Bruce Smith

On Aug 25, 2008, at 9:29 AM, joel norman wrote:

Gentleman:What was the agency used before DODX{before WW-2} to
transport military equipment...USATC marked flats???or just leased cars
from the local railroads???
Joel Norman

Let me add to Ben's answer. DODX reporting marks did not come into use until after the Korean war. While there were a few special purpose flat cars in the military prior to that, the construction of heavy duty flats (a la Roco) by Magor in 1953 really marks the first time that the military looked to have its own cars for transporting equipment. Up until this time, RR owned cars were used. Since the military, like any other customer, paid for the railroad to pick up cargo at one point and discharge it at another, they no more "leased" the car than any other customer.

During WWII, flat cars were in extremely short supply and so many gondolas were also used. If the equipment was loaded "circus style" by driving it onto the cars, then drop end gons were required, however if it was to be moved at both ends by cranes, then fixed end gons could also be used. The "local railroad" may have brought the cars to the loading point, but even in peacetime, there were few railroads with surplus cars for this, and so cars would have been drawn from whatever sources were available, car service rules suspended or ignored, and the trains would have resembled the national pool, especially for flat cars. The machinations involved in serving large movements of equipment coincident with troop movements prior to mid 1942 are quite impressive.


Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
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