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Night Train: 1962

Night Train: 1962

        UPDATE: One source attributes this image to Richard Steinheimer, the "Ansel Adams of railroad photography."

"California freight train at night, February 27, 1962." 8x10 inch Ansco safety negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

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The pic appeared in the July 1960 issue of Trains, credited to Steinheimer. Like the man said, the lead GP9 was built 1959.

Train 373 was the Coast Merchandise West, LA to SF overnight in 12 hours. The "Golden Pig" trailers with the jolly-pig logo appeared in 1981-82.

Golden Pig Service

Trailers on flat cars are called "Pigs" by railroads. (Slang for "Piggyback"). The Southern Pacific Railroad was a big player back then in the movement of trailers on flat cars.

Their name for the service was called "Golden Pig", and a smiling pig was emblazoned on some trailers advertising the service.

Flash to today, and these trailers are part of a combined movement of goods across the nation which includes mostly containers from overseas.

The "Pigs" are now some of the hottest trains on railroads. They carry packages for Fedex, UPS, and the Postal Service on time sensitive schedules.


Pretty sure this is a northbound train at San Luis Obispo.

Pigs really can fly

The use of truck trailers on railroad flat cars (TOFC traffic) has a murky history, but as early as 1926 the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railway ran entire trains of what they called “Ferry-cars,” flat cars bearing truck trailers. The Chicago Great Western also offered “pig” service in the 30s. But it was left to a remarkable guy named Ben Heineman (President of the CN&W Railroad 1956 to 1972.) to develop the concept fully. It was often a frightful sight to see these trailers rocking and rolling on a train running at timetable speed, but to my knowledge TOFC trains had an excellent safety record.

Stopped For Servicing

Hanging near the handrails on the left side of the locomotive is a "Blue Flag" and blue lantern to signify that the train cannot be moved or any car or engine come closer that 150 feet until the person that placed that flag has finished their work and personally removed the flag.

Car inspectors are possibly walking both sides of the train and if one of them needs to get near or under the equipment they HAVE to be assured that nothing will MOVE!

Filling your cup with Nightrain

This apparently was the SP 5802 GP9 delivered in March of 1959. They were painted grey with what was called the "red bloody nose scheme." If so, it was renumbered in 1965 then emerged renumbered again 1975 as SP 3818. Looks like the four locos are pulling a string of trailers via piggyback service.

O. Winston Link?

Sure looks like his work, but I'm not sure he ever shot in other than 4x5. Could this be one of the negatives his second wife Conchita stole?

[One source attributes this image to Richard Steinheimer. - Dave]


Five 4 axle EMD units we nicknamed jeeps. Looks like double track not sure where maybe Texas?

[Maybe there's a clue in the first word of the caption. - Dave]

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