 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1990 UPFE 461505-461676 R-70-21 UPFE/PFE 458101-458700
1990 UPFE 461701-461788 R-70-23 UPFE 459401-459500
1990 UPFE 461801-461937 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1991 UPFE 462001-462383 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1991 UPFE 462501-462517 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1992 UPFE 462600-462724 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1992 UPFE 462800-462974 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1993 UPFE 463001-463050 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1993 UPFE 463075-463173 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1993 UPFE 463201-463211 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1994 UPFE 464001 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464002-464059 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464100-464340 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1995 UPFE 465001-465301 R-70-20 UPFE/PFE 457501-458100
1996 UPFE 466001-466175 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1996 UPFE 466200-466332 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1997 UPFE 467001-467075 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1997 UPFE 467080-467159 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1997 UPFE 467170-467316 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1998 UPFE 468001-468093 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456001-456250
1998 UPFE 468125-468225 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456251-456500
1998 UPFE 468250-468271 R-70-19 SPFE/PFE 456501-456900
1998 UPFE 468300-468346 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500
1998 UPFE 468401-468412 R-70-26 UPFE 461001-461100
1999 UPFE 469001-469100 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500

Old UPFE/SPFE to New UPFE; Sorted by Old Number Series

Year
Renumbered
New Reporting
Mark
New Number
Series
Class Old Reporting
Mark
Old Number
Series
1989 UPFE 461401-461490 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1992 UPFE 462600-462724 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1993 UPFE 463001-463050 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464001 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464002-464059 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1991 UPFE 462501-462517 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1992 UPFE 462800-462974 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1993 UPFE 463075-463173 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1994 UPFE 464100-464340 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1996 UPFE 466001-466175 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1997 UPFE 467001-467075 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1996 UPFE 466200-466332 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1997 UPFE 467080-467159 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1998 UPFE 468001-468093 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456001-456250
1998 UPFE 468125-468225 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456251-456500
1993 UPFE 463201-463211 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1997 UPFE 467170-467316 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1998 UPFE 468250-468271 R-70-19 SPFE/PFE 456501-456900
1998 UPFE 468300-468346 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500
1999 UPFE 469001-469100 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500
1995 UPFE 465001-465301 R-70-20 UPFE/PFE 457501-458100
1990 UPFE 461505-461676 R-70-21 UPFE/PFE 458101-458700
1990 UPFE 461701-461788 R-70-23 UPFE 459401-459500
1990 UPFE 461801-461937 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1991 UPFE 462001-462383 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1998 UPFE 468401-468412 R-70-26 UPFE 461001-461100

Old UPFE/SPFE to New UPFE; Sorted by New Number Series

Year
Renumbered
New Reporting
Mark
New Number
Series
Class Old Reporting
Mark
Old Number
Series
1989 UPFE 461401-461490 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1990 UPFE 461505-461676 R-70-21 UPFE/PFE 458101-458700
1990 UPFE 461701-461788 R-70-23 UPFE 459401-459500
1990 UPFE 461801-461937 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1991 UPFE 462001-462383 R-70-25 UPFE 460101-460700
1991 UPFE 462501-462517 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1992 UPFE 462600-462724 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1992 UPFE 462800-462974 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1993 UPFE 463001-463050 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1993 UPFE 463075-463173 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1993 UPFE 463201-463211 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1994 UPFE 464001 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464002-464059 R-70-15 UPFE/PFE 452001-452750
1994 UPFE 464100-464340 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1995 UPFE 465001-465301 R-70-20 UPFE/PFE 457501-458100
1996 UPFE 466001-466175 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1996 UPFE 466200-466332 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1997 UPFE 467001-467075 R-70-16 UPFE/PFE 454501-455500
1997 UPFE 467080-467159 R-70-17 UPFE/PFE 455501-456000
1997 UPFE 467170-467316 R-70-19 UPFE/UPRX/PFE 456501-456700
1998 UPFE 468001-468093 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456001-456250
1998 UPFE 468125-468225 R-70-18 SPFE/PFE 456251-456500
1998 UPFE 468250-468271 R-70-19 SPFE/PFE 456501-456900
1998 UPFE 468300-468346 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500
1998 UPFE 468401-468412 R-70-26 UPFE 461001-461100
1999 UPFE 469001-469100 R-70-20 SPFE/PFE 456901-457500

PFE Freight Car Data

Dick Harley has made available on his SmugMug online image albums, a collection of listings and data for the Pacific Fruit Express freight car fleet.

PFE Freight Car Specialties Listings

PFE Photo Database

PFE 1951 Diagram Book

PFE 1967 Diagram Book

PFE Car Fleet Data

Steel Coil Flat Cars

In 1956, Union Pacific built a group of 53'-6" flat cars at its Omaha shops using 300 cast underframes furnished by General Steel Castings (GSC). They were class F-70-1. The original number series was to be 59000 to 59299. The original diagram (F-7-18, Drawn 8-23-1956) says there were 300 cars - but things changed. Fifty of the frames were built into steel coil loading cars, and the number series for standard flats became just 59000 to 59249.

The initial batch of steel coil cars in 1956 was 50 new cars numbered 259100 to 259149. (And apparently two of those were replaced by conversions of 59089 and 59105 in 12/1959.) Beginning in March 1959, more steel coil cars were created by converting F-70-1 cars in the 59001-59249 series. The total was up to 100 cars by 1960, and up to 130 cars by 1964. The number series expanded to be 259100 to 259229.

