Re: was "universal", now old car usage

Gatwood, Elden <Elden.Gatwood@...>

All still interested;

Thanks for all the additional insights.

I just wanted to add one more interesting thing onto this discussion and
that is the use of different age cars in different services.

If the RRs were giving their newest and best cars to the customers that
most demanded them, who was getting the dregs?

I remember that the worst cars I ever saw were those in scrap service.
Others have pointed out that the worst boxcars they ever saw were in
grain, hide, or animal remains service.

I had earlier pointed out that I remember gons and flats with little
flooring remaining, still being used around Pittsburgh. I also remember
an older guy on the RR pointing out to me that the PRR hid gons all over
the area because of a gon shortage. While the mills may have demanded
really nice cars for coil service or shipping large structural shapes,
the left-overs must've been shunted into scrap service. Scrap dealers
commonly cut holes in the sides to fasten banding to cars that didn't
have tie-downs, which I am sure irritated the owner. I also remember
watching magnet operators purposely bashing the ends and sides out of
gons as idle amusement. Would you send your nice new gons to these guys
after they came back bashed to death? Similarly, would you send good
gons into hot coil service after they came back burned out? This mighty
have been the direct reason the PRR kept small numbers of really old
cars in active service.

Just a thought for us "nasty cars" modelers.

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Jones III [mailto:tomtherailnut@...]
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 5:18 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Universal Boxcars


Thank you! I was unaware of when the 40 year rule was implemented, and I
appreciate the knowledge!

Another thing to consider is the prices of scrap during these years.
While I don't know exactly what scrap was worth then, with a recession,
one thing that may have contributed to the largess of cars would have
been a low scrap value. It may have been less expensive to simply
mothball the cars than to cut them up with low scrap values, and once
scrap started getting more valuable - whack! There goes the gas ax!

I do recall some pictures from time to time of yards literally full of
empty equipment, steam locomotives, and early Diesels, all apparently in
dead lines. Quite an awesome sight!

----- Original Message -----
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Universal Boxcars

"Tom Jones III" wrote:

>A lot of us may not realize that there are rules as to how long a
boxcar may stay in service. I believe (please, don't hold me exactly to
this) that the maximum term for freight cars today is 40 years.....

Tom, the "40-Year Rule" was not instituted until 1973, and even then
it was phased in over ten years. In the late '90s the age limit was
readjusted back up to 50 years for cars built after 1973, and for
certain earlier types. So this doesn't explain the Pennsy's huge
numbers of dead boxcars in the late '50s.

I recall reading in a 1959 issue of "Trains" mag that fully
one-quarter of the Pennsy's freightcar fleet was stored bad order in
1958. That figures to about 60,000 cars, if memory serves. That's a
LOT of linear miles of dead cars, thus Eldon's memories of "seas of dead
cars" in Pennsy yards. The reason? The Pennsy's on-line business was
plummeting in that time frame, and the nation went through a nasty
recession in the late '50s. The Pennsy went on a major scrapping spree
in the '60s.

So while the Pennsy still had sizable numbers of older classes still
listed in the ORER in the '50s, my guess is few of those antiques
actually saw revenue service after the late '40s.

Scott C

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