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On July 4, 1851 at St. Louis, ground breaking for the Pacific Railroad Company marked the beginning of the Missouri Pacific, becoming the first railroad west of the Mississippi River.
The age of 'modern' steam power began after the turn of the century with the growing size of steam engines. The new age began with the placement of the heavy firebox behind the driving wheels over a newly added two-wheel trailing truck. Traditional 4-6-0 locos evolved into the the 4-6-2 'Pacific' - named for the Missouri Pacific, among the first rail companies to use the new type of engine.
As a general rule (there may be exceptions) MoPac started adding the small buzzsaw logo with the "Missouri Pacific Lines" to its equipment around 1926. By the late 1920's "MISSOURI PACIFIC" was added on cars and cabooses. The "MISSOURI PACIFIC" appears to be dropped in the mid-1930's as a labor/cost savings measure.
In 1933 the giant Missouri Pacific became the first major American carrier to file for legal protection during the Great Depression. It would be many years before the company came out of receivership, turning the corner to become one of the most successful modern railroads.
During wartime the Missouri Pacific participated in the building of the Martin bomber plant near the Fort Crook, Nebraska station. The bomber plant turned out over 2,000 war planes, including the famous B-29 Enola Gay which dropped the atom bomb and brought an end to World War Two. After the war, the bomber plant was transformed for an even bigger role, converted into the headquarters of the new Strategic Air Command (SAC).
MoPac adopted the name "Eagle" for its trains after holding an employee contest to name the very first MP (Eagle) train of 1939.
The number of "points" on the MoPac "Buzzsaw" emblem
varies between 44 and 46 throughout its history and usage.
MoPac's Eagle colors went from gray & blue to dark blue beginning
in 1962 with the advent of President D.B. Jenks. From this comes the term
The Mopac changed its color for flat cars, gondolas, and hopper cars from black to boxcar red in 1961, during the same time period that the locomotives were changed from blue and grey to the over-all Jenk's Blue scheme. According to John German, Chief Mechanical Officer hired by Jenks in 1961, the car shops were complaining about having to keep two inventories of paint using both "freight car red" and "black" for painting freight cars. When nobody could answer the question, "Why do the freight cars have to be painted two different colors?," it was decided in the late fall of 1961 to start painting all freight cars red.
All diesel locomotives began receiving Jenks blue paint (all blue with white striping and lettering) April 1961. This date is documented on a GP7/9 Mopac painting and stenciling drawing that states the drawing in Eagle colors is obsolete on 4/27/61. Various F-unit and E-unit painting & stenciling drawings were also made obsolete on various days in April 1961.
A series of T&P gons in 1957 were delivered in red -- for what reason exactly yet to be determined. T&P apparently continued to repaint its other gons in black even after the ampersand was dropped from the logo. 40' flatcars seem to have been delivered in red but were repainted to black (in vogue from the 30's to the 60's). As the MoPac exerted more and more control over the TP, some 40's boxcars got a T&P diamond and a MoP buzzsaw until they settled on the TPL buzzsaw. On the MoPac, I understand that at least some of the 3-bay composite hoppers got red paint upon rebuilding with steel sides in the 1950's. (Thanks to Ed Hawkins)
The KO&G had 40' box cars in the 30000 number series (painted silver then jade green). The KO&G had the following box cars (per the 1/59 order): 30001-30005, 40'-6" IL, 10'-2" IH, 12'-1" door opening 30006-30008, 40'-6" IL, 10'-6" IH, 6' door opening, built early 1940s 30009-30013, 50' IL insulated box cars, 8'-2" door opening, built 3-57 by PC&F. The cars had blue sides (as built) with white lettering.
Reportedly the plug door cars were delivered in medium blue. In the late fifties, they refitted the 40' boxcars with DF loaders and gave them an aluminum and black scheme. The aluminum and black was in vogue when the T&P took over. (MOPAC Yahoo Group)
Mopac began using radio on it's steam engines in the late 1940's, but it wasn't very successful. The noise of a steam engine's operations including the engine whistle would activate the Radio unit every time it blew. It wasn't really until the 1950's that radio came into it's own, being installed on MP's new diesels and cabooses. The GP-7s and -9 locos were already tight and didn't allow for much room inside the cab for the bulky devices. To solve the problem, MoPac built a metal cabinet which protruded externally behind the fireman's window. The radios were simply slipped into the new space. In fact the early radios were so bulky and heavy that cabooses even needed a sandbag placed on the opposite side of the radio equipment as a counter-balance.
MoPac's passenger-service put many units to work including the E3, E6 A&B, E7 A&B, E8, PA1, PA2, F3, F7, FP7, and the GP7. There were two E3's (7000-01), 2 E6A's and 2 E6B's, and a lot of E7 A's and B's. The MoPac owned PA2's but did not own any PB's. Not all F's and GP's could be used for passenger service since not all were steam generator equipped.
Diesel builder EMD experimented with a possible Eagle scheme for the
Texas & Pacific F7 in T&P's colors of Swamp Holly Orange and Black
instead of MoPac's Eagle Blue and Gray. This never got beyond the artwork
stage and was never applied to a single unit. (Jim Ogden)
Check out this example:
A small Mopac passenger train would include a baggage mail, a coach and maybe a grill coach on longer runs.
