---In STMFC@..., <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote :

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


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.



You need to re-read this thread - it is getting ridiculous.

There are a whole host of reasons RR's kept detailed and up to date records of their freight cars, unrelated to the ORER's:

1) Maintenance scheduling

2) Corporate accounting for expenses (repairs, betterment, renewals)

3) ICC valuations

4) Depreciation for income tax. I doubt RR's would want to equate this with ICC valuation - the RR's would want to depreciate as fast as possible to reduce income tax. At the same time, they would want higher valuations for the ICC - even if the IRS considers a 20 year old car fully depreciated. From the standpoint of the ICC setting freight rates, I would want the value of a 20 year old car to be a lot more than scrap... Does anyone know if the accounting for these two purposes was different?

5) Property tax - another valuation - at least in modern Fairfax County, VA, there is no link between the depreciated value of my small business assets (as far as the IRS is concerned), and the value Fairfax County thinks should be the basis of my business property tax. And this can vary over states and local jurisdictions. The PRR and CNJ once tried to shift the home of some CNJ cars from NJ to PA to escape the higher property tax rates in NJ - they were caught on it and had to reverse their attempt at what may be considered tax evasion.

6) Car utilization and strategic planning.

I seriously doubt the RR's EVER used an ORER for these purposes. They had access to much more authoritative data.

George's eminently reasonable point is that a major source of failure when using the then current ORER was NOT finding a car, currently in use, in the ORER - that would make life difficult for many. So new cars would be entered in early, cars going through rebuild programs that included a renumbering may be listed twice, and classes being retired may show a higher car count than the useful date of the ORER. I suspect the ORER's car counts for older classes were refreshed based on updates to the ICC valuations (much more authoritative, and why pay clerks to do the count twice?) Car counts for cars under contract for delivery would go into the ORER early, along with rebuild programs that included a change in the car's number. I also suspect the frequency of update would depend on the size of the railroad. I am not sure a RR would re-analyze their entire fleet in full every 30 days if they had over 100,000 cars. I think George indicated that ICC valuations were updated twice a year. But for a private owner with 1000 cars, they could easily keep their totals updated monthly.

George simply pointed out that the Southern's ORER listing of car counts in each entry were not authoritative for the date of the ORER, and that there may be, in various archives, more accurate data. The PRRT&HS may have just received a 500 pound pallet full of such records (a quick sample suggests the paper was being used for tax purposes right after the PC merger), that may support a more accurate count than the ORER's on the dates of that paper.

Does anyone in this group think it would be worth the time to review and compile all of the data contained in 500 pounds of paper? Just to get a more accurate retirement date for a limited set of old PRR and NYC freight cars?

I seriously doubt that the RR's compiling data for submission to the ORER's were concerned about modelers 70 years in the future using the ORER to validate their model fleets. Criticizing the practices of the Southern, one of the nation's more successful railroads, because it does not satisfy modelers' needs 70 years later is the ultimate chutzpah...

Time to move on to something more interesting and useful.
Dave Evans

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