Re: Boxcar End Tackboards

Guy Wilber

Robert asked:

"Did the tackboard mounting location vary with the railroad, the car builder, the manufacturer of the tackboard or all of the above? Is there a standard 1937 AAR boxcar tackboard mounting location?"


You are referring to placard boards, not tack boards.

in 1914 The Master Car Builders Association adopted, as recommended practice, both the size and location of placard boards on the sides and ends of house cars, The placard boards were to be no less than 16" x 24" in size, The end and side location was to be no less than 4' 6" to the bottom of the placard board from the floor line. Placard boards were to be constructed and firmly attached to steel doors and ends, wood cars were to have the designated area painted with a contrasting color (preferably black) if separate boards were not applied.

Though passed as recommended practice the location was dictated and mandated by the ICC's rules governing the shipments of explosives and other dangerous commodities. Cars used in the shipment of such commodities were to be inspected and certified by competent carmen. The certification card was 7 by 7 inches and supplied in triplicate. One was filed by the forwarding carrier and the other two were attached to the the side doors (or placard boards) with the lower edge of the certificate not less than 4 1/2 feet above the floor level of the car.

Placards for all explosives and dangerous commodities were to be placed at the same height, 4' 6" from the car floor. The location was listed within the ICC instructions as well as the later ARA and AAR Bureau of Explosives instruction pamphlets. Placard boards remained at this height into the early 1950s. At that time railroad and shipper organizations complained that the height was impractical when cars were loaded or unloaded at locations away from loading docks.

In 1953 the AAR's Car Construction Committee lowered the location of placard boards on all the (then) current plates covering doors and ends of house cars. The new height to the bottom of placard boards on sides of cars was 22" and on ends was 2' 6". While The Bureau of Explosives agreed with the changes, the new lower locations were not officially adopted until 1954 after all Interchange and Bureau of Explosive regulations were submitted and approved by the membership of the AAR. Despite the delay in official approval many cars were built and rebuilt with placard boards located in the lower position. Ed Hawkins and others have noted this from photo evidence during previous discussions.

And, yes, the AAR 1937 design showed the height to the bottom of placard boards at 4' 6" as did all subsequent revisions until 1953.

Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.