Why the 40yr rule on interchange

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Why the 40yr rule on interchange
Posted by 304live on Sunday, November 20, 2011 9:43 PM

Is this a hard and fast rule... can never be broken... or is this a fluid situation where cars can be overhauled etc and get an extension?

 

 

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Posted by ericsp on Sunday, November 20, 2011 11:21 PM

My guess as why the 40 year rule exists is that some railroads were interchanging old cars that were on the verge of falling apart like the Blues Brothers' car at the end of the movie (maybe not quite that bad).

The 40 years only applies to cars built before a particular date in 1974. They can be rebuilt per AAR Rule 88 to extend their interchange life. I have heard there is a 50 year limit for cars built after that date, but I cannot find anything in the AAR Interchange Office Manual.

UP still has R-70-15 reefers in service. They were built in 1965.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 21, 2011 6:59 AM

And as long as they operate on the UP they are fine.

ericsp

UP still has R-70-15 reefers in service. They were built in 1965.

         

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, November 21, 2011 1:04 PM

I would presume that the rule was based on a frame/fitting fatigue estimate as of the date it was proposed - which was probably reasonable considering both the economics and the metallurgy of the time, for cars in ordinary service.  It's probably too short a time for cars that mostly sit on sidings waiting for suitable loads (multi-truck flat cars come to mind) and might be 'way too long for cars which never stop moving (unit coal service, anyone?)

Note that there are aircraft flying which are well over forty (the entire B-52 fleet, for openers) - and they can keep flying as long as they're airworthy.  Others, with design defects or unusual loadings, have been retired (or destroyed in airframe-failure crashes) long before their fortieth anniversary.  Flying hours and aircraft pressurization cycles count for far more than calendar age.  I would think that similar criteria cold be applied to railway cars with non-standard use patterns.

Just for grins, how old are the frames of some of the GP-whatever rebuilds still in service?

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, November 21, 2011 5:07 PM

ericsp

The 40 years only applies to cars built before a particular date in 1974. They can be rebuilt per AAR Rule 88 to extend their interchange life. I have heard there is a 50 year limit for cars built after that date, but I cannot find anything in the AAR Interchange Office Manual.

 

CFR 49, Part 215.203 (Restricted Cars) mentions a 50 year limit from date of original construction.    

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:47 PM

jeffhergert

 ericsp:

The 40 years only applies to cars built before a particular date in 1974. They can be rebuilt per AAR Rule 88 to extend their interchange life. I have heard there is a 50 year limit for cars built after that date, but I cannot find anything in the AAR Interchange Office Manual.

 

 

CFR 49, Part 215.203 (Restricted Cars) mentions a 50 year limit from date of original construction.    

Jeff 

 You're correct about the FRA rule (49 CFR 215.203).  The rule isn't an absolute prohibition on use of a freight car after 50 years.  But, in order to do so, the railroad has to get FRA approval and the car has to have special stencilling.  This is a big issue with tourist / museum railroads that occasionally operate demonstration freight trains with old freight equipment, old cabooses and old freight cars which have been converted into passenger cars (for example, old gondolas with passenger seats) since, under the rule, a car originally designed as a freight car is always a freight car. This issue was discussed at the recent ARM /TRAIN conference in Chattanooga.

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 1:35 AM

jeffhergert

 

 ericsp:

 

The 40 years only applies to cars built before a particular date in 1974. They can be rebuilt per AAR Rule 88 to extend their interchange life. I have heard there is a 50 year limit for cars built after that date, but I cannot find anything in the AAR Interchange Office Manual.

 

 

 

CFR 49, Part 215.203 (Restricted Cars) mentions a 50 year limit from date of original construction.    

Jeff 

Thanks for the information. I have been wondering about that for a while now.

Here is 49 CFR 215. In case anyone is interested, here is the section of 49 CFR that deals with the FRA.

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 1:45 AM

BaltACD

And as long as they operate on the UP they are fine.

 ericsp:

 

UP still has R-70-15 reefers in service. They were built in 1965.

 

 

I would not be surprised if there were some on CSXT. If there are any in the ARMN 764000-764099(?) series, they are R-70-15.

