AAR Rules


greg kennelly
 

Dennis Storek wrote:
"As to side agreements to handle non-compliant cars, someplace I ran into a reference That one of the major Canadian roads agreed to handle non-compliant cars for the Pacific Great Eastern to the Vancouver docks, but not beyond the Vancouver switching district. I imagine the PGE was a signatory to the AAR Interchange agreement, but also had lots of non-compliant cars; this would allow more of their meager roster to service their traffic. The problem is, since I don't remember where I saw it, I can't say for sure if it was pre-1960."

Guy Wilbur replied:
"You unknowingly answered your own question.  As long as non compliant cars remained within a switching district to be loaded or unloaded it was permitted.  NO use in interchange.  There may very well have been exceptions, but those were VERY minimal.  Pacific Great Eastern was a subscriber to the Interchange Rules."

Some time between December 1930 and July 1934, a statement appeared in the PGE's ORER listings that "Freight Cars owned are not employed in Interstate Commerce" and lasted until 
it was replaced with "Freight Cars owned are used only in Switching Service with direct connections" some time between January 1938 and October 1939.  That statement continued in the ORERs until sometime between January 1959 and July 1966 (the latter being "beyond the end of time" for this list).  Until Autumn 1952, the PGE's only direct connection was with the CPR at Vancouver, BC (via car barge from Squamish, BC).  Although the PGE established a direct connection with CN at Prince George, BC, in the Autumn of 1952, it did not appear in the ORER until sometime between April 1953 and January 1954.  Sometime between January 1955 and April 1958, the ORER began to show connections at Squamish, BC, with UP (via Island Tug & Barge) and CMStP&P (via Foss Tug & Launch), with both barge services terminating at Seattle.

Greg Kennelly


Guy Wilber
 

Dennis wrote:

"However, I felt that his explanation of how the standard charges for repairs worked, a topic that, to my knowledge, has never been discussed here, was worth the exposure and discussion. Indeed, just today someone seemed confused how a car could be repacked on a foreign line, and the answer is simple... it's due (which is why the date of the last RPKD is stenciled on the car) do it and bill the car owner."

One of the essential fundamentals of the Interchange Rules was that foreign cars were to be treated in the same manner as home cars.  All billing costs, both labor and parts, are listed within the Interchange Rules....any time you (or anyone) has a question regarding that aspect I will do my best to answer.  The procedural part is easy and I agree that Mr. Dawson did a nice summary of the process.  

"As to side agreements to handle non-compliant cars, someplace I ran into a reference That one of the major Canadian roads agreed to handle non-compliant cars for the Pacific Great Eastern to the Vancouver docks, but not beyond the Vancouver switching district. I imagine the PGE was a signatory to the AAR Interchange agreement, but also had lots of non-compliant cars; this would allow more of their meager roster to service their traffic. The problem is, since I don't remember where I saw it, I can't say for sure if it was pre-1960."

You unknowingly answered your own question.  As long as non compliant cars remained within a switching district to be loaded or unloaded it was permitted.  NO use in interchange.  There may very well have been exceptions, but those were VERY minimal.  Pacific Great Eastern was a subscriber to the Interchange Rules.  


Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada

 
 
 

 


Dennis Storzek <dennis@...>
 

On Sun, May 15, 2022 at 03:53 PM, Guy Wilber wrote:
Mr. Dawson stated; "It also does not prevent individual railroads from operating non-compliant cars by agreement among themselves." 
 
Dennis, you recently made this same claim:  "The AAR regulations only governed interchange, and were based on an agreement between all the member railroads. As such, each road could use whatever "banned" equipment on its own lines, and even make side agreements to accept "banned" equipment from other roads."
I respect Mr. Dawson's contributions, he is well informed.  I do believe it is important to distinguish the differences within the periods of interest.  
Guy,
I agree completely, and since Mr. Dawson's entire career happened after our period of interest, he does not speak to the situation before his time. However, I felt that his explanation of how the standard charges for repairs worked, a topic that, to my knowledge, has never been discussed here, was worth the exposure and discussion. Indeed, just today someone seemed confused how a car could be repacked on a foreign line, and the answer is simple... it's due (which is why the date of the last RPKD is stenciled on the car) do it and bill the car owner.

