Re: Car End Data

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford


The late Richard Hendrickson penned a three part article on boxcar markings in RPC volumes 3-5, which explains much of this lettering. On page 11, V.4, he includes an AAR diagram dated 1940, which shows the ends to be clean except for the car reporting marks.

That said, the practice of adding optional special equipment data by some railroads continued through the end of our period. One of the most common was for wheel descriptions: "WRT STL WHLS" or "1-W STL WHLS" (or variants), probably in case of repairs made off-line. Also common was spring travel as in "Spring 2 1/4 in Travel". I also note "Swivel Coupler" on some cars. These examples are shown in various builders' photos. Some of the lettering was probably not renewed upon repainting by certain roads, but might have been continued by others. Check your photos.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 1:34 AM Dave Parker via Groups.Io <> wrote:
The short (I hope) answer is that these "equipment lists" were first adopted by the MCB in 1896 as a Recommended Practice, and advanced to Standard 5 years later.  Exactly what needed to be in the list evolved over time.  By the late teens (at least), the list could be stenciled on either the sides or the ends of the cars.  When the new ARA lettering standards were adopted on 1 March, 1927, the equipment list became optional, but it was recommended that these stencils be confined to the car ends.  Presumably this was to eliminate clutter on the car sides in the face of the new requirement for dimensional data to the right of the door of house cars.

Some owners continued to stencil these lists on the car-ends into the 1930s, but many did not.  It can often be hard to tell in photos of well-weathered cars with dirty ends.

Hope this helps.
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

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