Part I, Coast Mail; Part II, City of SF; SP Pages

Mail & Express Part I, page 2
REA Reefers & SP Economy Baggage Cars

After the demise of the Coast Mail and until REA went bust, the company's reefers still could be found on Coast Division freight trains in large numbers. Here's REX 7750, one of 986 (!) cars built in 1958, on a circa 1970 "Perishable" (SP term for a reefer train) passing College Park Tower. It displays the logo adopted in the late 1950's. I've never heard of any rail equipment having been repainted with REA's final logo and colors, but it may have happened.

Curiously, during the 1975 liquidation process, an obscure Colorado potato-hauler, the San Luis Central, bought a considerable number of REA's express reefers, presumably to ensure plenty of cars for the fall potato harvest, and to earn a few bucks in per dieum charges, as well. You'd occasionally see them on freight trains throughout the balance of the 1970's. Below is one of 'em on a westbound "empty reefers" passing over the east portal of the eastbound Donner Summit tunnel just before dark on a spring evening in 1975. There were three other SLC/REA reefers on this train.

San Luis Central repainted some of its cars to orange, as was the case of #928, seen above at Kansas City in May, 1980. I believe that they also painted some cars the yellow color of 928's patchwork, as well. Many SLC cars retained their REA green paint, as did the Seaboard Coast Line MW car photographed in Florida in November, 1982.

So what exactly IS an "Economy Baggage"? (see #91's consist on Page I) The term is self-descriptive, and very appropriate - they were no-frills equipment. We're making special note of them here because so many have survived to this day in storage and M/W service. Several have found their way to private ownership in a variety of colors as well, but all were placed into service painted in the standard, non-vibrant SP Grey.

Numbers 6701-6800 arrived in 1962 from Pacific car and Foundry. Except for the seventeen 11-64/1-65 RPO-Storage/Baggage cars, these were SP's last new passenger cars. Note the star above the 6786's number - this indicates that the car contained (crude) facilities for an express messenger or train baggageman. In this photo taken at San Francisco's Third & Townsend Depot in January, 1968, you'll note that the roof is not radiused as much as the car next to it, shown below.

SP 6683 is one of the 6601-6700 group built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, and shares the 66 foot length of the latter series, This car was a a special repaint for Cheveron Oil Company, the logo reading "New Dimensions '68". This is the only Econo Car that I've seen in passenger service in other than grey paint. Does anyone know of others? I have no idea what that was all about. Nice Chevy station wagon, eh?

Below is ex-6765 in M/W service at Deming, New Mexico in September, 1983.

On to the City of SF & Ogden!
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