Union Pacific Freight Trains
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This page was last updated on January 11, 2020.
Freight Car Photos -- Photographs of Union Pacific freight cars, taken by Union Pacific.
Colton Fruit (CN)
The following comes from "Union Pacific Railroad Company, Manifest and Perishable Train Schedules" of July 3, 1952.
UX - (Utah Manifest). All manifest and perishable assembling Los Angeles and Colton territory for Salt Lake City, east and north, and will protect basic CN schedule from Colton. Consolidates with CN and WP blocks at Salt Lake City or RV blocks at Green River. Traffic for Pocatello north and west connects with BFU at Salt Lake City. Traffic destined or moving through Denver connects with OCF at Green River or Laramie.
CN-UTX - (Colton Fruit). All perishable and manifest assembled at Los Angeles and Colton for Salt Lake City, eastern and northern destinations. Perishable for Pocatello north and west, sets out Salt Lake City for connection with BFU. Perishable destined Denver or moving through Denver connects at Ogden or Green River with OCF. Perishable destined to points east. of Salina sets out at North Platte for connection with KF.
The following was posted on April 13, 2019 by John Thompson to the Classic UP discussion group at Groups.io:
Train: UP's CN (Not a full train, but a block of reefers on the front of another train.)
Direction: Eastbound only. (There was no westbound version.)
Description: "Colton Fruit" - a high-priority block of mostly PFE reefers included in another train. Perhaps CN was a PFE code for Colton blocks for the UP.
The CN was one of UP's designated perishable train symbols, which meant that it was given a number each day that indicated it was handling a PFE reefer block. It appears that UP's traffic volume for eastbound perishables was decent in the 1940s and before, but that it dropped off to only (something like) a 10-20 car daily average by the 1950s (varied day to day and seasonally). So those symbol "trains" weren't really trains at all, more like groups of cars in most cases.
Origin: Colton thru San Bernardino.
Destination: Salt Lake City and points east.
Railroads Represented: Mostly PFE in the CN block. In the rest of the train carrying the CN block, proportionally more cars in UP trains came from connecting roads like the MILW, IC, Wabash, and, especially, the C&NW.
Products: Perishable fruit in the CN block, plus other miscellaneous freight in the rest of the train.
Car Types: Reefers in the CN block, plus other types of freight cars to fill the train length.
Train Length and Weight: Typically 60-80 cars total, with the first 20 or so being the CN block of reefers. Typical weights were 3000 tons (in the total train).
Typical Schedule: DS sheets in 1945 and 1946 show a UP train stopping at Colton for reefers in the late afternoon-evening and another later near midnight. The CN blocks tended to leave Colton somewhere between early afternoon up to midnight. Most of the perishable carloads departed on the later of the available eastbound trains, normally leaving in the late evening.
1947: CU-CN - leave San Bernardino at 1:00 am, arrive Yermo at 5:45 am.
"CN Fruit Block Schedule leave Colton not later than 11.59PM. day following loading and billing, arrive Salt Lake 2.10PM., Ogden 5.40PM. third day."
"CU will be clean-up train to handle all traffic loaded and billed previous day, and will protect from Colton all perishables due to depart on 11.59PM. schedule. When perishables are available Colton earlier, train, of course, may be operated OT."
Road Power: Early Challengers into 1947, then Alco FAs, sometimes EMD F3s. It was probably GP9 sets that took over the trains in 1954 from the FA and F3 sets.
Helper Power: There were steam helpers into 1947 (2-10-2s, 2-8-2s, 4-8-2s, 4-10-2s), but the FM H20-44s took over from 1947-1950. Then we had the return of the same steam helpers during 1950-1951, until being replaced by TR5s and GP7s in 1951. In 1954 the TR5s were replaced by GP9 helpers (with the GP7s still in the helper pool too).
Operations Details: This block of reefers was switched onto the front any high-priority train from Los Angeles in Colton and ran thru San Bernardino on the EB passenger tracks.
Colton had a large PFE facility where perishables for the SP and UP were iced like at the Santa Fe's precooler. Reefers for the SP were made up into Colton Blocks and cars for the UP were picked up at Colton.
The UP served packing houses along its own main line and branches across the Los Angeles Basin, and its local pickup trains brought loaded reefers to the PFE yard in Colton for icing, precooling, and classification. Power was sometimes dispatched caboose light from East Los Angeles to pick up a CN train at Colton.
At times when there wasn't sufficient traffic for a separate train, CN would be combined with another symbol which would originate from East Los Angeles and pick up the CN block at Colton. Tom Baxter's 1947 "Trains" article, "Fast freight on the UP," describes the latter operation exactly -- a combined CN-CKC train starting out of East Los Angeles with only 30 or so cars of dry freight behind a CSA-class locomotive, and then stopping at Colton to pick up a block of reefers.
The "CN" symbol was basically any block/group of cars containing perishable products that gathered ("concentrated" is the word UP used) at Colton to move east on the UP. The cars may have been loaded in Colton but could also have been loaded elsewhere in the area (even on a different RR such as SP) then taken to Colton for UP to take east.
When cars had been gathered / accumulated into blocks/groups, iced and were ready to go, PFE would assign a block number for accounting / tracking purposes. Those blocks of cars were usually somewhere in the range of 10-25 cars each, but were rarely (if ever?) full perishable trains.
With each block that was sent out getting its own number, it was normal to have multiple block numbers assigned daily - in nearly all cases the number of blocks assigned daily to be either 2, 3 or 4 (varying by season; 2 off-peak, usually 3 sometimes 4 in peak months as of the late '30s / early '40s).
