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Boston & Maine Freight Cars - Sources


Official Railway Equipment Registers

This data I am presenting is primarily based on the Official Railway Equipment Register [A.K.A. "ORER"] publications, published by various companies over the years.
For instance (just a small sample):
These are considered "periodicals" (i.e. they have an "ISSN" vs. an "ISBN")

These were published (I think...the LoC and NYPL have slightly different dates for the transition from monthly to bi-monthly to quarterly):

Where I found these registers, and various comments thereon:
Source Comments
Ones I have already
Google Books Search on "Official Railway Equipment Register", then click on the "More Editions" link
Scanned copies of various registers, about 100 *PDFs* total [see next line].
Most (if not all) of the PDFs actually include 2 (or 3) consecutive issues of the ORER (at least the ones I could view)
I only used the ones that are downloadable / "free" (1917 and earlier)
Scan quality is "hit or miss". While some pages are fine, some pages have large black blobs or are otherwise blurry, or have some of the page edges cut off, so some data is hard (or impossible) to read
Hathi Trust Has one issue (1917) available for "free" on line (others available "not for free")
Buffalo & Erie Co Library Had a smattering of issues, 1931-1986 (10 total)
Library of Congress Has a "complete" collection from 1948 to current.
When I visited, approx. 30 issues (of 258 I was interested in) were not available to me, for unknown reasons.
Note (to save time) review the LoC web site and request them in advance (otherwise you might wait an hour or 3 before you can do anything)
Heritage Discovery Center, Buffalo, NY
(Western New York Railway Historical Society)
Has about 60 or so ORERs in "Nearby" storage. More in "not so nearby" storage.
Contact them ahead of time, if you can.
Dave Parker Supplied a bunch of years I needed - thanks!
Ones I hope to visit...some point in the future...
Univ of Penn. Supposedly, their library has 1909-1929 (or thereabouts) available.
I will be checking this out "Soon" sometime...I hope.
RR Museum of PA Has a few issues I need. I may combine with U of Penn. trip
NMRA Has reprinted 1953 (and 1943?) editions, with permission of copyright owner
Their library also has many editions, however I have not yet had luck getting replies to emails...
Stanford Univ. Looking at their on-line catalog, they have most editions 1885-1917, and a smattering of later ones.
It looks like most of the Google books versions were scanned from the Stanford Univ. library
I hope to get there "sometime"
CA State RR Museum in Sacramento I am told they have "almost every" ORER published. Now I just need to get there ;-)
Surface Transportation Board I am told they "inherited" the "complete" collection from the ICC. I have emailed, and am awaiting their response...
Response: They may have a few, but they don't have many
New York Public Library (Science, Industry & Business Library) Looking at their web site, they have them on microfilm, from the 1895 to 1960. They look to be "offsite", so request in advance.
The Mercantile Library in St. Louis has the real old stuff even back to the original sample edition from late 1884

Other sources

Tim Gilbert Monograph

In the late 1990s and early 2000's, Tim Gilbert did a lot of research on the B&M RR's freight cars for the 1899-1951 period. While never officially published, he did send out printed copies to several people. My copy is dated 27-Jan-2001

Other than ORERs, and the B&M RR "class cards" (available in the B&MRRHS archives) I do not know where he got his data from. But Tim was a pretty good researcher, so (in the absence of other data) I would tend to trust his data.

Don Clerke inserts into B&MRRHS Bulletin

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, Don Clerke published a series of "Modeling the B&M" inserts in the B&MRRHS Bulletin.
In particular, the "Winter 1978-1979" issue (volume VIII, number 2, ISSN 0362-2711) on "Modeling the B&M Freight Cars since 1967"
as the "Modeling the B&M Freight Cars since 1967" insert did NOT have page numbers, I am using "i 1-12" for the "page numbers".
As he does number the photos, I am using that as well (e.g. "photo 1")

Northern New England Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment

The book Northern New England Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by David R. Sweetland with Stephen Horsley (Morning Sun Books, 1994, ISBN 1-878887-36-4)

NEB&W Guide IV

The book NEB&W's Guide IV - Rolling Stock from Baby Ruth to Byerlyte by John Nehrich (Rensselaer Railroad Heriage Center, 2000, no ISBN?) Note there were several "Guides", and many editions of each(?) so info/data may have changed over time

James B. Van Bokkelen's Unofficial Boston & Maine Railroad Page

James B. Van Bokkelen has the Unofficial Boston & Maine Railroad Page with much info on the B&M RR, and modeling it

Earl Tuson's web site

Earl Tuson's B&M web site The Boston & Maine Railroad also has some interesting info and pictures

Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

The Bulletin has good photos, the quality of which is mostly (I assume) limited by the quality of the original negative/slide/whatever.

The Newsletter and Modeler's Notes (particularly in their earlier years) had many desirable photos, but the technology used to print them was pretty limited (and often the photos were pretty small as well), so detail is hard/impossible to see, which limits their usefulness.


WLHG Company has a photo CD of Laconia Car Co. "Builder's Photos". See their website for more info ("Laconia Car Shops Picture CD").

A brief history of AC&F lot numbers

From information provided by Ed Hawkins
AC&F lot numbers (presumably) started at 1. By 1899 they were in the 500 range. By mid-1925, they hit 9999, and actually started using 5 digit lot numbers, up to 10036. At which point they reverted to "Lot Number 1". At the Barriger Library, they decided to use "Series 1" for the 1899 - mid-1925 lots 500-10037.
Then use "Series 2" for the lot numbers starting in mid-1925 at "1" (to about 6000 by the mid-1960s)
After that, they started yet another lot numebring format, having prefixes and lot numbers not necessarily assigned in a chronological sequence.

Eric's Railroad Car History web site

Eric Neubauer has a web site that has a LOT of info on it.
In particular, he (with help from many others) has compiled listings of cars/lots by various builders (see "Eric's Car of the Month" link)
In the "Eric's Books" section, the following were useful:
Also see items under "Eric's Research Tools"

Revision History

File History for THIS page
Date Who Description
13-Mar-2020 KG Akerboom Initial version
17-Mar-2020 KG Akerboom Fix minor "HTML"isms
23-Mar-2020 KG Akerboom Added data from 19 more ORERs
06-Apr-2020 KG Akerboom NEB&W Guide, B&MRRHS, Laconia pictures CD
16-Jun-2020 KG Akerboom Added AC&F lot number explanation from Ed Hawkins
05-Jul-2020 KG Akerboom Added Eric's Railroad Car History
28-May-2022 KG Akerboom Fix Eric's Railroad Car History link
04-Jan-2023 KG Akerboom Fixed headers and footers...hopefully

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