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Old 11-03-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
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Southern Pacific crew trailer

I have a 1964 Mobile Industrial trailer built for the Southern Pacific Railroad by Airstream in the Santa Fe Springs plant. It is 32' with SP badging. I have two of the California registrations from the 60's which also ID it as an Airstream. I am going to restore this trailer and would like as much info about it; such as layout and fittings. I am also interested in the history of the trailer and its relationship to Airstream and the railroad. Thanks!!!!
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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Pictures, please!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:49 AM   #3
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Almost every commercial Airstream was configured differently. It could have been a bunkhouse, office, kitchen, or combination of the three.
Photos of the trailer both inside and out would be a great help. Does it retain any of its original interior pieces?
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:32 PM   #4
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Would be interested to see what it looks like. And welcome to the forums.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:19 PM   #6
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Southern Pacific crew trailer photos

These are some photos when I took possession of the unit. It is now at my shop.

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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I love the SP logo! It looks like a kin, not Airstream. I wonder if SP would have any info on it in their archives? Contact someone like this: Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society**||**Archives
you might just tap into a bunch of "foamers" who would be more than happy to help find out the history of your trailer. These guys are super organized and may be able to direct you too Western Railway Museum - Solano County - California

Very cool project.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:43 PM   #8
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Interesting. It doesn't LOOK like an Airstream, and unless it's just a real soft focus on the photo, it appears to have a one-piece end piece from the top to the bumper. However, I've seen a number of references to that address as a former location of a California Airstream factory.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:48 AM   #9
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That looks really different than the other Airstreams made for railroad companies. What a nice find. Can't wait to see the restoration.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492...oad-47602.html
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:19 AM   #10
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Watch your clearence with that swamp coller up top, dose it have a vin # ?.
Is that adress the same as Air Streams old adress. Best of luck - Wolfe
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:17 AM   #11
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Thanks for the SP historical info! What is a KIN? I have seen photos of the 40' railroad unit in Portola CA. and this has many of the same interior finishes and was built at the same location. Why do you think SP would have had this different style. The address on the ID tag is the same as the old AS factory from those years and it appears AS was building it's larger units in that factory when this was built. The Calif. registration does call it an AS. Thanks for any info!!
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:23 AM   #12
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"Kin" is short for "vintage kin" and is a term used on AIRForums for other aluminum travel trailers that competed with Airstream back in the day. Some vintage kin makes are Avion, Silver Streak, Streamline, etc.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:56 AM   #13
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Interesting. At first glance it dosent look like an airstream. But the windows are hehrs and the interior overhead bins look airstream . The address is the old factory and airstream was at this location then. I wonder if mobile industrial leased space? Airstream could have made it. But the end caps don't look like airstream at all. Can you show more close up of the end caps? Is the skin aluminum?

In the 70's airstream made trucks to supplement income. Could be they needed the $$.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtoNC View Post
Interesting. At first glance it dosent look like an airstream. But the windows are hehrs and the interior overhead bins look airstream . The address is the old factory and airstream was at this location then. I wonder if mobile industrial leased space? Airstream could have made it. But the end caps don't look like airstream at all. Can you show more close up of the end caps? Is the skin aluminum?

In the 70's airstream made trucks to supplement income. Could be they needed the $$.
It's definitely an Airstream, made by what was later called their Commercial division.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:41 AM   #15
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It sure looks like it has some Airstream lineage. The end caps look to be one peace and made of fiberglass?! The use of hehr windows, interior aluminum skin, and many other details I fine that there might be a connection to Airstream.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:57 AM   #16
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The differences are easy enough to understand. If the trailer was built under contract by Airstream's Commercial Division, then it would have been made to the customer's specifications, not to Airstream's. But Airstream still would have executed the customer's specifications their own way, hence the similarity to their recreational models.

It's like Boston Whaler building boats for the Government. They look an awful lot like recreational Boston Whalers, but they're built to Government specs, so there are also obvious differences as well as similarities.
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:08 PM   #17
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So why the different badging - " mobile industrial"? Was this airstreams brand or another company's ? Vin, I too thought the end caps looked fiberglass.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:38 PM   #18
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I consulted with Fred Coldwell on this. Based on the date of manufacture (shown on the serial plate as "6312" or December 1963), the address of the factory, and known history, we believe that this trailer was indeed manufactured by a division of Airstream.

In the Winter 2012 issue of Airstream Life we featured a 40-foot trailer built by Airstream for the Western Pacific railway and noted:

" ... the Southern Pacific Railroad also ordered several highly experimental 40’ Airstreams with fiberglass end caps. None of these units have re-entered the market place and their disposition is also unknown."

Although this is a 32 footer, this appear to be one of those trailers.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:04 PM   #19
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I wrote to a friend of mine who at one time worked for the Southern Pacific. He knew about these units and wrote back:

Quote:
In the late 50s and early 60s the company tried to move a lot of its M of W folks out of the old passenger cars and box cars and into Airstreams. They went so far as to make water, power and waste disposal available at places along the right of way. They usually used the existing septic system left over from a disestablished station. This went on for about ten years or so then the suits must have done a study and found that paying per diem and renting motel rooms was even cheaper. The M of W trucks assigned were all set up to pull the trailers when going from one place to another.

I take a guess and wonder if the relatively rough crowd was a little much for the somewhat flimsy interior construction and fixtures in the trailers as well as forcing the line managers and foremen to assure cleanliness and so forth.

One can still find the old hookups abandoned in rural areas along the track. The mechanization of the gangs and the reduction in staff numbers also made the per diem plan more practical.

A system steel gang or a tie gang in the '50s had upwards of 150 folks. Now it is a little more than one guy per machine plus the foreman and a mechanic and maybe a couple of utility men and the bus driver. The gangs are highly specialized: curve gangs that transpose the high and low rails at mid-life on curves, tie gangs, surfacing gangs that do tamping and aligning, switch gangs that only replace switches and others. A system gang usually has an assigned train to carry all the machines plus boxcars with spare parts. The mix depends on the season's work that is planned. It is my impression that no gang is better than its mechanic.
Hope that helps.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
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SP Trailer

WOW! This is great info. I have not started work on this unit yet but the questions about the front and rear cones got me to look closer. I had not questioned them the body is aluminum but you got me to look closer and it appears they are painted fiberglass I will know better once I start work. any history of FG work at that plant during the mid 60's. As for interior it is almost the same as that traditional body style 40' in Portola CA. originally all painted in Zolatone.
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