When Developing A Layout, How Can I Find Out Which RR Companies Are Relevant

CNE1899 Jun 6, 2021

  1. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi All,
    I am still learning about railroads(newbie).
    I enjoy research and history, so when I want to create a layout of a particular RR, I want to make sure I include the appropriate rolling stock from other companies that might be in the layout.

    Do any of you know sources on the internet that provide this? I have searched for months and have not come up with anything conclusive.

    I have found plenty of sites for photos of rolling stock, but they are not in the locations of interest.

    I am modeling the BRSS, and then in the future the CNJ in Toms River, and The Union Transportation Company,
    in New Egypt.

    Currently I am purchasing MTL cars and possibly AZL. The era is 1915 to 1939. I want to be sure I am purchasing the appropriate RR names.

    I have an idea of the types of products shipped, say lumber, marl, livestock feed, cranberries, etc...

    I was just hoping to get a clearer picture of who carried it.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
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  2. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not everything is on the internet, you might have to source actual old fashioned books.
     
  3. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Randy,
    Yeah, I agree. I have collected some and gotten some thru library loans.

    Just reaching out to see if anyone has any specific ideas or leads.

    Scott
     
  4. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    25 years is a long span of time.

    Most railcars back then had a max life of 40 years, wooden underframe cars less. So you would be able to use cars built between about 1890 and 1939. The earlier cars would have been gone by the start of your time period to the 1920's.

    If you can read the reporting marks on the cars, they will have a "BLT" or "NEW" date on them. Cars between 1900 and 1939 would be good.

    What you want is an Official Railway Equipment Register, which lists all the cars in service at the time its published. They were published quarterly. Westerfield models sells them on CD and maybe one is scanned on the internet (they are size of city phone book).

    Any twin hopper with a capacity of 50-55 tons, quad or triple hoppers with a capacity of 70 tons, 40-50 ft wood side boxcars, 40-50 composite side cars, steel boxcars with a 10 ft inside height or less and many of the 10'6' IH cars would be appropriate. 40, ft, 46 ft, 50 ft and 52 ft 50 to 70 ton flat cars and gons would be appropriate. Covered hoppers would be rare and would mostly be twin hoppers in sand or cement service (NOT grain). Most tank cars would be 10-12,000 gal or less, mostly riveted, very few pressurized.
     
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  5. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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  6. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    If you can get your hands on an old Official Railway Equipment Register, that's worth its weight in gold.

    It's basically a snapshot of everything railway-related, from the names of the top brass to interchange points to actual freight car rosters of the time. And the occasional map of the railroad.

    I have one issue from January 1930. It's about an inch thick and chock full of interesting info. There are some railroads I've never heard of in there.
     
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  7. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Guys!

    Good info. What I am also looking for is what other RR rolling stock(RR Company) ran on these three locations. For example, I know that Toms River had a big chicken industry, and so there were quite a few feed companies on the CNJ line around the station. What RR company names might have been on those box cars that delivered the feed?

    I am also interested in the CNE. But I have bee able to use the Connecticut Railroad Commisioners Reports to find out the names of some of the traffic on that line. Iv'e checked other state commissions, but they do not contain the same info.

    Below is a page from the CT railroad commissioners report, 1910. It records car mileage over the line.
    Screen shot 2018-08-08 at 1.46.09 PM.png
     
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  8. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    I disagree with your statement that many of the 10'6" boxcars would be appropriate. The first 10'6" IH cars were the 1937AAR Modified, and the first cars were not built until March of 1940 so they would not fit the the OP roster.

    Rick Jesionowski
     
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  9. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well. If I were going to model based on a CNJ or a predecessor, I would start at the "horses mouth". Nose around this site and see if anything starts to lead you in the correct direction. If not, write them and ask or even join the society. When I started my "free lance" division of the C&O, I joined the C&O Historical Society. Best move and money I ever spent on the hobby. Took me about 30 seconds to find the below links.

    https://www.jcrhs.org/
    https://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/HISTORICALMAPS/RAILROADS/Railroads.html

    If the Jersey Central Society cannot answer questions, I'd bet they would certainly know who could answer your specific, detailed questions.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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  10. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Basically any car could show up on any railroad anyplace in the US.

    Home road cars (owned by the railroad you are modeling) would be most frequent. General service cars (box, gon, flat) would show up in general proportions to their numbers in the general car fleets. The PRR had the most boxcars of any railroad so more PRR boxcars would be seen than Quanah & Pacific that only owned a handful of boxcars, however it is possible that a Q&P boxcar could show up.

    Hopper cars generally were either home road or a connecting road. It would be more likely that a PRR or NYC hopper would show up than a L&N hopper.

