Re: Frisco “Sawtooth” boxcar photo - North/south, east/west longitude/latitude

Ed Hawkins

On Dec 3, 2020, at 2:10 PM, Dave Parker via <spottab@...> wrote:

Is the "B" end of the car really the back end?  Or is it the end with the hand Brake?  Anybody know how the MCB came up with A and B?

Personally, I see no need (or purpose) to think of the car as a map.  Viewed from above, there is a long axis and a short axis.  The long axis runs longitudinally (= lengthwise).  End of story.

As you noted in your follow-up message about the “B” end being the hand brake end, it’s often useful to know which are the left & right sides of a freight car.

When viewing a car from behind the “B” end, the left car side is to the left & the right car side is to the right. Or, of course, it’s the opposite when viewing a freight car from behind the “A” end. Often, but not always, letter stencils “L” and “R” are applied to the sides of a freight car. For box cars these stencils are typically either on the door or just to the left of the door.

In many cases the left & right sides weren’t exactly identical as there could be various differences, such as a single defect card holder that was typically mounted to just one side of a freight car (usually the right side, but not always).

Knowing the shorthand notations of any freight car (A, B, L, R) can also be quite useful when identifying photographs, particularly for multiple views of the same car. File names of freight car digital scans can be denoted accordingly such as L or R for side views, 3/4BL, 3/4AR, etc.
Ed Hawkins

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