Finished automobiles, trucks and vans
are some of the most
easily recognizable loads on the rails. Originally shipped
boxcars, long flat cars quickly became the method of choice for
shipping finished vehicles. These long flat cars came with
"racks" allowing for stacking of two or
three layers of vehicles on each
car. Normally, bi-level were for vans and trucks and
cars. The first racks were open to the elements, as seen
and were susceptible to damage from vandals and the weather.
Eventually cars became more and more enclosed until the fully
rack was introduced in the early 1980's. All sorts were seen
the Chessie System.
Ownership of these cars is a little unusual. The Chessie
did not own any autorack cars, but
they did own the racks. A jointly owned (by major railroads)
corporation called Trailer Train owned the flat cars.
As part of a pooling arrangement with the other major railroads,
Chessie System purchased a number of the top rack portions of the
cars to support the fleet of
autoracks nationwide. Trailer Train always
maintained ownership of the flat car underneath, so there were no
rack cars with B&O, C&O or WM
reporting marks. DTTX or ETTX
type reporting marks were used on these cars. TT denoting
Train and X denoting private (non-railroad) ownership. The
rack part of the car
got decorated for the railroad that owned them. Predecessor
B&O and C&O) marked racks lasted well into the Chessie
Era. I have only seen B&O and C&O marked Chessie
racks. I am not sure, but
it seems unlikely that WM marked
Chessie racks ever existed.
Original Trailer Train flats were painted boxcar red (as seen on
901793). TT adopted yellow as the color of choice in the
60's or 70's, as seen on ETTX 950510.
Normal trains of autoracks had about 10-20% Chessie road racks,
rest were primarily Eastern roads such as PC, N&W, MILW,
There were the occassional BN and UP rack as well.
As a side note, I have seen photos of WM owned
cars and racks (WM 1001-1014), but have not seen evidence that
few cars made it to the Chessie System era.
Open Bi-level Auto Rack
DTTX 901793 (C&O rack) (Purchased as a decorated kit,
weathered by me)
Enclosed Trii-level Auto Rack
ETTX 950510 (Chessie C&O rack) (Purchased as a
model, weathered by me)
ETTX 950517 (Chessie C&O
rack) (Purchased as a ready-to-roll
model, renumbered and weathered by me)