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Eastern Railroad Discussion > AAR Car Type Codes

Date: 02/13/11 07:10
AAR Car Type Codes
Author: tp117

I am using a year old Official Railway Equipment Register (the yellow book) to do a survery of intermodal car types. Cars are shown with both the AAR Mechanical Designation and the AAR Car Type Codes. The AAR Mechanical Designation is not very descriptive and the RER lists the descriptions of them in the back. A decade ago the AAR Car Type Code was also shown in the back of the RER, but no more. I copied the Car Type Codes from a 1999 RER and still use that as a reference. My question is, have they changed any since 1999? I went to AAR's website and did not see any obvious way to view them on the website, although I will admit to not being very good at negotiating websites.

I would like to get an updated list of AAR Car Type Codes, with descriptions. I'm hoping someone on Trainorders can advise how I might get that information. I'm a retired railroader and not a consultant.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/11 07:11 by tp117.

Date: 02/13/11 12:39
Re: AAR Car Type Codes
Author: CShaveRR

Newer equipment registers suggest that you go to www.Railinc.com for information, but once I get there I can't figure out what to do.

The codes are still very much in use, as sites that describe individual freight cars use them, and not the all-letter Mechanical Designations. As a frequent looker-upper of freight cars, I've not seen anything over the past few years that has given me pause, so I'm assuming that there have been no major changes in the codes.

Carl Shaver
Lombard, IL

Date: 02/16/11 06:13
Re: AAR Car Type Codes
Author: tp117

Thanks for your reply Mr Shaver. Maybe you and I are the only ones on this forum that consult the Equipment Registers. Personally I find them an enigma. Afer a railroad career there are still things I do not understand in them, and they are unnecessairly detailed which makes them so large. I have some before 1950, and they are only an inch thick, and the railroads had twice as many cars! Of course the cars are more specialized today.I do not see the purpose of all the line items with a dimension varying by one inch, when they could be listed in ranges. Another thing is that I believe only cars interchanged among railroads have to be included. If private cars cycle on only one railroad they can be omitted from the RER, and that happens quiet often since the Class I railroads are so huge today. Just looking at the index you can see about one third of the reporting marks are not included. I've found some trash cars like that.

I sure wish UMLER (Universal Machine Language Equipment Register) was availabe online. It has much more info than the RER including such things as built dates. The RER is almost useless for tank cars - doesnt even give lengths - but UMLER does. UMLER is provided by RailInc, and I believe in the early 2000s it was run by a guy I used to work with (Paul Neville) and even with another co-worker) borrowed my small sailboat. But I've lost contact, probably would not do any good, and I've not tried their website.

One another matter I looked for Lombard Ill on a map because my son moved to northern Chicago last October, and he has found a job in Gurnee, and commutes on the old CNW passenger line (with virtually no freight activity). I warned them about Chicago winters, and they found out. I also worked for a man who retired from Trailer Train a few years ago that lives in Naperville.

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