It appears that the perishable cars that were formed into "Colton blocks" would accumulate (a few here, a few there) almost randomly throughout the day from a variety of loading points - not at any specific time each day. The records from the late 1930s - early 1950s show, for example, a day at Colton might look something like this: 25 cars ready to go at 7am; 20 ready at noon, 15 ready at 9pm. Let's say those blocks were numbered CN551, CN552 and CN 553 by PFE just to help illustrate things.
Once the "Colton blocks" were ready to go, UP would have their next available eastward manifest train (out of the E. Los Angeles yard) pick them up and head east toward Las Vegas and Salt Lake City /Ogden. What that meant is that the CN "trains" were most often (always?) combined with another UP schedule/symbol in that era. The 1941 schedule, for example, showed these trains leaving ELos Angeles yard for LV along with their remarks from the operating plan:
* UX 6am "protects basic CN fruit block schedule from Colton",
* CUX 2pm "handles traffic that misses UX train",
* MS 1145pm "protects last fruit block from Colton, if it misses UX and CUX".
So using the example times/blocks from above, the 25 cars ready at Colton at 7am would have moved east on UX, the mid-day group of 20 moved on train CUX and the last "cut-off" group from 9pm went east on the "Merchandise Special" at the end of the day. You can see photo evidence of this pattern by looking at Cajon, Cima, etc pics from that era where many eastward trains have 10-20 or so reefers on the headend, manifest behind.
Perishable blocks were assembled at locations east of UP's ELos Angeles yard, so the CN symbol was not used out of ELos Angeles yard; only at Colton and points east. So a typical 1950s operation would be that the UTX train would depart Los Angeles with (let's say) 50 cars and would stop at Colton and pick up a perishable block. At that point, the train would be known as CN-UTX and it would continue east toward Salt Lake City.
Schedules varied for the CN trains over the years, but they were normally to leave Colton between 8 pm and midnight. The train symbol used over Cajon on any particular day depended upon the UP train out of ELos Angeles that stopped at Colton to pick up the perishable block(s). There are examples of "CN-UTX", "CN-CUX", "CU-CN" trains operating on the LA&SL
On July 11, 1947, X 1502 (CUX train) was at Colton 10:55-11:35 pm At Riverside Jct it had 3 loads/11 empties, but after Colton it had 50 loads/ 11 empties. (It picked up 47 loads at Colton, probably including a CN block of reefers.)
On July 12, 1947, X 3802 picked up 6 loads at 10:10-10:25 am and X 1400 (CUX train) picked up 20 cars at 11:35 pm-12:05 am.
The train symbol "CN" at that time was hot / expedited, so it likely didn't handle any empty stock cars (regularly at least). That train was downgraded over the years, but as of the 1945-55 timeframe it was a hotshot and wouldn't have handled this type of empty traffic.
Eastward UP freights were assembled in the UP's East Los Angeles Yard and did no work at San Bernardino except to service their engines and cut in helpers. UP freight crews ran through from East Los Angeles to Yermo, so their cabooses weren't changed at San Bernardino.
By the 1970s almost all the perishable traffic was gone, and the train became mostly empties (such as stock cars) going back east. Eastbound the UP cars ran at the back of the evening CN train (basically an empties east train) that ran through Colton about 9 PM most nights. The CLS UP stock cars ran as a group, not intermixed with other cars, usually about 10 to 15 cars in a group (which is about the same number that came west).
Modeling the Train: Use PFE reefers in the CN block at the front of the train (about the first 1/4 to 1/3 of the train), plus some miscellaneous freight cars to fill out the train, from UP, MILW, IC, Wabash, and the C&NW. Run two trains per day with CN blocks, with the larger CN block on the later train.
Mark Amfahr wrote on April 11, 2019:
The symbol "CN" stood for "Colton Fruit". Some of UP's older train symbols used letters based upon the old dispatcher-office telegraph calls in certain cases and I believe "CN" was the call for Colton.
CN is a little tough to understand because it wasn't always a train in the conventional sense - in later years (1960s/70s) it was a train but in your era "CN" was a symbol for perishable block movements originating at Colton. Locals and switch jobs would gather up carloads of perishable shipments from area houses and spurs and bring them to Colton each day. PFE referred to Colton and similar stations as "consolidation points" for their perishable shipments. Starting in the afternoon, as the number of cars grew, they'd assign a "perishable block number" to each group of cars that was to be moved east as a block. So, for example, if Colton had 15 cars ready to go at 2:00pm and an eastward train was going to pick them up, they'd assign those cars a block number and off they'd go. Cars handling perishables that arrived Colton later in the day would be consolidated and would move out as a group on a later train, such as (for example) 22 cars departing at 11:30pm. That second group of cars would have a different block number assigned, since was comprised of different cars that moved out of Colton on a different train.
Block numbers were assigned to help with tracing and tracking of shipments as they moved east. UP knew where each block was and PFE knew which cars were in each block. So if a shipper wanted to divert a car, they could handle that fairly quickly and easily. They only needed to look up the car, see that it was in block 412 (for example), find out from UP where that block was (maybe departed Cheyenne at 2:45am...), then send diversion instructions to the next office/yard in advance of that location (maybe North Platte in that case). This system worked very well and lasted up until the Teletypes and computers arrived on the scene. These groups of reefers with their assigned numbers were referred to as "reefer blocks" by PFE, a term that most of you are familiar with. Note, however, that a "reefer block" isn't the same thing as a train. A reefer block might be only a few cars on a given train, or, it may be that a particular block gets broken up en-route to be handled by two or more trains by the time it gets east of Green River. It just depends upon circumstances each day...