UP still  has a sizeable fleet of PCF reefers (anything ARMN 7######), all built in or before 1971. Some of the FGE reefers were built over 40 years ago (ARMN 900000, 910000, 990000 series, if I remember correctly). There is probably a significant amount on CSXT. I would guess the ARMN rebuild was a Rule 88 rebuild.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:30 AM

As a matter of fact, there shouldn't be any of the original PFE reefers that aren't pushing 40 (and most of them are older).  And the last "Salad Shooter" I saw had some of these cars on it.

I remember that there was no age limit in the very early 1970s, when I hired out.  A 50-year rule was put in force by 1974 or so, with the limit dropping two years for every year until they reached 40.  The 50-year maximum applied to cars in non-interchange service (I wonder whether they had visualized the mergers that would allow non-interchange cars to roam across half the country!).

But I know that the rule has been modified to lengthen the service life of some cars, due to protests by, among others, TTX,  I wish there were single source for accurate information on how long which cars can be used.

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Posted by EMD#1 on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:31 AM

The 40 year rule applies to all cars built prior to July 1975 and haven't had a 10 year life extension completed.  Cars built after July 1975 are automatically good for 50 years.  Once a car reaches their life expectancy they can still be used but cannot be interchanged with another carrier.  Many cars built prior to 1975 that are still in good condition will go thru a life extension prior to their 40th birthday when it makes economic sense.  Others will be scrapped or remain online providing service to industries where they do not need to interchange.  Once cars reach their 50th birthday they are often downgraded to MOW service.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 11:39 AM

Well, let me muddy the waters a little. 

(1)  The FRA 50-year rule mentioned in previous posts (49 CFR 215.203) applies to all freight cars except those used in (and stencilled for) maintenance of way service (the MOW exclusion is in 215.3(c)(3); the MOW stencilling requirements are in 215.305).  In other words, it doesn't matter if a 50+ year freight car is used only on the owning road.  Its use (other than in MOW service) is still prohibited unless the railroad complies with the  FRA approval and stencilling requirements.

(2) There is no Federal rule for passenger equipment similar to the 50 year rule for freight equipment (go figure). AMTRAK, of course, has its own proprietary requirements for the cars it will handle in its trains, but they aren't industry or government regulations.

(3) I don't have the AAR interchange rules at hand.  But I suspect that the AAR "40 year rule", like the FRA "50 year rule", only applies to freight equipment. 

(4) The AAR interchange rules  permit railroads to make bilateral agreements between themselves that depart from the rules.  For example, if UP and CSX agreed to use some 40+ year cars on a UP-CSX interline move, it would not be prohibited by the AAR rule (but the rule would still apply to interchange with carriers other than UP and CSX).  The Federal "50 year rule", on the other hand, can't be avoided by a bilateral agreement.

Probably more than anyone wanted to know

   

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, November 24, 2011 1:27 AM

Is this to help car manufacturers?

Is the concern over metal fatigue and metal corrosion?

Andrew Falconer

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Posted by Lyon_Wonder on Thursday, November 24, 2011 1:37 AM

At least the class 1s have fewer interchanges with all the mergers in the last several decades:) 

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Posted by carnej1 on Thursday, November 24, 2011 9:30 AM

Lyon_Wonder

At least the class 1s have fewer interchanges with all the mergers in the last several decades:) 

True for interchanges between the "Big 7" but I wonder with the proliferation of shortlines and regionals during the mega-merger era if the average freight car actually goes through more interchanges than ever....

 

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Posted by Falcon48 on Friday, December 02, 2011 12:41 AM

My guess would be "no", at least for most types of freight cars.  Also, the freight cars that are interchanged to most short lines (although not so much regional roads) are usually interchanged under arrangements where the short line is invisible to the shipper on the billing documents, and the Class I road is responsible for car supply.  In these cases, there would likely be little problem in getting an agreement whith the short line for interchange of 40+ year cars, if the Class I road wanted 1to use them in the service.  

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, December 03, 2011 9:41 AM

Some times the easiest explaination is the best.  I wonder it the 40 year rule was instituted to eliminate the possiblity, albeit a small one, of anything with friction bearing trucks and not roller bearing trucks finding its way out on the mainlines? 

