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In 1924, Southern Railway acquired 1,500 steel low-side gondolas, 41’ 6” in length, for use by their customers in general freight service. Most of the cars in this group received new bodies in 1944 and were given a thorough overhaul and renumbered in 1968. In subsequent years, many were scrapped, but some survived in maintenance of way service. In the 1980s, the Eastern Shore Railroad (ESHR), a short line in eastern Virginia, purchased ten of these cars for use as “reach” cars, to facilitate loading and unloading the car ferry linking ESHR’s trackage in Little Creek (Norfolk), Virginia, with its main line at Cape Charles, Virginia, across Chesapeake Bay. The reach cars made it unnecessary for the heavy locomotive to position freight cars directly on the ferry; their light weight reduced wear and tear on the ferry and its moorings, and their low profile made it easy to pass hand signals between the crew on the ground and the engineer in the locomotive.
The vintage photo is representative of our gondola. We did not know the car’s original number and it was agreed-upon to have this representation pictured here.
Rolling Stock: Southern Railway 316112
Rolling Stock Type: Low-side Gondola
Operators: Southern Railway, Eastern Shore Railroad, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Date Built: 1924
Lettered: Southern Railway
Includes all-day entrance to the property and exhibits on the property. Does not include a train ride.
Admission is included with a Train Ticket. Do not buy if you have already purchased a train ride.