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In the '70s (and later I guess) there was a small vertical board at the side of rolling stock. It had stacked stripes of various reflective colors which I think provided information about that individual car. I want to add these to my cars. Does anyone know what the correct name of these information boards is? Is there a Microscale decal sheet with these?
Also! There was also another sticker added to the sides of cars, it was a black square with a large yellow dot. Does anyone know what the name for this was?
Thanks!!
 

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You're welcome!
Also! There was also another sticker added to the sides of cars, it was a black square with a large yellow dot. Does anyone know what the name for this was?
Thanks!!
Sorry! :oops:
Missed this part of your question!
The black square with a yellow dot was to signify that a car did not have U-1 wheels, which were suspected of causing derailments due to in-service failures. Cars with U-1 wheels got a white dot, and the wheels had to be replaced as soon as possible.
All U-1 wheels were mandated to be replaced by 1979, but the stencils remained on the cars until they were repainted or scrapped, so the stencils could still be seen well into the 80's and 90's.
 

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Great stuff flyboy2610! I remember them because they obviously had a purpose but was a mystery to me (I was a teenager through the 70’s). Came across them in ‘77 while visiting Cottage Grove where the SP had a small interchange with The Oregon, Pacific & Eastern (where Lee Marvin, Earnest Borgnine & Keith Carradine stared in the movie filmed there called Emperor of the North Pole). I’m considering doing a layout based on the interchange and appreciate your help on my questions!
 

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Not 100% sure, but I think they were read by a camera in large classification yards as trains passed it, and seen on a screen in the tower for status/conditions of each car.
Also, I believe this is the origin of today's bar code.
 

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It called an ACI system. Automated Car Identifcation. Depending on the railroad, scanners were at various places and could track cars in trains. Some railroads had them on their locomotives too...

 

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Great stuff flyboy2610! I remember them because they obviously had a purpose but was a mystery to me (I was a teenager through the 70’s). Came across them in ‘77 while visiting Cottage Grove where the SP had a small interchange with The Oregon, Pacific & Eastern (where Lee Marvin, Earnest Borgnine & Keith Carradine stared in the movie filmed there called Emperor of the North Pole). I’m considering doing a layout based on the interchange and appreciate your help on my questions!
Glad to be of service! Good luck with your layout, and happy to have you as a member of the forums! Keep us posted as to the progress of your layout! (We're all a bunch of picture junkies! Hint, hint.)
 

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The multi colored label was different for each piece of equipment. I don't remember the order but the railroad, type of car and the number of the piece were all involved. Maybe more.
There were "readers" in various places that would record and report. I don't remember when these were dropped but they got dirty and became unreliable.
 

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In the '70s (and later I guess) there was a small vertical board at the side of rolling stock. It had stacked stripes of various reflective colors which I think provided information about that individual car. I want to add these to my cars. Does anyone know what the correct name of these information boards is? Is there a Microscale decal sheet with these?
KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification). Decals exist from several sources, others have provided some links.

System was in use from 1967 to 1977. Any cars built or fully repainted 1978 or later will not have them. After 1978, older cars still in original paint might keep them around, or sometimes they got removed or patched over.

Also! There was also another sticker added to the sides of cars, it was a black square with a large yellow dot. Does anyone know what the name for this was?
Thanks!!
U-1 inspection dot. There was a certain type of 33" wheel that was found to be defective and blamed for causing several derailments. There was a system wide program to find and replace all such wheels in service. This program occurred between March-December 1978. Inspected and "passed" cars got a yellow dot. Cars found with the "bad" wheels got a white dot, and the wheels had to be replaced by the end of 1978.

If you model 1979 or later, any cars built or repainted after January 1979 will not have them. All cars under 100 ton capacity with 33" wheels built or painted before December 31, 1978 should have it. As the problem wheels were all 33" diameter, 100 ton cars with 36" wheels did not need to be inspected for them.


Another clear era marker are the white-bordered black data blocks called "Consolidated Stencils". (Some people also call them COTS (clean, oil, test, service) or "Lube Plates" although it's not fully accurate.)

1972 - single panel stencil block applied to new cars
1974-1981 - double panel stencil block applied to new and shopped cars
1981-1982 - short lived 4-panel block applied to some cars
1982-2016 - modern standard 3-panel stencil block applied to all cars
2016+ - consolidated stencils no longer required

More compiled information:

 

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The multi colored label was different for each piece of equipment. I don't remember the order but the railroad, type of car and the number of the piece were all involved. Maybe more.
There were "readers" in various places that would record and report. I don't remember when these were dropped but they got dirty and became unreliable.
If you want to decode one:

 
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