Re: M3 stuarts on Soo Line flat car in Cincy photo

Scott H. Haycock

It appears to me that every car in this image, that looks like it belongs on the rip track, or has a load issue, has a tag located right next to the reporting marks.

The two B&O box cars look like they have loose, or unsecured loads that have shifted, causing the sides to be pushed outwards, resulting in the carlines collapsing. The car on the left much more so. If you look carefully, or use an index card as a gauge, you can see that the door edges are not vertical, compared to the car ends. Also, the car on the right shows signs of an overloaded underframe (slightly bowed down under the door).

The B&O composite hopper looks overloaded to me. As the load would settle during transit, the load would spill over the top of the sides of the car.

The SOO line flatcar, besides the shifted chocking, appears to have some damage to the decking above the near end sill.

The pole load shifting has already been discussed by others.

The SS boxcar to the left of the B&O hopper, the N&W box car to the right of the tanks, both have similar tags, but I see no obvious damage. 

I'm wondering if it was common for railroads to put repair, or overload tags next to the reporting marks, instead of on the tagboards, possibly to be sure the car's owner would be billed? 

Scott Haycock


I agree it's likely a RIP track, but those "tags" are not the reason, as they look like paper that can be found on just about any steam era freight car to indicate lading, destination, etc. You can see such paper tags on many cars in the regular yard even in this photo. The separation of cars, the fact a flat with two tanks is isolated with one tank not chocked fully, and the track adjacent to parts storage while separate from other yard tracks are much stronger evidence. I'm not convinced the poles can fit in the gon, and it is more that there is inadequate bracing or tie downs to prevent shifting that puts in on the RIP track. The shipper tried to put too much in one gon for the railroad's taste to minimize shipping, but didn't put enough bracing to prevent longitudinal shifting. I wonder if the Railroad was desperate enough for the business as the war time shipments wound down in '45 to just fix and deliver, or felt this loading was unfair and decided to either break the load into two goons or put proper bracing and charge the shipper?

Fascinating photo.

Sent from Dave Bott's iPad

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