What is form 637?

Anyone who has spent time browsing around this site knows that I am also a philatelist (*ahem*, a stamp collector).  Earlier today I was at Tosapex, an annual stamp show held in West Allis, Wisconsin.  Compared to the model train shows I attend, this show was exceptionally small and quiet, but there was plenty of railroadiana available there, especially in the form of RPO covers and stamps that depict railroad subjects.

I was at this show to find more material for my March 4 collection (which I've blogged about separately), but while I was poking through one box of post cards, I found this one...

Illinois Central Gulf RR post card

The other side of the card looks like this:

Illinois Central Gulf RR post card

It's a shipment tracking card that was intended to be filled out by the shipper and then mailed to the railroad.  The lower part where it has "Initial" and "Number" are where the shipper would record the reporting marks and car numbers that held the shipment.  I did a quick search for more information about this card, but using the text "railroad form 637" proved less than productive.

This card was printed for the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad, as their address — 231 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53203 — is under the address label on the card (I can see this information if I hold it up to a light).  There is also the name of the GM&O's freight agent on the top line, but a marker line, which can be seen on the image above as a dark brown patch, obscures the name, which is followed by "D. F. A."  On the shipment information side, you may be able to read the text under the marker line, but in case you can't, it says "VIA G., M. & O. R. R. AT" which would indicate the location where the car was to be picked up from an interchange point.

I purchased this card at the stamp show today for a few cents out of the dealer's bargain bin.  So the next time you hear of a stamp show in your area, check it out.  You might be surprised at what you find.