Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by H.F.Malone
Can anyone give a detailed explanation of the "RS-41" stencil seen on PC and CR freight cars that were held for heavy repairs or scrap? I recall hearing that RS-41 designated that a car needed at least a certain dollar amount of repair work, and was being held for scrapping. What was the dollar threshold that triggered the "hold for scrapping" designation? Was "RS-41" the PC form (paper) that was used to write up a given car?

When you saw that stencilled on a freight car, you knew you'd be shaving with it in less than a year (turned into razor blades).

LCJ, LBAGG, Chief Troll, some of youse guys must know this....

  by red baron
Ever try the "3-jack method" on those RS41s Mr. Malone?
  by lbagg91833
RS-41 was/is the designation stenciled on equip that is designated "SCRAP"...and listed as such by MECHANICAL DEPT forces...usually age, and condition qualified equip to be so marked. "WHITE LINED" with a white line painted thru the loco #, or car # told the same story. LARRY BAGGERLY
  by H.F.Malone
L BAGG: What was the "RS-41"? Was it the form number used to designate scrap or whitelined cars? Why "RS-41" rather than "SC-1" or "WL-1000" or somesuch? This seemed to be PRR designation; before the merger, the NYC stuff usually had the whiteline, yes?

red baron: Yes, I am a noted proponent of that 3-jack method, as you well know!
  by ChiefTroll
IIRC, it was the RS-41 form that listed the repairs necessary or the damage that justified scrapping the car. RS meant "Rolling Stock" as best as I can recall. My time was on the NYC and we did it different.

PRR had a way of designating forms by department, like CT for "Conducting Transportation" and CE for "Chief Engineer." Like I said, RS would be "Rolling Stock." On many railroads, PRR and PC included, form numbers took on a life of their own, and eventually the form number would become the common name of the action or event that the form recorded.

Every car has a "depreciated value" which is codified in the AAR interchange rules. If Railroad A severly damages a car belonging to Railroad B, RR A will ask RR B for a statement of the depreciated value. If the cost to repair exceeds the depreciated value, the car owner, RR B, can either ask for the depreciated value of the car, or they can ask RR A to ship the car back on a flat car or something, if it can be shipped.

It's the same thing if a car is shopped by the home road - if the cost of repairs exceeds a value set on that series of cars, they will write it up on a RS-41 or whatever the RR uses, and probably scrap the car.
  by H.F.Malone
Thanks, Chief--- I knew you guys would come through!!!

There are a few Conrail RS-41 cars that did not become razor blades.....like a couple of H39 hoppers bought from "The Grove" in Cedar Hill Yard (remember The Grove, red baron?).

  by Otto Vondrak
haha- I know a lot of equipment that could be included in "Class RS-41" rosters. I guess RS-41 is more subtle than "FUBAR-12" or "NFG-13."

As an aside, I saw a lot of Metro-North stuff in Croton East Yard last year was stenciled "XS" which I assume was shorthand for "excess" and meant it was to be cut up on site (it was).


  by red baron
Sure Mr. Malone, I remember The Grove.

How could I forget? Me and Davey pulled one down there once.........

  by BR&P
The "RS-41" designation came from the NYC, not the PRR. I'm not sure of the difference, but back in about 1964 I recall seeing junk wooden NYC cabooses stenciled "RS-42 RY". This was at Rochester yard, no doubt that's the "RY" part. But why RS42 instead of RS41?
  by H.F.Malone
Ah, the plot thickens; the mystery deepens. Just when it looked like it's been sorted out and put to bed.......

  by BR&P
I dug out a slide of an old hopper, BWC 4237. It was white-lined, photo taken in Buffalo Feb 1970. A small stencil reads "HOLD RS-42 SB 10-21-69"

Also, info taken from several wooden caboose photos, here are just 3:

NYC 19339 RS42 RY 4-7-67
NYC 19566 RS42 EB 6-9-68
NYC 20117 RS42 EB 7-11-66 (Former Pacemaker caboose)

Note the dates include both NYC and PC timeframes, confirming this was an NYC practice.