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Lines Above And Below Reporting Initials And Number

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Lines Above And Below Reporting Initials And Number
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, December 21, 2019 8:18 PM

I have painted well over a hundred freight cars for my Fleet Of Nonsense, and some of them have lines above and below the initials and numbers like this car for the FAWN GROVE AND WHITEHALL.

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STRATTON AND GILLETTE freight cars generally do not have these lines.

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This car, for the FUMBLE AND GRUMBLE RAILROAD was painted to the designer's specification, and has an unusual arrangement of these lines.

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What is the purpose of these lines? Is there a date cut-off for when they should or should not be used? Are there any rules for how they should be applied?

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Thank you.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, December 21, 2019 11:20 PM

From what I've read, the lettering arrangement on freight cars was standardised (at least to some extent) in 1908 by the MCB (Master Car Builders), but it wasn't really introduced as Standard MCB 26-A until the 1914 MCB Convention.

In 1919, the MBC Association became the Mechanical Division of the A.R.A (American Railway Association), and that later became the AAR (American Association of Railroads).  You may find more specific info by googling ARA and/or AAR. 

In the years after that, the lines disappeared and re-appeared at various times, and the lettering standards varied, too.

It likely took years for the railroads to make those changes to their entire car-fleets, though, and I'd guess that early versions would have appeared regularly, intermixed with the at-that-time-current standards for just-built cars. 

Many of my home road cars have the lines (some apparently squeezed in to meet newly-implemented standards)....

...as do some cars modelled on specific prototypes...

...while others modelled to match photos of real cars varied, like this one...

...and this one...

...and here's one with no lines...

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by cx500 on Sunday, December 22, 2019 4:29 PM

In Canada it seems to have been 1956 when the lines were discontinued when (re)painting CN and CP box cars.  That likely was true south of the border as well, but assuming anything all too often proves dangerous!

John

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, December 22, 2019 4:50 PM

cx500
but assuming anything all too often proves dangerous!

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So true.

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I have dozens of prototype freight car decals that I use when painting custom raodnames. I figure if I use data for a KCS car in 1954, it should be correct enough for me.

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However, I have noticed there is no rhyme or reason for whether or not these decal sets have the lines around the car numbers or not.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, December 23, 2019 9:32 AM

As far as I know there never was any regulation or recommended practice re placing lines above and below the reporting marks. It was left up to the owner or lessee of the car. In general, it appears to have been more common in the steam era, generally phasing out during the post-war transition years.

Stix
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, December 23, 2019 12:04 PM

Just a thought, maybe it has some merit — maybe not.

I wonder if the horizontal lines were used to make it easier for clerks to spot the reporting marks and numbers as the cars were entering yards.

Then toward the late '50s there was increased use of television and other electronic readers to aid in entering car data which made the lines redundant.

Clerks used to have to stand out in all weather conditions, clip board in hand, and phisically record reporting marks of incoming trains for the routing and make-up of switch lists, etc.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 4:50 PM

I knew that I had read some information regarding the lines, but it took some time to find even some of it. 

In Volume Four of Ted Culotta's Focus On Freight Cars, there are two photos of Big Four (CCC&StL) boxcars, both from the same lot, built in 1922-1923. 

One shows the paint scheme in effect until 1935, with no lines above and/or below the reporting marks.  That car also wears the oval herald  lettered "New York Central Lines".

Beginning in 1936, these cars were renumbered, and the other one shown has been repainted, with lines above and below the reporting marks, with the herald lettered "New York Central System".

I have 14 of Ted's books on freight cars, and am certain that I've read, in at least one of them, more regarding the governance of lettering on freight cars...finding it, however, may take even more time.

Wayne

 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 11:40 PM

I think the lining / not lining thing was more stylistic than anything. Style changed over time...like how "A.T.&S.F." became "A.T.S.F." to "ATSF", and lettering often changed from Railroad Roman to Gothic, etc. A little like how "baseball" was "base ball" until around 1930, when it began a change to one word, which became accepted universally by around 1950. It just sort of evolved.

Stix
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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, December 26, 2019 12:13 AM

The font style was up to the individual railroads, and that's why so many different styles could be seen during the same timeframes.

