Dennis Storzek

On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 11:40 AM, WILLIAM PARDIE wrote:
I believe that many railroads built their own cars from the USRA design.  Certainly the cars went through a number of incarnations once on line in brake gear and other appliances.  I do get confused, however, with the comment accompanying many comments in articles stating that "XYZ railroad TOOK DELIVERY
of a certain number of USRA box cars".  Did these railroads specify specific alterations to the original design?
No alterations to the cars in the original order, which were ordered by the USRA and assigned to different railroads, according to what the gov't perceived was their need for more cars. Remember, during this period the day to day operations of the railroads was effectively nationalized, so when the carbuilders shipped the cars on the gov't orders, the railroads took delivery. Unfortunately, the railroads still existed as independent corporate entities, who were expected to pay for the new cars. Not all were willing to do so, which lead to some re-assignments. Didn't really matter to the USRA as an operating entity; they just wanted more cars in the general fleet, and didn't really care whose reporting marks were on them.

After the war ended and the railroads were returned to the control of their owners, some roads did place additional orders for the USRA designs, but were free to make any modifications they chose. These later cars are typically referred to here as "USRA clones". The USRA specified inside height of 9'-0" was universally despised by the industry, who thought it wasteful, and most, if not all of the clones were ordered with a 5" lower inside height.

I'm not aware of any railroad that actually built clones in their own shops.

Dennis Storzek

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