As to side agreements to handle non-compliant cars, someplace I ran into a reference That one of the major Canadian roads agreed to handle non-compliant cars for the Pacific Great Eastern to the Vancouver docks, but not beyond the Vancouver switching district. I imagine the PGE was a signatory to the AAR Interchange agreement, but also had lots of non-compliant cars; this would allow more of their meager roster to service their traffic. The problem is, since I don't remember where I saw it, I can't say for sure if it was pre-1960.

Dennis Storzek 
 
 
 

 


Guy Wilber
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:

I occasionally browse the Modern Freight Cars List, and noticed this posting last night, which I've re-posted here with Mr. Dawson's permission. Mr. Dawson was nice enough to add a little biographical information, which I've added at the bottom.

Mr. Dawson stated; "It also does not prevent individual railroads from operating non-compliant cars by agreement among themselves." 

Dennis, you recently made this same claim:  "The AAR regulations only governed interchange, and were based on an agreement between all the member railroads. As such, each road could use whatever "banned" equipment on its own lines, and even make side agreements to accept "banned" equipment from other roads."

There were no "side agreements" between railroads for use of equipment prohibited in interchange during the 1900-1960 period.  

Interchange Rule 130.  Acceptance or rejection of this Code of Rules must be as a whole, and no exception to an individual rule or rules shall be valid.

All members (railroads and private lines) signed onto and agreed to abide by the Interchange Agreement; "...the Subscriber will abide by The Code of Rules governing the condition of, repairs to, and settlements for freight cars for the interchange of traffic, as formulated and promulgated by the former Master Car Builders' Association and by The Association of American Railroads (Division V - Mechanical), or by either thereof (which rules are designated on the minutes of said Association's proceedings and are commonly known as "Interchange Rules"), and by each of said rules, and abide by each and all decisions and interpretations of The Arbitration Committee provided for by said Code of Rules..." 

"Although at one time the AAR technical committees consisted solely of representatives of operating railroads, they now have members representing private car owners and suppliers."

All the previous associations allowed representatives from private lines positions on the various committees.  Union Tank Lines and General American both had several representatives on the Tank Car Committee through the years.  Armour & Company had a representative on the Arbitration Committee as well as the Special Committee on Salt Water Drippings. 

"Even though railroads now own less than 50% of interchange freight cars, railroads still retain a majority of voting members in each committee.  Since the railroads have to live with the results of any equipment failures out on the road, this is entirely reasonable in my opinion.  The Interchange Rules themselves, which are updated twice a year, are the responsibility of the Arbitration and Rules Committee."

It was simply the Arbitration Committee during the 1900-1960 period which promulgated the Rules of Interchange.   

I respect Mr. Dawson's contributions, he is well informed.  I do believe it is important to distinguish the differences within the periods of interest.  


Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada
_._,_._,_


Guy Wilber
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:

“Likely the problem was introduced by Richard paraphrasing the actual text of the rule; someone (mot me) who cares about that era needs to find the actual text and make the correction.”

We’ve discussed the prohibition in interchange of non-integral side frames several times on this list; such side frames were never prohibited in interchange within the time span of this list.  I'm not sure where the confusion came from as to prohibiting non-integral side frames as there is no reference to integral or non-integral side frames within Rule 3.  Rule 17 clearly states that either type can be swapped for the other and read the same through 1960.   

1957 Rule 3, Section (t), Paragraph (3-b)  Effective January 1, 1956, cast-steel truck side frames having "I", "T" or "L" section compression or tension members, prohibited under all cars.  From owners.  Effective January 1, 1957, this requirement will apply to all cars in interchange.

1958 Rule 3, Section (t), Paragraph (3-a) (amended)  Cast-steel side frames having "I", "T" or "L" section compression or tension members, prohibited under all cars.  In interchange.

1958 Rule 17, Section (o)  U section side frames may be substituted for each other, providing capacity and wheel base correspond and truck is made safe and serviceable.  The substitution of integral for non-integral types is permissible.  Column guide clearance standard to car must be maintained.  The above substitutions only will be considered as correct repairs, charges and credits to be on basis of material applied and removed.  


Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada 



  
_._,_._,_


Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada


Dennis Storzek <dennis@...>
 

Group,

I occasionally browse the Modern Freight Cars List, and noticed this posting last night, which I've re-posted here with Mr. Dawson's permission. Mr. Dawson was nice enough to add a little biographical information, which I've added at the bottom.

AAR Rules

I suspect that many, probably most, members of the railroad historical and enthusiast communities do not fully appreciate the significance and power of the AAR Interchange Rules.  How many industries can one think of in which your competitor can inspect your capital equipment, decide based on his inspection that it needs to be repaired, perform the repairs, send you a bill for the repairs (the arrival of which is likely the first that you have heard of it), and you are obligated to pay the bill?  Railroad freight cars do operate under such a system.  The origins of the freight car interchange system and of the railroad associations that control it are described in John H. White’s magnificent book, The American Railroad Freight Car.  To ensure that freight cars running on lines other than those of the car owner can operate safely and be repaired with a minimum of disruption and delay, all parties that operate cars in interchange, that is to say on lines other than their own, agree to subscribe to and be governed by the AAR Interchange Rules.  The rules are enforced by the fact that any railroad can refuse to accept cars offered in interchange that do not comply with the Interchange Rules.  Note that this does not prevent railroads from operating non-compliant cars on their own lines, although such cars are still subject to the requirements of the FRA Freight Car Safety Standards and safety appliance regulations.  It also does not prevent individual railroads from operating non-compliant cars by agreement among themselves.  For example, the 125-ton trucks used on most articulated double stack cars are not authorized for unrestricted interchange, but most railroads accept them over particular lines that can handle the higher axle loadings.  And the AAR does have standards for the wheels, axles, and bearings used on those cars. 

 

The Interchange Rules serve several different functions: 

 

  1. They ensure that the components of one car operate in harmony with those of other cars in a train.  The couplers on adjacent cars must couple and uncouple with each other reliably and must be at a known location on the car.  Cars’ air brake systems must respond in a predictable manner to control signals sent from the engineer’s brake valve.  It’s hard to imagine anything more crucial than that the cars in a heavy train descending a steep grade do not run away when the engineer makes a brake application and expects a particular speed to result. 
  2. They ensure that major components are interchangeable regardless of manufacturer, thereby reducing the number of different components that have to be stocked in repair facilities.  Thus, any E60 coupler (and each of its internal components) can be replaced by any other E60 coupler or component.  The ability of a train crew to replace a broken coupler knuckle out on the road is dependent on the knuckle kept in the locomotive (or caboose, in the past) being interchangeable with the one that failed. 
  3. Ensuring that cars in a train and their components have a minimum degree of strength to perform safely in the harsh railroad operating environment.  One aspect of this is the removal of obsolete and less safe cars or components from interchange operation like solid journal bearings, cast iron wheels, cast metal brake shoes, etc. 
  4. They establish criteria for repair or replacement depending on the extent of wear or damage.  Wheels representing the greatest maintenance and repair cost over the life of the typical freight car, Interchange Rule 41, “Wheels”, is instructive.  Among many other criteria, it states that wheels must be replaced when rim thickness falls below ¾” or 7/8” (depending on wheel size) or have thermal cracks in the flange or rim.  Similarly, Rule 12, “Brake Shoes and Shoe Keys”, states that brake shoes must be replaced when worn to 3/8” thickness or less. 
  5. If repairs are found necessary based on Section “A. Cause for Repairs” in the rule applicable to that component, appropriate repairs are defined in Section “B. Correct Repairs” of the same rule. 
  6. Each repair is assigned a Job Code at the end of the particular interchange rule.  In the Price Matrix of the Interchange Rules, commonly performed job codes are assigned a specific number of labor hours to perform the repair/replacement as well as a price for the component applied.  The hourly labor rate and component prices are updated annually and are uniform throughout the United States.  In 2015, for example, Job Code 1840, “Brake Shoe, Composition, High Friction 2 Inches”, established $6.70 for the cost of the new shoe plus 0.124 hours labor to perform the shoe replacement.  At the $120.54 standard labor rate, the labor cost to change the shoe was $14.95, for a total cost of $21.65.  Repairs for which standard hours have not been determined are billed at the actual number of hours expended times the standard labor rate. 
  7. A means is established to settle disputes over interpretation of the Interchange Rules and over whether one party was mistreated by another.  Perhaps another party performed (or claimed to perform) repairs on a car that the owner felt was unjustified under the Interchange Rules or charged an unjustified amount for the repair.  By signing the interchange agreement, car owners and repairing parties agree to submit such disputes to the Arbitration and Rules Committee (hence its name), whose rulings are final and absolute.  In addition to arbitrating disputes between different parties, the AAR also has a Mechanical Inspection Department which conducts unannounced audits of repair and inspection facilities.  I remember that at one time Conrail had to forfeit all its AAR billing from a particular location in Altoona for a specified period of time (one month, six months?  I don’t recall.) because of fraudulent billing. 

