locked Re: Southern Railway Freight Car Mix in mid 1950s

Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton

There was a long discussion which covered this topic on the old Freightcars List about 20 years ago. The upshot of a lot of analysis was that in the post war period "free roaming" cars - primarily boxcars- broadly reflected the overall US freightcar population. 

That means even the big western roads would have a remarkably high number of PRR and NYC cars in any given train. You won't find this applies to say hoppers or other special cars in the same way, as they were rather more restricted in their use - you can reload an empty NP boxcar which arrived with a load of lumber and send it back towards home rails with a load of furniture or textiles, but finding a return load for an empty N&W hopper is much more difficult so they tended to return home empty by the most direct route 

If you look at an ORER for 1955, and work out percentages from the totals for each road you won't be far off, at least as far as boxcars go.  Someone (perhaps Dave Bott?) had summarised  a few conductor's wheel reports from one of the Southern divisions and if you can find these they may give you an even better idea of which roads were most represented.  

I would be inclined to go for the typical rather than the oddball. While you may have a picture of a PRR hopper in, say, Mobile, Alabama, it doesn't necessarily suggest that this was a commonplace movement and I would be cautious about making such a car make more than a very occasional appearance 


On Wed, 27 May 2020, 13:39 Allen Cain, <Allencaintn@...> wrote:
Can anyone give me a general idea of what percentage of cars on Southern main lines in 1955 would have been Southern?

I was thinking 50% but that is just a guess.

Any other percentages of other roads would be helpful too.


Allen Cain

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