ARA/AAR Car Construction Classifications
"That brings to mind a question that came up in a discussion on the SooLineHistory list. The Soo had two series of oddball cars, boxcars
36600-38198, even, and auto cars 75000-75398, even, built in 1917 by Haskell & Barker. These were double sheathed cars with wood sills and truss rods. I've seen the H&B drawings of these cars, and they were definitely NOT built with steel center sills. As such, they should have been restricted from interchange after 1/1/35, and indeed, photos of them in service are exceedingly rare (nonexistent for the boxcars).
However, I have a Soo Mech. Dept. roster dated 1/1/62 that shows one car from each series still remaining. Each entry is followed by the notation (E-4), with no further explanation.
A look in the Jan, 1958 ORER shows three cars remaining in each series, with no note or other exception. I realize it is possible that the Soo rebuilt a small number of these cars with steel center sills, not that I've ever seen any evidence of this.
Any idea what the (E-4) means?"
In 1926 The ARA's Arbitration Committee established the sub classes of class E construction. Prior, the definitions within Class E were simply described collectively. As of 1926 the various classes were:
Class A . All Steel
Class B. Steel Underframe with steel superstructure frame
Class C. All Steel Underframe
Class D. All wood, with continuous metal center sill construction, with not less than 24 in. of sectional area between draft back stops, and with not less than one top or bottom cover plate from draft back stops to draft backstops.
Class E (1). All wood, with not less than 8 in. continuous metal center sills of not less than 18 lb. per foot per member, with not less than one top or bottom cover plate from bolster to bolster.
Class E (2). All wood, with not less than 8 in. continuous metal draft of not less than 18 lb. per ft. per member, with not less than one top or bottom cover plate from bolster to bolster.
Class E (3). All wood, with not less than 8 in. continuous metal draft of not less than 18 lb per you c. per member, securely fastened to wooden center sills not less than 4 in. by 8 in.
Class E (4). All wood equipped with metal draft arms extending 24 in. or more beyond center line of body bolster, and with body bolster of sufficient strength to transmit buffing and pulling shocks to all longitudinal sills.
Class F. All wood.
As you can see; I mis-spoke earlier today regarding the use of a bottom or top plate within the E-4 description.
The E-4 class was originally slated to be prohibited in interchange on, and after, January 1, 1934. This date was subsequently advanced to January 1, 1936 by the ARA's Arbitration Committee. Shortly thereafter, in a rare action, the Arbitration Committee submitted the proposals prohibiting both Type "F" and "E-4" classes to the membership of the ARA on June 27, 1934. The voting to prohibit all wood construction (Type "F") passed overwhelmingly, thus Type "F" construction was prohibited in interchange on January 1, 1935 with no further extension granted.
The then proposed deadline of January 1, 1936 for cars of Type "E-4" construction, via membership vote (1,893 yes, 329 no) was also confirmed. Despite the voting results, the negative voters petitioned the ARA's General Committee for a further extension. An extension up to April 1, 1937 was granted, but was moved back to January 1, 1937. No further extensions were requested, nor granted, and cars of Type "E-4" construction were prohibited in interchange on and after January 1, 1937.