Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
Rich,You'll know you've truly become a freight carThis is exactly where I'm at! I must be in trouble. My other told me
What year and what area of New England are you modeling? There is no sense in modeling a car series which either had not been built or retired in the year in which you are modeling.
From a practical point of view, you can be sure that almost every significant boxcar series (of over 500 cars) appeared in New England in the year you are modeling providing that they were listed in a contemporary ORER. You can be less sure if the roster total was less than 500, but the criterion here would not be "guilty without a doubt," but more reasonable than not. You will not be far off if you use cars from Ted Cullota's ESSENTIAL FREIGHT CAR series providing the boxcar series had not been retired in the year in which you model.
And then there is the issue about the paint scheme of the boxcar series for the year in which you are modeling.
Ask yourself why did the photographer pull the trigger? When shooting a freight car, he did want to waste film on the mundane. Instead, he shot the exotic which grabbed his eye. I don't think you want to have a railroad full of freight cars which were exotic exceptions - focus in on the mundane. (Another criticism of Maywald's work.)
I believe there is a tape of a New England RR with an L&N center drop bottom gondola. While I cannot dispute that the car was in New England at a certain point of time at a specific location, I would consider it a rarity because coal mines served by the L&N in Kentucky were not generally sources of coal in New England. Indeed, it probably got to New England with a load which was in conflict with Car Service Rule C-411 which mandated empty coal cars of the C&O, L&N, N&W and VGN be returned to their owners without reloading.
While Car Service Rules were largely ignored, this one appears to have been obeyed because it was simple and direct. Most of the other rules were abstract - for instance, Rule #1, "Home cars shall be used for the movement of traffic beyond the limits of the home road when the use of other suitable cars under these rules is practical." What was a suitable foreign car empty and how close it it was to the shipper provided some wiggle room and use of judgment.
Hope this helps, Tim Gilbert