Back in August I built a Roundhouse CB&Q 50' Automobile boxcar kit. I posted about it here on August 15th. http://newyorkcentrallayout.blogspot.com/2015/08/cb-50-double-door-auto-boxcar-46662.html
Since building that car I became even more interested in automobile industry traffic on the real New York Central System and my own New York Central Train Layout. So I did a little research using both printed media and the internet. Here are some of the things that I found interesting and a bit ironic.
The New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad competed fiercely for lucrative automotive traffic. Ironically, NYC, who's extensive passenger service was decimated by the growth in highway transportation, benefited greatly from the growth of automobile industry traffic. The NYC for many years claimed the title as the world's leading transporter of new automobiles. During the 1960s the number of new vehicles carried by the railroad increased dramatically. In 1962, the railroad moved approximately 500,000 new cars; in 1965 the NYC carried nearly 1.2 million cars. This was roughly 12 percent of American new car production.
Until the late 1950s autos shipped by rail were transported in special boxcars which was inefficient and cumbersome making railroads easy prey to the trucking industry. The introduction of the bi-level and
tri-level auto rack in the late 1950s changed all that. A single train could carry as many as 2,300 new cars and significantly lowered transportation costs not only for auto manufacturers but for railroads. Auto traffic resurged on America's railroads.
Let's take a look at the 1950's Automobile Traffic on the New York Central and the New York Central Train layout.