So with that as background, we'll turn back to our CN discussion. "CN" was a symbol, with an associated service schedule, for perishable blocks moving east from Colton. In this era, CN wasn't a train in itself, it was a reference to indicate that a train was handling a perishable block. Using the example from above, the let's say eastbound train "UTX" picked up the 15 perishable cars at Colton that afternoon. Departing Colton, his train symbol would have had "CN" added to it, since he added a Colton perishable block. So departing Colton the full symbol for the train would have been (something like) "UTX11 - CN108". To explain that, conventional freight train symbols included a number that indicated scheduled day of the month departure from initial terminal, such as using "11" for April 11th. Reefer block numbers worked differently, they counted up consecutively from Jan 1 each year. The next eastbound train that picked up that day (say it was train symbol "UX") would have been "UX11" arriving Colton and "UX11 - CN109" leaving. Note that 109 would have been used for the CN block since it follows 108 assigned to the previous block that departed earlier that day.
Here are a few real-world examples to help tie all of this together, from some 1950s Las Vegas dispatcher's reports:
Oct 31, 1950 lineup at Las Vegas arriving from the west that evening / next morning:
- UTX31 8:30pm
- Drag 2:00am Nov 1
- UX31 CN722 5:00am Nov 1
(note that the UX was handling a reefer block that day while the earlier "afternoon train" (UTX) wasn't).
Sept 28, 1951 eastbound LV evening lineup from the west:
- UTX28-CN580 9pm
- Drag 1am (next day)
- Drag Local 130am
- Drag 315am
- UX28-CN581 6am
(there's an example of two trains picking up blocks at Colton, each with a different assigned block number).
From the numbers assigned the CN blocks you can determine the average blocks departing each day. In the both the 1950 and 1951 examples, they were both running at a rate of just over two blocks / day out of Colton on average.
So that's how UP used the CN symbol through most of the 1940s and 1950s. Some of the confusion about this has come from the fact that "CN" was (in later years) a train symbol on its own, with its own schedule, blocking etc. However, back in the 1940s and 1950s CN was only a service schedule for perishable blocks handled by one or more of UP's other, regular freight trains.
The CN blocks tended to leave Colton somewhere between early afternoon up to midnight. I believe most of the perishable carloads departed on the later of the available eastbound trains, normally leaving in the late evening. From what I know of the operation I suppose that was a function of the loading of the cars each day. Cars that were loaded in the morning hours would have been gathered up to depart Colton on a UP train in the afternoon (becoming the early or "advance" CN block). However, it seems like most cars would have been loaded later, from mid-day into the later afternoon (assuming most fruit would have been picked in the morning/mid-day then hauled in for loading in the reefers). As I recall, they had cut-off times for loading each day, something like 5pm. Cars loaded and billed by that time would be gathered up by locals / switch jobs, taken to Colton and depart on the evening UP train (regular or "cut-off" CN block). Some perishable traffic may have been picked up at Colton over night or in the early morning, such as traffic that wasn't loaded and billed by the cut-off time, but I don't think it would have amounted to much on a normal day.
The relationship between the trains that actually operated and their respective schedules was different back in those days. To understand UP's train schedules of that era, the first thing you have to do is let go of the modern concept of a schedule being a specific train. Back in the 1940s and '50s, many of the published schedules weren't actually trains, they were more like service schedules. Perishable schedules were some of the most confusing because most of those trains didn't operate per schedule at all, they operated well in advance of them.
I suppose the best way to explain published perishable schedules in that era is to imagine them as "clean-up" or "last possible" schedules. Their normal procedure was to send perishable blocks out of the concentration points whenever they were ready during the day, on the first available trains. The "earlier" (in the day) CN blocks ran as part of whatever train they were handled in, progressing across the system as best UP could handle them. Those blocks moved across the RR in advance, sometimes well in advance, of the published CN schedule. The CN schedule you see in the freight schedules documents was essentially a safety net, or a "latest possible" schedule that blocks weren't to fall behind as they moved across the system. By staying on or ahead of the published CN schedule all the way to Council Bluffs / Kansas City, cars would arrive in time to be switched and delivered to connections ahead of the time that was guaranteed by the tariffs. Perishable tariffs included penalties that the RRs were liable for if they failed to make delivery cut-off times/days at terminals (for loss of product value due to a drop in market price for the later day vs. on-time, for example). You can look up the CN and see the agreed days in transit from Colton, and the hour (7:00am?) they needed to deliver cars to connections to avoid being exposed to that penalty.
By running the "early" blocks across the RR ahead of the "last possible" CN schedule, time pressure was reduced and UP avoided the expense associated with expediting the traffic. Running blocks early also provided some time cushion to accommodate delays that shipments often experienced in that era, such as hotbox repairs, broken drawbars, or reductions (being set out) by trains moving across Wyoming due to excess tonnage, etc. If they got an early start vs. published CN schedule, cars could be delayed along the way for a time, then still be picked up by a later CN schedule that would get them to their connection prior to the guaranteed cut-off day/time.
The RV trains that operated east from the Roseville, CA concentration point also worked that way, but in trainload quantities. SP would send 3-6 (give or take) RV perishable trains east out of Roseville on a normal day, with the trains departing whenever they were ready to go - not being held to depart according to the published RV schedule. All but the last one operated well in advance of the published RV schedule. If you look up the RV, you'll also (like the CN) see only one daily schedule - that was the "cut-off" schedule (last possible each day). Cars that missed that last cut-off train at Roseville were assigned to blocks that would depart on one of the trains the next day. SP and UP operated multiple RV blocks each day across the Overland Route, with all but the last being well ahead of the published schedule. If you're curious about this, I'll provide a couple of lineups from Wyoming in the 1950s - they show the multiple sections of the various perishable trains with block numbers listed, all of them operating well in advance of the RV and CN "cut-off" schedules that you see published in the Manifest Freight Schedules documents.
