ChiefTroll wrote:There was nothing sacred about a particular car number going through the shop as long as the cars were not secured by an equipment trust (bank loan). You might see four or five cabooses go into the shop, and pieces of all five, including a center sill, come out the door with one of the numbers on it. The "surviving" car was determined by the accounting department, depending on the tax situation at the time, the book values of the cars, depreciation (if any) and all sorts of other exotic stuff under the old ICC accounting rules.
So four of those five would be retired and written off the books. One caboose would be the subject of an AFE (Authorization for Capital Expenditure), and that number would be painted on the resulting car. Whichever one had the honor conferred upon it would depend on how the cash and material costs worked out.
- Gordon Davids
I'm not in any way doubting or disputing Gordon's post. But upon reflection, a slight variation of his scenario might also have been possible. As he states, 5 cabooses were brought in, the best parts combined to make one, and the bean counters then dictated which number to apply.
In my hypothetical situation, 5 cabooses are in the shop. For this discussion their last 2 digits are 01 through 05. It might
be that the accountants punched their adding machines, poured over their records, and dictated that due to depreciation etc the 02 was to be rebuilt, and authorized capital expenditure of X dollars for that purpose, for roofing, new stove, rebuilt trucks, and whatever else. The other 4 were to be scrapped.
Let's say the shop honchos looked things over and found that the 04 had a great roof, the body was tight and solid and would not need much to make the interior serviceable. And hey, the 05 had a stove that was pretty close to new. The 01 and 03 each had one good truck under them, thick wheels, and so on.
So just maybe, they took those 2 trucks and put them under the 04, took the stove from the 05, and borrowed a few parts from the others, and wound up with a decent caboose after much less time with the shop guys, and much less expense than that AFE dictated. But the bean counters don't care about that, their formulas said the 02 should be rebuilt. So the caboose emerged from the shop renumbered as the 02, while the rest were scrapped.
So the shop honchos got that job done in less time than the job should have taken, allowing them to be not QUITE so far behind. They had some inventory of roofing, a couple trucks, and other stuff which supposedly went into rebuilding that 02, and now could be used in the future when some "under the table" job was necessary. And perhaps that's why there are two numbers on the new "02"'s underframe.
Oh yes - remember the stove from the 05 wound up in the new "02"? That brand new stove the AFE provided for the 02 is now in the shop superintendent's brother's hunting cabin, where it keeps them both warm during hunting trips!
I'm not saying that DID happen. But those who know how things sometimes were done, will tell you it MIGHT have been that way.
(In case anybody thinks stuff like that did not go on, let me say that when the Penn Central closed own the Despatch Shops in East Rochester, reportedly a backhoe was used to dig a large hole in the ground. Various tools and supplies were dumped and buried, for reasons that will never be known once the last of those involved has passed away. Obviously, those items supposedly and officially did not exist)