Jan 31, 2002
The detailed rosters below are based on a January 1977 and an October 1991 Official Railway Equipment Register and reflect those roadnames that were in service at that time. I have made every effort to check them for accuracy, though cars that were taken off roster might still appear in service several years later. Plus many errors crept into Conrail rolling stock fleet over the years. Please use these rosters only as a guide for your modeling efforts, combining them with photographic evidence.
During the early years of the railroad, as reflected in the 1977 rosters below, Conrail had higher priorities than repainting their massive freight car fleet. As a result, there were usually more freight cars still numbered and lettered for the predecessors than for Conrail. If you model these years, as I do, knowing the ratio of predecessor to Conrail lettered cars is essential if you're striving to be as prototypically accurate as possible.
As of January 1977, Conrail had only renumbered a few hundred of the thousands of H43 hoppers. Unfortunately, we don't know which cars were renumbered, only the totals. The same goes for the Penn Central cars and the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad roster gives us a good idea of how many of these cars were still around as of 1977. All valuable information for the transition era modeler.
One note. You may notice some discepiencies between some Conrail series and some Penn Central series when it comes to classes. For example, there are a number of CR cars listed as H43A's, whereas on the PC roster these are listed as H43's. This is the way the rosters are listed in the January 1977 Official Railway Equipment Register and are not typos on my part.
By the early 1990s, well over 10,000 H43 had been renumbered and repainted Conrail. While some of these cars might have been simple CR-stencil jobs over the PRR and PC reporting marks, my trackside observations proved that to be rare.
What surprised me while I was compiling this roster from my October 1991 Official Railway Equipment Register was that 1672 H43D's were still lettered for the Penn Central. Unfortunately, of the nearly 6,000 PRR cars still on the rails in 1977, only 43 survived into 1991. I don't remember seeing any in 1999.
As always, please use these rosters only as guides when modeling your hopper fleet. Conrail was notorious for slipping a few other classes into series here and there--just to make our lives more difficult. The 1991 roster also combines some series that were broken down in the 1977 version.
Photos for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image.
Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.