Re: Outlawed equipment

Richard Hendrickson

On Jan 21, 2006, at 4:35 PM, Rupert and Maureen wrote:

There have been numerous posts on when certain equipment such as
arch-bar trucks and K brakes were banned from interchange, and the
fact that freight cars so equipped could go off-line only if the
railroad to which they were interchanged accepted them, which they
were under no obligation to do.

How did this work in practice given the sheer volume of freight cars
and interchanges?

For example, did companies ensure that by the due date, all changes
had been made?  I presume not, or the consent provision would not have
been included in the regulation nor repeated in the e-mails. Off-line
equipment, economic pressures and book-keeping errors might all result
in equipment missing the rebuild by the due date.
On the contrary, the consent provision only made it possible for cars
in assigned service to go a short distance off-line on an adjoining RR
if their mechanical equipment was out of date. Cars in general
interchange that had not been updated were routinely rejected and the
mechanical departments of all railroads understood this. You
underestimate the thoroughness of RR bookkeeping practices; for
example, I have a list many pages long issued on Dec. 31, 1952 by the
Santa Fe's Car Department listing by class and number every car owned
by the company that had yet to be equipped with AB brakes before the
Aug. 1, 1953 deadline. That list was circulated to every yardmaster
and car shop on the system with instructions that the cars were not to
be loaded but were to be shopped as soon as possible for the
application of AB brake equipment. By 8/1/53, what few cars that might
have remained with K brakes would have been known, and would not have
been permitted to be routed off-line.

Assuming that the changes had not always been made, was there a
general policy by all/most railroads not to accept such equipment in
order to avoid administrative problems, or general agreement to accept
anything for a specific period. I feel there would have to have been a
common policy, at least amongst the majority of companies, to avoid
being lumbered with an interchanged car that couldn't be forwarded,
especially as multiple roads could be involved in a chain of
interchanges of a single car. Or did the rejected car go all the way
back to the originating road still loaded?
The policy was that cars offered in interchange with prohibited
mechanical equipment were not accepted, period, and all operating
personnel were instructed to observe that the prohibition be rigorously
carried out. That's not to say that there weren't a few instances of
outlawed cars slipping through the cracks, but in general
non-conforming cars didn't get past the first interchange point.

Were all home-road freight cars that were going off-road checked (on
paper or physically) for compliance before being loaded to avoid the
car being later rejected?

  Were foreign cars physically checked for compliance prior to
acceptance in interchange

or was it the responsibility of the originating road to declare the
problem?  Was there a financial penalty on a railroad for trying it on
with banned equipment?
The penalty was that the railroad that loaded the car got it back and
had to transfer the load to another car. Needless to say, both RR
management and shippers took a dim view of such instances.

Richard Hendrickson

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