In terms of blocking, I believe you're correct about the reefers being on the headend. The photos I've seen of trains on the LA&SL show that. Note that it wasn't necessary to put reefers on the headend of trains on most of the UP network - they didn't specify that in those days. Most of UP's icing platforms were long enough that they could ice cars no matter where they were in trains. I believe the reason the LA&SL trains had the reefers on/near the headend was simply because they'd come out of East Los Angeles yard with a consist of miscelaneous cars and picked up at Colton on the headend, only for convenience. But either way, I believe you're correct in having the cars up front.
Regarding types of cars in the trains, that's a whole other can of worms to discuss. You can use general information if you'd like, and probably no one would notice. However, if you really want to get the trains looking right and being correct in terms of car types, road names, etc, I believe the best way to do it is to work from actual UP train lists.
Cliff Prather wrote on April 13, 2019:
A while back I working some 1940 ATSF Los Angeles Division DS sheets where the dispatchers record more UP symbol then you often find. It was interesting that there were gaps in the numbers for CNs operated. It appears that the Santa Fe dispatchers were not consistent in recording CN symbol information regarding the CN blocks.
Looking at some SP, UP and ATSF sources I could not find CN being used as the telegraph call for Colton . I found C, F and CY used. Perhaps CN was a PFE code for Colton blocks for the UP, while an other code was used for Colton blocks for the SP.
A little research on UP eastward movements at Colton on July 11, 1947 from ATSF DS sheets:
There were six through Eastward UP trains
X 3825 at Colton 6:50-7:10 am Riverside Jct with 10 loads/71 empties arrived San Berdoo with 0 loads/71 empties
X3814 by Colton 10:05 am 56/7 cars
X3820 by Colton 2:55 pm 15/71 cars
X3823 at Colton 7:10-7:55 pm Riverside Jct 55 loads/ arrive San Berdoo 7 empties
X3804 by Colton 9:00 pm 33/38 cars
X 1502 (CUX) at Colton 10:55-11:35 pm Riverside Jct 3 loads/11 empties San Berdoo 50 loads/ 11 empties
Assume that difference between car counts at Riverside Jct and San Berdoo was the result of setouts and pickups at Colton. The dispatchers did not indicate setouts or pick ups at Colton.
On 7-12 the extra 3802 picked up 6 loads at 10:10-10:25 am and the X 1400 (CUX) picked up 20 cars at 11:35 pm-12:05 am. Assume this is Colton and not sure how was perishables.
Day Live Stock (DLS)
The following was posted on March 24, 2019 by John Thompson to the Classic UP discussion group at Groups.io:
Train: UP's DLS. Officially carded as No. 299, Stock Special.
Direction: Westbound only (and no eastbound counterpart). Eastbound empties ran daily at the rear end of UP's CN reefer train (at least circa 1970).
Description: Day Live Stock. A fast stock train. The DLS began running on March 13, 1947. (It replaced the Night Live Stock over Cajon.) It was treated like a passenger train. It was later (late 1960s?) replaced by the California Livestock Special (CLS).
Origin: Salt Lake City.
Destination: Los Angeles via San Bernardino.
Railroads Represented: Union Pacific and others. Photos show a mix of UP cars in both yellow and brown, as well as a healthy dose of foreign cars mixed in, with black D&RGW stock cars somewhat prominent.
Products: Livestock (hogs, cattle, sheep), and other loads to fill out the rest of the train, as needed. For about nine months of the year DLS usually ran solid livestock; the other three months it was filled out with preferred loads such as automobile parts, dairy products, and pool freight.
Train Length and Weight: About 60 stock cars per train in 1950, plus other cars. It was limited to not over 85 cars, or from 3,000 to 3,500 tons.
Car Types: Stock cars, plus miscellaneous car types to fill out the train, as needed. There were 877 "Livestock Dispatch" cars in 1950. Approximately 400 were a novel double-deck design, having a shallow upper level with its floor 19 inches higher than in ordinary two-deck cars. They could be used with two decks of swine or sheep; for cattle on the lower deck and swine or sheep on the upper; or for a single deck of cattle.
Typical Schedule: 1946: Arrive Los Angeles at 5:30 PM. 1948: Leave Yermo at 6:30 am, at Riverside at 11:55 am. 1950: Leave Salt Lake City at 12:30 pm, arrive in Los Angeles at 3:30 pm the next day. 1955: Yermo 1015A,
San Bernardino 315P. 1957: Yermo 9:15A, San Bernardino 2:15P, Colton 2:30P, Los Angeles 5:00P. 1964: Yermo 10:30 am, San Bernardino 3:15 pm, Colton 3:45 pm, Los Angeles 6:00 pm.
Here are the times at San Bernardino for each year: 1946: 2:45 pm; 1948: 11:30 am; 1950: 12:45 pm, 1955: 3:15 pm; 1957: 2:15 pm; 1964: 3:15 pm. So, in round numbers, during 1946-1950 the train arrived at San Bernardino at around noon, and during 1955-1964 it arrived at San Bernardino at around 3 pm.
Road Power: It used "modern" steam power for the first three months (mid-March-April-May-mid-June, 1947), then switched to diesels. The steam power may have been 4-10-2s and/or 4-6-6-4s.
Once the diesels arrived in 1947, the normal road power (it seems) was F3 ABBA sets. The alternate power was Alco FA ABBA sets. It was probably GP9 sets that took over the train in 1954 from the F3 and FA sets.
