Harriman Codes -Some Other RR's Systems


Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

Allen Rueter wrote:

Larry,
I didn't know what Harriman codes were, I do now, I have seen
them frequently with out knowing they had a name. To keep this in the steam
era, Are GST (General Superintendent of Transportation) codes relevant
before 1960?
What other freight car code systems are there (besides AAR/ORER codes),
did most railroads have some code of their own?
I assume by what you mean as the GST Codes are those codes first included in the ORER's sometime after 1961 in the column AAR Car Type Code. (My copy of the April 1961 ORER does not have this column - my copy of the 1/1967 does.)

Some RR's had their own codes.

The first letter of the Mechanical Designations (used in the ORER's prior to 1920) were basically the same as the PRR's - designations for later car types like the covered hoppers diverged - the AAR designation was "LO" while the PRR considered just another "H" Hopper. At first, the Pennsy used uncapped "alpha" letters to differentiate different designs, but later adopted numbers to designate the different designs. During rebuildings, the Pennsy added an uncapped "alpha" digit to the original designation. And the PRR used no hyphens. This will keep Ben Hom off your back.

The ATSF's system capped the first letter of the car type and uncapped the final letter. For instance, "Bx" designated for a boxcar; "Rr" for a reefer; "Ga" for a Gondola, etc.. I don't know their classification for a Covered Hopper.

The NYC's reference was the Lot Number of the car when built with new lots being assigned sometimes during major rebuildings. After the Lot Number was a hyphen and the initial for the car type - "B" for Boxcar; "G" for Gon; "F" for Flat; "H" for Hoppers both Open-Top and Covered; etc.. This system may have been dandy for NYC's Mechanical Department's comprehension, but hell on others.

The B&M had a Lot System like the NYC's, but no one paid attention to it. It seemed like that some car accountant newly hired on a rainy day dreamed it up. No one used it, preferring to use the car numbers instead. Besides between 1899 and 1951, there were only 64 Lots anyway.

Other roads had their own systems which I don't know as much (which ain't much) as the above. Many of the smaller roads just used the car numbers as their form of reference.

Operating personnel, particularly freight train conductors, had their own codes which they used in the wheel reports, switch lists, etc.. "A" for Automobile; "B" for Boxcar; "C" for a Coal or Coke Car; "D" or "DD" for Double Deck Stock Car (later "D" for Side Dump Car); "F" for Flat; "G" for Gon; "H" for Hoppers (sometimes later "CH" for Covered Hoppers); "R" for Reefers; "S" for Stock Cars; "T" for Tank Cars. This terminology was not universal as each individual seemed to have their own ideas of which variation to use. When I parse a wheel report, I pay little attention to these codes and rely more on the ORER's Mechanical Designation.

Hope this helps, Tim Gilbert


Larry Rice
 

Allen Rueter asked...

"Are GST (General Superintendent of Transportation) codes relevant before
1960?"

To which Tim Gilbert answered...

"I assume by what you mean as the GST Codes are those codes first
included in the ORER's sometime after 1961 in the column AAR Car Type
Code. (My copy of the April 1961 ORER does not have this column - my
copy of the 1/1967 does.)"

Okay... I'm going to try this again... Allen is referring to Great
Northern's General Superintendent of Transportation (GST) Codes. See message
52235. The GST codes were not related to the AAR Mechanical Designations,
nor the AAR Car Type Codes, and the GST codes were not shown in any ORER.
The GST codes were an internal company system that, in effect and probably
by intention, organized and standardized the operating employees "shorthand"
when referring to cars of broadly similar features that were immediately
identifiable.

Allen also asked...
" What other freight car code systems are there (besides AAR/ORER codes),
did most railroads have some code of their own?"

As Mr. Gilbert has explained, yes. I'd add that most seem to be more
comparable to the aforementioned "Harriman" type which identifies classes
rather than this GN scheme used by the operating employees and appearing on
train lists. Good grief Allen, I've been harping for years about the need
for an X29 on every steam era SP&S layout... Wheredaya think X29 comes from?


Larry Rice
Port Townsend WA

PS... When did GN adopt this GST scheme? I don't know... I do note that the
stenciling applied to the cars (near and below the load limit line) appears
much more frequently after 1961. Try asking on the GN list.


George Hollwedel <georgeloop1338@...>
 

Tim Gilbert wrote:

The ATSF's system capped the first letter of the car type and uncapped
the final letter. For instance, "Bx" designated for a boxcar; "Rr" for a
reefer; "Ga" for a Gondola, etc.. I don't know their classification for
a Covered Hopper.

