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Mysterious extra date-like numbers on tank car.

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Mysterious extra date-like numbers on tank car.
Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 12:10 AM

Evenin' guys. I bought a sugar cane tank car. At one end it says BUILT 10-41, which I assume means that the car was first set on its infant trucks in 1941. In that same group of information there is, more specifically, 10-5-41, and after some info about safety valves and other data it says TESTED 5-10-37. At the other end of the car, below the road number, are some numbers and letters, LT WT 59600 ARG 10 59. I'm interested in those last four digits. Does "10 59" indicate October of 1959 or is that not a date? 

This is only of mild importance. In theory I'm modeling a year in the vicinity of 1956 or 1957, but I don't care if this car is telling us that it got an oil change or some other work done in 1959. As long as this type of tank car would have been seen in the late '40s and in the '50s, I allow it. I don't really want anything from the '60s on my layout, and of course all my Burlington Northern items from childhood days have been asked to get out of the pool, because they clearly have no place where midcentury SP&S, NP and GN are being showcased. But I am curious because it seems to me I see things like this a lot -- a build date and then what often looks like a later year printed on the car as well.

Anyone know?

Thanks,

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 1:48 AM

crossthedog
LT WT 59600 ARG 10 59. I'm interested in those last four digits.

If I'm not mistaken, the ARG 59 is representative of a re-weigh done on the car at a non-home road facility.  I have a list (somewhere) which covers all of the re-weigh stations in North America.
This was a common procedure, along with re-pack data (re-packing journal boxes on freight cars) which could be done either on the home road or on that of another railroad. 

These tasks could be done anywhere, and at the end of each month, all railroads would contact other roads for reimbursement for having done the required work (the prices were universal).

I put similar data on my late '30s-era cars too, using decal data which was, at one time, easily obtained from Champ...now long-gone.

This car shows the re-stencilled weights, along with the re-weigh location (AL) and the date on which the work was done...

At the opposite end of the car, the black patch, with white lettering, indicates that the re-packing of the car's journal boxes was done at a particular (but illegible) site on the P&LE.

This Santa Fe reefer underwent similar maintenance...

This car has similar data, but obviously done earlier, as the painted-over areas are no longer as clean as ones done more recently...

...and likewise with this car...

The procedure is not limited to boxcars either...

This boxcar, one of eight heavily modified Athearn cars, is lettered for my home road, and was supposedly built in July, 1924, and was last re-weighed in July of 1938, at Dunnville (DV), a home-road location.

This one is based on a specific prototype, with BG representing one of the New York Central's re-weigh stations.

 

The star, next to the LD LMT, indicates that the car's owner has reduced the Load Limit because of structural limitations or other reasons (the prototypes were later re-built as all-steel cars, some as regular boxcars and others as automobile cars.)

Here's the complete car...

I think that the majority of my rolling stock has these lettering details added.

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 9:14 AM

Would "ARG" correspond to the ATSF Argentine facility?

Wayne, does the star indicate reduction explicitly, or does it flag just that the load for the car "as built" has changed either way?  I can see notification that, say, during a car rebuilding effort, the cars already upgraded would be distinguished as having a higher available load, but I can also see that warning about a reduction from 'the familiar' is more critical than calling attention to greater capacity.

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 10:08 AM

Yes, a code next to the weight data indicates a shop and re-weight date. Cars are regularly reweighed when shopped to maintain an accurate light weight of the car.

When the car is brand new, the weigh data is usually stencilled as "NEW". Any later updates of the weight data will be stencilled with a code indicating the shop.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 11:06 AM

Overmod
Wayne, does the star indicate reduction explicitly, or does it flag just that the load for the car "as built" has changed either way?

As I understand it, it's a reduction of capacity, possibly applied due to the fact that the car is one of 9500 built between 1916 and 1918, and pretty-well all of those cars were due for major re-building from 1935 to 1939, as all-steel cars.

I interpret re-building as including modifications to the underframe, which would increase the car's load capacity.

From what I've read (and seen in-person), a car is not considered to be truly re-built unless there are improvements to the underframe.

Wayne

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 12:18 PM

Thanks, friends. This is all really helpful, and even interesting. Wayne, as always, I get distracted just looking at your rolling stock and thinking "geez leweeez, that looks real!" Thanks for the examples. I don't yet weather my cars, but I'd like to learn. Someday.

I thought LT WT might mean light weight and might refer to the "weight of the car unloaded", but wasn't sure. So that's kind of like a tare weight then, eh?

Thanks all,

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 1:25 PM

crossthedog
I thought LT WT might mean light weight and might refer to the "weight of the car unloaded", but wasn't sure. So that's kind of like a tare weight then, eh?

