#### CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

Todd Sullivan

I think all those numbers scribbled in chalk are likely car numbers.  A few of them at in the same series as the car in the photo.  Could be that a yard clerk go caught short in the yard without a clipboard or list, and just used the car side to capture all the numbers on a train or transfer.

Todd Sullivan

Dennis Storzek

On Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 07:13 AM, Bruce Smith wrote:
So, I’m not sure what you have shown us a picture of.

The switchman's method of picking lotto numbers. :-)

Dennis

Bruce Smith

Frank,

These numbers may be weights, but there are some issues. Starting left top going down each column, we see values going from just over 400,000 to 1 million, and then suddenly back down and slowly back up, then suddenly down and up to 1.1 million.  I also note what seem to be a fair number of “typos” where it appears that a digit gets left off, such as in the 3rd column, 726,800 followed by 88,800, followed by 828,572… that middle number seems like it ought to be 788,800. But it happens so often that it is not clear if there is a system to it, or if it really is an error.

Given the the Lt. Wt. is on the side of the car, none of these should be “tare wts”. Indeed, the “tare wt.” of the car should not change from 414,572 to 38,572!  Even if that latter measure is an error and it is near the next measure which is 322,922, there is no way the tare wt changes by that much!

In addition, 400,000, if it is lbs, is 200 tons! 1 million is 500 tons!  These are not load weight in lbs. If it weren’t for the impossible numbers, it might be that this car was being sequentially loaded at say a truck dump and these were the load weights of each truck until the car reached capacity and then, when the car hits roughly 1 million it gets emptied. But they aren’t… at least not in lbs and a single car. It is possible that these are load weights for a string of cars.  I would add that the car is unlikely to be weighed each time. More likely, if these were weights, these are weights for the truckloads being dumped as measure on the truck scale.

So, I’m not sure what you have shown us a picture of.

Regards

Bruce

Bruce F. Smith

Auburn, AL

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

On Nov 15, 2018, at 6:15 AM, Frank Grimm via Groups.Io <fddms@...> wrote:

Here is a photo of a limestone shopper with tare wts and load wts. (Limestone, IL)

Frank Grimm
Sandwich,IL

Frank Grimm <fddms@...>

Here is a photo of a limestone shopper with tare wts and load wts. (Limestone, IL)

Frank Grimm
Sandwich,IL

O Fenton Wells

Well done Michael, they look very real.
Fenton

On Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 3:28 PM Michael Gross <ActorMichaelGross@...> wrote:
I agree with many of the other answers on this thread that many local yard and switching crews had "codes" all their own for chalk marks, many of which are now consigned to the dust-bin of history.

As I own a Free-mo module whose main feature is the small, mythical town of Iota, Kansas, I simply "invented" a chalk mark used by off-line crews blocking trains for that destination.  The yellow arrow in the attached photo illustrates what I have done:   IOTA is indicated by a capital O with a capital I slashing through it.  Fictional place, fictional chalk mark.  :0)

Best,

Michael Gross

--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...

Andy Cich

I have a Pennsylvania Railroad document titled Chicago Division Symbol System of Car Placement. This book has instructions, interchange schedules, and a list of all the industry tracks in the PRR Chicago Division. Among the text are instructions for marking the cars. I have the 1/1/52 revision and the 3/1/37 revision of this book. The following text appears int he '52 revision but not the '37 revision.

At dispatchment yards cars are given originating terminal inspection. Inspectors mark such cars on the Pennsylvania Railroad in yellow crayon. Foreign lines use crayon of a different color.

Each railroad operating within the Chicago Interchange District have assigned pool numbers; that of the Pennsylvania Railroad being 36.

After completion of inspection the car is marked with car inspectors pool mark. These pool marks will be located on both sides of the cars near the corner, as follows:

CH-25
36-2
7-20 I

"CH" is a symbol for Chicago, "25" is the car inspectors personal number. On the next line the number of the receiving road will be at the upper left, and that of the delivering road at the upper right. Thus "36-2" indicates car was received by the Pennsylvania from the Belt Ry. The number at the lower left indicates the month and the number at the lower right, the date of interchange. Thus "7-20" indicates a car was received July 20th. The letter "I" being a yard symbol, in this instance-Colehour.

