Re: Interesting boat load

Richard Hendrickson

On Mar 4, 2009, at 2:39 PM, Dennis Storzek wrote:
The closest ORER to the era that I can lay my hands on is January
1958, and at that time there were still two tables at the back of
the book, titled:

Heavey Duty and Special Type Flat Cars


Serial Numbers of Flat Cars - 50 Feet and Over in Length

Both these reference Per Diem Rule 21 and Car Service Division
Circular No. 439. Rule 21 is an extra charge the shipper pays for
the use of the listed cars. I have no reference for CSD No. 439,
but I suspect it spells out how a road lacking these special cars
can obtain them from another road, similar to how depressed center
flats are still managed, or were until recently.

If the load required a sixty foot long flatcar and the CN had none,
then they would have to go searching for where they could rent one
to service the customer. As of this 1958 listing CN lists only 14
cars over 60' in length (61'-0" IL) and these were only 90,000 lbs.
capacity. The may not have been built yet at the time the photo was

Leave it to Dennis to - finally - introduce some hard data into what
has become a lengthy discussion consisting almost entirely of blather
and speculation. Though the photos are undated, the reweigh date on
the CN idler flat closest to the camera was 7-44 and appears to have
been freshly applied. My 1-45 ORER shows 18 cars in the CN
600300-600326 series cited by Dennis which were 61' long but, as
Dennis points out, their nominal capacity was only 90,000 lbs., so
essentially they were 40 ton cars (the Canadian RRs rated the weight
capacity of their cars somewhat more generously than those below the
border). At that time the only railroad in North America with a
significant fleet of 60' 70 ton flat cars was the Santa Fe with 192
cars of classes F-T and Ft-U (the Pennsy had a very small number, but
they were converted container flats and may not have been suitable
for the purpose, or simply may not have been available). In such a
situation, car service rules were irrelevant, as the only railroad
that could supply the car the CN needed was the Santa Fe. Note, too,
that this was during World War II, when there was a lot more
tolerance for bending the rules if necessary to get the job done.
It's worth noting that I have a wartime photo of a CP drop center
flat car loaded with a ship boiler en route from American Locomotive
in Schenectady to an American shipyard, so the willingness to
overlook the usual customs and car service rules when necessary was
apparently reciprocal.

Richard Hendrickson

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