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Abbreviations on box car

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Abbreviations on box car
Posted by rrebell on Friday, March 26, 2021 8:39 PM

Is there a list somewhere, I know some but on one was EB 3-55.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, March 26, 2021 8:46 PM

EB 3-55 sounds like a repack date. That particular initial would be railroad specific, as to where the repack was done. Usually on a home-road shop but if it was out of date and on another railroad it may have been done at their shop and billed to the car owner.

On the New York Central there was HA for Harmon, WA for West Albany, COLL for Collinwood. BG for Beech Grove, etc.

What railroad was the car owned by? Could be East Birmingham or any such location.

COT&S was also stenciled with the date the brakes were Cleaned, Oiled, Tested & Stenciled.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, March 26, 2021 9:46 PM

Repack, so would they re date with every repack of the journals or do I have my meaning wrong?

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Posted by NHTX on Friday, March 26, 2021 10:47 PM

     It could also signify the shop and date the car was last reweighed, if it was next to the LT. WT. entry, stenciled on the left side of most cars, as you look at them broadsided.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, March 26, 2021 11:36 PM

In the photo below, the re-painted data to the left of the door shows the car's most recent LD LMT and LT WT for this particular car, which was apparently re-weighed by the owning road, based on the MN. 7-37.  In my modelling era, the late '30s, cars were required to be re-weighed every 30 months (in 1948, this was extended to every 48 months).  (click on photos to enlarge)

For a car rated for a capacity of 40 tons, such as this, the total of the LT. WT. (weight of the empty car) and the LD. LMT. (load limit) normally had to total 136000lbs.

For 50 and 55 ton cars, the number would be 169000lbs., and for 70 ton cars, 210,000lbs.

The car could be re-weighed on its home road or on that of another railroad, with a bill sent to the owner road at the end of the month - this was a fixed cost for all common-carrier roads (as was re-packing and repairs to a car's safety appliances, which included grabirons, cut-levers, ladders, running boards, etc., again all at set prices anywhere in North America). 
That set-up was to ensure that all cars received their required maintenance, regardless of where they might be located at any time.


According to the sheet which came with Champ's decals for these details, about 12% of cars were re-weighed off-line, while 32% of cars had their journal bearings re-packed off-line.

For the revised numbers, the usual practice was to paint over the portion of the data which needed either updating or simply to make it readily legible, with whatever colour/shade of paint the shop had on-hand, then used their regular stencils for the new data - a good way to represent such work done off-line, is to use decals in a font dissimilar to that used by the owner road. 

The re-pack data was usually also on a freshly-painted background, often black or a colour similar to that of the car, or maybe a shade quite different.  The data on the black patch near the right end of the car is legible, but only with magnification.

The car shown below has a star beside the LD. LMT.  It indicates that the car's capacity has been reduced by the owner road, and it cannot be changed except by the owner...

...the model, a modified Train Miniature car, represents a double sheathed prototype built in 1916.  In 1935, approximately 9500 of these cars were rebuilt with steel sides and doors, and Murphy roofs, all with added height.  Cars were re-done as both boxcars and automobile cars.

Here's a close-up of the data...

 

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, March 26, 2021 11:37 PM

rrebell
Repack, so would they re date with every repack of the journals or do I have my meaning wrong?

Yes, there would be a restencil after each repack. I believe it was 48 months for the average freight car. I have a book of AAR Interchange Rules around here somewhere and I'll see if I can get clearer background on it.


This reference is handy:

 

 

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

 

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by cv_acr on Monday, March 29, 2021 9:20 AM

Let's be a little bit clear with re-WEIGH vs. re-PACK dates stencilled on cars.

When a car is reweighed, a shop code and date is stencilled right next to the weight data below the car's reporting marks and numbers. The code is usually a 2-letter (but could be 3 or 4) code for a railroad's shop, and every railroad has their own set of codes for different shop/scale locations, so putting together a single comprehensive list is "difficult". When a car rolls out of the factory, the weigh shop code will be stencilled as "NEW". This is more prominent and probably what the OP was referring to.