YARD SYMBOLS
OD-55th Street.
I -Colehour.
M -59th Street.

ASSIGNED INTERCHANGE NUMBERS

1. B&OCT
2. Belt Ry.
3. C&CR
4. C&IW
5. C&WI
...
37. Wabash
38. C&NW

-----------------------------------------
Now, I am on the hunt for photos of cars with marks in this format.

Andy Cich

James E Kubanick

Michael,

Those chalk marks are very convincing. I am impressed by the readability of the smallest of the lettering/marks.

Jim Kubanick
Morgantown WV

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 3:28:14 PM EST, Michael Gross <ActorMichaelGross@...> wrote:

I agree with many of the other answers on this thread that many local yard and switching crews had "codes" all their own for chalk marks, many of which are now consigned to the dust-bin of history.

As I own a Free-mo module whose main feature is the small, mythical town of Iota, Kansas, I simply "invented" a chalk mark used by off-line crews blocking trains for that destination.  The yellow arrow in the attached photo illustrates what I have done:   IOTA is indicated by a capital O with a capital I slashing through it.  Fictional place, fictional chalk mark.  :0)

Best,

Michael Gross

Michael Gross

I agree with many of the other answers on this thread that many local yard and switching crews had "codes" all their own for chalk marks, many of which are now consigned to the dust-bin of history.

As I own a Free-mo module whose main feature is the small, mythical town of Iota, Kansas, I simply "invented" a chalk mark used by off-line crews blocking trains for that destination.  The yellow arrow in the attached photo illustrates what I have done:   IOTA is indicated by a capital O with a capital I slashing through it.  Fictional place, fictional chalk mark.  :0)

Best,

Michael Gross

Claus Schlund \(HGM\)

Hi Eric,

Thanks for posting this image - a fascinating view of what life might have been like in 1927! Great freight cars too!

Claus Schlund

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:59 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

There are some interesting chalk marks on these boxcars. Some seem to have consecutive numbers. I suspect they may be marked to spot quickly.This is an October 1927 photo documenting a replacement bridge project connecting the Oakland and Bloomfield neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It spanned a valley and the Pennsy main line. An important B&O line is also in this image. The boxcars are sitting on B&O rails, originally the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad. Check them out for interesting weathering, chalk marks, route cards, and weigh stenciling.

After the link opens, click the View this Item link, or the image. Find the four buttons in the upper left corner of the image and click on the left button to make the image full screen. Zoom in at will to review the details. It's a nice size scan.

https://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt%3A715.275224.CP

Those billboards are the only clean things in this image.

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro,TN

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 10:40 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

I found information about chalk markings from a number of sources which I incorporated into a clinic. Below are some of what I found.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

++++

Markings could communicate a variety of instructions and freight car conditions:

Required handling of a specific car or load

Condition of equipment that needed repair

"OK"  or a check mark chalked over a truck to indicate a bearing had  been checked

Indication of an item's dimensions

Notations about car routings and interchanges

Track assignments for individual cars

Outgoing train numbers

Industrial siding information

Customer information

Assigned car spot at a customer’s facility

Humping instructions for cars switched in a gravity yard

Destinations

Car contents

Perishable instructions

“MT” for an empty car

Whether the shipment was all going to one consignee or where it should be first delivered.

Fragile freight

Chalk marks were not a universal language. Codes varied from yard to yard, railroad to railroad and era to era.

To determine  which chalk marks to respond to, sometimes individual yard crewmen would make their mark in one particular area so fellow crewman would know how to respond to what might be a jumble of chalk marks. Or a crewman might take the time to wipe off a mark and this occasionally is seen in photos.

Here is how one railroader described his work:

“I read the destination cards stapled to the cars. We could determine where the various blocks started and ended and then chalk the cuts. The other switchman marked the cut positions using bold letters and arrows so we could find them in the dark.

