Re: 36-foot boxcars

Benjamin Hom

Richard Hendrickson wrote:
"Bill, I wouldn't put too much stock in those numbers. Aging 36' box cars lasted longer on smaller and less prosperous railroads (and on Class 1 RRs like the Southern, which was still acquiring them in the late '20s) than on major transcontinental lines, and 50' cars were more numerous on the railroads that had a lot of automobile and auto parts traffic (e.g., NYC, Pennsy, Santa Fe, UP). So the ratio might vary a lot depending on the RR and location you're modeling. As always, interchange records, conductors' train books, and photos of actual trains are more useful than abstract numbers. In the area and era I model, I need many 50' cars, as the Santa Fe hauled large amounts of auto parts into the Los Angeles area and many finished autos and trucks out of it, but very few 36' cars, as the Santa Fe's had mostly been retired and most other western RRs (UP. SP, WP, GN, NP, MILW) had shifted from 36' to 40' box cars early in the 20th century. As always,
YMMV, of course. No doubt 36' box cars were more numerous in the southeast than in the far west."
To back Richard's assertion regarding geography and specific railroad, here are some Canadian boxcar numbers from data pulled from Rutland shifting lists in Armand Premo's collection from trains on the O&LC (with a Canadian gateway on the east end of the line), 1948-1950:
Total XM: 359 (of 3166 total XM)
Total 36 ft XM: 206
Total XM: 124
Total 36 ft XM: 64
I still have to analyze the specific car numbers of the 36 ft cars, but I anticipate almost all of them to be Fowler/Dominion SS boxcars.  Other roads' 36 ft cars appear to be much fewer in proportion, but this is analysis that I still need to do.
Ben Hom

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