FA-1's 1500A-1523A and FB-1's 1524B-1539B arrived during 1947 numbered in the 1500 series, but were renumbered to the 1600 series during 1948 (check rosters for exact dates). And during 1948 more FA-1's arrived already numbered in the 1600's.
F3s numbered in the 1400s began arriving in 1947.
Helper Power: Helpers were often used from Victorville to Summit. There could have been some steam helpers at first in 1947 (2-10-2s, 2-8-2s, 4-8-2s, 4-10-2s), but the FM H20-44s took over from 1947-1950. Then we had the return of the same steam helpers during 1950-1951, until being replaced by TR5s and GP7s in 1951. In 1954 the TR5s were replaced by GP9 helpers (with the GP7s still in the helper pool too).
The DLS had a 36-hour travel deadline for the livestock. It made its 784-mile journey in 27 hours, at an average speed of 29 mph, including an average of eight stops en route for inspection or pick-ups. Top speed was 60 mph. The DLS was a daylight train only at the extreme ends of its run. The majority of its running was done in the cool of the night. It often ran in two sections. In the rush stock season (August-October) it ran in up to three sections.
At its origin the DLS was fully blocked in advance for set-outs in the Pacific Coast area. Chief of the latter were: (1) Barstow for delivery to points in the San Joaquin Valley by the Santa Fe; (2) San Bernardino for movement by the ATSF to San Diego; and (3) Colton for interchange with the Southern Pacific. In addition, five classifications were made for Los Angeles proper.
The train hauled hogs from Nebraska to Clougherty Packing Company (Farmer John) in Vernon, CA. The westbound Farmer John hogs were, for the most part, expedited by Santa Fe train dispatchers. It was not unusual for freight trains to be issued a D-251 instruction message putting those trains on a time schedule at each station with the hammer "DO NOT DELAY THIS TRAIN." This was not always the case with the stock train. If the train was close to the 12-hour Law it was given special handling, because the Santa Fe did not want to be responsible for unloading the stock at San Bernardino for feed, water, and rest.
It used to be quite a production when the stock train arrived in LA. Wilson was on the S.P., and a switch engine would make a run for the track near the Shops and Mission Tower where the U.P. and S.P exchanged hot cars. Another engine would deliver the L.A. Junction and Union Stockyard cars to the LAJ. The ATSF cars would be delivered to a track at Hobart Tower where the U.P. and ATSF exchanged hot cars. A U.P. engine would take the U.P. cars.
Modeling the Train: A typical train would be mostly UP stock cars (mostly yellow, but some brown), mixed with some non-UP stock cars, such as DRGW, and some non-stock cars at the end of the train to fill it out. The non-UP cars might be from any railroads connected to the UP east of Ogden. In HO, Athearn made the S-40-12 yellow stock cars (but with backwards roof panels), and Trix made sets with three S-40-12 cars (with correct roofs) (two yellow cars and one brown car in the set).
Mark Amfahr added the following on January 8, 2020:
More infromation about the Day Livestock (DLS) and the Night Live Stock (NLS).
The DLS began operating on the expedited schedule starting in early 1947 - bypassing the Las Vegas Feed/Water/Rest stop - but it did operate before that time, just on a different schedule. Here's a summary of what I found in early freight schedules for the Salt Lake City - Los Angeles territory:
- 1938: no scheduled stock specials listed. Item says that stock will be handled on (the headend of) regular manifest trains.
- 1941: stock moved west to LV on regular manifest trains, was unloaded for Feed/Water/Rest, then reloaded and moved to Los Angeles on train "IMS", the "Intermountain Stock" train.
- 1942: first appearance of train symbols DLS and NLS. DLS left Ogden 10am, Las Vegas 10am-6pm, arr Los Angeles 3pm (54 hours); NLS left Ogden 9pm, Las Vegas 8pm-4am, arr Loa Angeles 1130pm (51 1/2 hours).
- 1943: no stock trains listed
- 1944: no stock trains listed
- 1946: both DLS and NLS listed Salt Lake City to Loa Angeles; trains ran roughly 12 hours apart.
- March 1947: same
- 1949: only DLS is shown, on expedited (29 hour) schedule without a Las Vegas Feed/Water/Rest stop.
So the 1947 date for the DLS wasn't when it officially began (both DLS and NLS ran before then), March 1947 was when the expedited DLS schedule was implemented.
I suppose the suspension of those trains during the mid/later war years would have been in response to the heavy traffic along the LA&SL. By all accounts that line was severely congested and I'd guess that they couldn't justify allocating resources to running priority freight trains just for livestock when so many other trains needed to be run for critical war supplies, personnel, etc.
The running of the DLS and NLS 12 hours apart may have been due to limited capacity at the Las Vegas stock pens. The schedules were set up so the DLS arrived and was unloaded, rested and reloaded in the daytime, while the NLS did the same at night. Doing it that way would have allowed them to handle more stock through the Las Vegas stock pens vs. running sections of the trains. If they had instead run (for example) two sections of the DLS then multiple trains would have shown up around the same time and there would have been too much stock to handle in a limited time at Las Vegas. By spacing the train schedules 12 hours apart, the Las Vegas pens could have handled all cars on both trains without needing to spend money to expand them, add switch crews, stock handlers, etc. Statistics show they were handling an average of 60 carloads daily of stock through Las Vegas in 1946, so on peak days they'd have been very busy unloading and reloading all of them to keep schedules.
