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Choctaw Terminal waybills
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Freight Transactions
at the
Choctaw Terminal

Movement of Freight
The Choctaw freight station was an integral component of the railroad freight transportation network, with employees handling freight transfers and performing clerical and accounting functions while serving as the point of contact between the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad, various transfer companies, and shippers and receivers of freight. The working of this finely tuned system can best be illustrated by following an actual shipment from origin to destination.

Gus Blass Dry Goods Company operated a large department store which was destined to became a downtown Little Rock landmark. In February 1901, Blass ordered a variety of dry goods (clothing and textiles) from a supplier in New York. A large wooden barrel was used for packaging the shipment, a common practice in the days before cardboard boxes. The net weight of 55 pounds was noted, and the barrel was transported to a freight station in New York, where the consignor (shipper) provided instructions on destination and routing. The most likely routing would have been via the Pennsylvania Railroad from New York to Cincinnati, then via the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Cincinnati to Memphis. Because the shipment was small, less than a carload, it was consolidated with other shipments going toward Memphis. In Memphis, the shipment was transferred to another freight car, CO&G boxcar number 1400, which moved from Memphis to North Little Rock in one of the Choctaw Route's regular freight trains.

Once in North Little Rock, CO&G 1400 was switched onto a side track with other cars destined for the Little Rock freight station. A yard switch engine later moved this cut of cars across the Arkansas river and into the smaller yard at the Choctaw terminal complex, where the car was spotted at the freight station platform for unloading. Since this particular boxcar had a capacity of 60,000 pounds, it also contained numerous other small shipments in both barrels and wooden crates, all destined for various consignees (freight recipients) in Little Rock.

CO&G expense bill

The freight waybill and other paperwork was delivered to the clerical forces at the Choctaw station, where a final bill for the transportation was prepared. In this case, the shipping charges amounted to $1.32, an amount which would later be allocated between the Pennsylvania, the L&N, and the CO&G.

At the unloading platform, the freight agent first removed a small, numbered metal seal from the boxcar door, the railroad's assurance that shipments within the car had not been pilfered en route. A crew of freight handlers then unloaded the shipments, sorted them according to destination, and stored them in the freight station pending delivery. When boxcar 1400 was empty, it was available for reloading of other shipments to another destination as the process began again.

Meanwhile, the shipment for Gus Blass was picked up by a wagon from the Merchants' Transfer Company, one of several local firms providing local pick up and delivery service in Little Rock. Merchant's Transfer hauled the barrel of dry goods from the Choctaw freight station to the Blass loading dock, the shipment's final destination.

Merchant Transfer Co. waybill

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