Interstate Commerce Commission Railroad Valuation

Understanding Valuation Map numbering and developing a consistent way to identify individual maps.

Valuation Section Numbering

A railroad company was divided into numbered valuation sections to identify each railroad line or property. Sections in each State were separately numbered, even when part of the same main line. Sections were separate for each owning corporate entity and Division -- including separately owned lines operated, jointly operated or leased. This could get very complicated because of all the subsidiaries and operating agreements of larger railroads. In addition, railroads were merged, purchased and realigned or abandoned after the original valuation date and valuation section numbers would often be changed. Because each corporate entity or merged railroad might start with the valuation section 1, the corporate entity and state must be included to uniquely identify a valuation section. Depending on the railroad, sequential sections number could be skipped to allow for later additions – especially if there was an attempt to keep numbers unique across all states and corporate entities. In addition to the numeric portion of the number, Sub section letters were used to separate terminals, sections with trackage rights or entire branches. In some cases, notably the Pennsylvania Railroad, subsection numbering was used separated by a period – but not sorted as a decimal. For valuation sections with property but no track, a letter was used instead of a number to designate the valuation section. For some very small railroads, a valuation section number was never assigned on the maps, and it is assumed to be “1”.

Date of Valuation. Each railroad was assigned a date on June 30 of 1915-1918 for their inventory in that state. The maps may have been drawn on a later date, but the original date of valuation is usually shown. In a few cases, a railroad was purchased by another railroad with a later date of valuation and they may have been updated inconsistently.

Valuation Map Numbering

Maps were numbered sequentially within the Valuation Section, generally from East to West or South to North. Index maps were inconsistently numbered, sometimes using number 1, 0 or INDEX. In other cases, the index map was inset on Map 1 of the section.

Within this numbering, sections sometimes separated terminal areas and portions of the line with trackage rights or joint operation using the subsection suffix “A”, “B” etc., but kept the map numbering of the numeric section number. In later years these subsection suffixes may have been removed from the section number.

Valuation subsections separated individual branches or long sidings and would be numbered beginning with 1. In other cases, short branches and sidings would be included within the sequential numbering or by adding supplemental maps with an alphabetic or numeric suffix.

Types of Valuation Maps

Valuation Map #s generally cover  between 1 to 4 miles of railroad on a 24” x 56” sheet. In the northeast they were often 1 mile per map (1” = 100’) or even .5 miles per map (1” = 50’). In sparser areas further west and south they would cover more miles per map. In a very few cases, the maps numbered and submitted to the ICC were not in this standard format.

Right of Way and Track Map

They show all track, structures and property owned by the railroad on the date of valuation. Tracks assigned to other valuation sections or other railroads were shows using dashed lines. The portion of a siding that was privately owned might have been drawn using dashed lines or just left off the map. Sometimes non-railroad owned items (rivers, streams, structures, streets, property, etc.) were drawn and named but often never updated in later map revisions of railroad owned items. When major changes occurred, a new map may have been drawn, with or without updating the original date of valuation in the title block. When a new map was drawn with major changes such as new engineering survey stations, “NEW” can be added as suffix. Date of map may still be the original date of valuation. Redraw date may or may not be identified.

Often included on map (or on supplemental maps – see below)

·         Schedule of Property (Grantor, Grantee, Date, Conveyance, Record, Areas. Etc.) Also referred to as “Right of Way Schedule” – sometimes removed or redacted from later revisions.

·         Schedule of Sidings (Track #, length, etc.)

·         Schedule of Changes (revision date, Description, Authorization for Expenditure [AFE], Project Envelope [PE}, etc). This was often compiled separately and not included on the map.

Land Map

Depending on policy for that railroad line, or because of the complicated area, the property lines and railroad centerline were on a separate map. These were commonly designated with an “L” prefix. The Track map might have a “T” prefix in this case.

·         “LP” = Land Plan (proposed right-of way)

·         “IP = Isolated Property (not directly adjacent to right of way) -- Usually assigned a Valuation Section letter rather than a number.

