KCFS&M fast freight lines and cars

Discussion in 'General' started by Bradley A. Scott, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Can anyone supply any information about the "Fast Freight Line" or lines associated with the KCFS&M, or with boxcars that may have been used by it? I know that in the late 19th century it wasn't unusual for railroads to have affiliated fast-freight lines that solicited high-value merchandise and LCL shipments. Merchants Dispatch was connected with the NYC; Union Line with the Pennsy; and so on. I've come across some documentation suggesting that the KCFS&M had its own "fast freight" line in the 1890s, which may have continued operating under the Frisco into the 1900s. I'd like know more if possible.

    In looking over some company documents of the KCC&S, I've come across references to regular monthly car mileage payments to the CF Collins Fast Freight Line in 1895 and the JW Soady Fast Freight Line in 1896. From the way these appear in the documents, they appear to be affiliates of the KCFS&M and its subsidiary companies.

    In the 1897 and 1900 ORER entries for the KCFS&M, there is a group of boxcars which are described as follows:
    Box, Fast Freight Line. Car numbers 30000-30199. Inside dimensions Length 33' 5.75"; Width 7' 11.75"; Height 7' 1.25". Capacity 60000 lbs. Number of cars: 200.

    A 1903 Frisco rolling stock roster indicates that 186 of these cars were still in service, lettered KCFS&M. It also indicates that they were built in 1894 and lacked air brakes. They are simply described as 34-foot boxcars, with no special "fast freight" designation. (Possibly just an omission, given the data below.)

    In the 1905 SLSF ORER entry, these cars appear again, apparently still lettered KCFS&M, designated "fast freight" and bearing the same numbers, although diminished in number to 181.

    In the 1911 ORER, the next one I have access to, it looks like there has been a lot of reshuffling and renumbering of the freight fleet. I don't see any obvious series of boxcars that exactly corresponds to the KCFS&M 30000-30199 series dimensions.

    I'd be very interested in any information about the appearance, use, and operation of these or any other "fast freight" cars used by the KCFS&M or the CF Collins or JW Soady Fast Freight lines.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    All images of the KCFS&M, KCM&B that I have do not show any reference to "Fast Freight Line". I will look though for it.
  3. It seems a bit of an anomaly for cars built as late as 1894 to lack air brakes in 1903, based on what I read in Wikipedia's summary of the 1893 Railroad Safety Appliance Act. According to the Wikipedia summary, this act required all trains to have 50% of their cars equipped with working air brakes. There was reportedly a grace period of seven years before the act took effect, although I don't actually see that in the actual text of the law.
    (Link: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Railroad_Safety_Appliance_Act>, with full online text of laws linked in the footnotes.)

    The act was revised in 1903 and 1910. In one of these later revisions, the ICC was empowered to regulate certain aspects of safety equipment on railroad cars, and in 1910 it issued a ruling requiring trains to have 85% of their cars equipped with airbrakes. This would have made non-airbrake-equipped cars an operational nuisance as well as a safety problem.

    Another article I read about fast freight lines of the 1800s stated that because railroads billed the fast-freight companies on a per-car basis, rather than a tonnage basis, their cars were frequently overloaded and thus were subject to excessive damage and wear. (Source: William O'Connor Jr., "The Development of the Private Railroad Freight Car 1830-1966", Business History Review, Summer 1970.)

    Given all these factors, and the increasingly hostile governmental attitude toward private-car lines and fast-freight lines in the early 1900s, it seems likely that the Frisco might have abandoned the whole idea of the KCFS&M's affiliated fast-freight-line and scrapped the cars sometime between 1905 and 1911, especially if these cars had no air brakes and were worn out from frequent overloading as well as being small and obsolete by the standards of 1910.

    A lot of this is admittedly speculation and guesswork based on incomplete information. But it's kind of intriguing. If anyone comes across more information about the operation of such a fast-freight line, or diagrams/photos of KCFS&M boxcars in the 30000-30199 series, please let me know.

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