However, the MCB standards of which I spoke in my first post were, I think, periodically updated.  Freight car lettering was originally left up to the railroads, but the results of that showed that there was a need for standardisation, and as railroads (and their rolling stock) evoved, I'm sure that there would have been periodic updates as to how the lettering was to be done.

In fact, in my October 1968 issue of the Railway Equipment Register, on page 1169-1170, there are a set of standards governing freight car lettering, mostly, by this time, regarding dimensions.

wjstix
I think the lining / not lining thing was more stylistic than anything. Style changed over time...like how "A.T.&S.F." became "A.T.S.F." to "ATSF",

The AAR was responsible for the changes you mention regarding A.T.& S.F. evolving into ATSF, and it's covered under the Uniform Alphabetic Code For Railroad Indentification, mentioned in the ORER. 

While the dimensional data "lines or no lines" might have been, at one time, up to each railroad, I don't doubt that the AAR would have weighed-in on that, too. 
They were striving for uniformity, and in fact, were still doing so when my 1968 ORER was issued.

Wayne

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, December 26, 2019 9:16 AM

MCB/ARA/AAR lettering standards were standards, not laws.  Some railroads adhered to the standards, some didn't.   The reporting marks were supposed to be displayed on the left end of the car.  The PRR frequently violated that standard:

The standards called for lines above and below the reporting marks and number.  Some complied, some didn't.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, December 26, 2019 9:13 PM

Thanks for all the information so far.

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I am going to look closely at my 1953 ORER when I get back to Tampa again.

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I have looked through my Champ Decals Lettering Guide that covers all kinds of transition era freight cars, and it seems that it is motrre or less random as to whether or not a car had the lines.

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I have no idea how accurate a source of inofrmation the Champ Lettering Guide is.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, December 26, 2019 9:20 PM

SeeYou190
I have no idea how accurate a source of inofrmation the Champ Lettering Guide is.

Here's a handy NMRA reference guide, Kevin:

https://www.nmra.org/sites/default/files/d5e.pdf

One of the articles I read recently in a PRR Keystone Magazine mentioned an ARA "Recommended Practice" from 1926 so you might have to dig back a little farther than the 1950s to find a reference to the underlining of reporting marks.

Again, it was just a suggestion to the railroads, not a hard-fast rule.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by cv_acr on Friday, December 27, 2019 9:14 AM

dehusman

MCB/ARA/AAR lettering standards were standards, not laws.  Some railroads adhered to the standards, some didn't.   The reporting marks were supposed to be displayed on the left end of the car.  The PRR frequently violated that standard:

 

Also Rutland did the same with no reporting marks on the sides of many of their cars, just "RUTLAND". (Their actual reporting mark, found only on the ends of most cars, was simply "R".)

And Southern also rarely had their SOU marks on the sides.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, December 30, 2019 12:13 AM

I think it's important to understand that things like the car's reporting marks (RR name or initials, eventually standardized to four letters or less, and car number), length / height data, reweigh data etc. were required for a car to be allowed to be used in interchange service.

Then there were recommended practices saying that if possible the reporting marks and certain parts of the data should be as far left on the car as possible, with the other data as far right as possible. These recommendations were generally followed, but not always - some railroad's double-door boxcars had the data reversed for example.

However, I'm not aware of either getting into whether you had to have lines above or below the reporting marks, or the typeface you used, etc. That was up to the railroad.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:26 AM

This is all great news.

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From what I am hearing here, it sounds like in 1954 it is OK if the STRATTON AND GILLETTE and a few other railroads do not have lines, most do have the lines, and a couple have wierd variances of the lines.

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All this... and still be plausible... Thanks to everyone.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, January 2, 2020 11:08 AM

For 1954, I'd suggest having some of your older, more heavily weathered cars having lines above and below the reporting marks, with more recent cars not having them. That would show the passage of time, and that your railroad has been around a while.

Remember in 1954 there still would have been a fair number of cars from as far back as the 1920's on the roster, including smaller (8.5' height instead of 10.5') wood-side boxcars and reefers. At least some of those cars would still be wearing older paint schemes from the WW2-era or earlier.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:43 PM

wjstix
That would show the passage of time, and that your railroad has been around a while.

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You bring up some great points and thoughts to ponder.

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Thank you.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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