Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>

Some random, and hoprfully useful, comments in regard to postings about box car classes.

> Also, a car could be designated as A, B, C or K; this indicated the condition of the car and what type of commodity could be loaded;

Although A,B and C were nearly universal, others were railroad specific. For example, I don't remember K. On other raods that might have been a variety of X or D. Below class C there was less consistency.

My recollection is that class A required a clean car with no oil or grease stains, no splinters in the sides and a tight roof. They would be used for packaged foods, paper in rolls, etc.

Another sub-class that was more important on some roads than on others or at particular yards was a grain car. It had to have no leaks and be clean but the condition of the sides didn't matter.

Cars were classified at any yard that served a lot of box car customers. The cars would be inspected in the receiving yard and classified for distribution or placement on the cleaning track or coopering track.

The cases I can think of where home road cars would get a loading preference
over foreign cars is where car quality is an issue.

This would be true only on a railroad that knew its cars to be better than others. On the NYC or PRR a GN or SF car might be preferred over one of our own beat up cars.

> Someplace that shipped flour is going to want an A class boxcar and if the town it's in doesn't receive all that many boxcar loads the local road might choose to label some
cars "when empty return to..."

Such lableing was no assurance of having the cars returned. It did not supplant Car Service rules. Most railroads, other than the one doing the stenciling, would hjust ignore the stencil.

Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478

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