Re: Photo: Weighing Erie Boxcar 62106

Todd Sullivan

The reason for having two sets of rails across a scale (one live set for weighing, and one 'dead' set that are unattached to the scale mechanism) is that running cars and locos over the live rails at switching speeds eventually causes the scale to go out of calibration.  That's because each wheel set tends to 'bang' on and off the live rails at their ends.  That's bad, because you can't accurately weigh anything until the next visit of the scale test car and calibration crew.  Re calibrating a scale costs money, and it causes money and inconvenience if your scale isn't working to weigh cars going into (e.g., as empties) and out of (as loads) the industries you serve.

Note that, in this photo, the scale track appears to be located on a short siding, so that locos and cars can pass around the scale instead of over it, if the cars are not being weighed.

Todd Sullivan

Who once knew how to weigh cars, and once did it wrong, causing about 6 empty gondolas to be reweighed.  I forgot to estimate the weight of the dunnage in each car, and to deduct it from the empty weight, as recorded by the scale on the scale ticket.  My supervisor was not amused.

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