Re: A Great Decline

Stokes John

Would relative age of cars on a specific railroad, say the Erie vs. the Santa Fe, be a great part of this story? It would seem that the Depression did two things, make a large number of old cars obsolete or redundant because of greatly reduced business, which was not uniform across the Nation, and it negated the ability, again not uniformly, to replace the old stock with new. Are these reasonably accurate assumptions?

John Stokes
Bellevue, WA

To: STMFC@yahoogroups.comFrom: ostresh@uwyo.eduDate: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 18:41:26 +0000Subject: [STMFC] A Great Decline

Hi FolksI just finished transcribing portions of the February 1932 ORER into an Excel spreadsheet (U.S. box, auto and ventilator car interior dimensions, capacities, and number of cars, by series) and will soon begin pestering you for information regarding sheathing type (double, single, or steel sheathed). Before I do that, however, I thought I would pass along some summary information that some of you might find interesting, if not unexpected.The total number of box, auto, and ventilator cars in 1932 was 1,025,203; in January 1938 it was 764,055. This is a reduction in the U.S. fleet of over a quarter of a million cars, about 25%, and presumably due to the Great Depression.The attrition was not evenly distributed around the county: The Great Lakes and the Southern ICC regions were hit especially hard, both with a loss of about a third of their fleets. The Pocahontas ICC region lost less than 5% of its cars.Best wishes,Larry OstreshLaramie, Wyoming

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