LIRR FREIGHT HISTORY AFTER 1966

AAR INTERCHANGE RULES BY YEAR

1966:  10/01/66 Federal ban on running boards for new cars delivered
1967:  1/01/1967 High mount hand brakes prohibited on new cars
1968:  ACI labels introduced
1970:  Initial proposed date to require ACI labels in interchange
1972:  Final date for ACI labels required in interchange.  AAR recommends single-panel COTS stencil, for new & rebuilt cars
1974:  Running boards to be removed from all cars (extended). Two-panel COTS stencil required by FRA, all cars
1978:  White dot/yellow dot wheel inspection begins.  ACI labels no longer required for interchange
1981:  White dot/yellow dot wheel inspection ends
1982:  Third version COTS, Jan 1 1982
1983:  Running boards outlawed on all boxcars/reefers

Note: Items in italic indicate lettering/stencil changes

PER DIEM BOXCARS HISTORY- EXAMPLE

1977 – 1980 Boxcar Building Boom: A boxcar shortage in the 1960s and early 1970s turned into a glut by the early 1980s. Thousands of newly FMC manufactured 50-foot, 70-ton boxcars entered service in the late 1970s, many of which were acquired by private investors (ITEL RAIL) and short line railroads (RVRR, M&NJ, McCloud River, etc.) for revenue service.

 

 


LIRR #161 spotting a M&NJ per diem boxcar at M. Remz, Port Jefferson 8/04/1979

mnj 120800.jpg (102279 bytes)In the late 1970s, the M&NJ rostered 500 blue boxcars 50 feet (15 m) in length leased from NRUC, the National Railway Utilization Company. The cars were loaded with finished goods at Polytherm, then spent much of their time hauling loads in interchange service throughout the U.S. and Canada while the M&NJ collected 10% of the usage fees they generated. The boom in incentive per diem (IPD) boxcars ended by the early 1980s and the cars returned to the M&NJ which opened 2 miles (3.2 km) of unused track to store the cars until buyers could be found, a task which took almost a decade.

In the late 1960's the AAR (Association of American Railroads) was feeling the impending crunch of a general purpose boxcar (XM) shortage and moved into action to spur investment in railroad boxcars. In September 1970, they created and the ICC approved, something called Incentive Per Diem (IPD). This additional fee was charged on all XM cars during the 6 highest traffic months of a year, September - February and was added to the mileage and normal per diem (per day) fees. These IPD fees could only apply to newly built or rebuilt boxcars, not old clinkers from the 40's and 50's. There were limitations on the number of IPD cars a railroad could make available for interchange, but if a railroad didn't have any boxcars during a set of base years they were not limited to the number of IPD cars they could put into interchange.

The first batch of cars were built by Berwick Forge and Fabricating in December 1977 and were delivered in January 1978. An additional batch of Berwick cars arrived in February. In September and October an additional batch of cars came from the Evans Railcar Division of Evans Products. In sum these hundreds of cars represented 16.85 million dollar investment. All the cars were 50 foot outside braced cars painted blue with white stenciling and were immediately set loose on the railroads of North America. To earn the maximum amount of money for the M&NJ these cars had to be kept moving, ping-ponging from one railroad to another. A few did see "home" rails during the hey day of the IPD craze, M&NJ customer Polytherm (now known as Genpak) shipped out loads of expanded foam plates and trays to customers all over the nation. Even with hundreds of these IPD boxcars under his control, Pete Rasmussen still noted being short of empties during 1978 and early 1979 as those rolling money tree's moved all over the rails.

Several things changed this cash cow to road kill; the recession of the late 70's early 1980's, truck deregulation and increased investment in boxcars by major railroads. The national recession was the greatest blow to the IPD boom as the loads for the cars dried up and they began returning to the M&NJ. Even the M&NJ's own boxcar customer, Polytherm, switched to truck deliveries of its finished products. The out of service portion of the M&NJ was cleared of almost 20 years of underbrush and trees as more and more faded blue boxcars returned to the M&NJ which opened 2 miles (3.2 km) of unused track to store the cars until buyers could be found, a task which took almost a decade.

ACI LABEL HISTORY

ACI (Automatic Car Identification) labels/plates were introduced in 1967 and mandated by the FRA in 1968 to be installed on all interchange equipment by 1970.  
They were abandoned as impractical in 1978. After 1978 the plates could be removed, but many were never removed.  As the equipment passed by
the trackside scanner it was scanned.  All information necessary to keep track of the engine or car was then sent to a master location where it was logged.