Another batch of 70 cars was done in 1980-1981 by redoing cars in the 259101-259226 series and giving them new numbers in the 259230 to 259299 series - not sure why. The number series for the whole lot was 259100-259299, but at no time did the total number of cars exceed 130. These cars kept their class of F-70-1 even after conversion to steel coil loading.

A later diagram for the cars with steel coil cradles (F-7-56, Drawn 6-26-1967) has the cars numbered 259100-259299 with a revision date of 12-1983. After two revisions of the diagram sheet (rev. A dated 9-1-75; rev. B dated 1/80), the diagram shows 130 cars as "Steel Coil Loading," Class F-70-1, converted in 1956, with a maximum coil diameter of 55 inches. The diagram does not list individual car numbers, but they can be found in the UP Equipment Records.

The Winter 2015 issue of The Streamliner has a substantial article on UP's GSC flat cars. That article seems to support the two number series and the 300 car count by using ORER entries. An example would be the 4/1/1968 ORER entry that shows 44 cars in the 59000-59249 series and 130 cars in the 259100-259299 series. In an ORER for July 1972, note 25, all 130 cars are still listed in service. The other ORER listings in The Streamliner article are 126 cars in 7/1975, 33 cars in 4/1974, 8 cars in 1/1994 and 1 car in 1/2001.

There is one photo in the Streamliner article of UP259270 with a caption that says the car was renumbered in 7/1980 from UP 259203. It has routing instructions that say "WHEN EMPTY RETURN TO UPRR AGENT GENEVA, UTAH".

Trying to justify the 300 original F-70-1 cars using the numbers in The Streamliner article is hard because many 59000-59249 cars were made into bulkhead cars in the 153xx-155xx series. The best documentation is the 1957 ORER numbers of 245 cars in the 59000-59299 series; 5 cars in the 259000-259004 series; and 50 cars in the 259100-259149 series.

Another 10 cars in the F-90-1 class built in 1966, numbered 259300 to 259309, were also used for steel coil loading. Bulkhead flats with special tie-downs were used for steel plate loading.

More of the story can be determined by examining the two pages for these cars in the UP Equipment Record:

Dick Harley wrote a brief history to explain the diagram F-7-18, noted above.

When originally drawn in August 1956, UP had ordered 300 cast frames from GSC. Hence the diagram says 300 cars in the 59000-59299 series. But things didn't transpire that way. Five of the frames (intended for cars #59195-59199) got used for cars #259000-259004 in special AEC service. Then, 50 of those frames were used for the first 50 steel coil cars #259100-259049, and the 59000 series numbers only got to 59249.

So if you look at ORER records for 1957, you'll see 245 standard flats, 5 AEC cars and 50 steel coil cars - for a total of 300 cars (frames).

When the diagram F-7-18 was revised, it took awhile for the data to be corrected, and some of it never was. I have a 1-7-60 revision 'B' that still shows the number series as 59000-59299. Such is the way of documenting UP history. Always a puzzle to be solved.

(Sources include emails from Dick Harley, Steve Solombrino, and Tim O' Conner)

UP 195220, Impact Car

The following comes from Railroad magazine, August 1964, page 31:

"History, please, of Union Pacific's plexiglas car 195220. -- Built in 1917 as ordinary boxcar 124557 she was rebuilt in 1952 with transparent sides, renumbered 195220, and put into service in a freight-loss and damage-prevention campaign. Because of wide publicity, she was probably the best-known freight car of all time. Nine other North American railroads built cars embodying her features. Inquiries regarding her construction came from Britain, Germany, Belgium, and Japan. For 11 years this demonstration car traversed not only home rails, over most of the UP system, but those of other roads also and won wide acclaim. Looking at her, shippers could actually see the effectiveness of loading and bracing methods in a manner comparable to doctors and surgeons studying the inside of the human body with X-ray. Finally outliving her usefulness, she was dismantled in July, 1963."

It was built in May 1917 as UP 124557; rebuilt at UP's Omaha shop in May 1943 and renumbered as UP 195220; retired by UP in July 1963.

The UP Equipment Record shows UP 195220 with a brief note as being vacated in July 1963, with a notation "Plexglas Car."

UP Equipment Record, Image R2-0490

Photo of UP 195220, from "UP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment," published in 1993.

UP Freight Car Diagram for Class B-50-11

UP Freight Car Diagram for Class B-50-36

CH-90 Covered Hoppers

CH-90-17
UP 219000 - 219149
Blt. 9 - 12/69 OMAHA
3209 cu ft
Built from stretched CH-70-1 and 2's

CH-90-20
UP 219150 - 219299
Blt. 1 - 5/70 OMAHA
3209 cu ft
Built from stretched CH-70-1 and 2's

Red Dot Box Cars

There was some speculation among a few UP historians that a series of newly delivered boxcars with a red dot of their doors was in corrleation with UP's use of its COIN system. The timelines appear to match somewhat, for "Red Dot" boxcars delivered in February through November 1968, versus COIN going online in the major terminals in January 1968, with coverage in 38 locations taking place by late October 1969.

(Read nore about UP's COIN computer system)

Photo research by Dick Harley shows that at least a dozen UP boxcar classes had the Red Dot applied. All are new cars built between 1965 and 1968.

More research is needed, matching the Red Dot cars with UP's COIN computer system.

Express Box Cars

Express Box Cars -- Roster information for UP's 9100, 9200, and 9300 series Express Box cars; includes listings of the same cars as 24100, 24200, and 24300 series from the 1960s, along with the short lived 24400 series retired Baggage cars.

More Information

Freight Car Paint -- An index of Painting, Lettering & Numbering information for freight cars (under construction)

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