1929 Automobile Car
The latter part of the 1920's was a boom time prior to the 1929 stock market crash. As the movement of automobiles grew, the Northern Pacific needed more freight cars to meet the demand. The answer was the 300 cars constructed by the Pacific Car and Foundry in 1929. These were 50' in length with double doors on one end and extra wide side doors on each side. Automobiles were generally loaded and unloaded through the side doors, but the end opening door was available for unusually long loads that would be difficult to load through the side.
The cars were of composite construction with Northern Pacific's usual metal sheathed radial roof construction. Even though the cars were designed to haul automobiles they were not equipped with the standard automobile racks of the time. It is reported that the automobiles were loaded with one end lifted and the next auto parked partially under the first to achieve diagonal parking in a vertical fashion. With that technique four autos could be squeezed into the car's 50' length.
The museum's autocar, NP 4753 was placed in MOW service when it was retired from active freight service. It went into private ownership and was subsequently purchased by the museum for its freight car display. BNSF was kind enough to donate the move from Minnesota. It has received a fresh coat of paint and is awaiting stenciling. Plans are to exhibit it with a load which will include a 1931 Model A roadster and a vintage truck which will be loaded above it on one end.
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