Railway Preservation News

Less than Carload Freight Shipping/Boxcar Packing
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Author:  stephenpiwowarski [ Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Less than Carload Freight Shipping/Boxcar Packing

Hi All,
The WW&F is embarking on a project to build a LCL freight exhibit in one of our boxcars. The timeframe we are looking to portray is c.1895-1910. We have examples of boxes that were shipped on the original railway as less than carload shipments, but need some help filling in some blanks.
Namely, the following:

Was excelsior the most common packing material within boxes? What else was used at that time?

Was there a common arrangement of shipments within cars, other than heaviest down low, lightest up top? Would it be common practice to locate items within a car based on the station they were being shipped to?

Does anyone have photos of loaded LCL boxcars from the turn of the century?

Thanks in advance,
Steve Piwowarski
WW&F Railway Museum

Author:  John T [ Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Less than Carload Freight Shipping/Boxcar Packing

A little research indicates that excelsior and pine straw (pine needles) were common packing material around 1900. Excelsior seems to be the more common. Packing lcl in the car by first off, last on would seem to be the most logical but we all know where that can get you.

Author:  via6765 [ Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Less than Carload Freight Shipping/Boxcar Packing


Though the date of publication does not fit your time frame, nor was the AAR created yet, a neat little document that was given to me quite a few years ago would at least give you a feel for the context and what you seek to present and interpret to your visitors:

Rules for the Receipt, Handling, Stowing, Bracing and Delivery of Less-Than-Carload Freight. Issued February, 1938, Revised October 1949
Prepared and Published by ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS, Operations and Maintenance Department, Operating-Transportation Division.

Most of the commodities listed would have been found in your time frame: barrels of potatoes, grindstones, stoves, wagons and parts, guano(!!!!), cookies, crackers......

As for excelsior: "Rule H-50. Hay, straw, cotton, flex, tow, excelsior: Hay, ......, excelsior, and similar freight must loaded in tight, closed cars. This rule also applies to all freight protected by such articles. The doors and other openings must be securely closed and battened, if necessary, to protect lading from sparks."

Lots of illustrations and descriptions of materials and hardware to be used in stowing of freight as wells drawings of how to place the freight in a car.

Perhaps there are earlier editions of this in archives/ libraries....?

Hope this is of help

Kevin R.

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