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Posted by tdmidget on Saturday, December 03, 2011 10:49 AM

nope, I don't think so. Plain bearing trucks were no longer in production when the rule was made and many cars had been upgraded with roller bearing trucks. The plain bearing exclusion was a separate rule if I remember correctly.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, December 03, 2011 4:35 PM

tdmidget's probably right.  The reason i brought up friction bearings was not long ago I watched a film shot in the late '60s called  "Railroad Man."  In the film one train crew has to deal with a good old fashioned friction bearing "hot box",  with flames shooting out and everything, so there were some friction bearing equipped cars still out there at the time.  If Cshavers correct in saying the road he worked on adopted a 50 year rule on cars in 1974 it seems to me it get back to friction bearings again.  How important is this in the general scheme of things?  Not very, at least not to me.  Interesting discussion, though.  By the way, CSX won't haul ANYTHING with friction bearings on it, get back to their no antique railroad equipment rule.  If you buy an old caboose somewhere, don't expect CSX to haul it.  Better look for a good trucking company.

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Posted by AgentKid on Saturday, December 03, 2011 7:16 PM

I don't have any specific guidelines or books for reference, just an accumulation of knowledge over the years.

From what I know the first interchange rules were developed when the ban on interchanging cars with truss rod frames and model "K" brakes took effect in 1934 or '35.

I also recall reading here or in the magazine the 40 year rule being developed in the '60's as a result of the large fleet of outside braced wooden walled grain boxes the Great Northern Railway had. If I recall correctly, it wasn't that the cars caused derailments, it was more a case of lawyers from other roads looking at the cars from a distance, and it made them queasy.

The 50-year rule came in in 1974 as mentioned above.

Bruce

EDIT: Roof walk removal and roller bearing replacement were government mandated safety changes, required whether cars were interchanged or not, if they were in revenue service.

 

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, December 05, 2011 9:34 AM

I might be wrong, but I thought a car could be "rebuilt" and put back in service after it reached it's 40-year limit?? I'd think the issue would be that the cost of tearing a car down and building it back up would cost so much that it would be more economical to just retire the car and buy a new one.

p.s. I know the CN/DMIR still has some ore cars in service from the forties, but are buying new ones so they can be used in "all rail" trains (vs. running from the taconite plants to the ore docks).

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Posted by AgentKid on Monday, December 05, 2011 4:15 PM

wjstix

I might be wrong, but I thought a car could be "rebuilt" and put back in service after it reached it's 40-year limit??

It can, but the first rebuilding to go past the 40-year limit has more stringent requirements than a normal rebuilding. It is not the main thrust of the story, so you won't find it in the index, but there was an article in TRAINS several years ago about the Wheeling & Lake Erie. As part of the article there was a discussion about how the W&LE had rebuilt their 70-ton hopper fleet. It seemed they needed those hoppers due to some sort of clearance restriction that wouldn't allow modern equipment. They had rebuilt those cars several times after the first post 40-year rebuild, but they weren't going to do it anymore as they were no longer going to require the cars for some reason. They hadn't bought new small hoppers earlier, because by that time building smaller hoppers would have almost amounted to being a "special order" and would have been too expensive.

I remembered the article because those hoppers reminded me of the hoppers that rolled past Irricana when I was a kid.

Bruce

 

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Posted by Pennsy436 on Monday, December 05, 2011 5:26 PM

The AAR Interchange Rule 88 stipulates that cars built prior to July 1, 1964 may be placed in interchange service for up to 40 years.  The one exception is that if a car is rebuilt in accordance with Rule 88, it will have a life span of 50 years.  Rule 88 provides a list of all the inspections and upgrades that must be done to adhere to the rule. 

Cars built 1964 through June 30, 1974 also have the same 40-year life as noted above.  However,  Rule 88 allows the cars to remain in interchange service for 50 years if the car receives Extended Service (EXS) inspection and upgrades.  The EXS process is less costly than a rebuid in accordance with Rule 88.  Car owners may elect to rebuild the cars or apply for EXS to get the 50 year life if the car was built between 1964 and June 30, 1974.  It is a financial decision not only in the lower cost of EXS but the benefit of increased car hire allowed for rebuilt cars is not applicable with EXS. 

