Oldest Railroad Cars

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Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:04 pm

What are some of the oldest freight cars still in service today? I'm currently on tour and in the midwest I've been seeing a lot of freight cars from railroads that haven't existed in over 20 years so I was curious.
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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby doepack » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:34 am

Boxcars lettered for Rock Island or ICG (the former done in "The Rock" scheme, which debuted a couple of years before the end) can be seen every now and then on UP manifests in their badly faded paint along the Geneva sub near my home. Among other rare birds are cars lettered for Southern (with NS reporting marks), BN, or MKT...
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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:39 am

Back when I lived in Hampton Roads I'd see quite a few old coal hoppers on CSX in Newport News... I don't know if they were actually that old, or were just keeping the names alive, but I recall seeing plenty of hoppers spanning everything from NYC to PC to Conrail (and comparatively few actually lettered for CSX).

Given that we have commuter coaches here in Boston that've been on the rails since 1978, I wouldn't be surprised if freight cars lasted even longer, with proper maintenance.
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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby scottychaos » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:13 pm

There have been a few recent sightings of CSX coal hoppers in EL markings. (I think in MOW service)
built before 1976, over 41 years old.

LV caboose still in Class-1 service:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=4613350
As a UP MOW car.
Built in 1946, 72 years in continuous railroad service, not yet retired.

There are some Sperry Rail cars (track inspection cars) that were built as "doodlebug" gas-electric rail cars in 1925, then sold to Sperry rail in 1940.
Been in continuous use for 92 years.

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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby scottychaos » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:19 pm

Older thread on this topic:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=77953

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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby D Alex » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:44 pm

Back in the mid-90's, I used to regularly visit a manufacturing place in Virginia that always had a few scrap hoppers on site, and those were almost always from the war period. I assume they had been coal/ore hoppers back then, then were relegated to scrap hauling as they became more worn.
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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby umtrr-author » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:28 pm

With respect to revenue service, I had a long e-mail discussion with one of my subscribers about this and the "40-year" and "50-year" rule in terms of age of the equipment. The bottom line is that there are a lot of ways to count to 40 or 50 and that means equipment might be around longer than that. It's kind of like that old hammer that's had the handle replaced twice and the head replaced three times.

For example, the Incentive Per Diem boxcars which debuted in the late 1970s would be around 40 years old by now and there are plenty of them still out there, some rare birds with traces of their original paint schemes.

With respect to company service, there are virtually zero rules on when a piece of rolling stock must be retired. There's probably some practical limit to how long a car can last without falling completely apart.
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Re: Oldest Railroad Cars

Postby CarterB » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:08 pm

NYS&W has a D&H box car and two side dump ballast cars stored under I 80 bridge in Elwood Park NJ
All are friction journal box equipped. https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=788a49f2 ... orm=S00027
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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