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Standard Steel Freight Cars - Experiment (corrected)


Jeff Eggert
 

Thanks for sharing this.  A possible solution for those with trouble with XLSX files is to look into LibreOffice. https://www.libreoffice.org/  This programs opens seemingly everything, even some old Microsoft files the current Office suite won't open.  Its free and my go to program when Excel doesn't like the file.  Besides some features a data file like this will never use, the XLSX file version is usually about 1/3 the size as an XLS file.  Makes a big difference for larger files.

The following may get a bit detailed for this list, but I think the larger audience may find interest.

In some discussions with the BRHS, and while going though our photo spreadsheet at the CNWHS Archives, I ran into similar standardization concerns.  While we had a standardized set of fields, the data within those fields was clearly entered by many individuals over the years.  Exactly how you described ATSF variants, I saw everything from town and name spellings for common places which didn't even match.  Someday a mass sorting will need to fix and align all these similar to what you may be thinking.

Reporting marks with non-letter characters have always caused problems in the digital world.  Maybe not when we use our eyes to look at a digitized photo from 100 years ago, but the computer doesn't "gloss over" that & or a period when entered as data.  As Dan suggested the & has purpose certainly for the era.  From a pure sortation standpoint, any non-letter character or space will cause things to sort how people entered them (and why I try to ban them from my personal files as data).  You could create a validated table similar to what is done on RailCarPhotos for their various search functions.  https://www.railcarphotos.com/CountReportingMarks.php  Things get fun when trying to decide on a sterilized list of builders since some changed their name over the years.

Lastly circling back to the photo spreadsheet - instead of manually renaming 25,000 photo filenames to let them sort in a researcher friendly fashion, I let the computer rename them using the spreadsheet data.  During that process I found all sorts of unacceptable characters entered in odd places such as the & which don't play nice in filenames.  The lesson to me was that the data cleanliness really shows up when you go to use it.

Jeff Eggert


Bob Webber
 

Thanks, Dan.

This is a temporary version - I plan on putting another out in the "near" future that contains more data - and will likely be a PDF with an xls alternative. 

The reason there is no order info is that these were early scans - and we didn't realize at that time if it would be important (I say we - I wasn't there).  This is a 20 year effort - you learn a lot in 20 years.  That means, also means 20 years of orders - each order teaches us a lot about what customers want - and are looking for.  We are slowly back filling data - if it is present.  many drawings have no order infor (which you can see on the list - I've taken to adding that phrase rather than leaving that part of the caption empty). 

There are a *LOT* of early cars that may be of interest.  Cement covered hoppers in the late 20s, 3 bay 50-ton open hoppers, various Duryea underframed cars (and who knew that some hoppers have parts also used on box cars (aside from trucks and such).  There is even the USRA box if you look through the list.  There are export cars, trench cars, cabooses, etc.

What I plan on doing - if the interest is there - is to include the Pullman freight, the H&B freight and perhaps some others that may be of interest.  That spans from about 1900 to 1960ish. 

The exact nature of the drawings is, in this case at least, less important than the possibilities in the orders/Lots.  By seeing that there are specific orders for specific railroads available - even if the given drawing is for a striking plate - that is important for those researching cars.  They then have a good chance of finding other, ore critical drawings for their work for the cars referenced. 

We started by putting EXACTLY what was in the data block.  THAT was, I think, a mistake.  The various manufacturers were no more standard or consistent than, well, us.   I did a quick search before posting to make some things a bit more so - you have NO idea how many abbreviations for "arrangement" there were!  Same with railroads.  AT&SF may be Santa Fe, ATSF, AT&SF, or variants.  THAT'S what we had been entering (because that's what was on the drawing).  I've changed that policy to do just as you suggest - put the reporting marks, not the name or variations.  Search for CRI&P stuff, you have to look for Rock, CRIP, CRIP, etc.  That has to change. 

MANY General Drawings have multiple associations - and when they did - no road name was provided (were it for many),  So, they can be ...entertaining...to research.  But...this is exactly why I wanted to post this - to get ideas and explain our process and then meld it all together so that we have a more useful product when we put a searchable data base on the web. 

We are VERY much restrained by the agreement with Bombardier (they own 85-90% of the collection).  That may change

At 06:23 AM 6/8/2019, D R Stinson wrote:
Bob -
A truly impressive effort, as limited as it might be. Congratulations on bringing light to the holdings of the library!

The first comment I would make is to save the file in the most easily accessible software format possible for those who may not have Excel. I would suggest staying with the XLS format rather than going to the XLSX format. The newer (and more exclusive) format most likely doesn't gain you anything, and people with older spreadsheet programs might run into an obstacle with it. Just a suggestion from someone who does not typically use M$ Excel.

While it is most likely necessary, make certain that the compression program you use to zip files continues to function correctly in the future. I have found that to be a problem with some older compressions in early versions of MS software. Just an observation.

