Re: A Great Decline


Bruce Smith
 

On Oct 26, 2008, at 7:33 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:
I'll suggest a different reason. The SW roads, as you term them,
had bigger clearances and were building bigger cars earlier. The NE
roads had a surfeit of small, old cars. That's an important reason for
the differences in scrapping rates.
To add to Tony's response, looking at the number of cars is only half the equation. The cars being removed from the roster were small capacity cars, which were being replaced by fewer higher capacity cars. For example, during WWII, the railroads carried vastly more freight than during WWI, with many fewer cars. They did that by increasing all sorts of parameters including load per car, longer trains, average speeds, etc... A student of freightcarology should realize that post WWII fleets were very much smaller than the pre- WWII and WWI fleets. The NYC USRA steel cars and the X29s were the last vast fleets for any RR. For example, the nearly 30,000 X29s were followed by the X31 which numbered around 12,000 (counting all subclasses), which in turn was followed by approximately 3,000 X37s, essentially setting the tone for the rest of the steam era.

BTW, "scrapped" may not be the right term for some of these cars. The PRR burned tens of thousands of wood XL boxcars in massive funeral pyres, salvaging the metal out of the ashes.

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/index.pl/bruce_f._smith2

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