The Titanic Train
by Jim Herron
At approximately 11:40 PM on April 14,1912 ,the TITANIC struck an iceberg. At 2:20AM, roughly two hours and forty minutes later, the TITANIC sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. What happened in those 160 minutes over 90 years ago has captivated and fascinated the world ever since. The TITANIC was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland .It was owned by the White Star Lines, which was a holding company of sorts for the multi-millionaire J.P. Morgan. The TITANIC was 882 1/2 feet long,92 ½ wide and as high as an eleven story building. It weighed over 53,000 tons, had a top speed of 24 knots. In its day was the largest ship ever built, though not the fastest.
The ticket prices for a voyage on the TITANIC in 1912 varied according to class and location. A first-class ticket ranged from $430 to $3,300, second class was $65, and a third-class ticket (steerage) was $35.
The TITANIC sailed from Southhampton , England on April 10 ,1912. with approximately 1,324 total passengers and a crew of 899. Its next stop was the port of Cherboug, France where they picked up passengers and cargo. It then proceeded on to Queenstown , Ireland for yet more passengers and cargo.
The TITANIC had quite a large cargo hold for the Trans-Atlantic market ,which was very lucrative and quite popular due to the speed of delivery — 4 to 5 days from Europe to the docks of New York City. Cargo onboard the TITANIC included a new Renault 1912 automobile, 300 cases of shelled walnuts, and sardines, 630 cases of Champagne, French cheese, over 1,100 bags of potatoes, mercury, 250 cases of olive oil, a hold of rough oak beams, and a shipment of grandfather clocks. Then there was the food the TITANIC carried. For example: 75, 000 pounds of fresh meat, 11,000 pounds. of fish, 7500 pounds of bacon and ham, 40,000 eggs, 2,000 pounds of coffee, 800 pounds. of tea, 10,000 pounds of sugar, 200 barrels of flour, 16,000 lemons, 1500 gallons of milk, over 450 gallons of ice cream , 6000lbs. of butter, 7000 heads of lettuce, 50 boxes of grapefruit and 40 tons of potatoes. In addition to all of this cargo, there were literally hundreds of tons of coal and bags of mail for delivery to the United States.
This brings about how the White Star Lines was going to move all this cargo to and from once they docked at the White Star Pier in New York City. Through much research and investigation both Bob Mintz and myself have discovered that there was a freight line that had contractual obligations with the White Star company. White Star had purchased and had specially painted Boxcars in TITANIC colors and namesake, to be at the piers and transport both the arriving and departing cargo. So for the first time we will be able to bring you an original replica of an actual TITANIC boxcar, not seen in over 90 years and seen again first on these pages of the TCA E-Train Magazine .
BE ADVISED, though due to the nature of the catastrophic disaster, the company had to work fast and make some immediate changes to this boxcar which was sitting by the pier waiting for the TITANIC to dock after it was found the the ship was sunk by an iceberg. As they say , “A picture is worth a thousand words”. You can see for the first time what transpired on April 15, 1912 by a very adept individual of the railroad and/or White star Line. We will never know and it shall remain a mystery.
Sadly, the TITANIC was not unsinkable. It ended the era of the Guilded Age, and was one of the worst sea disasters in Maritime history. There was a tremendous loss of life. 1,507 passengers and crew were lost and only 706 survived out of over 2,213 people. It brought better safety drills, life boats for every passenger on board and 24 hour radio communication to all ships at sea. So ends this brief saga of the TITANIC and how, after all these years, mysteries are still being discovered about this tragic event.