One other observation on the DLS. From what I've learned, the most significant issues that allowed the train to operate on the expedited schedule starting in 1947 doesn't appear to be roller bearing cars and diesels, as is often cited. There were many factors but the most important appear to be 1) the drop-off in traffic levels following the war and 2) the addition of Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) to the LA&SL. The early schedules for the DLS and NLS trains allowed roughly 50-55 hours running time Salt Lake City to Los Angeles; the expedited DLS train (starting in 1947) cut that to under 30 hours. That's over 20 hours of run-time reduction Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. With CTC in place (mostly complete by1947) and with the enormous drop in traffic starting in 1946, there would have been lots of capacity available on the line to accommodate an additional expedited train or two. Those two factors plus expedited (priority) handling by dispatchers and personnel in terminals would have accounted for most of the 20+ hours of run-time savings.
The early 1947 "expedited" DLS trains ran with steam; the switch from steam to diesel would have eliminated several water stops en route and would have saved probably an hour or so. Use of cars with roller bearings also saved time, especially by reducing the need to check and oil journal boxes when in yards at crew-change points. But roller bearings mostly improved reliability en route, allowing consistent fast(er) running with a much lower failure rate (reduced need to stop and set out hot-boxes). A very rough guess is that roller bearing equipped cars vs. all plain bearings saved the train 1-2 hours en-route. Of all factors, the most significant was probably the addition of CTC.
Mark Amfahr added the following on March 26, 2019:
My info is based on UP freight schedules as well as various Las Vegas dispatcher's office records from the early '50s. The info is limited to the "post-war" decade you specified (assume 1945-55).
You asked about the NLS (Night Live Stock) train - that train symbol appeared in the 1944 and 1947 freight schedules but was missing from the 1949 and subsequent schedules. When NLS operated, it was scheduled roughly 12 hours "opposite" the DLS on the clock (one day / one night).
The CLS train did not operate south of Salt Lake City in this time period. The only stock trains operating south of Salt Lake City then were the NLS (until canceled) and the DLS. Train CLS (known as the Coast Live Stock at that time) operated only from Co. Bluffs to Salt Lake City in this era - stock coming west on CLS and other trains rested at Ogden and Salt Lake City then continued down to So. Cal on the DLS.
Empty stock cars heading back east moved on various trains during this time. Most trains were known simply as "Drag" freights (UP designation for freight trains that handled empty cars and/or low-priority loads). Dispatcher's reports show a couple of Drag freights operating east each day, handling mostly empty cars. On a few days, train symbol UTX also showed quite a few empties in their consists, and I suppose those could have been stock cars put on the end as "fill". I don't believe other EB trains handled empty stock cars in this time period. The train symbol "CN" at that time was hot / expedited, so it likely didn't handle any empty stock cars (regularly at least). That train was downgraded over the years, but as of the 1945-55 time-frame it was a hotshot and wouldn't have handled this type of empty traffic.
On the Las Vegas dispatcher's reports I have (from Sept/Oct/Nov 1950/51) all show the same thing. DLS operated in two sections each day with the two sections running anywhere from 1 to 4 hours apart. Some DLS trains were filled out with other cars (forwarder traffic or other high-priority loads). In all cases DLS trains arrived LV with 3-unit sets of power and departed with 4-unit sets. Most often they were EMD F units but ALCOs were used on occasion. When EMDs were used west from LV, they specified a max of 2800 tons. With ALCOs, they allowed up to 3000 tons.
On all LV reports, they specify that the DLS trains were to operate through LV on connection (departing soon after the train's arrival) but ONLY "if loading time on stock permits". This leads me to believe that they looked at the hours remaining for the stock on each particular train and decided if it had sufficient time to make it through to Los Angeles or not (before the 36-hour deadline). If so, they'd call the outbound crew, swap power, and expedite the train to LA. If not, they'd cut off the stock and set it to the LV stockyards were it would be fed/watered/rested (shown as FWR by the dispatchers) then sent west after that was completed (min 5 hours rest required in most cases). I don't know how often they rested livestock at LV but all dispatcher's documents mention that, so it must have been something they had to watch closely each day.
Lastly, in case you weren't aware of them I wanted to mention the photos on Don Strack's Utah Rails website showing a DLS train around Salt Lake City /Ogden in Jan 1948. The photo series shows a consist of stock cars (a variety of types, as you mentioned) led by a four-unit set of EMD Fs with some "manifest" fill on the rear end. They're in the Emil Albrecht photo album:
Eugene Crowner added the following on March 29, 2019:
The change from DLS to CLS happened sometime after 1955.
In later years when there was little livestock the hogs were added to an already existing train arriving in Salt Lake City that could run on the stock train schedule to get the hogs to Los Angeles on time. These trains may have had one or more symbols when arriving in Salt Lake City. The CLS would arrive in Los Angeles under the CLS symbol and one or more symbols of the train(s) onto which the hogs were added.
I don't remember any Feed-Water-Rest (FWR) in Las Vegas. The stockyard must have been removed before 1955.
Add horses to the list. We sometimes got them from Montana, if I remember correctly. They became dog food.
I only remember it twice, but prize livestock for a livestock show came into Los Angeles in a boxcar. One end of the car was set up for the livestock, the other end was set up for the attendant. The livestock show only lasted a few years after 1955. The Cashier would put out a letter that the prize livestock were not to be held for charges, the Cashier's office would handle the matter.
I don't remember any high priority on the eastbound empty stock cars.
As for the empty stock cars going east, one time the conductor, Harry Dodgen, when coming on duty, complained vigorously to the yardmaster for putting the stock empties directly ahead of the caboose. The caboose crew had to smell it all the way to Yermo. It did, of course, no good to complain, but he was able to vent a considerable amount of his displeasure.
Not often, but from time to time inbound livestock arrived infected with Brucellosis. After unloading, the cars were required to be completely cleaned and disinfected (C&D) before leaving Los Angeles. We applied two tags to the car, one for the livestock's consignee, the other tag for the C&D on the Wash Track where boxcars were cleaned.
