One of my new favorites.
San Fransisco Exposition?
Here's two other Brass Era photos of Model T's being unloaded from rail cars.
First photo is not in the U.S.
Note the European style rail cars - only four wheels.
The Fords are RHD.
It is interesting that the Ford's have the same wheel track as the train.
I believe most automobiles used 4 feet 8.5 inches for the wheel spacing. This is the same as standard gauge for most railroads.
Standard gauge is correct. The first pic, I would think, would be at Trafford Park in the UK.
Must be late 15, they look like 16's, all though the middle one still looks like it may have brass head light rims but not on the cowl lights.
Great pictures! In the first photo it looks like all the rail car doors are open the entire length of the train so they can drive the cars from one end to the other.
If you are interested in the whole history of moving new cars by rail, pick up the latest TRAINS magazine.
Jay thanks for posting the photos!
The easy part -- reference the top photo with the later 1915 or 1916 style cars apparently going into the train cars. Zooming in you can read the Ford Script on the radiator so the photo is printed correctly and they are Right Hand Drive cars.
I tried to zoom to find out if the cars had door hinges on the right hand front door. Canadian Fords always had both front doors that worked. English Fords -- the RHD driver's door was a false door until 1918 (ref page 134 "The English Model T Ford" book). But I never could clearly see the rear door hinges so not being able to see the front door hinge was not conclusive.
I suspect Trafford Park England -- but I have not found any other supporting information.
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A cropped version of that photo appears on page 32 of "The Model T" by Robert C. Kreipke. He is discussing Highland Park -- but I do not think the photo is from the USA. He has it listed as Ford Motor Company, Image Library # 99165-1 [not the Benson Ford Archives although they may also have a copy of the same photo].
Anyone have a higher resolution of the cars that might show if the hinges are or are not there on the front right door?
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Now THAT is the way to load and Transport a Model T. Much better than through the side door and stacking them on their ends as seen in other photos. Having the car load and unload under it's own power and ready for the showroom floor upon arrival saves in labor costs at the destination, by skipping the offloading and manhandling of the T in pieces and assembly time.
You'll notice that the swinging end doors on each railcar can be seen in their open position between each railcar and there are ramps spanning the space between each railcar so the Model T's can start at the back and drive all the way through the train to the frontmost car, working their way back until the train is completely loaded. Jim Patrick
Other than the current doubble deck they are still loaded the same as in the first picture.I would think the numbers,location,facilities would have dictated how they were shipped? Bud.
When I look at the tops on those new Fords, I wonder why I'm so picky on the way I do tops? Can you imagine anyone today paying to get a top put on that looks like they did then?
Maybe so, but Larry, notice how the top on the car first on the left in the second photo follows the angle of the rear body tub and overhangs the seat edge by the Ford-standard 2-3/8"??
Excellent photo Jay.
Hap, that is excellent thinking about differentiating between the Canadian or English cars. But the photo seems too dark to tell.
The likelihood of it being a Ford of England photo is very high. We can reach that conclusion by a process of elimination. I do not think Ford - US built (assembled) any right-hand drive cars. Ford of Canada did manufacture RHD cars, but the very great majority of those were for export. Those export cars would not have been shipped in the manner pictured.
But Ford of Canada did build a few RHD cars for local consumption - the Canadian provinces that still drove on the left at that time, and possibly these are some of those cars?
That leaves the only other plant the was manufacturing the Model T at that time, Trafford Park.
Of course, we are all assuming that the picture is taken at a Ford plant, and that the cars are being loaded, not unloaded. The opposite could be true, and the photo may have been taken at some sort of storage facility somewhere other than a Ford facility.
I sent a short e-mail to the "info" address of the Model T Ford Registry of Great Britain. Asking if they could help clarify where the photo was taken etc. Depending on how many e-mails they receive a week and how often they check it, hopefully we will hear back from them.
I suspect that the cars would be loaded and unloaded driving forward if possible. I.e. disconnect the rail road cars from the train and then they could be driven forward. I would hate to drive the car backwards from the front rail road car to the back exit. Although if I did that often it would probably be easier and easier to do.
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Even if they were being backed down the ramp, I doubt they would have backed on around to park where you see the others parked. They would have backed down and pulled forward and left with the rear of the cars toward the tracks. I vote for loading as well.
As Erik noted above, the rail cars (Goods Vans?) are European style with fixed single axle wheel sets underneath. The US stopped using those around the Civil War period. So, I think a British plant is likely.
Looks like the ramp is transported on Model T wheels.
I can confirm that the first photo is Trafford Park.
I happened to see that photo in a British edition of Ford Times a few days ago. I didn't make a note of the date, but I'll go and try to find it.
I think the location is on the SE edge of the site. If you have Model T Times No 384 (Mar-Apr 2013) - can I mention that here? - which has an article on Trafford Park, it would be at the left side of the photo at the top of page 27.
The photo was in UK Ford Times Vol 4 No12, July 1916.
The US railroads used this system for loading Semi trailers, they were backed the length of a train one at a time, then tied down. It was called piggy back hauling. I think Harold can give more info. on this. Harold (former RR special agent.)you out there?
Thanks Chris - that is a fairly conclusive answer!
Yeah, I'm here Bob. Loading/unloading "circus style", right? Bridge plates from one RR car deck to the next; it's still done all the time with bi-level and tri-level auto rack cars and they used to do it with semi-trailers all the time as you say, Bob, but not so much anymore since modern intermodal container handling equipment has evolved. Frankly, I didn't get too involved with much of that unless a security seal on those rear trailer doors was found broken, and then I'd be very involved with that for sure!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the e-mail and post the answer here. We really appreciate the clarification.
And yes, it is always ok to mention the "Model T Times" and Model T Ford Club International. Many of us are members of both clubs and both groups do a great job of supporting our hobby. I will have to locate my copy and find that corner of the photo.
Again thank you for all your help.
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