locked Authorization for Car Assignment (ACA)


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Ike,
Since Trailer Train's intermodal cars have always been stenciled for restricted loading only, I would not read "return to general service" as returning cars to intermodal service, but to regular flat car service as AAR type FMS with reporting marks JTTX.  Then they could be used for long loads like pipe until they rebodied them for wide body racks.

While Trailer Train did have low-deck flats in piggyback service back then, the LTTX 500000 series, they were not quite the same carbodies as their thousands of low-deck rack flats.  Autoracks can be assumed to be carrying an equally distributed load on their decks.  A trailer flat, most definitely not.  Indeed, autoracks are the one North American freight car type where the car weighs more than its load.

Also, LTTXs did not have end-of-car cushioning, which was true of all of Trailer Train's trailer-only flats.  The cushioning was built into their hitches, which weighed a _lot_ less than an EOCC unit.

It would interesting to read the context of this "Return to General Service" in earlier memos, but from my professional experience in intermodal and the evidence that the above referenced KTTX went right back into autorack service, I cannot imagine that it was ever intended to mean "release for intermodal service," at least not in 1978 and for those classes.

Now if you want to sit through a clinic on the 1980's Twin-45 program, I can give you a blow-by-blow account of rack flats that were converted to pig flats and vice versa.  It was dizzying.....

Scott Chatfield
Formerly of the Southern's intermodal department 


George Eichelberger
 

PS The memo mentions “re-racking”, that appears to disagree with other memos AND “RGS” (return to general service) at TTX usually refers to cars to be used for intermodal…. Going backwards in the memos chronos may clearer?

Ike


George Eichelberger
 

Scott:

There are several memos related to this "de-racking" program. References to the entire program mention TT wanted them returned for intermodal service. Although these two pages from a 3-3-78 memo to Trailer Train do not go into exact details for every car, I see no reason to think they were included in the program in error? (Note car numbers mentioned in ACA.)

Ike


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Ike,

That's an interesting document, but those cars weren't released to Trailer Train for use as intermodal flats.  Those flats were Trailer Train classes F89CH and F89DH, and I don't recall any of those ever being used as pig flats.

In fact, at least two of those car numbers are specifically called out in the January 1980 ORER as wearing TTKX reporting marks, which was just a slightly different version of a hinged-deck tri-level rack.  Since no new KTTX or TTKX racks were being built in 1978 that I'm aware of, I would have to conclude that the existing rack was just modified. 

Most of the rest of the numbers are individually listed in January 1980 as ETTXs (fully enclosed "wide-body" tri-levels).  This conversion did require the old rack to be cut off,  and the carbody was converted to a "wide body bowl deck" and the classes changed to F89CHW and F89DHW.  This was a major rebuild program as far as the flat car was concerned.

Scott Chatfield


George Eichelberger
 

When cars, of any type, either assigned to a particular shipper or service (or were released from that assignment), an “ACA” was prepared and distributed. The SRHA archives have a large number of ACAs but they are certainly only a minor percentage of the total. If a car had to be sent to Hayne, or a contract shop, to be modified to have special equipment installed (removed) we find the paperwork in our Hayne or Coster Shop files but assignments made without shopping the equipment apparently stayed in the Marketing Dept. files and SRHA does not have them.

Here is an example of ACA 2938 dated 5-19-78 that was part of ACP-852-A that “de-racked” 54 TTX cars. The 12 cars in this ACA were assigned to various GM assembly plants. The ACP (Automobile Car Program) was part of a “turn-back” program to TTX so the cars could be used in intermodal service. 

The archives files on both “auto racks” and “intermodal” are extensive. Volunteers interested in either are welcome to come to an archive work session to help get them organized and scanned…for future publication?

Ike