Cars built July 1, 1974 through the present have a 50-year life and don't require EXS.  A car owner may choose to rebuild the car for the financial benefit in terms of betterments and car hire.  The changes in life span in 1964 and July 1, 1974 are directly attributed to improvements to car construction requirements as mandated by the AAR committee on car construction.

A relatively recent developement has been Increased Life or ILS wherein car owners can apply for 65-year life.  TTX Company led the charge in this with its fleet of autoracks in order to get two rack life cycles out of the car body.  ILS is also covered by Rule 88. 

Cars are required to be stenciled if rebuilt but there is no such requirement for an EXS or ILS.  The status is maintained as a code in the AAR/Railinc UMLER/EMIS system.

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Posted by ericsp on Monday, December 05, 2011 10:57 PM

wjstix

I might be wrong, but I thought a car could be "rebuilt" and put back in service after it reached it's 40-year limit??

It is AAR Rule 88, see my first post.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, December 06, 2011 10:52 PM

Haven't seen it mentioned, but they changed the rule a year or two back to 60 years for flatcars.

AgentKid
As part of the article there was a discussion about how the W&LE had rebuilt their 70-ton hopper fleet. It seemed they needed those hoppers due to some sort of clearance restriction that wouldn't allow modern equipment. They had rebuilt those cars several times after the first post 40-year rebuild, but they weren't going to do it anymore as they were no longer going to require the cars for some reason. They hadn't bought new small hoppers earlier, because by that time building smaller hoppers would have almost amounted to being a "special order" and would have been too expensive.

 

I remember the article from their issue that featured the Wheeling, but it didn't mention anything about clearance restrictions, that they were ceasing any rebuildings, or that they weren't going to replace them when they were retired.

It just talked about how they kept old freight cars rolling as long as it made economic sense. They even mention the percentage of their 70 ton hopper fleet that they hoped could be rebuilt again when they came due 10 years down the line. 

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Posted by Thecitrusbelt on Friday, June 10, 2016 7:37 PM

The concern was deteriorating underframes. In 1974 underframes over 40 years were banned from interchange if built before July 1, 1974. Underframes over 50 years were banned from interchange if built beginning July 1, 1974. As stated elsewhere in this discussion, rebuilt and inspected/approved underframes were allowed to continue in interchange, however, many older cars were not as efficient/economical to operate so they were place in MOW service, captive service or scrapped.

 

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Posted by carknocker1 on Friday, June 10, 2016 8:16 PM
Cars could be upgrade to 50 years all newer cars are 50 years for interchange service . If cars stay online they can go on for awhile . But the majority of cars that are 40 years old I see. Ow are usually just about worn out if not rusted out
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Posted by Speedrcer on Friday, December 01, 2017 3:51 PM

Bringing this up from the grave and hoping someone has some insight. 

We have three tank cars that are aging out by 01/01/2018. They are currently in service and being pulled out of their last rotation mid December. They will require cleaning before they can be scrapped as they carry hazardous chemicals and will have residue. 

The cleaning will can take up to three weeks which will put the cars past their age as it may not be done unitl January 2018. They will then need to head to the metal scrapper.

What options are there to get the car moved from the cleaning facility and then to the scraper if the cars age out once onsite at the cleaners? Would a one time move authorization be required? I've read that the umler can be updated with 'SX' indicating scrapping and can move without issue, but this is not 100% confirmed.

Both scraper and cleaner are serviced by the UP. Looking for any and all options/suggestions 

Thanks!

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, December 04, 2017 3:45 PM

If they are that close to their expiration, the railroad may do a one-time exemption so they can be moved.  You'll have to talk to UP.

OTOH, you might be able to sneak them through.  Better safe than sorry, though.

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, December 04, 2017 3:48 PM

Speedrcer
Both scraper and cleaner are serviced by the UP. Looking for any and all options/suggestions

This is pretty much a railfan forum.  You'd probably want to talk to UP or the FRA, or somebody more involved in the industry.

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

I occasionally post off-topic remarks.  Adults can handle that.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, December 04, 2017 6:30 PM

zugmann

 

 
Speedrcer
Both scraper and cleaner are serviced by the UP. Looking for any and all options/suggestions

 

This is pretty much a railfan forum.  You'd probably want to talk to UP or the FRA, or somebody more involved in the industry.

 

Three flat cars.

Jeff

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