Re-packing is maintenance of the journal bearings on old solid-bearing cars. Re-pack stencilling is just above the right-hand truck in pretty small lettering. Look at DoctorWayne's pictures and you'll on his cars a small black patch with tiny lettering just above the truck in this spot. Since it's so small, these dates will be very hard to read and often not even noticed, so it's probably not what the OP was asking about. In the 1970s, the AAR developed and mandated a standard "consolidated" stencil (the familiar white-bordered black box(es) sometimes also referred to as "COTS" (clean oil test stencil) or "lube plates" neither of which are entirely accurate descriptions). Built date, re-pack, and air brake inspection and oiling data would all be moved into this stencil block.

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Posted by cv_acr on Monday, March 29, 2021 9:33 AM

(usually) on the left side:

CAPY - nominal design capacity (lbs)

LD LMT - actual load limit (lbs) of cargo weight the car can carry

LT WT - "light" (empty) weight (lbs) of the car itself

EB 3-55 - shop code (unique to each RR) and date (month-year) the car was reweighed

(usually) on right side

EXH - extreme height from rail

EXW - extreme width, sometimes followed by H - height from rail of EXW

EW - width at eaves/top of car H - height from rail of EW

IW - interior width of loading space

IL - interior length of loading space

IH - interior height of loading space, or to top of side walls on open cars

CUFT - interior cubic foot volume of loading space

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, March 29, 2021 9:39 AM

One thing that can be confusing is the built date (BLT) doesn't change, unless the car is totally rebuilt into in effect a new car, whereas the reweigh date is regularly updated. So a boxcar might show "BLT 6-48" indicating it was built in June 1948, but have a reweigh date of say "CHI 10-61", meaning it was reweighed or otherwise worked on at the railroad's Chicago shops in October 1961. If your layout is set in 1950, a car built in 1948 would be correct...except that in it's visit to the shops in 1961, it might have been repainted into a new, more colorful paint scheme that would make it incorrect for the 1950 period.

Stix
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Posted by rrebell on Monday, March 29, 2021 9:57 AM

I am getting a feel for this now. Seems a lot of the data is correct for the year on my railroad but the other dates such as repack in many cases are too recent, proubly to sell to a wider market as most used to do transition era which 1939 just touches as diesels were around but did not dominate. I will not change the dates and I suspected this before I knew. This new info will help when I have to pick what lettering goes on cars that I build or rebuild.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, March 29, 2021 10:22 AM

rrebell
I will not change the dates and I suspected this before I knew. This new info will help when I have to pick what lettering goes on cars that I build or rebuild.

I stopped worrying about the small data accuracy a while back. Many of my cars should have been reweighed and repacked by 1954, but I just don't have the energy to make sure all these small dates are correct.

-Kevin

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 Monday, March 29, 2021 1:57 PM

SeeYou190
I stopped worrying about the small data accuracy a while back. Many of my cars should have been reweighed and repacked by 1954, but I just don't have the energy to make sure all these small dates are correct.

While my modelled railroads are free-lanced, there are many cars on the layout based on photos of real cars.  Where possible, those cars get legitimate BLT. dates, mostly because I enjoy doing the reasearch needed to create the models.  The re-weigh and re-pack data, in most cases, reflects the late-'30s era of my layout. 
I do have a few "too-modern-for-the-late-'30s" cars on the layout, but most are lettered for my freelanced roads,  with BLT dates usually in the mid '30s - built by innovators ahead of their time. Smile, Wink & Grin

Wayne

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Posted by NHTX on Monday, March 29, 2021 4:42 PM

When your 70th birthday recedes in your rearview mirror, reading a car's repack date is one thing I don't sweat.  I'm glad I can still see the bloody car!

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, March 29, 2021 6:27 PM

Almost there, but I have this codition where as the one eye is getting worse, the other is getting better (I am being truthfull here).

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