Re: Freight Car Distribution on smaller RRs

Bruce Smith

On Feb 4, 2009, at 9:35 AM, S hed wrote:

Its been a few years since I last looked up this information but I know that Railway Age used to publish this kind of data in either their January or February issues (or maybe it was monthly?).

I am 100% sure they showed the number of engines on the road and the number of engines out of service. And I am 95% sure that the tables show how many cars (or percentage) were home road cars and how many were foreign cars that ran on the railroad for the previous year. Like I said, it has been a few years since I went to the library and got that information. And I know that they published the data for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and possibly the 1950s.

I seem to recall that Railway Age did this for most class one railroads. And I'm pretty sure that they did that for SP&S but I am not sure if they did it for the SN. Does anyone else remember that this too?

- Steve Hedlund, Everett, WA

The problem with that sort of data is that it is not broken down by car type, and so it can be pretty hard to use. For example, the PRR averaged just about 50% home road cars for the entire steam era. So does that mean that 50% of my boxcars are PRR? Nope! In reality, as we have talked about here many times, hoppers roamed less than gons, which roamed less than boxcars. So a "guestimate" for the PRR would be 75% home road hoppers, 50% home road gons and only 25% home road boxcars. Thus, only one type of cars, gons, comes close to the data in Railway Age.


Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL

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