The AAR had recognized from their field tests that periodic inspection and label maintenance would be requirements to maintain a high level of label readability. Regulations were instituted for label inspection and repair whenever a railcar was in the repair shop, which on average happened every two years.

By 1975 90% of all railcars were labeled. The read rate was about 80%, which means that after seven years of service 10% of the labels had failed for a variety of reasons, most evident on flatcars that had low-mounted labels for example. Dirt, scratches, fading from sunlight and vandalism all contributed to the eventual failure of this system.

Unfortunately the maintenance program never gained sufficient compliance. Without maintenance the read rate failed to improve, and the ACI (GTE KarTrak) system was abandoned by 1977. ACI tags ended. March 1, 1992.

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EL boxcar Port Jefferson 1978 Photo: Steven Lynch
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LIRR #91 Holban Yard 1/01/1979 Photo: Tim Darnell
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 Bennett Thrall lumber car Sayville 3/1980 
Photo: Steven Lynch

CONSOLIDATED STENCILS HISTORY


The AAR began a program of consolidated Stencils in 1972 which applied to new or rebuilt freight cars only and only had air brake info. Application to existing cars was not mandatory.  The FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) created in 1966 issued in July, 1974 a mandate for all freight cars to begin having the new consolidated stencils applied.  These stencils are applied on the lower right end when facing the car side.

Defined by the AAR, the large single panel COTS were optional and applied to new and rebuilt cars from 1972 to July 1, 1974. On that date the two part COTS, with the lub info, became mandatory with a deadline of 1979 for application to all cars.  Since 1982, subdivided into three or four parts, however shortly thereafter, this was revised to three panels. References 12/1978 RMC, and 1/1982 RMC. Info: Jim Eager

 

 

COTS: clean, oil, test, and stencil for brake system
RPKD or LUB: repacked, for journals on solid-bearing trucks or lubed, for roller bearings
IDT: in-date test, for brakes
RCD: reconditioned, if a car has been rebuilt
INSP: inspected    Source:  Kalmbach book "Detailing Freight Cars"

R-lube_ 2010, James R. Griffin. .JPG (73300 bytes)D&RGW caboose #01423 12/28/09 Photo: James R. Griffin


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LIRR C-60 at Yard A, LI City  1983 Note: CR gon in background with yellow "not defective wheel inspection dot" built prior to 1978
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RVRR XM #1009 in action at Riverdale, IL 5/12/1979
Photo: Bill Johnson
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Burlington (CR&Q) #9805 5/1981 Photo: Chuck Zeiler

 

  U-1 DEFECTIVE WHEEL INSPECTION DOT  HISTORY

These stencils were applied to designate freight cars which had 33" wheels manufactured by the Southern Wheel Company. These wheels were suspected of failing in service and causing several serious derailments. 
This FRA regulation began March 31, 1978 with the inspection of all 70 ton or less cars which had 33" wheels. Freight cars with this type wheels were stenciled  with a 6" white dot in a 12" black square. Cars identified with the white dots could not be used in a train carrying hazardous materials through December. Beginning December 31, 1978 all cars that had the white dots could not be used in any train. The wheels had to be removed and replaced with wheels of an approved type.  Freight cars that had approved wheels were stenciled  with a 6" yellow dot in a 12" black square. These cars could be used in any service. New cars built up to Dec 31, 1978 had the yellow dots applied at the factory. There was no pressing reason to remove the yellow stencils, as no date was given for removal of them, so they remained on freight cars for decades until they were repainted or retired.  (As it turns out, some 100 ton cars got the dot too.)

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Flat car wrapped lumber load with defective wheel dot - 
Sayville prior to 12/1978  Photo: Steven Lynch

  GlenCove_c.1970s.jpg (67510 bytes)
BAR 50' boxcar with defective wheel dot at Glen Cove prior to 12/1978
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RVRR #1019  Leased from ITEL Rail Corp. September  19, 1978. New cars built up to Dec 31, 1978 had the yellow dots applied at the factory. 