Doing this was far better than standing next to the train looking at a list, trying to find a car by its number.”

Eric Hansmann

There are some interesting chalk marks on these boxcars. Some seem to have consecutive numbers. I suspect they may be marked to spot quickly.This is an October 1927 photo documenting a replacement bridge project connecting the Oakland and Bloomfield neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It spanned a valley and the Pennsy main line. An important B&O line is also in this image. The boxcars are sitting on B&O rails, originally the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad. Check them out for interesting weathering, chalk marks, route cards, and weigh stenciling.

After the link opens, click the View this Item link, or the image. Find the four buttons in the upper left corner of the image and click on the left button to make the image full screen. Zoom in at will to review the details. It's a nice size scan.

https://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt%3A715.275224.CP

Those billboards are the only clean things in this image.

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro,TN

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 10:40 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

I found information about chalk markings from a number of sources which I incorporated into a clinic. Below are some of what I found.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

++++

Markings could communicate a variety of instructions and freight car conditions:

Required handling of a specific car or load

Condition of equipment that needed repair

"OK"  or a check mark chalked over a truck to indicate a bearing had  been checked

Indication of an item's dimensions

Notations about car routings and interchanges

Track assignments for individual cars

Outgoing train numbers

Industrial siding information

Customer information

Assigned car spot at a customer’s facility

Humping instructions for cars switched in a gravity yard

Destinations

Car contents

Perishable instructions

“MT” for an empty car

Whether the shipment was all going to one consignee or where it should be first delivered.

Fragile freight

Chalk marks were not a universal language. Codes varied from yard to yard, railroad to railroad and era to era.

To determine  which chalk marks to respond to, sometimes individual yard crewmen would make their mark in one particular area so fellow crewman would know how to respond to what might be a jumble of chalk marks. Or a crewman might take the time to wipe off a mark and this occasionally is seen in photos.

Here is how one railroader described his work:

“I read the destination cards stapled to the cars. We could determine where the various blocks started and ended and then chalk the cuts. The other switchman marked the cut positions using bold letters and arrows so we could find them in the dark.

Doing this was far better than standing next to the train looking at a list, trying to find a car by its number.”

Bob Chaparro

I found information about chalk markings from a number of sources which I incorporated into a clinic. Below are some of what I found.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

++++

Markings could communicate a variety of instructions and freight car conditions:

Required handling of a specific car or load

Condition of equipment that needed repair

"OK"  or a check mark chalked over a truck to indicate a bearing had  been checked

Indication of an item's dimensions

Notations about car routings and interchanges

Track assignments for individual cars

Outgoing train numbers

Industrial siding information

Customer information

Assigned car spot at a customer’s facility

Humping instructions for cars switched in a gravity yard

Destinations

Car contents

Perishable instructions

“MT” for an empty car

Whether the shipment was all going to one consignee or where it should be first delivered.

Fragile freight

Chalk marks were not a universal language. Codes varied from yard to yard, railroad to railroad and era to era.

To determine  which chalk marks to respond to, sometimes individual yard crewmen would make their mark in one particular area so fellow crewman would know how to respond to what might be a jumble of chalk marks. Or a crewman might take the time to wipe off a mark and this occasionally is seen in photos.

Here is how one railroader described his work:

“I read the destination cards stapled to the cars. We could determine where the various blocks started and ended and then chalk the cuts. The other switchman marked the cut positions using bold letters and arrows so we could find them in the dark.

Doing this was far better than standing next to the train looking at a list, trying to find a car by its number.”

Jon Miller

On 11/13/2018 3:50 PM, Benjamin Hom wrote:
John,

Go back and re-read my post.

Oops!

```--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS```

Benjamin Hom

John,

Go back and re-read my post.

1.  I was answering a question.
2.  I posted a link to search results for chalk marks of all scales, and mentioned that the only ones in stock were yellow ones.

Ben Hom

From: Jon Miller <atsfus@...>
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:47 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

On 11/13/2018 1:32 PM, Benjamin Hom wrote:
I checked Clover House, and couldn't find any on their website.
Ben,
I just ordered some from Clover House.  After hunting for a while I did a search and they showed up.  Only problem is they only had yellow.  I did order a bunch of rejects to play with.
```--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS```

Jon Miller

On 11/13/2018 1:32 PM, Benjamin Hom wrote:
I checked Clover House, and couldn't find any on their website.

