Topics

locked Cleaning out the accounting books


George Eichelberger
 

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike


Kevin Centers
 

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


Bill Schafer
 

Excellent explanation. I expect those wood boxcars were nearly all ghosts. I remember when I was in the training program in Greensboro the mechanical Dept used a wood boxcar - sans trucks, in the weeds behind the rip track - as a storage room. The genl fman told me it had been years since he had seen one in service, MOOW. That was 1971. 

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 13:08, Kevin Centers <klcenters@...> wrote:

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


rwbrv4
 

Wow, Bill, 1971....as my neighbor's kid says, "wow dude, you're an old fart".
Rick


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2019 2:20 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Cleaning out the accounting books

Excellent explanation. I expect those wood boxcars were nearly all ghosts. I remember when I was in the training program in Greensboro the mechanical Dept used a wood boxcar - sans trucks, in the weeds behind the rip track - as a storage room. The genl fman told me it had been years since he had seen one in service, MOOW. That was 1971. 

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 13:08, Kevin Centers <klcenters@...> wrote:

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


rwbrv4
 

Oh my, I just realized that went out to a group, and not the SRHA group.
Sorry folks.
Rick


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2019 2:20 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Cleaning out the accounting books

Excellent explanation. I expect those wood boxcars were nearly all ghosts. I remember when I was in the training program in Greensboro the mechanical Dept used a wood boxcar - sans trucks, in the weeds behind the rip track - as a storage room. The genl fman told me it had been years since he had seen one in service, MOOW. That was 1971. 

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 13:08, Kevin Centers <klcenters@...> wrote:

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


Bill Schafer
 

Rick:

Those who live in glass houses . . .😜

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 14:23, rwbrv4 via Groups.Io <Rwbrv4@...> wrote:

Oh my, I just realized that went out to a group, and not the SRHA group.
Sorry folks.
Rick


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2019 2:20 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Cleaning out the accounting books

Excellent explanation. I expect those wood boxcars were nearly all ghosts. I remember when I was in the training program in Greensboro the mechanical Dept used a wood boxcar - sans trucks, in the weeds behind the rip track - as a storage room. The genl fman told me it had been years since he had seen one in service, MOOW. That was 1971. 

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 13:08, Kevin Centers <klcenters@...> wrote:

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" ....

I recall a memo that listed the groups of Southern cars that were not to be loaded to consignees in Mexico.  Basically, all of our aluminum cars.  The fear was we would not get the car back.  Metal thieves would cut it up on sight.  I was told that was a big reason why the roof-hatch boxcars were kept in service so long, for loading to Mexico.

Baseless fear?  I don't think so.  When I was doing civil work for BN in the mid '90s they started buying thousands of 4750cf grain hoppers from Trinity, all with fancy new aluminum roof hatches.  They sent a trainload of grain to Mexico in these new cars.  They came back hatchless.


Scott Chatfield


rwbrv4
 

I know........looked in the mirror this AM and it broke!
RB


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2019 2:46 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Cleaning out the accounting books

Rick:

Those who live in glass houses . . .😜

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 14:23, rwbrv4 via Groups.Io <Rwbrv4@...> wrote:

Oh my, I just realized that went out to a group, and not the SRHA group.
Sorry folks.
Rick


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2019 2:20 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Cleaning out the accounting books

Excellent explanation. I expect those wood boxcars were nearly all ghosts. I remember when I was in the training program in Greensboro the mechanical Dept used a wood boxcar - sans trucks, in the weeds behind the rip track - as a storage room. The genl fman told me it had been years since he had seen one in service, MOOW. That was 1971. 

—Bill


Another iPhone-generated message

On Dec 23, 2019, at 13:08, Kevin Centers <klcenters@...> wrote:

Ike

We refer to cars that still have an accounting record but do not physically exist as ghost cars.  They have soul, but their mortal bodies have left this earth. Movement records are generally researched by Mechanical and Equipment Planning, and if a car is found to not be moving, field personnel try to find it. If it can’t be found it is recommended for retirement as a ghost. 
To do a little more of a dive into boring accounting, Capital Accounting processes the retirements without salvage.  As you may or may not be aware, under group depreciation, an asset generates depreciation expense until it is retired, regardless of its intended life. As a result, it is important to get non-existent assets off the books to avoid overstating expenses and understating net income. This situation can also cause some concern during depreciation study time if there is a large number of ghosts. Fortunately, we only have a handful nowadays. During the Conrail acquisition, though, it was very common to see large numbers of cars being retired as ghosts since CR’s records weren’t that good at times. 

Kevin

On Dec 23, 2019, at 12:16 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The project to record data on Southern Railway rolling stock has been continuing for more than 20 years. The project's spread sheets include more than 300,000 entries (when cars and locos were acquired, rebuilt, modified and scrapped). Sometimes, an entry in the SR records will say something like "car interchanged to Mexico, never returned" other entries will have no idea what became of the equipment.

We recently found information on thousands more freight and passenger car dispositions (approvals to retire and scrap) in Presidents' file boxes 579 and 580. A July 10, 1972 memo to Graham Claytor recommending retirement for 31 40-ton wood sheathed box cars (attached) is unusual. The Southern accounting or audit folks must have wanted to clear their books?

Ike
<1972-7-10 31 40T wood sheathed box cars cars recommended for reirement _cannot be found_ Pg 1.jpg>


sgwarner88@...
 

A similar thing occurred (or occurs) in MW&S during my time in the 70's and 80's.  We Track Supervisors were to report any track installed or retired on various "R Forms". This was to keep the ICC Valuation up to date going back to the original Chaining Notes walked/taken during the early 1900's (I saw notes take in WWI).  Mr. Rose had me audit the R Line to Augusta in '78.  I found numerous tracks taken up but still on the books (never retired - Ghost Tracks?)  and others installed with no record.  If I recall, the DE was no longer there sometime after....


Kevin Centers
 

I don’t think we’ve ever called them ghost tracks, but the same issue still exists. It’s always been difficult to get field folks and accounting folks on the same page. The ICC (STB) doesn’t much care anymore, but the bottom line is still adversely effected by additions and retirements that aren’t correctly recorded. 

On Dec 24, 2019, at 2:58 PM, "sgwarner88@..." <sgwarner88@...> wrote:

A similar thing occurred (or occurs) in MW&S during my time in the 70's and 80's.  We Track Supervisors were to report any track installed or retired on various "R Forms". This was to keep the ICC Valuation up to date going back to the original Chaining Notes walked/taken during the early 1900's (I saw notes take in WWI).  Mr. Rose had me audit the R Line to Augusta in '78.  I found numerous tracks taken up but still on the books (never retired - Ghost Tracks?)  and others installed with no record.  If I recall, the DE was no longer there sometime after....