Re: Standard Steel Freight Cars - Experiment (corrected)

Bob Webber

Thanks, Dan.

This is a temporary version - I plan on putting another out in the "near" future that contains more data - and will likely be a PDF with an xls alternative. 

The reason there is no order info is that these were early scans - and we didn't realize at that time if it would be important (I say we - I wasn't there).  This is a 20 year effort - you learn a lot in 20 years.  That means, also means 20 years of orders - each order teaches us a lot about what customers want - and are looking for.  We are slowly back filling data - if it is present.  many drawings have no order infor (which you can see on the list - I've taken to adding that phrase rather than leaving that part of the caption empty). 

There are a *LOT* of early cars that may be of interest.  Cement covered hoppers in the late 20s, 3 bay 50-ton open hoppers, various Duryea underframed cars (and who knew that some hoppers have parts also used on box cars (aside from trucks and such).  There is even the USRA box if you look through the list.  There are export cars, trench cars, cabooses, etc.

What I plan on doing - if the interest is there - is to include the Pullman freight, the H&B freight and perhaps some others that may be of interest.  That spans from about 1900 to 1960ish. 

The exact nature of the drawings is, in this case at least, less important than the possibilities in the orders/Lots.  By seeing that there are specific orders for specific railroads available - even if the given drawing is for a striking plate - that is important for those researching cars.  They then have a good chance of finding other, ore critical drawings for their work for the cars referenced. 

We started by putting EXACTLY what was in the data block.  THAT was, I think, a mistake.  The various manufacturers were no more standard or consistent than, well, us.   I did a quick search before posting to make some things a bit more so - you have NO idea how many abbreviations for "arrangement" there were!  Same with railroads.  AT&SF may be Santa Fe, ATSF, AT&SF, or variants.  THAT'S what we had been entering (because that's what was on the drawing).  I've changed that policy to do just as you suggest - put the reporting marks, not the name or variations.  Search for CRI&P stuff, you have to look for Rock, CRIP, CRIP, etc.  That has to change. 

MANY General Drawings have multiple associations - and when they did - no road name was provided (were it for many),  So, they can be research.  But...this is exactly why I wanted to post this - to get ideas and explain our process and then meld it all together so that we have a more useful product when we put a searchable data base on the web. 

We are VERY much restrained by the agreement with Bombardier (they own 85-90% of the collection).  That may change

At 06:23 AM 6/8/2019, D R Stinson wrote:
Bob -
A truly impressive effort, as limited as it might be. Congratulations on bringing light to the holdings of the library!

The first comment I would make is to save the file in the most easily accessible software format possible for those who may not have Excel. I would suggest staying with the XLS format rather than going to the XLSX format. The newer (and more exclusive) format most likely doesn't gain you anything, and people with older spreadsheet programs might run into an obstacle with it. Just a suggestion from someone who does not typically use M$ Excel.

While it is most likely necessary, make certain that the compression program you use to zip files continues to function correctly in the future. I have found that to be a problem with some older compressions in early versions of MS software. Just an observation.

Some of the first entries do not mention specific road names, car series, or types. This may be something that simply wasn't on the drawings or wasn't picked up when those drawings were scanned. Again, an observation.

While it may be too late for some, it might be useful if the road initials were in a separate, sortable column to facilitate locating specific cars.

And it appears you DO have something of interest to me! SS-16294.tif appears to be one of the early BA&P two-bay hoppers, although it might be one of the earlier cars, which would still be of interest.

Regarding reporting marks, I notice that some of the initials have spaces in them. the above-mentioned drawing refers to "B A & P Hopper car" with spaces between the initials. If I'm searching for a reporting mark I don't put in spaces because the railroads and the equipment registers didn't. In this case it would be more useful to use "BA&P". Note that this may simply be a typo. Personally I favor leaving in the ampersand (&), as it is correct for the era, but it's not unreasonable to do a second search if it's not there. Where road names are spelled out, such as "General drawing  of 60000 lbs. cap stock car Bangor & Aroostook", it would be helpful to have reporting marks following the name for searching. This might help avoid spelling errors derailing a search.

Just some quick thought. Again, congratulations on such an effort!!

Dan Stinson
Helena, Montana

Bob Webber

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