    Special cars (reefers and tank cars) would just show up in proportion to the volume used and where the product came from. California fruit would be in PFE and SRD, Texas veggies would be in ART and PFE, Florida fruit would be in FGE. Tank cars would be based on commodity and what brands were being shipped

    First priority, home road cars.
    Second priority, cars from roads that interchanged directly with your railroads.
    Third priority cars in proportion to the size of their fleets.
    Special cars according to need.
     
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  11. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    I sit corrected.
     
  12. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    That is a report of fees paid to non-railroad entities for the use of their cars. You can judge the relative chance of those cars showing up, but its hard to judge an exact car count. 1 car traveling 100 miles is the same as 4 cars traveling 25 miles. Based on the low charges there weren't very many of those cars being moved and they would be relatively rare. For example Armour Car Lines, if the rate was .75 cents per mile, that would mean over the course of a year they ran 5700 miles over the railroad, lets say a run across the CNE is 100 miles, that means in the course of a year, they handled 57 cars, less than 2 per month (rate of 3/4 = .75 cents per mile, $43.03/$.0075=5737). On the other hand the Mather horse car would have only run 53 miles in a year, probably one car (rate of 6/10 = .60 cents/mile, $.32/$.0060=53)
     
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  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I follow the examples, no problem. Just wondering- "...that means in the course of a year, they handled 57 cars, less than 2 per month..."? Although closer to averaging five cars per month, I understand it is still rather insignificant traffic volume. (y)(y)(y)
     
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  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Well, they say "never say never", and the word "any" is just as dangerous. There were a number of narrow gauge cars in service in the U.S. in 1915, after all.

    But if you add a few weasel words that is absolutely true, particularly from 1918 on. Remember that the car sharing scheme was perfected during the ugly period of WWI when the North Atlantic merchant fleet was decimated, and empty cars were hard to get. Too many cars were in seaboard yards full of goods for Great Britain. A much too big portion of the U.S. freight car fleet was serving as emergency warehouses.

    From that time on, the railroads have very much operated a freight car pool. That's not to say no railroad had rolling stock that never left the property. All did. That's not to say no railroad ever used a car after it had gotten too old to meet pool standards, keeping the antiques on locals or MOW.

    But most of the freight car fleet in the days before unit trains were common were pooled. The system was complex, but it worked. Railroads A and B hauled a load from X to Y in a car owned by railroad Q, and then B serviced the car's brakes and bearings. Q got a portion of the revenue from the run from A, but depending on how much repair was done, Q might have paid a little to B.

    It sounds like it required tens of thousands of clerks to operate. And it did. But they paid for themselves. Hauling empty cars all the way to home rails was a much bigger drain on the system.

    A very great number of the nation's reefers were owned by the ATSF, SP and UP, the latter two operating them as PFE. Roads like the Chessie, Norfolk and Western, Virginian and Southern owned a disproportionate number of open hoppers; Katy, Burlington, Rock Island, Northwestern and their neighbors had more closed hoppers. On through freight trains, the numbers of each type of car owned by various railroads almost had more to do with it than which railroad the train was on.

    Remember that the proportion of cars owned by shippers declined after the First World War. Once upon a time, big shippers did buy cars to ensure their product was transported properly. But as railroads increasingly insisted on operating cars in a pool, these cars were treated more as advertising by their owners, rolling billboards. Inevitably, this created problems as shippers found cars spotted at their factory advertising their competitors. So the practice fell off, and "non-denominational" private companies like GATX began to fill the void. This was their business, the railroads were their customers, and they were efficient enough that when A and B paid them a percentage of the freight charges for hauling a load of oil from X to Y, they could live on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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  15. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Kitbash, Dave, Boxcab, and acptulsa

    Thanks for comments and links.

    Dave,
    Thanks for taking the time to explain car hierarchy and the car mileage page!

    The picture below is Toms River, 1939. There are two big lumber yards, with most of the lumber coming from
    Virginia and the Carolinas. There are four feed companies, one with a grain elevator. The feed is shipped from the Great Lakes region. There is an automobile dealership in this group of buildings as well. To the left off the picture is an MG plant receiving coal. I also have learned that the CNJ was part of the Alphabet Route, so that will help with the car hierarchy.
    I was trying to figure out the markings on the cars, based on the marking's location and relative size. But based on what you have said and what info I have I'll be able to put something believable together.
    TRBoxCars39.jpg

    This second picture the cars are easier to identify and are supported by Dave's statements. The boxcars are CNJ, the covered hoppers are RDG, and out of the picture are a PRR and a Erie boxcar. This picture is of the New Jersey Pulverizing Company (sand), down the line from Toms River.
    NJPCo_39_01.jpg
    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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