Now *That's* a Deck Load






How did this happen? Tell me a story.


Looks like the beginning of Crowley’s HydroTrain run.


McKeen Railmotor #7 of the Southern Pacific (all 30.5 tons of it) was ordered in 1908 and retired in 1920. The most likely explanation for the picture is that it was being transferred from California to the Portland, OR division of the railroad by sea. Not the calmest section of ocean for such a load.




The passenger space. The porthole windows were also a McKeen trademark.

Image source and some interesting additional engineering info.

The engine was mounted transversely.


Christian Smith’s Belship specialized in carriage of fully assembled locomotives already in the 1920’s
His vessels were capable of loading and discharging the locomotives as well:

The one in the picture is probably not one of the Belship vessels, but here is a picture of one of the early Belships:

More on the Belray:


From the forum where I encountered the picture:

The McKeen photo has just shown up on a railroad enthusiasts site with the following information:SP McKeen Car #7 was on its way to Coos Bay from San Francisco on the SS Adeline Smith in this December, 1913 photo.

The date is being questioned as the Coos Bay line didn’t open to through traffic to Eugene until 1916.




Googling on the “Adeline Smith” shows she was a pretty typical “steam lumber schooner” of her era, designed to carry a deck load of boards.





Here’s a real deck load.



I would guess that this is a picture of a Russian ship just after the former Soviet Union collapsed. The Russian crews were buying up second hand LADA anywhere they could get them.
I asked one of them; why not buy Volvo or Volkswagen or whatever?
Because you cannot find spare parts, or people who know how to “trick fix” them. Lada. plenty spares and any idiot can fix them.

PS> On a Vietnamese rig with partly Russian crews that had been in Singapore for repairs, the pipe rack was full of Ladas and the sack store full of old washing machines, fridges and old bicycles. All going to Sakhalin by the next supply boat heading that way from Vung Tau.


Yes it is a Russian ship. The period is about right, maybe before that even. I think I took this photo in Yokohama, it’s been a while so can’t remember for sure. I believe those are Japanese cars they bought because they had to be junked otherwise.

The reason I believe it was taken in Japan is because I remember being in Pusan at the time of the collapse and there weren’t any Russian ships going anywhere, the crews were too busy selling off anything they could unbolt. They would stop you on Texas Street and offer to sell everything from spare parts to portholes.