Marty Feldner wrote: ↑Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:55 am
Before vandalism took over the country and they had to be fully enclosed
Well, it was a rather short period of 'wide-open' auto-racks in North America of the type that started appearing in 1960.
Side panels (in some cases metal mesh) were added in the later 1960s to deter rock & brick throwers from damaging the vehicles in the racks; next fully enclosed autoracks came by the mid-1970s to prevent theft of expensive vehicle parts like tires, batteries, radios and so on. A lot of the fleet was enclosed by 1980, so what, that's 20 years of open racks vs near 40 years of enclosed racks.
I think we are still limited to Plate F clearences on Long Island except for portions in Bay Ridge accessible to the float yard, which can handle Plate J (19'0" clearance).