In regards to this subject, a lot of you seem to
be focusing on era (pre-1945 vs post-1945) in order
to determine the prevailing door width at the time.
I would submit that it's as much a question of the
"where" as well as the "when". Dave Nelson indicated
that as of 1950 the number of cars with 6' doors still
overshadowed the rest of the boxcars on U.S. rails. I
model an era that stretches from the twilight of steam
into that period of which we must not speak here. I also
model a railroad (the Cotton Belt) that was a "bridge"
line from East to West and thus saw a lot of everything
that was still in the equipment registers of that time.
Bear in mind that the Cotton Belt carried everything from
the industrial east through the St. Louis "gateway" out to
the southwestern states and beyond to the west coast. It
also had to serve a region that was largely agricultural
in nature (Missouri, Arkansas, Texas & Louisiana). Lots
of rice, lots of cotton, and other field crops.
I'm going to gamble and say that I need a very large number
of house cars with 6' doors to handle the aggie stuff, while
moving in "bridge traffic" cars with wider doors carrying auto
parts and other industrial-type commodities.
I will solicit your views on this now, but I pretty much think
I've hit on the right approach for my needs. Any thoughts?