I add:

Santa Fe used Ga for gondolas, open hoppers and covered hoppers




George Hollwedel
Prototype N Scale Models
georgeloop@austin.rr.com
310 Loma Verde Street
Buda, TX 78610-9785
512-796-6883

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EHNBOM STAFFAN <staffan.ehnbom@...>
 

Larry Rice wrote:
PS... When did GN adopt this GST scheme? I don't know... I do note that the
stenciling applied to the cars (near and below the load limit line) appears
much more frequently after 1961. Try asking on the GN list.
Judging by their appearance in the GN "List of Equipment" there were no GST codes in the July 1963 edition, but they were in the July 1969 edition.

Staffan Ehnbom


Tim O'Connor
 

Santa Fe applied Bx, Fe, and Rr to box cars, depending on the design
and service of the car.

The ATSF's system capped the first letter of the car type and uncapped
the final letter. For instance, "Bx" designated for a boxcar; "Rr" for a
reefer; "Ga" for a Gondola, etc.. I don't know their classification for
a Covered Hopper.

I add:

Santa Fe used Ga for gondolas, open hoppers and covered hoppers


Doug Brown <g.brown1@...>
 

BX = SP B, FE = SP A, RR = R



ATSF used cap small-cap, not cap lower-case. Look at prototype photos. You
often see cap lower-case in text.



Doug Brown

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tim
O'Connor
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2006 4:47 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Harriman Codes -Some Other RR's Systems







Santa Fe applied Bx, Fe, and Rr to box cars, depending on the design

and service of the car.







The ATSF's system capped the first letter of the car type and uncapped
the final letter. For instance, "Bx" designated for a boxcar; "Rr" for a
reefer; "Ga" for a Gondola, etc.. I don't know their classification for
a Covered Hopper.
I add:
Santa Fe used Ga for gondolas, open hoppers and covered hoppers








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Dennis Storzek <dstorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:



Santa Fe applied Bx, Fe, and Rr to box cars, depending on the design
and service of the car.
That's not true, because house cars with wider than normal doors have
always been considered to be different from boxcars; the AAR persisted
in calling them automobile cars for years, whether they carried
automobiles or not, and carriage or furniture cars before that. Fe is
Santa Fe's class designation for Furniture. Likewise, AAR designation
RBL cars have always been considered refrigerator cars, Santa Fe class
designation Rr. In addition, when first developed, hoppers were
"hopper bottom gondolas", so it is perfectly logical for Chico to keep
classifying hoppers as Ga.

Dennis Storzek


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:
That's not true, because house cars with wider than normal doors have
always been considered to be different from boxcars; the AAR persisted
in calling them automobile cars for years, whether they carried
automobiles or not, and carriage or furniture cars before that. Fe is
Santa Fe's class designation for Furniture. Likewise, AAR designation
RBL cars have always been considered refrigerator cars, Santa Fe class
designation Rr. In addition, when first developed, hoppers were
"hopper bottom gondolas", so it is perfectly logical for Chico to keep
classifying hoppers as Ga.
Yep, I'd agree on all counts. Even if RBL is in fact illogical, it IS the designation.

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@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Patrick Wider <pwider@...>
 

As Doug Brown previously pointed out the designations listed below should be BX, FE, and
RR with the second letter smaller than the first. The designations as shown are incorrect.

Pat Wider

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Dennis Storzek" <dstorzek@...> wrote:

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@> wrote:



Santa Fe applied Bx, Fe, and Rr to box cars, depending on the design
and service of the car.
That's not true, because house cars with wider than normal doors have
always been considered to be different from boxcars; the AAR persisted
in calling them automobile cars for years, whether they carried
automobiles or not, and carriage or furniture cars before that. Fe is
Santa Fe's class designation for Furniture. Likewise, AAR designation
RBL cars have always been considered refrigerator cars, Santa Fe class
designation Rr. In addition, when first developed, hoppers were
"hopper bottom gondolas", so it is perfectly logical for Chico to keep
classifying hoppers as Ga.

