Re: Box cars on your layout

Michael Aufderheide

This is good information.  I wonder if we are able to put a finer point on it.  I had an idea that using Larry Ostrich's 1950 ORER spreadsheet, one could determine specific cars which should be "essential" based on pure numbers and percentages of the national fleet.  This doesn't preclude me building more unsual cars for the fun of it (i.e., the RI 50 foot Westerfield I'm working on now), but it informs me of what the real baseline of the national fleet was, and how it should be represented on my layout.  
For my proposed boxcar fleet of 200, I know that every car that represents 1/200th of the national fleet must be modeled.  For the 714,637 cars listed on that ORER this would mean any class of car with more than about 3,500 cars (1/2% for my 200 cars). As a rough example, if there were 29,000 odd X29s then my fleet would have 8 on the layout. For the 6,600 A31As I'll need 2 cars.  I've rounded the number in this case, which will happen often.  The goal is not to hit exactly 200 cars, but for the fleet to be generally representative.
Of course, the many caviats about freight cars fleets that you and others have mentioned apply, but this is an important starting point.
I understand that someone presented this same idea at Cocoa Beach, so maybe the information already exists?
Mike Aufderheide

--- On Tue, 2/17/09, Anthony Thompson <> wrote:

From: Anthony Thompson <>
Subject: [STMFC] Box cars on your layout
Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 12:34 AM

Having mulled over the box car fleet problem for awhile, and being
cognizant of the Gilbert-Nelson approach (for FOREIGN cars on a
railroad, and probably primarily for next nearest neighbors, not
immediate neighbors), I thought I would construct a table of the
biggest box car owners (meaning 10,000 or more XM box cars owned). For
me, these are the "foreigns" that ought to primarily show up on a
layout in interchange.
There are no real surprises here, except that some tabulations
have omitted subsidiary roads, such as C&O's Pere Marquette or Mopac's
Gulf Coast Lines. These do represent different reporting marks but the
same railroad parentage. In all cases where the ORER has separate
entries for subsidiaries, I've included them below.
I've shown percentages, not of the total North American or U.S.
fleet, but of these "Top 21" roads, owning 10,000 or more XM box cars.
Note that auto cars of all types (XML, XME, XAP, etc.) are omitted.
Data are for January 1953.

Road XM box cars Percent of the "Top 21"
PRR 62115 12.3
NYC 58748 11.7
SP + T&NO 34815 6.9
ATSF 32499 6.5
MILW 28075 5.6
B&O 25634 5.1
UP 24111 4.8
CNW + CMO 23658 4.7
Southern 22807 4.5
CBQ + subs 22592 4.5
GN 21652 4.3
C&O + PM 20720 4.1
MP + subs 20461 4.1
IC 20013 4.0
NP 19201 3.8
RI 18857 3.7
L&N 12664 2.5
SL-SF 12529 2.5
ACL 11813 2.2
Seaboard 10075 2.0

Total of the "Top 21," 503039

Once I'd made this list, I was amused to note that a few of Ted
Culotta's "Essential Freight Cars" are from roads not shown here, such
as Lehigh Valley, Soo Line, Wabash, and Katy, but several major ones on
this list have not (yet) been covered by Ted, such as C&O + PM, or L&N.
But overall, Ted's coverage pretty largely does nail this list.
My own view is that any railroad not on this list, no matter
how "fun" or attractive to model, is going to have to be treated as a
"rarity seldom seen" for my operations-- that is, within the G-N
universe: foreigns from next nearest neighbors or beyond.

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

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