Re: Less than 40-foot box car data from 1943 ORER

Ian Cranstone

Another factor that likely drove down the number of Canadian cars appearing in the U.S. would have been the easy availability of empty U.S. cars following deliveries in many Canadian locales which were likely frequently loaded and routed south of the border towards home, and the car loading rules (at least theoretically) would have encouraged this behaviour.  The major exception to this would likely have been the Canadian cars assigned to paper service of one sort or another, as this required high-quality cars which were far more likely to be supplied by the Canadian roads. Of course, even by the 1930s, this traffic would have been served by the newer 40' steel boxcars starting to appear on the roster in large numbers, and not by the older steel frame 36' cars.

I don't think WWII changed much as far as the customs folks were concerned - I've been reading a great deal in a recent CNR steam locomotive manuscript (I was the book designer) about the customs rules and duties applied to locomotive transfers between CNR and its American subsidiaries during WWII, and the customs folks were still conducting business as usual. I've heard claims that at one time U.S. locomotives crossing the border had 36 hours to return, and as a result locomotives were tracked very carefully.  I suspect that customs would have a lot more trouble tracking cars generally, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that U.S cars did some domestic Canadian trips and Canadian cars did some domestic U.S. trips without being caught. 

Ian Cranstone

Osgoode, Ontario, Canada


On 2014-04-16, at 2:07 PM, Dave Nelson wrote:


The Canadian equivalent of the ICC’s Bureau of Statistics reported that about 10% of all Canadian carload shipments were destined for the U.S.  In addition, U.S. IMPORT regulations stated that all foreign owned freight cars that crossed the border into the U.S. had to be reloaded for destinations in its home country OR returned empty immediately OR import duties would be applied against whomever received it at the border.  IOW, the car could not legally be free rolling like any  U.S. boxcars were.


All of the above doesn’t mean a CP or CN boxcar wouldn’t take a shipment pretty far… say, to San Diego (it did per photo evidence) but only that it had to be returned to Canada immediately after being unloaded.


In examining thousands of wheel reports (post war, Class I trunk lines) it does appear that CP / CN boxcars appear far less often than you would expect based on their fleet sizes… roughly 10% of what you’d expect.


Somehow I do not think that’s just a coincidence.


No idea if what I’ve just described was changed for WWII.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.