Dennis Storzek


Tim O'Connor
 

Talk about hypercritical nitpicking! Someone wrote that the
Santa Fe used "Bx" for box cars (note the small X Pat, I put
that in just for you) and I simply said they also used Fe and
Rr (Oops did it again gosh I'm so sorry Pat) for cars. You can
ALWAYS find SOMEONE who called them something else. Was
the UP wrong because they DIDN'T use a reefer designation
for insulated "bunkerless refrigerator" cars? Why did some
railroads use XMI rather than RBL? Who knows? Who cares?
I sure don't. But if someone were trying to model the Santa
Fe and ran across an Rr-whatever they might go off looking
for a photo of an ice or mechanical reefer, not knowing that
the Santa Fe considered insulated box cars to be "reefers".
That was the only point, and it's perfectly correct as such.
Some people have their "terminology political correctness"
antennas set on ultra-high. And Pat, if you'll show me how
to type a large and a small capital letter using the ASCII
alphabet, with Eudora, and without wasting a lot of time
and energy, then I am sure I will comply.

Tim O'Connor


Doug Brown <g.brown1@...>
 

Here is a great color photo of hopper car interiors.
http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a34000/1a34800/1a34826v.jpg <>



Doug Brown


Doug Brown <g.brown1@...>
 

Tim,

Even when you use HTML to make the second letter smaller, it comes through
to the group as BX, FE AND RR. Pennsy fans have the same problem with
subclass characters. What good is rivet counting if the lettering is not
correct? <G>

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
timboconnor@comcast.net
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 12:51 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Harriman Codes -Some Other RR's Systems


Talk about hypercritical nitpicking! Someone wrote that the
Santa Fe used "Bx" for box cars (note the small X Pat, I put
that in just for you) and I simply said they also used Fe and
Rr (Oops did it again gosh I'm so sorry Pat) for cars. You can
ALWAYS find SOMEONE who called them something else. Was
the UP wrong because they DIDN'T use a reefer designation
for insulated "bunkerless refrigerator" cars? Why did some
railroads use XMI rather than RBL? Who knows? Who cares?
I sure don't. But if someone were trying to model the Santa
Fe and ran across an Rr-whatever they might go off looking
for a photo of an ice or mechanical reefer, not knowing that
the Santa Fe considered insulated box cars to be "reefers".
That was the only point, and it's perfectly correct as such.
Some people have their "terminology political correctness"
antennas set on ultra-high. And Pat, if you'll show me how
to type a large and a small capital letter using the ASCII
alphabet, with Eudora, and without wasting a lot of time
and energy, then I am sure I will comply.

Tim O'Connor





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Bruce Smith
 

Doug,

Thanks for reminding me of that photo. For modelers of the PRR H21 hopper, it is impressive to see that most if not all of the H21A hoppers in the shot seem to still have a partial length top chord.

Note that since these are cars in ore service, the color might not be appropriate for coal hoppers. Also, as we have discussed regarding this photo in the past, the exterior colors do vary a bit <G>!

BTW, the photo was taken by Jack Delano in 1943 and for those who didn't know, it is located in the Farm Services Administration archive at the Library of Congress site <G>. http://memory.loc.gov

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - Benjamin Franklin
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On Mar 13, 2006, at 1:17 PM, Doug Brown wrote:

Here is a great color photo of hopper car interiors.
http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a34000/1a34800/1a34826v.jpg <>

Doug Brown


Dennis Storzek <dstorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Brown" <g.brown1@...> wrote:

Tim,

Even when you use HTML to make the second letter smaller, it comes
through
to the group as BX, FE AND RR. Pennsy fans have the same problem with
subclass characters. What good is rivet counting if the lettering is not
correct? <G>
Small caps are used to indicate lower case in fonts that don't have
lower case. Therefore, I don't see any problem in using lower case to
indicate small caps when the small caps can't be had. Nobody is going
to do decal art from the printed text of an e-mail message without
other reference, at least I hope not.

Dennis Storzek


Gene Green <bierglaeser@...>
 

Great photo! What product is being filled into the car in the middle?
Gene Green

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Brown" <g.brown1@...> wrote:

Here is a great color photo of hopper car interiors.
http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a34000/1a34800/1a34826v.jpg
<>



Doug Brown





Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:
Small caps are used to indicate lower case in fonts that don't have
lower case.
I sure can't think of a font with small caps but no lower case. The reverse, sure.

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@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Dennis Storzek <dstorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Dennis Storzek wrote:
Small caps are used to indicate lower case in fonts that don't have
lower case.
I sure can't think of a font with small caps but no lower
case. The reverse, sure.
Tony,

True, if you work as a typesetter, rather than a painter in a railroad
car shop. In it's loosest sense, a "font" is the collection of
characters that that are designed to be used together. Railroads
defined their lettering "font" with a drawing of the characters to be
used, and they most often did not include lower case, unless someone
specifically wanted lower case. That drawing defined the font everyone
involved had to work with, so if the class was "Rr" and the Mechanical
Dept. felt no need to draw lower case, they prepared stencil drawings
using a 4" R followed by a 3" R, and that was it. For purposes of this
discussion, what we really need is copies of typed correspondence to
see if the railroad intended it to be "Rr" or "RR".