Ben,

I just ordered some from Clover House.  After hunting for a while I did a search and they showed up.  Only problem is they only had yellow.  I did order a bunch of rejects to play with.

```--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
SPROG User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS```

Benjamin Hom

Steve Kay wrote:
"It seems to me that chalk marks are the ideal subject for dry transfer type lettering.   I am a waterslide decal guy myself -- I feel more confident about being able to make adjustments to lettering after application, etc., but chalk marks are not usually straight or in a certain place, so being able to add them to a car after it is complete seems like a good thing.   I checked Clover House, and couldn't find any on their website.   Does anyone make these?"

You didn't look closely enough - they have them in multiple scales in white, yellow and black; however, the HO scale white and black sets look to be out of stock.  Root stock number is 9911.

You could get away with using some N or S scale markings for HO scale as these obviously varied in size depending on whomever was doing the marking.

Ben Hom

StephenK

It seems to me that chalk marks are the ideal subject for dry transfer type lettering.   I am a waterslide decal guy myself -- I feel more confident about being able to make adjustments to lettering after application, etc., but chalk marks are not usually straight  or in a certain place, so being able to add them to a car after it ti s complete seems like a good thing.   I checked Clover House, and couldn't find any on their website.   Does anyone make these?

Steve Kay

Tony Thompson

Remember that identifying a branch as a car destination was exactly what route cards were used for. There may well have been no need for a chalk mark.
Tony Thompson

On Nov 13, 2018, at 3:22 PM, John Barry <northbaylines@...> wrote:

Bill,

Unless you have a rich stash of photos of period photos from your branch or the classification yard that served it, Bob's comment about "plausible" and random applies as the majority of the marks would have been from someplace else and random hieroglyphics are in order.  OTH, if you are so fortunate to have that stash, or the recollections of a yard crew that built the train for your branch, you may be able to decipher that ONE mark that directed the car to your line, be it the schedule number (not necessarily the ETT train #), an alpha code, or distinct pattern.

Even if you can't discern that pattern, it is reasonable to make a guess that if the 53 train serves your branch and the 52 train serves the branch in the other TT direction that you could plausibly mark all of the cars you operate on your branch with a fresh 53 in a consistent spot along with an assortment of older, more faded random marks.

John Barry

ATSF North Bay Lines
Golden Gates & Fast Freights
Lovettsville, VA

707-490-9696

PO Box 44736
Washington, DC 20026-4736

From: Bill Keene via Groups.Io <bill41@...>
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 11:42 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

Hello Group,

I have begun to study chalk marks. Well ... actually just look more closely at them. The truth is that with few exceptions I have no idea what the chalk marks are trying to convey.

Some might appear to be train numbers applied by a yard clerk to aid classifying a car to a specific train. Or perhaps they are track numbers? Or perhaps the marks denote something entirely else. Those that say to "hold" a car are understandable as are marks that explain or denote a bad order car. But the majority of marks are more or less a foreign language to me.

Also, did the use of chalk marks change over time? That is, would the use or need for chalk marks change from the 1920s to the depression era, to the WWII era, to the post WWII era, etc?

With my past modeling, I have added chalk marks to my weathered models based simply on "looks". Now that I am modeling a specific stretch portion of a specific branch line, I am beginning to wonder about this random approach.

Any knowledge you can provide to this old dog modeler would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

Armand Premo

I believe Sunshine had a series of Chalk mark decals that were either road specific or by region ? Armand Premo

On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 12:42 PM Robert Heninger <gn2059@...> wrote:
Bill,

Here's a link to one of Tony's posts, that contains a couple additional embedded links with further information.

http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/search?q=chalk+mark

Regards,
Bob Heninger
Minot, ND

Bill Keene

Thanks John,

Back to the photos of which I have few that are of my 1952-53 period.

The thought has come to mind that I am over worrying this chalk mark thing a bit. Comes naturally, I guess. My Dad was somewhat close to being the ultimate worrier.

