Re: Box Car Database

Schuyler Larrabee

I hope this will be commonly available. If he’s willing to make it available to all FOR FREE, he is to be truly admired.


From: [] On Behalf Of Al and Patricia Westerfield
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 6:42 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Box Car Database

I assisted this gentleman for many years, supplying all my history sheets. His work is truly amazing. – Al Westerfield

From: Gene
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 12:34 PM
To: <>
Subject: [STMFC] Box Car Database

Hi all,

I have alluded to this in previous posts.

A friend of mine has been working on a database of all box cars built or rebuilt between about 1910 and 1940 as well as any box cars that interested him from before 1910 or after 1940. For the most part the single criteria for inclusion was a steel underframe, either as originally built or added later. This is a car-by-car database and includes renumberings, sales to other railroads, builder and date built, retirement and date of retirement, type of roof, sides, ends, doors, hand brakes, trucks, etc. The database is quite useful.

This fellow has, in the past, asked me not to reveal his name nor forward him queries although I have had access to the database for my own personal use. (Yes, I felt guilty having access to this database and not sharing.) This individual has the scientific background and access to a great deal of information - way more than even the best informed of us - so that his product is of high quality and accuracy.

Today I received an email from this gentleman. I slightly FBI-style redacted version appears below.

Hi Gene -
"Thanks for thinking of me here. . . . . Nothing I can add to the conversation, though I do have service histories for these cars and could add that a mighty handsome #88958 restored to its original PM livery is in the B&O Museum in Baltimore though I'm not sure this info would be useful to the conversation.

"In this line of thinking, I have been coming round to the idea of posting the box car database for download. It would be a sanitized version without my working tables - just those parts that are more or less "finished." Still it would be large, but these days an easy download. I could re-post updated versions every 6 months or so perhaps. Do you have any thoughts of what might be the best venue to do this? Perhaps there is more than one place?"

I would like to pass along any ideas or advice anyone on this forum might care to post either on this forum (if the sheriff approves) or directly to me off list if that seems the better way to go.

At the present time the database is in some sort of ultra-sophisticated software that I don't understand. The software alone, to say nothing of the database itself, so exceeds the capability of any computer I have that I only tried once to download it. How it might be altered to make it available to the plebeian masses is beyond me. I have every confidence this person can do what needs to be done to make it available.

And no, he won't do refrigerator cars even though I am sure that every Santa Fe refrigerator car that ever existed still exists on some farm or ranch out west here. We could give him a running start.

Gene Green

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