1930's Frisco Auto Train?

Discussion in 'Operations' started by Karl, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Frisco management noted in the 1936 Annual Report that it had achieved a modest victory by reversing declining passenger revenues. Revenues climbed by an impressive 28.8% or by $772,368 from 1935 levels. Management attributed the improvement to a general improvement in the economy, to changes in train schedules, and to improved running times between KC and Birmingham, and between St Louis and Oklahoma City. The Frisco management correctly identified that it had lost its short-haul traffic to the automobile and its long-haul passengers to the bus lines and airlines. The Frisco also credited more air-conditioned equipment and improved meal service with the addition of new “snack” cars. The 1936 Annual Report also included this curious remark, “Transportation of automobiles belonging to passengers has also attracted some business. It is hoped that these innovations will continue to bring the traveling public back to our railroad in increasing numbers.”

    Unfortunately, the Annual Report lacks specifics, and we are left to speculate about the details. …on which trains did the Frisco offer this service? This sounds like a natural fit for the KC-FS with connections to Pensacola, perhaps? …what equipment was used to handle automobiles? Double-door auto boxes equipped with steam/signal lines and high speed trucks? ... or did the Frisco handle the automobiles on regularly scheduled freight trains?

    Does anyone have a 1936 PTT, which might enlighten us further?
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  2. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I'll check my PTT file. Odds are I have one.

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  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I have several PTT's from 1936: Jan, Apr, Jun, Jun condensed, Aug, Nov, Dec. I'll pull a few from our air conditioned locker downstairs where I have them stored and see what they might tell us. My NAOTC guide tells me those were all the Frisco PTT's dates issued in 1936.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    I have wondered for years why that the railroads couldn't figure out some way for automobiles to accompany passengers especially between larger city hubs.
    Oh, wait! That would be considered providing a service! Something that the railroads shied away from for years ... and the airlines are now closely following suit!
  5. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I looked through each of my 1936 Frisco PTT's tonight and found no mention of a service to ship passenger automobiles on the same trains in special automobile boxcars. Where would such a notice be in the PTT? I'll be glad to look again to make sure I did not miss it.

    I was, however, pleased to see the announcement of No's 3 & 4, The Will Rogers, as an addition to the schedule on a faster timing, St Louis to Oklahoma City, replacing the previous No's 3 & 4, the slower Texas Limited and Oklahoma Special. These changes were effective in the November, 1936 PTT.

    The Meteor
    , No's 9 & 10, also received a significantly faster schedule, by almost two hours, StL to OkC, also effective in the 11/36 PTT.

    I spent many a wonderful time on No's 3 & 4, and No's 9 & 10, over the period 1960-1964, during my years at MSM in Rolla, from and to Rolla-StLUS.

    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.

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