Cheers,
Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

On Nov 13, 2018, at 10:22 AM, John Barry <northbaylines@...> wrote:

Bill,

Unless you have a rich stash of photos of period photos from your branch or the classification yard that served it, Bob's comment about "plausible" and random applies as the majority of the marks would have been from someplace else and random hieroglyphics are in order.  OTH, if you are so fortunate to have that stash, or the recollections of a yard crew that built the train for your branch, you may be able to decipher that ONE mark that directed the car to your line, be it the schedule number (not necessarily the ETT train #), an alpha code, or distinct pattern.

Even if you can't discern that pattern, it is reasonable to make a guess that if the 53 train serves your branch and the 52 train serves the branch in the other TT direction that you could plausibly mark all of the cars you operate on your branch with a fresh 53 in a consistent spot along with an assortment of older, more faded random marks.

John Barry

ATSF North Bay Lines
Golden Gates & Fast Freights
Lovettsville, VA

707-490-9696

PO Box 44736
Washington, DC 20026-4736

From: Bill Keene via Groups.Io <bill41@...>
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 11:42 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

Hello Group,

I have begun to study chalk marks. Well ... actually just look more closely at them. The truth is that with few exceptions I have no idea what the chalk marks are trying to convey.

Some might appear to be train numbers applied by a yard clerk to aid classifying a car to a specific train. Or perhaps they are track numbers? Or perhaps the marks denote something entirely else. Those that say to "hold" a car are understandable as are marks that explain or denote a bad order car. But the majority of marks are more or less a foreign language to me.

Also, did the use of chalk marks change over time? That is, would the use or need for chalk marks change from the 1920s to the depression era, to the WWII era, to the post WWII era, etc?

With my past modeling, I have added chalk marks to my weathered models based simply on "looks". Now that I am modeling a specific stretch portion of a specific branch line, I am beginning to wonder about this random approach.

Any knowledge you can provide to this old dog modeler would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

John Barry

Bill,

Unless you have a rich stash of photos of period photos from your branch or the classification yard that served it, Bob's comment about "plausible" and random applies as the majority of the marks would have been from someplace else and random hieroglyphics are in order.  OTH, if you are so fortunate to have that stash, or the recollections of a yard crew that built the train for your branch, you may be able to decipher that ONE mark that directed the car to your line, be it the schedule number (not necessarily the ETT train #), an alpha code, or distinct pattern.

Even if you can't discern that pattern, it is reasonable to make a guess that if the 53 train serves your branch and the 52 train serves the branch in the other TT direction that you could plausibly mark all of the cars you operate on your branch with a fresh 53 in a consistent spot along with an assortment of older, more faded random marks.

John Barry

ATSF North Bay Lines
Golden Gates & Fast Freights
Lovettsville, VA

707-490-9696

PO Box 44736
Washington, DC 20026-4736

From: Bill Keene via Groups.Io <bill41@...>
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 11:42 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] CHALK MARKS QUESTION #2

Hello Group,

I have begun to study chalk marks. Well ... actually just look more closely at them. The truth is that with few exceptions I have no idea what the chalk marks are trying to convey.

Some might appear to be train numbers applied by a yard clerk to aid classifying a car to a specific train. Or perhaps they are track numbers? Or perhaps the marks denote something entirely else. Those that say to "hold" a car are understandable as are marks that explain or denote a bad order car. But the majority of marks are more or less a foreign language to me.

Also, did the use of chalk marks change over time? That is, would the use or need for chalk marks change from the 1920s to the depression era, to the WWII era, to the post WWII era, etc?

With my past modeling, I have added chalk marks to my weathered models based simply on "looks". Now that I am modeling a specific stretch portion of a specific branch line, I am beginning to wonder about this random approach.

Any knowledge you can provide to this old dog modeler would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Bill Keene
Irvine, CA