Exactly.

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:14 PM

crossthedog
At one end it says BUILT 10-41, which I assume means that the car was first set on its infant trucks in 1941. In that same group of information there is, more specifically, 10-5-41, and after some info about safety valves and other data it says TESTED 5-10-37.

If we are to be concerned about minutia, then possibly an explaination of how a car built in 1941 might have attached components tested in 1937 might be in order.

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:27 PM

maxman
If we are to be concerned about minutia, then possibly an explaination of how a car built in 1941 might have attached components tested in 1937 might be in order.

Max, I wasn't going to go there, but I'm glad you did.

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:49 PM

If this car was decorated by a previous modeller (i.e. not factory decorated) they may have misread the small decal numbers and thought it said it was tested in 1957 instead of 1937.

Stix
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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 3:18 PM

wjstix
If this car was decorated by a previous modeller (i.e. not factory decorated) they may have misread the small decal numbers and thought it said it was tested in 1957 instead of 1937.

It occurred to me that a mistake could be in effect here, but it wasn't a previous modeler. This is brand new from Walthers.

Here are images of the car in question. The "built" and "tested" end is fairly challenging to read.



Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 3:36 PM

A tank car at the Midcontinent RR Museum in Wisconsin has if I recall right two built dates: one for the tank one for the frame.  The tank was older.   1939/1941 seems like a very short gap for a tank to be "re-framed" but but I guess I could imagine a frame or a tank being damaged beyond repair (or a tank contamnated by a mistake) but the other part of the car being OK.

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 4:22 PM

dknelson
A tank car at the Midcontinent RR Museum in Wisconsin has if I recall right two built dates: one for the tank one for the frame. The tank was older. 1939/1941 seems like a very short gap for a tank to be "re-framed" but but I guess I could imagine a frame or a tank being damaged beyond repair (or a tank contamnated by a mistake) but the other part of the car being OK.

Dave, thanks for that insight. It was 1937, by the way, not 1939, so a few more years might a little more sense, eh?

I realize the shot I included before wasn't very clear. Here's another:

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by sandiego on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 8:18 PM

Looking at the photo I would say whoever did the artwork didn't know what they were doing and cobbled together data from two or more cars. The I.C.C.-103 A C AND F CO. 10-5-41 refers to the tank type and mfg. date, not the entire car; the data below that about safety valves also refers to testing of the tank so the date should either match the tank date, or a later date (tanks and safety valves are required to be tested periodically).

The BUILT 10-45 at the bottom refers to mainly to when the frame as the other date covers when the tank was manufactured.

On the other end of the car the CAPY 100000 is the nominal capacity, based on the size of axle journals (5.5" dia. by 10" long for this capacity).

On most cars, but not tank cars, the next line below would the LD LMT (load limit); this number is the maximum weight load that the car could carry. Typically, the LD LMT was greater than the CAPY, sometimes by 10,000 lb. or more.

Finally, the last line is the empty weight of the car LT WT (light weight) and the station location and date of last reweighing:  LT WT 59600 ARG 10 59. This is a car owned by General American Transportation (GATX reporting marks) and GATC used to have a shop on the south side of the ATSF yard in Argentine, Kans. (ARG) so this indicates the car was reweighed there. Most cars were required to be reweighed periodically but tank cars only if weight changed (after shopping, for example). I've seen tank cars that have been repainted at least once still with NEW XX-XX lettering (from when car was built) many years later.

The 59600 LT WT sounds too high for this car; again who knows how accurate any of this lettering really is.

Starting about 1988 the CAPY line was finally replaced with LD LMT on tank cars. Since tank cars are designed for specific commodities the weight information isn't needed as much; the volume of the tank determines the weight.

Usually adding the LD LMT and LT WT will give you the maximum weight allowed on a specific size of journal; for the 5.5x10 journals on this car the maximum total weight in 1959 was 169,000 lb.; subtracting the 59600 LT WT from this gives a LD LMT of 109400, above the nominal 100000 CAPY as mentioned above.

 

Kurt Hayek

 

 

 

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 9:49 PM

sandiego
Looking at the photo I would say whoever did the artwork didn't know what they were doing and cobbled together data from two or more cars.

This surprises me, bein' as how it's a Walthers car. I'd have expected more research and accurate decalling. Thanks Kurt.

I have to say, though, I'm not really bothered by this much -- just find it interesting. My eyes aren't even good enough to see these errors. Like I said, I would be chagrinned if I learned that a single dome tank car of this size and with this kind of frame wasn't around until 1975 because it would be a clear and visible anomaly on the layout. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with it.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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