Re: Early train length laws



First, I don't doubt your very logical conclusion. Do you have any pre-WWI "original source" documentation to back that up? . . . or even a general book on railroad history during those times? Longer trains would mean less train crews per ton moved. Looking at the State of Virginia Laws and Codes on the internet I find that the ministers were more influential in trying to ban movements of trains "not completely filled" with interstate commerce on Sundays (1908), or banning train crews from not being brought home before Sunday services (1890s), or prohibiting sales of liquor on trains, or even prohibiting passenger trains to pull reefers . . . because they might carry German-style beer from Cincinnatti down to Newport News (1890s). Plus, there were the Jim Crow laws.

Us Northerners up here in Michigan (born in Ashland, Kentucky) aren't suppose to say anything about Southern Culture without references to back it up.


Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "gary laakso" <>
The state laws had much more to do wth union politics then coupler strength. The laws were desiged to maximize union employment and or overtime. The unions were pushing for federal laws to do the same thing.

gary laakso
south of Mike Brock

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 9/17/2008 9:32:35 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws

Thanks for finding support material relative to the 1912 Arizona 70-car freight train length limit. Rationale appears to be to minimize coupler failures resulting from higher slack-loads from longer trains?

My question is why would this affect C&O, N&W, and Virginian coal traffic between Kentucky, Ohio, WV, and Virginia . . . and Tidewater? Were other states considering maximum train length laws at the same time? Ohio seemed to be progressive in mandating 24-ft, 8-wheeled cabooses on interchange service circa 1914. it seems that these railroads at that time had enough problems just finding loco power to pull loaded coal trains up their grades . . much less making trains longer than 70-cars (even though they were going towards 100-car tracks in their coal classification yard improvements in the early 20s).

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "James F. Brewer" <>
I believe this law was the basis for litigation that led to a Supreme Court decision declaring it to be a violation of the Interstate Commerce Act and therefore, unconstitutional.

Jim Brewer
Glenwood MD

----- Original Message -----
From: al_brown03
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 5:12 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws

-- In, "al.kresse" <water.kresse@...> wrote:


Maybe this a new subject?

Do we have any information on State Legist's attempting to mandate
maximum number of freight cars allowed per train?
Yes. Arizona had a law limiting freight trains to 70 cars and
passenger trains to 14; in the forties the SP tested it, and SP won.
The law dated to 1912; I don't know how consistently it'd been

(Found this by googling "train length law". If the link wraps, you
may need to type in the last few characters.)

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

Andrew Dow's great N&W Coal Car book refers to that being a driving
reason for building 120-ton and 90-ton "Battleship Gons" in the
late teens and early twenties. Do we have copies of specific
proposed rules?

Were there Federal proposes also?

Al Kresse

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