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

Charlie Vlk


I misunderstood the point of the blog….I thought the “AAR” lettering was as adopted by the SP and the lettering below was a further variation.

I would be interested in seeing ARA / MCB full sets of characters and numbers and believe that they existed even if they did not appear in the Annual Proceedings.  As far as I am aware no other “Railroad Roman” freight car stencil drawings have surfaced and the L&P drawings refer to “ARA Standard” lettering without any drawing number reference.  There are, however, two distinctly different in stroke and weight CB&Q “Extended Railroad Roman” styles for passenger equipment per photos but again no drawings have surfaced beyond a  few drawing references.   

I have attached a jpg of the letters that I prepared from CB&Q / ARA drawings along with a sample of one of the original CB&Q drawings.

Charlie Vlk


And, of course, there were various interpretations and variations to fit particular applications of the “standard”.


From: <> On Behalf Of Dave Parker via Groups.Io
Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:34 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] ARA / AAR Standard Letters and Figures for Freight Car Marking


I am not sure that I am completely following the discussion here, but it is a topic that has come up before.  At the risk of repeating myself, the "standard" MCB/ARA/AAR Roman letter diagram dates to 1906.  I have seen it reproduced a number of time in several places, and it always contains just three letters (M,C,B) and three numerals (2,7,8).  If anybody as ever seen a more comprehensive character set, I would be glad to learn of it.  But, based on what I have seen, no railroad could have actually conformed to standardized MCB/ARA/AAR lettering because it didn't exist  -- beyond those six example characters that seem only to convey a rather general style of lettering that was adopted as an industry standard.
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

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