locked Speaking a different language?

George Eichelberger

From the SRHA archives…..

Here is a posting to the Modern Freight Car List…


Begin forwarded message:

From: GEORGE EICHELBERGER <geichelberger@...>
Subject: Re: Speaking a different language?
Date: November 25, 2021 at 11:29:50 AM EST

According to the Southern Railway files in the SRHA archives by 1962/63, many auto parts and assembly plants pool arrangements were changing from 40’ to 50’ box cars. As 40’ cars assigned to heavy items such as engines and transmissions could be loaded closer to 50-ton capy., those pools continued to use 40’ cars somewhat longer.

Here are two (of many) examples from the files. (Why other (e.g. PRR) roads did not participate in these and other pools is not explained. Cars not in the equipment pools would have involved per diem and mileage charges.) The auto companies appear to have preferred the pool arrangements that allowed any load to go to any of the pool destinations at any time. 

Although both of these examples show the cost to equip the cars as being paid by the railroad, others show parts racks as being owned by the auto companies. Car modification costs, interior equipment and racks paid for by the railroads were amortized over time. There are instances where parts bins or racks were no longer needed by the auto companies and they were billed for the balance due. Racks and bins could be scrapped, reused or stored. There are multiple letters from the auto companies stating that a particular rack that had been stored was considered obsolete and could be scrapped.

Does anyone have a copy of an executed pool agreement? That may discuss now those costs were paid.

While proportions are unknown, I expect quite a large percentage of box cars in service, certainly in the 1960s, were assigned to specific shippers. “When Empty Return to…” routing would have resulted in many non-revenue car miles!


PS The quality of the second attachment is poor. The use of “Thermofax” machines to make copies in this time frame leave us with many nearly blank or so dark to be unreadable records. (Note straight pins, rather than staples, were still used in the 1962 example.)