MoPac in the Movies
Starting in the 1960's, MoPac used an early form of "barcode" on all
it's rolling stock, cabooses and engines to better facilitate ID-ing and
routing. These were the colored striped bars about a foot and a half tall
by 8 inches wide on a black background placed to the lower right on the
car body. On engines a steel plate with the code was mounted on the side
The MoP's HERBIE (reporting markings Herb -1) car - a converted 40' boxcar
with the slogan "Help Every Railroader Be Injury Exempt", was
often paired with East One, a converted combine/caboose to promote rail
safety as part of the instruction car fleet. There was only one HERBIE
car, however it had two different paint schemes (or two different MP heralds
placed in different locations). Herb-1 is/was still used after the merger
on the UP system.
Early MoPac intermodal was one of the first uses of containers on a Class 1 railroad.
However, MoPac's choice wasn't mainstream and essentially became extinct
in the late 60's. Although innovative and somewhat flexible in design,
the demountable container was limited; only one container rode in a gondola,
the system required fixed over head gantry cranes for each unloading ramp
(costing over $40,000 in 1958), and, in turn,the boxes couldn't be used
off-line, to expand their use onto other railroads.
Though the streamliners were the king, Mopac also relied heavily on GP7s
as passenger power - they could be seen on a passenger local, on the Eagle
(usually trailing a streamliner), as well as any freight train or switching
Among the most recognizable pre-merger symbols but among the rarest seen - the Texas & Pacific version of the "Buzzsaw" emblem was used for little more than a year. By the mid 1960's the T&P Diamond had given away to a buzzsaw with the corporate name. The emblem was rare on both locomotives and cabooses. In fact it's unknown just exactly how many of these emblems were applied to equipment that otherwise was in the usual Missouri Pacific paint and lettering. T&P sublettering was applied under these buzzsaws as well.
Interestingly, the Chicago & Eastern Illinois version of the Buzzsaw emblem was quite common on both locomotives and equipment for many years.
New Diesels: During the 1970's Mopac diesels were bought without toilets or radios -- one of their first stops on the system was at North Little Rock where these two items were applied by the RR's mechanical department. (C. Duckworth)
MoPac and Leased Power
MoPac, Penn Central and the Milwaukee
Road were big on the lease thing. They obtained hundreds of medium and
high horsepower units on long-term leases. In the case of MoPac, they
were usually fifteen-year leases. When the lease is taken out, there are
usually provisions within the lease agreement to provide the option to
renew the lease, purchase the units outright or return the units to the
lessor. In some cases leases are renewed.
In 1983 the MoPac opted not to renew the
lease on a group of SD40's built in 1969. They were returned to the Lessor,
Chicago West Pullman Leasing. These units sat stored for several years
unused at the abandoned Wisconsin Steel Works in Chicago after being returned.
I had been told several different reasons why the MoPac did not renew
the lease on these units ranging from mechanical condition, price for
renewing the lease, to the fact the lessor wanted these units back with
the plan to lease or sell them outright to another source. Eventually
these units were resurrected, rebuilt and acquired by CSX Transportation.
MoPac never owned GP40's! (as a seperate entity, anyway)...
MoPac bought some GP38-2's from the bankrupt Rock Island. They were painted in the MP scheme but had a few details which set them apart from the rest of MP's GP38-2's.
The last units to be delivered to MP in Jenk's blue were GP50's, B 30-7's and finally GP15-1's in 1982.
An inside perspective from Paul De Luca (from MOPAC@yahoogroups.com )
"Before the merger, the GP50's and B30-7a's were the last MP road
power delivered in BLUE paint, and the RR assigned them in 3 unit sets
to the Chicago - Texas intermodal and auto trains. They probably also
ran on the FFT, as well as on other auto trains in the St.Louis - Kansas
City corridor. I was an Assistant Trainmaster in Texarkana from 1982 thru
1984, and would commonly see the GP50's running in 3 unit sets, mixed
with SD40-2's, or, and sometimes with the B30's as well. They ran on cycles
on assigned trains...DFZ (todays ZDUMQ)power would cycle back to N.L.Rock
on FL (todays MFWNL) which was(is) a manifest train, then to Yard Center
on something else. CHZ would turn on HCZ at Settegast Yard (Houston),
and CFZ would cycle on FCZ?...
MoPac retained it's corporate identity for some time after the merger, until 1997.
Though the UP and MP corporate structures were merging, they still had
seperate operating departments. MoPac was treated as a separate entity
from UP and kept it's identity for some time (thanks to unexpired equipment
trusts, financing, original ownership, etc.).MoPac painted it's engines
in it's own yellow and gray with the "MISSOURI PACIFIC" lettering.
Some ex-Rock Island and ex-Western Pacific GP40's and GP40-2's, were
all painted UP colors with "MISSOURI PACIFIC" on the long hood
before operating departments officially merged. None wore MP blue.
By the time MP lost it's own corporate identity, it was simply a matter of painting over "MISSOURI" with "UNION".
Contrary to rumors, speculations and sworn facts, MoPac never owned any BLUE cabooses, bay-windowed or otherwise ;)~
MoPac and the Denver & Rio Grande Western shared a long history of close ties. Even when in recievership in the 1950's, MoPac owned a large stock interest in D&RGW.
At one point in time (up to the UP merger) MoPac had about a 20 or so percent interest in the ATSF. It had to be sold as a merger requirement. There was speculation at one point that MoPac and ATSF would merge. (Tuch)
The Southern and MoPac were engaged in serious merger talks in the latter 70's. UP came in and the rest is history. It is not widely known that the UP takeover was actually hostile. (Tuch)
trainweb.org/screamingeagle l Last Update to this page: 16 April, 2008
|All images & text © 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.|