Location of track scales,
abbreviations to be used when marking light-weights on freight cars.

This information was published in Form CT1000 List of Stations and Sidings for 1900, 1915, 1923 and probably other years. The next CT1000 after 1923, the edition of 1945, did not have lists of track scales. The 1945 edition was the most recent CT1000 published.

In order to keep the files small, I've split the four 1923 regions into separate pages. In all cases, I've tried to reproduce the appearance of the original documents. Since different browsers display tables differently, your mileage may vary.

I want to thank Pat McKinney of Altoona for providing a photocopy of the 1915 data. If you would like to contribute data for other years, you will gain my gratitude and will be mentioned along with Pat in the preceeding sentence. Just send e-mail to me. Unfortunately, I'm told that the time people spend reading your name here will count toward your 15 minutes of fame. Sorry.

A note on units of weight:

Today, 1 ton = 2000 pounds. In earlier times, and well into the 20th century, there were two tons (at least two) used in commerce. The "gross ton" or "long ton" of 2240 pounds, the "net ton" or "short ton" of 2000 pounds. Bear that in mind when reading old reference materials. I suspect that is why railroads stated light weight, capacity, load limit, and scale capacity in pounds rather than tons, thereby avoiding confusion over which ton was intended.

The tables of scale locations
Pennsylvania RR, 1900
Pennsylvania RR, 1915
Eastern Region, 1923
Central Region, 1923
Northwestern Region, 1923
Southwestern Region, 1923

The heading of the 1923 data tables contains the following note:

Special attention is directed to change in scale numbers.
Nos. 1 to 199,inclusive,assignedtoEastern Region;
Nos. 200 to 399,"""Central Region;
Nos. 400 to 599,"""Northwestern Region;
Nos. 600 to 799,"""Southwestern Region;

Comments and speculations on scale numbers:

Certainly the scale identification numbers recorded in the 1900 and 1915 CT1000's are quite different from those listed in 1923. Since the note directing attention to the change is in the 1923 book, one might suppose that the change occurred between 1918 (the last edition prior to 1923) and 1923. But, I don't know.

I would particularly welcome comments as to when the 1900/1915-style scale marks changed to the 1923 style, and whether or not there was yet another system in use in 1918.

Looking at the 1923 scale data, there are patterns in the way the numbers are assigned, but the patterns differ from region to region. In the Eastern Region, number 1 was assigned to a scale in northern New Jersey, with numbers assigned consecutively as one moved southward, ending with 22 in southern New Jersey. Then, the numbers start at 41 in Philadelphia and go upwards, consecutively, as one moves westward to Altoona, then northward from Altoona into the Tyrone Division, ending with 68. Then the numbers start with 81 to the south of Philadelphia on the Maryland Division and march upwards as one moves southward into Delaware and the Delmarva peninsula.

In contrast, in the Central Region, blocks of ten or twenty numbers appear to have been assigned to each division. The scales were, with few exceptions, numbered consecutively within each division. For example, in the Pittsburgh Div., 200 through 206 were assigned, 207 through 219 unused; 220 through 226 on the Conemaugh Div., and so on.

The Northwestern Region found yet another way to do it. There the numbers nearly all end with 5 or 0, that is, the scales are numbered 405, 410, 415, 420, and so on running from east to west. There are some exceptions at locations having multiple scales, such as Logansport where one finds 475, 476, and 477.

The Southwestern Region worked out yet another scheme. All the scale numbers in that region are even numbers, seem to have been assigned more-or-less east to west, but have irregular gaps between assigned numbers. The first few numbers in the table are 602, 606, 610, 616, 628, 630. The size of the gaps is perhaps related to someone's guess as to how likely it was that a new scale would be needed somewhere between two existing scales.

I find it interesting that on "The Standard Railroad of the World", the four regions came up with four different ways of doing the same thing.

The earlier standard used a letter followed by a number. The letters used both in 1900 and 1915 appear to have been derived from the name of the company which installed (or owned or operated?) the scale. By 1915, however, some reorganization had occurred and one finds several letters in use on one division, also the same letter may appear on several different divisions. I suspect that other letters were used to identify scales on the lines west of Pittsburgh, but I have no data on those lines prior to 1923.

LetterNumber range*Railroad or Division
B251 - 275Phila, Balto and Washington RR
C311 - 312West Jersey and Seashore (Cape May RR?)
E150 - 172Philadelphia and Erie
J320 - 327West Jersey and Seashore
N200 - 225Northern Central Rwy
P1 - 59Pennsylvania RR
U100 - 122United Companies
V401 - 430Allegheny Valley Rwy
* Not all numbers in each range were used

Note that for each letter, only a limited range of numbers are used, and there is no overlap in the numbers. That is, a scale abbreviation of E 211 or P 112 would not be used, because 211 "belongs" with N, 112 "belongs" with U. The scheme seems to have been designed by the Department of Redundancy Department. Eliminating that redundancy may have been part of the reason for revising the scale marks.

Tabulation of lengths and capacities
1000's lbs.
110 scales
1000's lbs.
135 scales
* Includes 2 scales with odd capacities near 300,000
1000's lbs.
271 scales
Comparison of selected scales, 1900 vs. 1915 vs. 1923

One should not try to make anything of the differences in numbers between 1900, 1915, and 1923. Nothing west of Pittsburgh is listed in the 1900 and 1915 CT1000's. Further, the Allegheny Valley and Western New York & Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania are represented in 1915 but not in 1900. Thus the apparent increase in the number of scales may be due mainly or entirely to including larger geographic areas in the lists. I find the relative numbers are interesting, however.

In 1900, nearly 63% of the scales were 46 ft. long, with capacity of 120,000 lb (60 short tons). Nearly 91% had a capacity of 120,000 lb, regardless of length. In contrast, in 1923 54% of the scales were 46 ft. 200,000 lb units, 31% 52 ft 300,000 lb units. To look at it another way, in 1900 only 6.3% of the scales had a capacity greater than 120,000 lb. In 1923 99.6% had a capacity greater than 120,000 lb. and all but 1.2% had capacity of 200,000 lb (100 short tons) or greater.

The 1900 and 1915 CT1000's list the names of the weighmasters, an item which was dropped in the 1923 CT1000. However, the 1900 edition says it superceeds the edition of 1899. Other information suggests that CT1000's (or equivalent forms) were published annually from the 1870's through the early 1900's and then every other year until 1915. In contrast, the 1923 CT1000 superceeds the edition of 1918. It would make more sense to include people's names when there is a new edition each year, than when there were five or more years between editions.

Original data sources: List of Stations and Sidings, C. T. 1000
Pennsylvania Railroad System
Philadelphia, Pa, 1923
List of Stations and Sidings, C. T. 1000
Pennsylvania Railroad Company
Philadelphia, Pa, 1915
List of Stations and Sidings, C. T. 1000
Pennsylvania Railroad Company
Philadelphia, Pa, 1900
HTML by Robert T. Netzlof, 20 June 2000
Minor change to presentation, 26 Sept. 2007
See an error? Have something to add? Tell Bob