Re: Trust Plates

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

A.T. Kott wrote:
Trust plates are to rolling stock as automobile titles are to cars.
Let's see, my auto title is a piece of paper which is not bolted to my car. I strongly suspect there was plenty of paper backing up the equipment trusts too. Therefore, I would suggest (tongue planted firmly, etc.) a rephrase: trust plates are to rolling stock as paint is to automobiles.

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.
I strenuously doubt this is true. Documentation was extensive at the railroad and I feel certain at least equally extensive at the lienholder.

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 . . . When paid, the bank retrieved the trust plates . . . 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.
Several SP documents of which I have copies clearly state that trust plates are bank requirements, and that when the trust is eventually fulfilled, plates are to be removed and scrapped. There is no indication of returning plates to the lienholder. This of course possibly specific to SP, but certainly constitutes at least one exception.

I think that painted trust statements were only used starting in the early 1960's - not sure, though.
A few SP classes built in 1937-1940 had stenciled trust legends.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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