 

So, how are the Interchange Rules established, maintained, and updated?  As indicated in White’s book, they originated with the Master Car Builders Association in the latter part of the 19th century.  After several organization changes over the years, they are now under the jurisdiction of several technical committees within the AAR Safety and Operations Division.  Although at one time the AAR technical committees consisted solely of representatives of operating railroads, they now have members representing private car owners and suppliers.  Even though railroads now own less than 50% of interchange freight cars, railroads still retain a majority of voting members in each committee.  Since the railroads have to live with the results of any equipment failures out on the road, this is entirely reasonable in my opinion.  The Interchange Rules themselves, which are updated twice a year, are the responsibility of the Arbitration and Rules Committee.  The standards and specifications for cars and their components, which are made mandatory by reference in the Interchange Rules, are established by various technical committees.  Those committees are responsible for various aspects of freight cars and components such as brake systems, wheels and axles, couplers & draft gears, etc.  They, like the Equipment Engineering Committee of which I was a member for several years and Chairman in 2001 and 2002, make recommendations to the Arbitration Committee for any changes or additions to the Interchange Rules, but any actual changes to the rules are enacted by the Arbitration Committee.  Prices and standard labor hours are established by the Car Repair Billing Committee, which reports to the Arbitration and Rules Committee. 

 

Again, my thanks to Hudson Leighton for providing us with this list of changes to the requirements for freight cars and their components. 

 

Dick Dawson

A professional CV prepared by Mr. Dawson:

I have been a railfan for my entire life, but through pure coincidence I was able to take a job with the New York Central as an Assistant Engineer in the mechanical engineering department exactly one year, as it turned out, prior to the Penn Central merger. Following the merger, I transferred to Philadelphia to join the PC equipment engineering department.  Both the NYC and the PC were building freight cars in their own shops at the time, and I was quickly drawn into doing design work on them.  Among the cars I designed were the F50 coil steel cars and the X67  high-cube boxcars.  I left the PC to join Trailer Train in 1973.  I was hired as a research engineer but when the Railbox program of general service boxcars was started, I was transferred to that project because of my prior boxcar engineering experience in a company staffed with flatcar people.  After developing the Railbox specification I was hired by Berwick Forge and Fabricating to head their engineering department in 1977.  Berwick was primarily a boxcar manufacturer, but I also got involved with the Teoli bathtub coal gondolas which we built.  I stayed with Berwick Forge until 1984 when it went out of business following the virtual disappearance of the freight car market during the early 1980s.  The market for new freight cars has always been very cyclical, but the drop in the 1980s was extremely severe.  I was fortunate to be able to return to Trailer Train as Manager Quality Assurance but became Director Engineering & Research two years later when the incumbent retired.  I stayed with Trailer Train, whose name changed to TTX Company in 1991, until I retired from full-time work in 2003.  While at TTX, I developed the all-purpose spine cars, a series of heavy-duty and depressed-center flatcars, and two flatcars designed for auto rack service.  I represented TTX on the AAR Equipment Engineering Committee for 11 years and was its chairman for two years.  Before retiring I established the AAR Safety Appliance Task Force which wrote new regulations that superseded the FRA safety appliance regulations for new cars and continued as its chairman after retirement from TTX, working for the AAR until its work ended in 2019.  I did other consulting work for the AAR until 2020 and still do some work as an expert in litigation involving freight cars. - Dick Dawson

Dennis Storzek