Some of the first entries do not mention specific road names, car series, or types. This may be something that simply wasn't on the drawings or wasn't picked up when those drawings were scanned. Again, an observation.

While it may be too late for some, it might be useful if the road initials were in a separate, sortable column to facilitate locating specific cars.

And it appears you DO have something of interest to me! SS-16294.tif appears to be one of the early BA&P two-bay hoppers, although it might be one of the earlier cars, which would still be of interest.

Regarding reporting marks, I notice that some of the initials have spaces in them. the above-mentioned drawing refers to "B A & P Hopper car" with spaces between the initials. If I'm searching for a reporting mark I don't put in spaces because the railroads and the equipment registers didn't. In this case it would be more useful to use "BA&P". Note that this may simply be a typo. Personally I favor leaving in the ampersand (&), as it is correct for the era, but it's not unreasonable to do a second search if it's not there. Where road names are spelled out, such as "General drawing  of 60000 lbs. cap stock car Bangor & Aroostook", it would be helpful to have reporting marks following the name for searching. This might help avoid spelling errors derailing a search.

Just some quick thought. Again, congratulations on such an effort!!

Dan Stinson
Helena, Montana


Bob Webber


 

Bob -
A truly impressive effort, as limited as it might be. Congratulations on bringing light to the holdings of the library!

The first comment I would make is to save the file in the most easily accessible software format possible for those who may not have Excel. I would suggest staying with the XLS format rather than going to the XLSX format. The newer (and more exclusive) format most likely doesn't gain you anything, and people with older spreadsheet programs might run into an obstacle with it. Just a suggestion from someone who does not typically use M$ Excel.

While it is most likely necessary, make certain that the compression program you use to zip files continues to function correctly in the future. I have found that to be a problem with some older compressions in early versions of MS software. Just an observation.

Some of the first entries do not mention specific road names, car series, or types. This may be something that simply wasn't on the drawings or wasn't picked up when those drawings were scanned. Again, an observation.

While it may be too late for some, it might be useful if the road initials were in a separate, sortable column to facilitate locating specific cars.

And it appears you DO have something of interest to me! SS-16294.tif appears to be one of the early BA&P two-bay hoppers, although it might be one of the earlier cars, which would still be of interest.

Regarding reporting marks, I notice that some of the initials have spaces in them. the above-mentioned drawing refers to "B A & P Hopper car" with spaces between the initials. If I'm searching for a reporting mark I don't put in spaces because the railroads and the equipment registers didn't. In this case it would be more useful to use "BA&P". Note that this may simply be a typo. Personally I favor leaving in the ampersand (&), as it is correct for the era, but it's not unreasonable to do a second search if it's not there. Where road names are spelled out, such as "General drawing of 60000 lbs. cap stock car Bangor & Aroostook", it would be helpful to have reporting marks following the name for searching. This might help avoid spelling errors derailing a search.

Just some quick thought. Again, congratulations on such an effort!!

Dan Stinson
Helena, Montana


Aley, Jeff A
 

It seems easier to just provide the link here:

 

http://www.pullmanlibrary.org/SS%20Freight%20Folder-Contents.xlsx

 

You’ll probably want to right-click and “Save As” because this link is not to a webpage, but to an Excel spreadsheet.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of al.kresse
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2019 5:19 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Standard Steel Freight Cars - Experiment (corrected)

 

Now it works! Thanks!

 

On June 7, 2019 at 7:45 PM Bob Webber <rgz17@...> wrote:

Many of you know me - I am Bob Webber, current Curator of the Pullman Library in Beautiful Downtown Union, IL.  Data on our Library can be found on the IRM web site:
https://www.irm.org/pullmanlibrary/

MANY years ago, I created a "shadow" web site because we could not get ANYTHING changed, posted or deleted on the official one - hence the link at the bottom.

For years people have been asking if we can provide a list of all the drawings we had.  We could not - there simply is no index. 

On the other hand, we have a few drawings scanned.  In one particular stretch - basically in 1928-1930 - we've been busily scanning drawings.  So now there is about 1% scanned, or about 2800 drawings. But they give a fairly good cross section of types of drawings in these years.  (Note, these years are encompassed by drawings from about SS-53000 to SS-55000) .

The list that will be linked in this e-mail is an experiment and a call for comments.  Note that this list is just that - drawing number & caption.  No sample drawings, no other information. 

We know there are errors, typos, and such - bound to be after some 50,000 drawings of all types have been scanned & metadata added.  Too, the roughly 15 years that is represented on our part was a learnign curve as we had to learn what was important, how to use the software, etc.

I'll leave off the "FAQ" I did on another list - if there are comments, questions, hate mail, etc. remember one thing.  DO NOT CALL.  The Library's phone system is about as stable as a rat in a meth lab.  Sometimes we get it, and it works beautifully (usually for spam phone calls) customer phone calls, not so much.   Use the IO, Comcast or the Pullman Library's gmail account irmpulllib&gm***.c** (asterisks to be replaced by real stuff by you, the reader).  Note.  DO NOT USE the IRM E-mail that has been set up because...you guessed  it - that too is hosed.  At times well over the limit set, at other times I simply do not get the mail, and at other times, it forwards only half of it.  So...there is that (or not).

