Re: Trust Plates


Denny -

Trust plates are to rolling stock as automobile titles are to cars.
They are evidence of the identity of lienholders for railroad rolling
stock. Incredibly, there is no central clearing house for titles to
railroad equipment (and never has been) like there is for real
property, autos and aircraft. If a freight car does not have a plate
or painted statement of lienholder identity, it is presumed
owned "free and clear" by the railroad whose reporting marks are on
the car.

In STMFC times, the lienholder was usually identified by a cast or
stamped metal plate affixed to the side or centersill of each side of
the car. (Not sure about locomotives having plates on both sides - a
local bank here affixed a single trust plate to the engineer's side
of the cab of some M-K-T 4-4-0's they financed. When paid, the bank
retrieved the trust plates from the locos!) The reason for the metal
plates was that the lienholder could (usually!) be identified after a
wreck and accounts settled for that piece of equipment.

I think that painted trust statements were only used starting in the
early 1960's - not sure, though.

A.T. Kott

--- In STMFC@..., Denny Anspach <danspach@...> wrote:

Understanding the reason for the application of Trust plates on
locomotives, passenger and freight cars, what I do not know is
these plates were applied in pairs (one on each side), or singly.
intuition and reason alone, I would not understand why any piece
equipment might need more than one piece of evidence as to its
ownership , but..what do I know about it?

To my knowledge the information on the plates was not useful in
routine operations, but only to indicate in any legal dispute who
actual owner of the piece of equipment might be at the time. If
the owner (i.e. bank or lessor) changed, the plate would be then
removed, or changed.


Denny S. Anspach MD

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