Allen Rueter <allen@...>
 

Thanks for the history Tim,

The scope of wheel reports I've seen is limited, to all hill lines,
except for the Erie ones in the files section from 1931, those
have extra columns, in which it looks like angus502001 is adding more
information, that wasn't on the wheel report, but extracted from
an ORER.

And as Laird Larry point out, and you point out there are errors in
operating personnel codes.

On Sat, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:35:09PM -0500, Tim Gilbert wrote:
Allen Rueter wrote:
8<
Operating personnel, particularly freight train conductors, had their
own codes which they used in the wheel reports, switch lists, etc.. "A"
for Automobile; "B" for Boxcar; "C" for a Coal or Coke Car; "D" or "DD"
for Double Deck Stock Car (later "D" for Side Dump Car); "F" for Flat;
"G" for Gon; "H" for Hoppers (sometimes later "CH" for Covered Hoppers);
"R" for Reefers; "S" for Stock Cars; "T" for Tank Cars. This terminology
was not universal as each individual seemed to have their own ideas of
which variation to use. When I parse a wheel report, I pay little
attention to these codes and rely more on the ORER's Mechanical
Designation.

Hope this helps, Tim Gilbert

--
------
Allen P Rueter o0000o Phone: 314/935-6429 email allen :) artsci.wustl.edu
.oO* there are at least three sides to every issue.


Allen Rueter <allen@...>
 

On Sat, Mar 11, 2006 at 05:41:44PM -0800, Laird Larry wrote:

Okay... I'm going to try this again... Allen is referring to Great
Northern's General Superintendent of Transportation (GST) Codes. See message
52235. The GST codes were not related to the AAR Mechanical Designations,
nor the AAR Car Type Codes, and the GST codes were not shown in any ORER.
Larry,
The GST codes are not unique to the GN, the backs of NP wheel
reports have them too. Look in the NPTellTale groups files section
under wheel reports, I listed the ones I found.
Which is why I asking, and wondering how far back in time they would go.

Allen also asked...
" What other freight car code systems are there (besides AAR/ORER codes),
did most railroads have some code of their own?"

As Mr. Gilbert has explained, yes. I'd add that most seem to be more
comparable to the aforementioned "Harriman" type which identifies classes
rather than this GN scheme used by the operating employees and appearing on
train lists. Good grief Allen, I've been harping for years about the need
for an X29 on every steam era SP&S layout... Wheredaya think X29 comes from?
A Pennsy guy who doesn't knows how to sign his name :)

--
------
Allen P Rueter o0000o Phone: 314/935-6429 email allen :) artsci.wustl.edu
.oO* there are at least three sides to every issue.


Larry Rice
 

Allen admonished...

"The GST codes are not unique to the GN, the backs of NP wheel
reports have them too. Look in the NPTellTale groups files section
under wheel reports, I listed the ones I found."

Yes, Allen. I'm well aware of this and I again refer you to my first posting
on this topic where I wrote... "Northern Pacific used a similar system, at
least on its train lists, and BN adopted, modified and added much greater
complexity early in its history."

I can add that at least a few SP&S conductors (OE men, technically) used the
system on their hand written switch lists and when creating blind siding
reports. The degree with which they followed and adhered to the intended
definitions varied dramatically between employees, making a car by car check
with an ORER mandatory if accurate transcriptions are desired.

To address Blair's earlier questions, I suspect (and it is ONLY a suspicion)
that the GST codes were created by GN and semi-adopted by the other pre-BN
roads in advance of the merger. The degree to which each company used this
system seems to have wildly varied. If it is a BN "run-up" event or
creation, further discussion would be best moved to the bbfcl or GN/NP
lists.

There is, however, an annoying photograph of a GN boxcar acquired in 1949 in
its original mineral red paint with the B2 identifier clearly visible. It
*appears* that the lettering matches that on the rest of the car, suggesting
the B2 was not applied later (the photo dates from the early sixties). The
rest of the circumstantial evidence at my disposal overwhelming suggests it
was a post-steam era system.

Le speis agus le deagh dhurachd,

Larry Rice
Port Townsend WA