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Historical Railroad Statistics

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  • Member since
    October, 2005
  • From: Central Texas
  • 182 posts
Historical Railroad Statistics
Posted by MJ4562 on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 1:40 PM

Does anyone know of a good resource for railroad statistical information from the pre-1980s?   For example, numbers and types of freight cars in service, commodities carried, etc.   The AAR has some freely available stats from the last 15 years or so but nothing before then.  I'm really interested in the period 1900-1980 and not current data.  Suggestions appreciated.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,494 posts
Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:25 PM

The AAR will have the data, maybe not on line, you might have to call or (gasp) write to them to get the info.  Also Railway Age tracks carloadings and car types in service, they might have some historical data or you could find a library with those magazines and look at the issues with the annual summaries in them.  Another option might be TransAlert, here in Omaha (Railway Educational Bureau), they have a library that might have that type of info.  Also the Omaha Public Library has railway Age magazines and many railroad related publications going back decades, them might help you with some info.

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

  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: Shelbyville, Kentucky
  • 1,795 posts
Posted by SSW9389 on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:42 PM

Check your library for Moody's or Poor's. 

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,235 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 4:16 PM

Don Hensley's TapLines offers select years of ORERs (Official Railway Equipment Registers) on disc - scroll to the bottom of the list on the left-hand side in the link above to see the years available.  I purchased the 1938 ORER, perfect for my late '30s-based layout. 
You can usually find paper copies of these registers at various train shows, too, but the prices are generally much higher, depending on the year, of course.

Both the paper and on-disc versions also include data on freight and passenger car classifications, mechanical designations, etc.

The paper versions are about the size of a decent 'phone book, and were issued quarterly.

Wayne

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 8,151 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 6:11 PM

Hi,

The internet archive has many scanned railroad publications from the early 2oth century available.

For instance:

https://archive.org/details/howtoanalyzerail00mooduoft/page/n12

You can use the search function and discover many related publications.

https://archive.org/stream/railroadtrafficr01john?ref=ol#page/n5/mode/2up

 

 

Hope that helps, Ed

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