Re: odd US military depressed center flat car


In general the reporting marks "USA" instead of "USAX" identified US Army freight cars intended for or actually in foreign service.  Foreign service usually meant Korea or Germany but some cars and locomotives in the inventory could have the gauge widened to 60 or 66 inches which might suggest to some the possibility of use in countries other than those in western Europe (Spain excluded) or Korea.

The car in the photo appears very similar to the car illustrated on page 5-30 of Department of the Army Technical Manual (TM) 55-208 dated October 1976 which car was described as "Railway car, flat, depressed center, 56 1/2 (143.51 cm), 60 (152.40 cm) and 66 inch (167.64 cm) gages, 70 ton (63 metric ton), 12 wheel, foreign service."

The Department of Defense did not use the reporting marks in most internal documents so, unless you can get close enough to the car to find and read the Federal or National Stock Number, you can't connect the contents of TM 55-208 with contents of the ORER, if indeed the ORER is even applicable.

Gene the insomniac Green

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