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

A&Y Dave in MD


My conductor logs were from the Winston-Salem division in 1934 and centered on Greensbor0. I didn't offer this because Allen was looking for 1955 data.

The logs represent a large number (200+) unique trains, with 160 representing trains 72/73 with a Mikado pulling 30-60 cars of through traffic from Greensboro (Pomona Yard) to Winston-Salem (for the N&W) and back, and the other 40 representing 13/14 a mixed local from Greensboro to North Wilkesboro.

The % in the entire database was about 50% Southern cars.  

Here is the simplest table I created for reporting marks numbering 50+ in the data set covering Jan-Sep 1934:

Note these cars for 10 reporting marks, total 5,929  and the whole dataset covers 7,147 cars with 445 reporting unique marks.  So there are 430 reporting marks spread among 1,200 cars not counted above!   My thoughts are pretty simple:  build more Southern box cars than I think necessary, follow that up with Southern and N&W hoppers.  Add Southern gons (and N&W gons probably labeled 'coal cars' here. If you need tank cars, choose UTLX  or TCX.  Throw in a couple ACL, SAL, C&O, B&O and PRR box cars.  And then fill out a train with a car or two of whatever road you happen to have.

But I still agree that the cautions are numerous.  This is a specific time and a specific place.  Your mileage will most definitely vary.  Photos will help (and believe me there are a TON of photos of Southern freight trains in the 50s compared to the 30's so no bellyaching.  :-)


Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 5:16:37 PM, you wrote:

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

David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

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