HISTORY SHORT VERSION:

1978 March U-1 wheel inspection dot for defective 33" wheels. 
Yellow dot = not defective (built prior to 1978, new cars 1978)
White dot = defective wheels, repair required prior to end 1978.
No dots =  Built 1979+

pc 274006.jpg (71916 bytes)
Penn Central #274006 60' boxcar Class X61C
No COTS required as applied to new or rebuilt freight cars only. Yellow dot indicates photo March, 1978+

ROOFWALKS/RUNNING BOARDS DETAILS HISTORY

gnbigsky.jpg (57886 bytes)
GN XM  #12506 Boxcar plug/sliding door Built 1959 "Big Sky Blue" scheme - Oneonta, NY 3/1972 Photo: Steven Lynch

 

1966 01/10/66  Roof walks/Running boards allowed to be removed and to be eliminated with all boxcars in service (without roof hatches)
1966 10/01/66 New freight cars ordered after 4/01/66 and/or delivered after 10/01/66 without roof walks and low hand brakes. These deadlines were routinely extended. 
1967 01/01/67 High mounted brake wheels banned.
1974 01/01/74 Roof walks/Running boards and high hand brakes to be removed from all freight cars.  This date extended to 04/01/74.
1983 12/31/83 Running boards outlawed on all boxcars/reefers. While 1974 may have been the original target date for roofwalk removal, it didn't hold up. A huge percentage of roofwalks were still in place after that date. Basically, roofwalks started to be phased out starting in '66 (on new equipment) and that continued through the entire decade of the '70s and into 1983. However, most existing roofwalks ended up being removed in the years from the very late '60 to the mid 1970s. Roofwalks could stay even longer for non-interchange cars. 

Freight cars in specific applications had roofwalks and hatches. Monon, for example, had cars purchased in the late 60's with roof hatches, and those cars had roofwalks. They had a low mounted handbrake, and the grabs were low, except for the ones specifically going up to the roofwalk.

So, at the same time the roof walkways were eliminated, hand brake wheels were lowered to a point away from the roofs, and an alternate way of getting from one side of the car to the other (end walkways) was provided.  This took place on box-type cars first, and later on covered and open-top hoppers.  

Roofwalk removal did come with some adverse conditions, beginning in the 1960s:
Taller box cars, including hi-cube cars (some of the earliest ones did have walkways up there, but lost them quickly).

Cushioning devices on box cars increasing the distance between carbodies (extensions to the walkways did little to help that--and there was always the chance that the distance between carbodies could change dramatically in mid-jump).

Differing heights for cars in a freight train, and cars such as gondolas and hoppers that had no roof walks at all.  What do you do when the next car is a hopper, gondola, or flatcar?  This was always a problem, but full height ladders provided the access. Fortunately, box cars became far less prevalent than they were prior to the 1960's.

REPORTING MARKS/DIMENSIONAL DATA

CAPY (nominal capacity) is the intended load-carrying capacity of the car, to the nearest 1000 pounds. This is determined by the structural strength of the car's underframe and the size of the journal bearings of the car's trucks. This marking is no longer required as the actual maximum load weight is determined by the load limit as described below.

LD LMT (load limit) is the maximum weight of lading that can be carried by the car, to the nearest 100 pounds. This is determined by subtracting the weight of the car when empty from the total allowable gross weight given the size of the car's journal bearings and the structural strength of the car design. The load limit for a car is usually a bit greater than its capacity; the two figures can be equal, but capacity can never exceed load limit. Note that there is usually a difference between what the car is designed to carry (CAPY) and what it will actually carry. The load limit must always be greater than capacity.

 

LT WT (light, or empty, weight) is the weight of the car when empty. This information is important for two reasons. First, it helps determine the load limit for the car. Second, when the car is empty it helps operators asses the actual weight of the train and assign the right locomotives among other things.

Car Weight Date: This is the last location and date at which the railroad or owner last verified the car was weighed to determine its actual light weight. EXAMPLE:  “CR-AB 10-83”   “CR-AB” indicates that this car was weighed by Conrail at their Abrams Yard (near Philadelphia). Railroads typically use their reporting marks and a two-letter yard or shop code. “NEW” is often seen here and means that the weight has not yet been calibrated since the car's as-built weight.

Steel cars are generally supposed to be reweighed every 30 months (15 for wood) but in practice it is often much less frequent than that. Cars are typically reweighed when they are serviced. A car’s light weight will decrease over the years through wear and tear but may go back up during repairs. Since many loads are billed by weight, having an accurate measure of the car is important. If the car has lost weight over time then the railroad could be hauling some of the load for free as it reads the scales.

Conrail (CR) 878330 is a covered hopper.  “LO” is the AAR designation for covered hoppers, for example.

Dimensional Data:  Indicates both inside and out of the freight car. Exterior dimensions are important so that operators will know the car can fit within the clearances of particular routes. Interior dimensions help when assigning cars to a customer for loading and can help at the loading dock as well. Other dimensions like the size of door openings are also often included on the car as well.

“BLT 3-37” indicates when the car was built (March, 1937.) This information is important to the railroad as many things are tied to the build date of the car including inspection periods, lease / payment accounting and retirement.