Not to be forgotten in all the rich aromas, such as the stockyards around the railroad, were the nearby rendering plants along Bandini Blvd. The local governments got involved in the late 1940s and the rendering plants had to clean up their act. But it was still none too good.
I heard the story several times, so it may have been true. A crew going into one of the rendering plants found a dead elephant blocking the track. It had died either in a zoo or circus.
The track that ran to Clougherty along the top of the bank of the Los Angeles River was known the "The Flood".
As the livestock business left Los Angeles (most of it was in Vernon) in later years the only livestock left was hogs for Clougherty (Farmer John).
Las Vegas Stock Yards
On March 28, 2019, John Thompson asked: "Can anyone tell us where the Las Vegas stockyards were located relative to the roundhouse? I checked Historic Aerials for the 1950 aerial photo and the 1956 topo map but couldn't spot where the stockyards were."
Don Strack replied:
The stock yards in Las Vegas were north and south of the old wye. Note the squared-off areas. The changes in 1950 changed the track layout, and rail access to the stock yards was apparently removed. The stock yards were completely removed, but the marks on the ground were still there in 1963.
This side-by-side comparison of 1950 and 1963 shows the changes. Note the loop track that made handling stock trains easier. It was removed with the changes in 1950.
The 1946 Form 70 shows that there were 62 pens for any stock, and 44 pens for hogs and sheep. There were seven single deck loading chutes, and eight double deck loading chutes. The capacity was shown as 118 600 sq. ft. "decks" for cattle and horses, and 274 decks for sheep and hogs.
The 1951 Form 70 shows just three pens for any stock, and just one double deck loading chute, with a capacity of only eight 600 sq. ft. "decks."
Los Angeles Forwarder
The following was posted on May 5, 2019 by John Thompson to the Classic UP discussion group at Groups.io:
Train: UP's FWDR / Adv. FWDR / FRWDR (alternate spelling) / LAF (mid-1950s and later).
(Mark Amfahr, May 6, 2019: The train's official name was "Los Angeles Forwarder". There were various abbreviations used in different documents and by different individuals, all derivatives of the word "Forwarder". None of the abbreviated names were official, so don't be too concerned with them. The Advance Forwarder was simply an earlier schedule for the Los Angeles Forwarder.)
Direction: Westbound only.
Description: Los Angeles Forwarder. Manifest freight includes auto parts to LA. This was a block of cars, not an entire train.
Origin: Salt Lake City (from Green River).
(Mark Amfahr, May 6, 2019: In a nutshell, the Los Angeles forwarder and other priority traffic moved west across the Overland Route in blocks on various "Forwarder" and merchandise trains with those trains originating in Co. Bluffs, KC and Denver. There was also the transload forwarder traffic that came out of the huge freight house in North Platte starting in 1949. The blocks of Los Angeles traffic moved on various trains and ended up in Salt Lake City where they'd switch out the Salt Lake City , WP, Clearfield, etc cars. Some of the other trains arriving Salt Lake City were the "MLA" (the Morning Los Angeles Special), the "LA" (Los Angeles Special), and the "Advance Forwarder". These trains would arrive Salt Lake City at various times each day, with each handling different numbers of cars for Los Angeles based upon what happened to show up that day. What Salt Lake City did was consolidate the various groups of Los Angeles cars that had arrived from the Overland Route, from Pocatello, and from the area into full trains as efficiently as they could given the situation each day. So the result was various combinations of cars on departing trains each day, with the outcome rarely being the same two days in a row. Sometimes they'd send out two Los Angeles "forwarder"-type trains, other times 4 - the number they sent out and their departure times varied depending upon circumstances (traffic volumes, arrival times and scheduled departure times). The schedules that were published were guidelines to help them get traffic to destination on-time, but didn't normally translate into any particular number of trains or departure times on any given day. I looked at dispatcher's reports from 4 different days in 1951 and found four different "forwarder" / merchandise train combinations operating on those days. November 1, 1951, for example, they ran a "1-Fwdr-28 / 1/2-LA-28 / 1-MLA-28" combo out of LV at 4pm; next up was a "2-Fwdr-28 / 2-MLA-28" combo departing LV at about 8pm; and last in the fleet was a 3-MLA-28 that departed around midnight. Note that they didn't make any attempt to keep the "Los Angeles Forwarder" blocks separated from the priority Los Angeles traffic on other trains (MLA, LA, etc); they freely consolidated them to make solid trains of priority Los Angeles traffic regardless of train symbol or schedule. Each of those trains would have handled a mix of cars with Los Angeles traffic similar to the lists I provided. As mentioned, other days the train combinations and departure times would have been different. It looks like most often they ran about 3-4 of these merchandise-type trains daily (containing forwarder, merchandise, auto parts, various priority loads) with the trains appearing at various times throughout the day.)
Destination: Los Angeles via San Bernardino.
Railroads Represented: Union Pacific, PRR, Wabash, DT&I, NYC, MILW, ATSF, CNW, CB&Q, and others.
Products: Auto parts and general merchandise.
Train Length and Weight: Around 80 cars and 3000 tons (typical). (Total train, not the LAF block, which may have been about 20-25 cars long.)
(Mark Amfahr, May 6, 2019: The 1951 info I have shows that most trains ran at around 90 cars, with a 4000 ton max with 4 EMDs, about 4300 tons with 4 ALCOs. These trains handled mostly loaded cars but would have occasionally been "filled" with empties if they didn't have a full train of loads ready to go.)
