Do You Need Help With Car Numbers???? is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Master Mechanic
For you guys who wonder if so and so RR still has a certain type of car, the best thing you can get is an ORER. That stands for "The Official Railroad Equipment Registry". These books are published 3 times a year, and is supplied to railroads for filling orders for cars placed by a shipper. Inside, it is divided into all the railroads, private companies, lessors, etc if you have a car(s), available for use, the book has your car(s), listed. You can find these for sale on Amazon, train shows, RR book dealers, E-bay etc. If your cutoff date is say 1980, you could get one dated 1980, and look the number up. This will allow you to go and see if a car you want a model of, actually existed during 1980. All you need is the Railroad's name. like BNSF, and at least a number that would be on a car in that series. You open the book to BNSF, and then go down the numerical listing until you find the car.

There is a lot of interesting items in these books, and will answer many questions you may have as a modeler. Now IIRC, it gives you the car number, inside and outside dimensions, all the data that's on the side of the car regarding capacity, load limits, AAR designation, and the number of cars. There is also notes listed for the cars, that will have such things as handling and routing info, etc. About the only thing it doesn't have in it is the color of the car. At the end of the listings for each RR, there is a recap of the cars, with grand totals of numbers of each AAR type, the list of notes, and finally a list of freight connections, and junction points on the RR. The most interesting items for me are the notes. These are where specific handling, and routing information is listed. There is always something interesting in these notes.

These books contain listings of all the RR in North America. These include the Canadian, and the Mexican RR's as well.
Finally, this is how you can determine if the number on the side of the car, along with the reporting marks are correct and not "foobies". If you want 100% accuracy in your cars, this book can prove or disprove the car's markings are correct or not. You'd be surprised, or maybe you won't, be surprised at the car makers who misprint the car numbers on the sides. Sometimes the number is correct for the RR, but is on the wrong type of car. Say the number is correct for a series of flat cars for the RR your car is painted for, but its on a boxcar. Whether or not you correct it is up to you. I just want different numbers on my cars, and if I can change that number, without a whole lot of work, I will.
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