Anyway...here is a slightly upgraded version of the freight car list (heh) for your perusal - I can answer questions as will others - you likely should keep the more personal, attacking and/or specific questions to the above accounts and not litter the list.

http://www.pullmanlibrary.org/


(The list can be found almost at the bottom of this index - which otw has not been updated since ..well...a long time)

Bob Webber


 


 


al.kresse <water.kresse@...>
 

Now it works! Thanks!


On June 7, 2019 at 7:45 PM Bob Webber <rgz17@...> wrote:

Many of you know me - I am Bob Webber, current Curator of the Pullman Library in Beautiful Downtown Union, IL.  Data on our Library can be found on the IRM web site:
https://www.irm.org/pullmanlibrary/

MANY years ago, I created a "shadow" web site because we could not get ANYTHING changed, posted or deleted on the official one - hence the link at the bottom.

For years people have been asking if we can provide a list of all the drawings we had.  We could not - there simply is no index. 

On the other hand, we have a few drawings scanned.  In one particular stretch - basically in 1928-1930 - we've been busily scanning drawings.  So now there is about 1% scanned, or about 2800 drawings. But they give a fairly good cross section of types of drawings in these years.  (Note, these years are encompassed by drawings from about SS-53000 to SS-55000) .

The list that will be linked in this e-mail is an experiment and a call for comments.  Note that this list is just that - drawing number & caption.  No sample drawings, no other information. 

We know there are errors, typos, and such - bound to be after some 50,000 drawings of all types have been scanned & metadata added.  Too, the roughly 15 years that is represented on our part was a learnign curve as we had to learn what was important, how to use the software, etc.

I'll leave off the "FAQ" I did on another list - if there are comments, questions, hate mail, etc. remember one thing.  DO NOT CALL.  The Library's phone system is about as stable as a rat in a meth lab.  Sometimes we get it, and it works beautifully (usually for spam phone calls) customer phone calls, not so much.   Use the IO, Comcast or the Pullman Library's gmail account irmpulllib&gm***.c** (asterisks to be replaced by real stuff by you, the reader).  Note.  DO NOT USE the IRM E-mail that has been set up because...you guessed  it - that too is hosed.  At times well over the limit set, at other times I simply do not get the mail, and at other times, it forwards only half of it.  So...there is that (or not).

Anyway...here is a slightly upgraded version of the freight car list (heh) for your perusal - I can answer questions as will others - you likely should keep the more personal, attacking and/or specific questions to the above accounts and not litter the list.

http://www.pullmanlibrary.org/


(The list can be found almost at the bottom of this index - which otw has not been updated since ..well...a long time)

Bob Webber


 


 


Bob Webber
 

Many of you know me - I am Bob Webber, current Curator of the Pullman Library in Beautiful Downtown Union, IL.  Data on our Library can be found on the IRM web site:
https://www.irm.org/pullmanlibrary/

MANY years ago, I created a "shadow" web site because we could not get ANYTHING changed, posted or deleted on the official one - hence the link at the bottom.

For years people have been asking if we can provide a list of all the drawings we had.  We could not - there simply is no index. 

On the other hand, we have a few drawings scanned.  In one particular stretch - basically in 1928-1930 - we've been busily scanning drawings.  So now there is about 1% scanned, or about 2800 drawings. But they give a fairly good cross section of types of drawings in these years.  (Note, these years are encompassed by drawings from about SS-53000 to SS-55000) .

The list that will be linked in this e-mail is an experiment and a call for comments.  Note that this list is just that - drawing number & caption.  No sample drawings, no other information. 

We know there are errors, typos, and such - bound to be after some 50,000 drawings of all types have been scanned & metadata added.  Too, the roughly 15 years that is represented on our part was a learnign curve as we had to learn what was important, how to use the software, etc.

I'll leave off the "FAQ" I did on another list - if there are comments, questions, hate mail, etc. remember one thing.  DO NOT CALL.  The Library's phone system is about as stable as a rat in a meth lab.  Sometimes we get it, and it works beautifully (usually for spam phone calls) customer phone calls, not so much.   Use the IO, Comcast or the Pullman Library's gmail account irmpulllib&gm***.c** (asterisks to be replaced by real stuff by you, the reader).  Note.  DO NOT USE the IRM E-mail that has been set up because...you guessed  it - that too is hosed.  At times well over the limit set, at other times I simply do not get the mail, and at other times, it forwards only half of it.  So...there is that (or not).

Anyway...here is a slightly upgraded version of the freight car list (heh) for your perusal - I can answer questions as will others - you likely should keep the more personal, attacking and/or specific questions to the above accounts and not litter the list.

http://www.pullmanlibrary.org/


(The list can be found almost at the bottom of this index - which otw has not been updated since ..well...a long time)

Bob Webber