An inaugural shipment of 18 Toronado automobiles recently arrived in New Orleans and officially opened Southern's new $1.5 million automobile terminal.
Eighteen Oldsmobiles are parked in front on the "Autoguard" car that carried them to New Orleans.
The Toronados were aboard the "Autoguard" car, Southern's revolutionary freight car that protects automobiles from weather, vandalism and theft.
The " Autoguard" car was loaded at the General Motors' Oldsmobile plant in Lansing, Mich., for the 900-mile trip.
With a staging area that will hold more than 1,100 standard-size automobiles, the new terminal is the second largest of its kind on Southern. Only the 1,400-car facility in Atlanta is bigger.
"The new facility reflects Southern's confidence that the substantial growth of the New Orleans area in recent years will continue to accelerate for as long as anyone can foresee," said Robert S. Hamilton, executive vice president, Marketing and Planning.
The new terminal covers 141/2 acres, with additional acreage available for expansion. Bordering on Almonaster Avenue, it is served by three tracks branching from Southern's main line.
Automobiles had been unloaded at the Oliver Yard facility, but business became so heavy that it could not be handled effectively in the old location. So, to provide better service, the new facility was constructed.
Mr. Hamilton said the " Autoguard" car is the latest in a series of innovations that has established Southern as a leader in transportation technology. Besides protecting automobiles in transit, this car has another important advantage.
It can be loaded and unloaded with existing equipment and facilities. There is no need for either shippers or receivers to change loading or unloading practices and no terminal facility investment is required as with some other types of automobile carriers.
"One of the car's revolutionary features," Mr. Hamilton said, is that it "incorporates the important advantages of articulated design, each car consisting of three pin-jointed modules riding on single-axle trucks. This gives the car the ability to bend like a caterpillar when it goes around curves."
The Oldsmobiles are unloaded under the watchful eyes of Robert S. Hamilton (left), Southern executive vice president, Marketing and Planning; Victor A. Long, director of GM's Logistic Operations Division; and Elmore A. Evers, Southern assistant vice president, Markets Management.
This, he pointed out, makes possible the length that gives the car a capacity of 18 full-size automobiles, or half again as many as the 12-car capacity of standard tri-level automobile rack-type cars. This hopefully will hold the unit cost of transporting automobiles in a fully enclosed car within an economic range.
Noting that articulation also permits the " Autoguard" car to be constructed to the maximum width of 10 feet 8 inches allowable under regulations of the Association of American Railroads, he said "the result is more usable inside width for loading and unloading than in any of the other automobile cars now in use. The extra width means less damage to car doors when drivers climb in and out of the autos."
The ability to negotiate sharper curves than standard trilevels and to provide superior vertical riding characteristics, including greater stability, are still other advantages of the " Autoguard" car's articulated design.
"We confidently expect the' Autoguard' car to assert its advantages quickly," Mr. Hamilton said. "We think it will become a prime vehicle for the movement of automobiles and grow steadily in usefulness to the entire automobile industry and its customers."