Tim has hit on the most important reason that railroads would care about how
many of each car class remained on their rosters: Not per diem per se, but
Railroads employed legions of accountants for all sorts of purposes, one of
which was to keep track of how much the railroad was worth as a going
enterprise. A lot of that assessment has to do with the physical plant,
both the stationary plant and the rolling stock. I think it was Dennis
mentioned that the ICC Valuation reports were required to be updated until
sometime in the late 50s, early 60s. In order to keep a valuation up to
date, you would have to know how many of each type of car is still a viable
And then we get into the discussion of when a car isn't covering its costs
to own. Another reason to keep tabs on the cars you have in your fleet.
But for me, the point was to find out how many cars were in service after
1950. And it turns out that this is important for a model manufacturer to
know so as to judge whether it's worth producing a model. And it was quite
effective for my purposes, thank you very much.
Too bad the Southern didn't take this more seriously. I wonder what the ICC
had to say about it.
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: ORERs
My reply was really directed to Ike's post but I had not seen it,
only your reply...
Anyway I thought of an EXCELLENT reason why ALL railroads were very
in the exact number of freight cars they owned - Per Diem! There had better
an account of every single car's whereabouts at midnight every night and if
were offline, the account had better be paid!
You have me there. I should have said, "if it wasn't important for the
number of cars in a series to be accurate, why was it tracked in the ORER?"
My response was in reply to George Eichelberger's post of April 8, 2017.
Apparently the Southern didn't care too much about the accuracy of the
listings of cars being taken out of service. The GN did, dutifully counting
down the numbers of GN truss rod cars, despite their wholesale retirement in
the postwar years.