AAR Freight Car Dimension Classification

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I am trying to understand the meaning of the stencilling on the sides of freight cars, specifically, that related to the dimensions of the car, such as "Plate E" or "Exceeds Plate C". Could someone out there direct me to a web site or explain to me a) How many different "plates" there are; b)what are the dimensions of these "plates", and c)answer the question, why would a car marked "exceeds plate C" not be marked "plate D"? Thanks to all. This bulletin board has been a great modeling resource.

-- John Moss Painter (paintj1@juno.com), December 03, 2001


See this URL at NMRA:


-- Ron Wright (rondywright@hotmail.com), December 03, 2001.

"Plate" refers to the clearance outline (height & width) that a car is built keep within, on both tangent and curved trackage. Plate B is the maximum outline that can be used in unrestricted service. Plate C is a bit taller and wider and is cosequently restricted from some close clearance routes. For a time there was nothing beyond Plate C so "Exceeds Plate C" was used. When they finally added larger Plates they skipped D and went to E and then F, each one a bit taller. The Plate diagrams can be found in the back of the ORER (Official Railway Equipment Register). I don't know of an on-line reference, but try a web search.

-- Jim Eager (jeager@sympatico.ca), December 03, 2001.

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