Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Railway Accounting Codes Revisited

Thanks to the new job I took in the fall of 2014, I now work about a mile from one of the best, most complete libraries in the world.  I learned about the Accounting Codes from Tony Thompson’s blog back in 2012 http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/08/railway-accounting-code-numbers.html.  Tony linked a PDF of the 1950 codes which I downloaded and cross referenced with the 1922 version I found on Google Books to come up with my best guess as to what was in effect during my modeling era of 1944 I previously wrote about them in 2014 http://northbaylines.blogspot.com/2014/01/interline-codes-what-are-they-and-where.html and posted a spreadsheet of those results linked in that post.

Recently, I obtained a 1949 edition of the Railway Accounting Rules and discovered the richness of the additional information in these volumes.  Seeing the changes of the Code list from 1949 to 1950 set me on a path to see if I couldn’t get my guestimated 1944 list validated or replaced with something more accurate.  Al Daumann was kind enough to send me copies of the waybill form from his 1946 edition, which was subtly different than those of my 49 edition.  That got me even more interested in finding the exact “right” stuff.  Google Books turned up a 1921 version which I downloaded and Hathi Trust had darned good search only coverage for my year of interest.  I was about to make an interlibrary loan request when I remembered that great institution up the Hill from work.  Capitol Hill that is.  Doing an online search of the Library of Congress told me that they just might have what I was looking for.  Detouring through the Jefferson Building on my way to Union Station (I ride the MARC into the city) I was able to request the 1940 through 48 editions and set up my card for online requests.  The reference librarian cautioned me that all of them might not be available, but ask for what I wanted.  When I went back two days later to view them two days later, waiting for me were the 1941, 42, 43, 44,45, 46, 47, and 48 editions.  All in pristine condition with tight spines and no wear. 

I came prepared with my DAD (Digital Acquisition Device, aka Canon 30D DSLR) and proceeded to photograph the Code Pages of several copies before the reading room closed and I had to catch my train.  I repeated with additional additions the next week, then discovered the book scanner.  I now have good quality PDFs of the Code listings and the Waybill forms by year.  More on the forms in a later post.

Well how did I do on the interpolation?  There were 705 Codes effective 1 Nov 1944 of which I got 497 correct.  I had 18 that had errors, 10 incorrect names and 8 wrong code numbers.  Three of those were kind of important for my RR C&O, SP, and Bamberger had differences in the Name and would have thus had incorrect waybill headers.  I included 11 that didn’t come until later, including the Oakland Terminal where some of my traffic originates.  And I missed 192 railroads with codes, the most important ones to my layout were the Alton, Yosemite, and Virginia & Truckee. 
I have entered the data into Excel and the correct 1944 Accounting Codes can be found at:
If you are interested in the codes for additional years between 1936 and 1950, let me know and I may be able to provide additional lists.

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA