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- "HERBIE" at Little Rock, Arkansas. Notice that car is a different body from the one below. Also notice the air-conditioning unit mounted on the bulkhead end panel. Dated 3/1983 - Bill Folsom Photo/T. Greuter Collection

The HERB-1 Boxcars
The MoPac's HERBIE (reporting marks 'Herb -1') car - a converted 40' boxcar with the slogan "Herbie Rides the Help Every Railroader Be Injury Exempt Division," was often paired with East One (see below), a converted combine/caboose for promoting rail safety as part of the instruction car fleet.

There was not one but two HERBIE cars, and the symbolic car went through revised paint schemes (two different MP heralds placed in different locations). Herb-1 was also in active service after the merger on the UP system, complete with a UP shield to replacing the MP eagle/buzzsaw.

MoPac's HERB-1 - The artist David F. Newborne, a carman in Memphis,TN, standing beside the newly finished car - Photo courtesy J. Freeman

MoPac's HERB-1 - Its 1979 and a freshly body-painted boxcar awaits its transformation. - Photo courtesy J. Freeman

A little history of the Herbie boxcar
In 1979 the Arkansas division safety committee held a contest for a new safety slogan to be used on safety posters. A carman in Memphis,TN named David F. Newborne who was also a amateur artist won the contest.

The committee liked the Herbie idea and his artwork so much that it was decided to paint it on a boxcar to tour the system. So boxcar numbered MP 129685 was spotted infront of the repair track in May of 1979. Several of us carmen painted the sides of the car boxcar red. David painted and lettered the Herbie on the sides of the car.

After the UP-MP merger another boxcar was painted in the Herbie scheme.

The "Herbie" photos below are of the car with the sides painted. - Thanks to J. Freeman

MoPac's HERB-1 - awaits its transformation. - Photo courtesy J. Freeman

MoPac's HERB-1 - Painting in progress. The masking for the lettering is clearly visible. - Photo courtesy J. Freeman


MoPac's HERB-1 - The car now has most of the paintwork on the sides done. - Photo courtesy J. Freeman

The Real Story, MP Herbie boxcar and UP Herbie boxcar
We stand corrected thanks to J. Freeman!

The MP & UP HERB-1 were not the same car, but actually two different boxcars. It is not clear if the "HERB-1" reporting marks were used on both.

The MP Herbie boxcar (the original car) is thought to have seen a variation of the original paint job re-done in North Little Rock. - Thanks to J. Freeman




Click these links for an image posted at ABPR / ABPR Photo-Mopac HERB-1 - boxcar, Dolton, Ill, March 26,1981 - Thomas Goldin Photo/Peter J. Vincent Collection ABPR Photo-UP HERB-1 - Looks the same, but different. A later version on another car with UP shield, 1987.- Glen Beans Photo Photo "Herbie" Graffiti - closeup of graffiti on Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay box car no. 8082 found in the Milwaukee yard in Mason City, IA, on August 4, 1977. - SD Marty Photo


Graffiti History 101: Just Who Was Herbie?
The Herbie drawing began appearing first as graffiti art on freight cars - a large number of these being owned by the Mopac.  The Mopac later adopted the art for use with a safety slogan on a boxcar stationed out of Little Rock.  It is still in use on the Union Pacific R.R. today. 

Herbie Meyer was the original artist behind the fellow enjoying his siesta under a sombrero resting against a palm tree drawings. The name Herbie followed by a date was always under him. Herbie worked as a switchman for a yard and transfer company, other than Missouri Pacific, somewhere in the St Louis area, possibly the TRRA (one story has it that he was a switchman on the Wiggins Division of the TRRA in St Louis).

He died December 9th, 1995, when he was in his eighties. He is now a legend in the graffiti community, as more and more practitioners are researching the history of railroad graffiti by railworkers and hobos, and they are finding his prodigious output of drawings on the railcars had an apparent omnipotent presence in vast railroad network for over three decades.

There was an article in the CB Hist Society magazine Cotton Belt Star about Herbie identifying him as a carman at East St Louis, hence so many 'tagged' MoPac and Cotton belt cars. (gathered from the MOPAC Group)

"A story that appeared in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineer's Newspaper back in the early 80's told that Herbie was a Car Inspector that worked in the St Louis, MO area for either the Terminal Railroad Association of St Louis or Alton & Southern, but I cannot remember which one it was for sure now. He retired around 1980.

"Herbie told of many who attempted to copy his artwork, but never getting it correct as the number or style of leaves on the tree were never quite right." (Tuch)

MP East One - which was often paired with HERB-1, had the unique distinction of being the sole MP caboose to wear a large "Turbo" eagle. "November 27, 1982 finds Missouri Pacific's Classroom, a converted Drover's Caboose, at Dolton, Illinois." MP East One was recycled by the railroad as a company promo for railroad safety. - Thomas J. Golden photo, postcard


Featured Photographers:
J. Freeman

MOPAC Group, J. Freeman

Every effort has been made to get the correct information on these pages, but mistakes do happen. Reporting of any inaccuracies would be appreciated.


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 l Last Update to this page: 7 May, 2008
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