When were railroads required to re-number cars from revenue if used in non-revenue service?

George Eichelberger

Sorry if this is a repeat. (Different send address from me failed?)

The Southern, and I expect other roads, did not change the road numbers when revenue freight cars were permanently assigned to non-revenue services until around 1955. (Many kept their original numbers well past '55.) Southern and Central of Georgia cars modified and “converted” to non-revenue use were given new prefixes and road numbers as early as 1900; X for cabs, B for boarding cars, T for tool cars. etc. Some modified cars kept their revenue number, and ICC freight car account 53 non-revenue service for some time.

Part of the reason for the change was to keep old company service cars out of interchange. Can anyone explain if the change was dictated by an ICC order or AAR decision? In the 70s (?) renumbered non-revenue cars were to be further identified by painting them in a special color.

(Southern’s non-revenue color was orange. The color did not weather well so describing a precise color is not easy. When the instruction arrived from the ICC/AAR(?), the Southern had no standard for non-revenue paint. When asked, the VP responsible for the decision simply chose orange….the color of his alma mater, The University of Tennessee.)

Sou 117390 has been modified as an “end” car for one of the Southern’s “CWR” (continuous welded rail) trains but carries its revenue flat car number. Note the sides are to keep the ends of the rails lined up with the car but the rails are not otherwise restrained, a “hold down” car in the middle of the train held the rails at their mid point so they were free to move toward both ends.