Car Types: Automobile boxcars, regular boxcars. Few flats, gons, hoppers, reefers, or tank cars.
The auto parts cars were mainly special boxcars, modified with racks to hold specific auto parts for the current year's production, such as motors, fenders, doors, and the like. They were not suitable for general loading. They were cars from eastern railroads. Auto parts cars had a small white stencil on their door, a circle with a bar coming out of each side.
There were a few cars of completed automobiles, such as Cadillacs arriving in Los Angeles. Completed automobiles were carried in auto rack cars, which were assigned boxcars and had a narrow white bar painted across the door.
(Mark Amfahr, May 6, 2019: I interviewed an old-timer a few years ago (who has since passed away) and he remembered switching the cars with Cadillacs in Council Bluffs in the '50s. He said they had special red tags on the doors so the switchmen knew to be careful of them. They were not to "kick" them into tracks and we to give them careful treatment, such as handling them toward the head-end of the trains. Apparently UP had heard complaints from Cadillac and was taking care so the traffic wouldn't be lost to the dreaded ATSF!)
The auto parts were in box cars, both 40ft. and 50 ft. cars, usually with double doors, which were also used to transport finished automobiles with collapsible racks (inside the cars, but the cars were marked on the doors if the racks were installed).
There are several examples of color photos of car loading during WWII in Chicago in vintage freight car calendars. It would be a mix of railroads but mostly box car traffic. In 1945, that would be predominately 40 foot box cars of all types, heights, and roads, which makes for a good mixed freight.
Trains were filled out with whatever was handy.
Typical Schedule: These combined trains would normally appear in a "fleet" over Cajon in the late afternoon – late evening hours (roughly 6pm to 3am).
Los Angeles Forwarder arrive San Bernardino Noon, arrive East Los Angeles yard 4:00 PM
Los Angeles Forwarder - leave Yermo at 6:15 am, arrive San Bernardino at 12:05 pm.
"FWD. trains will handle all Forwarders, auto parts for Los Angeles territory."
Advanve Forwarder - leave Yermo at 2:30 am, arrive San Bernardino at 9:00 am.
"FWD. trains will handle all Forwarders, auto parts for Los Angeles territory."
Los Angeles Forwarder Merchandise, auto parts arrive San Bernardino 8:00 AM, arrive Los Angeles 12:15 PM
Los Angeles Forwarder Yermo 11:30 AM, San Bernardino 4:30 PM
Los Angeles Forwarder Salt Lake-Los Angeles, depart Yermo 5:45A , arrive San Berdardino 11:00A, Colton 11:45A, Los Angeles 3:00P
Los Angeles Forwarder depart Yermo 12:05 pm, depart San Bernardino 3:35 pm, Colton 3:50 pm and arrive Los Angeles 6:00 pm
Road Power: 4-6-6-4s into 1947. Once the diesels arrived in 1947, the normal road power was Alco FA ABBA sets, sometimes EMD F3 ABBA sets. It was probably GP9 sets that took over the train in 1954 from the FA and F3 sets.
Helper Power: One helper was often used from Victorville to Summit. There were some steam helpers at first into 1947 (2-10-2s, 2-8-2s, 4-8-2s, 4-10-2s), but the FM H20-44s took over from 1947-1950. Then there was the return of the same steam helpers during 1950-1951, until being replaced by TR5s and GP7s in 1951. In 1954 the TR5s were replaced by GP9 helpers (with the GP7s still in the helper pool too).
The "forwarder / merchandise" trains were designed to carry merchandise, auto parts, high-value / priority loaded cars and were "filled out" with other traffic (loads and/or empties) as necessary.
Those were often consolidated as they moved west such that something like 2-4 of these trains would move over Cajon during a typical 24-hour period. Because of delivery schedules and customer commitments, these trains would normally appear in a "fleet" over Cajon in the late afternoon – late evening hours (roughly 6pm to 3am) so that freight could be handled overnight and available for customers the following morning.
The Auto parts traffic was for Kaiser (bodies shipped vertically on a flat car show up in Trains and Model Railroader in the early 1950's) but the traffic did not last.
Westbound trains were routed through San Bernardino 'A' Yard to stay out of passenger tracks at the station.
The Forwarders were important customers and got good service from the railroad. The forwarders consolidated small shipments into a carload. They made their money charging LCL rates to their customers, and paying carload rates to the railroad. The contents of their cars was listed as merchandise, abbreviated as MDSE on train lists.
The names of a few of them on the U.P. were: Universal Carloading, Custom Cartage, Western Transportation, Transport Cartage, and Lifschultz. Terminal Freight was associated with Sears.
Most of the forwarders on the U.P. in Los Angeles were in the freight house complex at 8th and Alameda. Completed autos were unloaded at the Auto Dock in the freight house there.
The U.P. handled auto parts for the Ford Plant in Long Beach. The Mead Local took them from Los Angeles to Long Beach. The auto parts were only a portion of a train. In 1959 the Ford plant moved from Long Beach to Rivera, adjacent to the ATSF main line. After that the U.P. handled few auto parts cars.
Modeling the Train:
Use lots of automobile box cars (40' and 50') and regular boxcars, lettered for UP, PRR, Wabash, DT&I, NYC, MILW, ATSF, CNW, CB&Q, and others. Use few flats, gons, hoppers, reefers, or tank cars. Combine this LAF block with other blocks of more general cars, so that the LAF block is about 1/4 to 1/3 of the complete train.
Some but not all boxcars for autos were recently painted, even if not new. (Unlike most box car traffic, which was dirty with soot.)
AT&SF Freight Train Information -- Jason Hill's information about freight operations over Tehachapi pass in the 1950-1955 transition era.