Interpreting Confusing CCR entries

Copyright 2001 – 2010 Thomas C. Madden


Pullman’s Car Construction Records were intended to show a car’s status, not it’s history. When recording a change, the important thing was that the change be legible. It didn’t matter if earlier data was overwritten in the process. Fortunately for us, most changes were entered clearly:

This car was painted Pullman Std. (Pullman green) until 10/8/53, when it was repainted into the NYC paint scheme specified in drawing CE-D-7047. (Entered in the database as CED7047.)


Not every change is entered so neatly. Sometimes the clerk applied a pasted paper overlay and entered completely new data, and these overlays often fell off:

You can see adhesive residue over the exposed data, and evidence of a later hand-written entry just below the area covered by the missing overlay. In this case the database entry is <GN "Empire Builder" (nd); CED5155A (nd); Missing (nd)>. "nd" stands for "No date". It may be possible to infer the later entry by checking records of other cars from the same construction lot.


Sometimes the clerk obliterated an earlier entry:

In this case the earlier entry could have been either NP or NS, but the problem is further confused because the change is not dated. Was the original entry mis-typed? Was the truck type changed before delivery? Was this a later, true change that the clerk neglected to date? We cannot tell, and the database entry reads <41-N?-11; 41-N-11 (nd)>. The question mark shows the character is unreadable.


Sometimes entries are clearly written but difficult to understand:

The painting progression for this car (PRR Plan 4140 STONEY RAPIDS) goes from PRR Streamline colors to CED5062C (PRR's standard paint scheme for post-war lightweights) on 5/21/53, but then what? The rule of thumb says the last intact date and the last intact paint number belong together, meaning the D5062F paint job was applied on 6/9/55. But what of that repaint to UP colors per drawing D6976? That drawing was issued in April 1956. A possible answer is found in Tilp and Blardone's PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD PASSENGER CAR PAINTING AND LETTERING book - STONEY RAPIDS received the UP paint scheme in June 1956 and returned to PRR colors in July 1958. Pullman's data entry clerk did not date the D5062F entry, nor did he cross out what is probably an erronious UP repaint date (6/9/55 instead of 6/9/56). His obligation was not to us, however, but to anyone who wanted to know how the car was painted "today", whenever "today" was.


The data in the Pullman CCR database reflects the content of the CCRs themselves, subject to my interpretation of ambiguous entries. As the above example shows, multiple references help immeasureably. Still, the overall accuracy is dependent on the thoroughness and attention to detail of those who entered the original data on the CCRs.

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Tom Madden

pullmanboss (at) yahoo (dot) com