Given the assertion (and I doubt any will argue it) that the ORER lists would include equipment that was not really available for service - whether retired or in storage or .... etc - is there a realistic research approach one could adopt to try to identify what parts of a given railway's fleet were no longer in service?
I suppose if the ORER data was in a data base and one focused on dropped entries over time you would develop a starting point of cars where something happened (including re-builds, sale to other lines and retirements). But my impression from reading some of the e-mails that mention these issues is that cars could be more or less out of service for several years - some to return to service, others to be dismantled, etc.
Comparison (in another data base that to my knowledge doesn't presently exist) with corporate equipment lists would be another method of identifying possible equipment that was sidelined. But again, from what I have seen reviewing CPR equipment lists, this data is similarly prone to small but significant errors.
I wonder if anyone has spent any time developing a useful approach for sorting out this kind of question? I'd like to hear what approaches you taken when sorting out the history of a given group of freight cars....
From: "John Stokes" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 3:29 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Freight car distribution
Except for all those times the polls are wrong, for varying reasons. As for the ORER, as previously noted, those can be way off in terms of actual cars in service, so another variable.