Station Maps.

When the standard scale for that valuation section was insufficient to show details of a location, more detailed maps were drawn of the track - normally to a scale of 1” = 100’.

For sections already drawn to a scale of 1” = 100’ (1 mile per map), the station map designation was used when a separate land map was drawn. They were usually differentiated by the prefix “ST” for the track map; and “SL” for the land map.

For valuation sections drawn to a smaller scale (2 or more miles per map) , station maps would be drawn for more complicated areas – usually for a town or industrial area. These maps would use the prefix “S’ and if more than one map was needed, a suffix “A”,”B” etc. would be used.

Supplemental sheets for Schedule of Property, Track List, or Change List that needed a separate sheet.

Added letter or number after the main number separated by dot, dash, space or superscript/subscript notation.

Supplemental maps for Branches/Sidings/previous alignments that extend beyond map borders.

If they extend a short distance beyond the map border, an inset might be drawn to show the end of track/property. Otherwise either a suffix subset (A, B, C..) or (1, 2, 3..) were used. In some cases, sidings extended from these subsets had an additional number added (ie. 11, 112, 121, etc.).

Some valuation sections added short sidings/branches to the regular map numbering sequence. For example, the Cincinnati Northern Main Line Valuation Section 1, Map 13 continues on Map 15. Map 14 shows the “Quarry Branch”.


Often cover 4 miles of track at 1” = 400’ horizontal and 1” = 20’ vertical on a 12” x 56” sheet. Two profiles could fit on one 24” x 56” sheet. Numbered with a “P” in front of the Map# and a dash between the corresponding starting and ending map #. For example Profile P1-2 would cover the same area as Valuation Maps 1 and 2. These are much rarer than regular valuation maps.


Developing a Consistent Valuation Section and Map organization and numbering Scheme

The title block usually provides the necessary information to create a unique number, but this information often changed in later revisions and in a few cases is missing. Usually the map# is contained in a circle with the valuation section at the top preceded by a “V” or “VS”, the State is sometimes on a separate line. The map number is usually underneath a dividing line in the circle. Each map element can be stored as separate fields in a database table for individual scanned maps to make advanced searches and sorts possible and to create a different naming scheme.

With separate database tables for: Railroad (linked by abbreviation assigned for ICC records); Section/Subsection; Sheet# consistency can be checked and like maps found easily. A unique valuation map number (for a point in time) can be created and information populated in individual fields of the Section/Subsection/Sheet/Scan database tables as needed. Because of many number changes over time, multiple number changes can be stored together in the database tables at the railroad, section or map(sheet) level to allow finding like maps with different numbers. Because the time frame of number changes is not always clear or consistent, it is rarely possible to create a search for changes by an exact date.

This naming scheme was developed by Stephen Titchenal during 10 years of organizing more than 50,000 valuation maps.

1.       Owning and Operating Railroad separated by a period if both are deemed necessary to differentiate valuation sections. It is hard to be consistent when naming a single map but can be standardized in the project database.
Examples: NYC.BC (Beech Creek Railroad operated by New York Central); PCo. CA&C (Cleveland, Akron & Cincinnati Railway operated by the Pennsylvania Company). Abbreviations for ICC names based on authority list created for this project.

Note. Some railroads used an internal numbering scheme sometimes shown on the lower left corner of the map. The B&O assigned a number to each separate corporation and used that at the start of their internal numbering. 1-OH-121.3 (15) = B&O.121.3.OH-15

2.       Valuation section starting with lower case “v” preceded by a “.” period. Especially when a section had numeric subsections, the main number may or may not have been followed by a “.0” This was not always consistent over time for the same section.
Examples PB&W.C&PD.v7.0

3.       Subsection in format used on the map (letter suffix or decimal before subsection.) If subsection is on a separate line, use a period to separate it from the section.
Examples: PCo.CA&C.v21b; PB&W.P&BC.v11.3.

