Re: ARA / AAR Standard Letters and Figures for Freight Car Marking

Tony Thompson

Charlie Vlk wrote:

I happened to run across Tony Thompson's blog "Prototype Lettering, Part 2".

In comparing the figures that are presented as "AAR" vs. the CB&Q ARA ST'D
LETTER set originally drawn Chicago 10-05-09 and retraced 9-23-22 (on
account of the original tracings being destroyed in the Chicago HQ Fire in
1922) the SP M, C, B, 8, 7 and 2 are identical and must be the ARA original.
Note that the letters Tony presents below the AAR letters on graph grid,
while similar, are of different proportion.
For those who may not have seen it, I provide below a link to the blog post that Charlie cites in his message:

The point of that blog post was to observe that the SP lettering, the letters shown below on the graph grid, were NOT at all the same as the MCB/ARA/AAR letters. The earliest MCB version I found in a Cyc was exactly the same as AAR letters 50 years later, as Charlie says.
Someone observed earlier that CB&Q mostly observed the AAR lettering but not entirely. I can't find that email to see if they identified which characters used by CB&Q differed.
I would also point out that although the MCB/ARA/AAR lettering is often described as "standard," it was never required, nor have I even found a mention of it being "recommended practice." Someone on the list may be able to provide such a citation.

Tony Thompson

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