 

1966+ FREIGHT SPOTTING ON THE LIRR

1. I'll start us off with RailBox Company (reporting marks ABOX, RBOX, TBOX, FBOX), Berwick/FMC 50' cars

2. Per diem Boxcars built by FMC in Portland 1977+(?) The distinctive "short line" 50' cars in many schemes: RVRR, McCloud River, PH&D, Middleton & NJ, Providence & Worchester, St. Lawrence, RFP, etc.

3. Thrall All Door Lumber Cars Lignum, Bennett, US Plywood, Weyerhaeuser, Lignum, Illinois Terminal, Celotex, Boise Cascade, Armstrong

1969 LIRR FREIGHT CARS HANDLED 

Type

 No. handled

 Percentage of Total

Box

394,074

    22%

Box - Equipped

162,154

    9%

Covered

161,068

    9%

Flat

122,705

    7%

Reefer

115,844

    6%

Stock

12,169

    1%

Gondola

200,414

    11%

Hopper

405,829

    23%

Tank

180,797

    10%

Other

39,601

    2%

TOTAL CARS

1,794,655

 

 

LIRR FOOD BUSINESS - 1974

Brentwood - Hills Korvette Supermarkets - 1980 cars
Bushwick - H.C. Bohack - 550 cars
Bushwick - Farmers Food Company - 825 cars
Central Islip - Waldbaum - 1327 cars (increased to almost 2000 cars by 1978)
Corona - Fodera (Flour) - 386 cars
Corona - Great A&P - 358 cars
Farmingdale - White Rose - 935 cars (increased to over 1700 in later years)
Hicksville - King Kullen - 385 cars
Jamaica - Associated Food Stores - 368 cars
Long Island City - Ronzoni - 923 cars
Maspeth - Great A&P - 678 cars
Mineola/Garden City - Great A&P - 621 cars

There are over 9300 carloads in this year and that just includes the major food outfits as it does not include the beer/wine/soda distributors and several smaller food companies. How many trucks on the highway does that 9300 car loads equate to? And remember - the population of Long Island is much higher than it was 40+ years ago, so there are even more trucks on the road today. Info: Noah Caplan 2016

BOXCAR LOADS 1950-1970's

Commodities carried in boxcars in the 1940-1970 period - by Sam A. McCall

1. Automobiles - shipped in Auto XAR boxcars
2. Automobiles - shipped LCL
3. Bags - Commodities in - Flour, Rice, Beans etc etc
4. Barrels, Drums or Kegs
5. Batteries - Storage
6. Brick and Hollow Building Tile
7. Brick - Hop Top
8. Butter in Tubs in Refrigerator Cars
9. Cable on Reels and Wire Commodities
10. Car Doors
11. Car Wheels - Loose
12. Cylinders - Empty, With or Without Caps
13. Fiberboard Containers
14. Freight
15. Furniture - Car Load
16. Furniture - LCL
17. Grain and Grain Products in Fiberboard Containers or Sacks
18. Ink and Like Commodities in Six-Gallon Pails
19. Livestock
20. Lumber
21. Machinery
22. Marble in Slabs
23. Sheet Steel, Tin Plate and other steel products
24. Mixed Loads of Commodities (LCL - less than carload) in wooden crates, cardboard boxes, etc.
25. Paper and Similar Commodities on Skids
26. Plasterboard, Wallboard etc in Solid Loads or Bagged Commodities as Mixed Loads
27. Projectiles, Bombs and Cartridge Cases (Empty)
28. Radiators-Cast Iron
29. Refrigerators-Mechanical
30. Roofing Materials-Prepared
31. Soda Ash
32. Stones-Pulp Grinder
33. Stoves and Ranges
34. Rolled and Plate Glass
35. Untreated Cross Ties
36. Bulk Grain
37. Pig Lead, Copper Bars and Similar
38. Unsaturated Roofing Felt and Pulpboard Paper
39. Newsprint
40. Vitrified Clay Sewer Pipe

EVOLUTION OF CR (CONRAIL) 1976

NYC + PRR 1968 = PC + NYNH&H in 1969.  1976 Conrail (CR) included the Ann Arbor (bankrupt 1973), Erie Lackawanna (1972), Lehigh Valley  (1970), Reading (1971), Central Railroad of NJ (1967) and Lehigh and Hudson River (1972). Controlled railroads and jointly owned railroads such as Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines and the Raritan River (1980) were also included.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

"The Other LIRR" - Newsday, Sunday 02/11/1979 by Paul Ballot Photos: Don Jacobsen
"Growth/Decline of Freight in Suffolk County" - by Michael Bartley