Southern Pacific Perlite Car #73

In 1957 the Southern Pacific converted 8 ordinary boxcars into perlite cars; numbers 9, 72,73,74,76, and 92 are documented to still be around the Owens Valley. These cars were essentially covered hopper cars to haul perlite from the loading facility at Elna to the standard gauge transfer at Owenyo.

The Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Historical Society decided that at least one must be saved and restored. With the assistance of the CCRW  car #73 was acquired and moved from a home just up the street from the Laws RR museum down to the Eastern California museum in Independence.

On a fine morning in the middle of May, 2009 these guys showed up to move #73. Within a couple hours the car was loaded and on its way to Independence on the back of Betty Dews trailer.

Left to right Grant Mull, Rick Eckardt, Tommy Myers, Dave Mull, Doug Mull. April 25 2009 Perlite Box car #73 Move 9:00 am

perlite02 perlite01
perlite0 perlite1

perlite3 perlite4

IMG_9757After unloading in Independence, #73 awaits its long deserved restoration. Since that day in 2009, the roof has been stabilized and a protective coat of paint has been applied. Currently the car is used for storage but may be restored in some manner in the future.

#73 has an interesting history;
1880 built by Carter Brothers as 28′ box car #254 for Oregonian Railroad
1-17-1899 Formal transfer to S.P.C. as #452
10-27-1907 To Nevada & Cal. as # 440
1923 rebuilt at Sparks from 20 to 30 ton car, 4′ trucks

Interior of #73 showing the remains of the perlite interior.
Interior of #73 showing the remains of the perlite interior.

1946 Renumbered 73
1957 rebuilt to Perlite Car
1961 Placed at Laws location as storage.
2009 to S.P.N.G. Historical Society. At Eastern California Museum