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January 10th, 2014

ATLANTIC COAST DESPATCH

ATLANTIC COAST LINE Watermelon cars


from the archives of the ACL Library


Al Armitage

In 1887, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad forged an agreement and signed a contract with the Pennsylvania Railroad resulting in a through freight line called The Atlantic Coast Dispatch. Both Railroads set aside cars and marked them The Atlantic Coast "Despatch". A system of rates were established and the contracts gave the PRR and the Coast Line a common interest in prompt return of empty cars and in maintaining fast freight schedules.


Howard Ameling

Atlantic Coast Line Type 0-17 Cars
Cars assigned to the Atlantic Coast Despatch from ACL were all ventilated box cars. The last of the ACL cars built were type O-17 cars. 36 feet long with a steel under frame weighing in at 46,500 lbs., all of these cars were built in ACL shops between 1922 and 1923. A total of two thousand cars from their shops scattered across the south at Sanford and Lakeland Forida, Rocky Mount, Florence and Wilmington North Carolina, Waycross Georgia and Montgomery Alabama. The fact that so many of the shops built these cars accounts for some variances in the original build. The car class had two doors per side. One ventilated and one solid door. In the off / non produce season, the solid door was use for general bill of lading freight. Cars remained on the roster up until and past the merger of the SAL.

The Charleston and Western Carolina also owned cars of the identical build as well as some cars that were of the same dsign but built as standard Box cars. All of these are being offered as models.

For a better understanding of the ACL and the beginnings of ventilated box cars, I recommend purchasing a copy of "BUILDING A GREAT RAILROAD — A History of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company" by Glenn Hoffman. The ACL & SAL Railroad Historical Society has this for sale. Please take a moment to find this group on the internet and Join. Then prchase this book. It is an easy read.


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