4.       Two letter state abbreviation preceded by a “.” (period).
In some cases, the State is not in the Number Block and needs to be researched separately. The location of the Chief Draftsman/Engineer signing off on the map may not be in the same state as the valuation section.

5.       Map Number preceded by a “-“ (dash). The dash represents the separation of the valuation section number and map# number shown on the bottom half of the divided circle  used for most map #s in the title block.
By separating the map type (usually a prefix) and the supplement map designation (suffix and/or superscript/subscript) after the main map number, it is possible to do searches and sorts by map number. Using leading 0’s can help with sorting depending on the situation.

a.       Supplemental maps designated by a suffix. Preceded by an “_” underscore.

b.       Maps designated by a prefix to indicate map type (generally Track (“ST” or “T”), Land (“SL” or “L”) or Station (“S”) preceded by an “_” (underscore). The database sheet table has a separate column for Prefix and Type. The railroad’s designation would be used in the prefix field or scan name but the sheet type would be used in the sheet table using a standardized type field for abbreviation for consistent searching when possible. Map Type was not always consistent when the railroad named the maps in the title block.

Examples: NYC.BC.v130.PA-83_A; PCo.CA&C.v20.OH-1_ST;

The following information is useful to differentiate copies of the same map #.  This information is not always shown and may be inconsistent or difficult to read or determine. Comparing to aggregate map or section information can help in identifying time frames for an individual copy. This information can be stored in the project database. Examples of a consistent method of storing the information in the Filename are shown but may not be preferred for master images because they are difficult to correct later on -- It depends on the workflow for individual situations. Using the project database to name the distributed copy (or bookmark in a combined pdf) provides a consistent naming system and can correct information from the original filename. A unique scan number can be assigned in the project database and appended to the filename of the distributed copy to allow tracing back to the original image and source information.

1.       Date of Valuation and revision information. This information is indicated differently by railroad entity (if at all) and may be inconsistent or difficult to read.

a.       Map date commonly shown in title block is the date of the original valuation. Sometimes a later date is shown because of change of ownership or new construction.

b.       Correct to:  date of last check for changes to the track and property on this map (could be separate dates)
Abbreviated as: “c43” = correct to 1943. Date could be extended to month and day – On PRR that is usually 12-31 after 1927 and 6-30 before 1928.

c.       Last map revision: date of last change made to the map. (could be separate dates for track and land)
Abbreviated as “r43 = last revision date for map, 1943 in this case.
p44 = last revision date for schedule of property or land. 1944 in this case.

d.       Could be separate date for actual change and date the map was updated.  (field checks were done comparing the map to actual situation at the location). These are often listed on separate Schedule of Changes.

2.       Handwritten markups or other information added after the paper map or linen master was originally created. Small differences between copies may be significant for historic research, making it important to be able to keep track of each map copy separately.

3.       Division and Line Name: changed over time and not always changed on the map in any consistent way

4.       Railroad Identified location (often a junction, passing siding or passenger station) identified on the map  Names changed over time or station abandoned with date sometimes noted on map.

5.       Geographic Map Location. Map locations can be identified using the Engineering Survey Station numbers and survey notions shown on most maps. Identifying the 0+00 point of the survey requires locating a separate index or starting map. County and Township information is commonly shown as well.

6.       Provenance – including source and location of the original map or master digital copy. Important for historical research and if portions of the scanned image are not readable and should be redone if significant.
Example: PL-Wp400g

a.       Abbreviation for source of original or digital copy (if original items location not known) PL= PRRT&HS Lewistown Archives; See separately maintained list of abrebiations.

b.       Abbreviation for original:  B= Black line print; W= White line on blue, brown or black background depending of the reproduction type; L=Linen (black ink or tracing paper – sometimes additional colors or markups added);

c.       Abbreviation for original scan type: c= Color;  b=bitonal; g= grayscale; or source when provided as image: p=pdf; j = jpg. Images not originally lossless tif, may be saved as tif before and processing to eliminate additional degradation of image. NOTE: tif supports lossy compression options, so the format by itself does not guarantee lossless saves.

d.       Scan resolution of this copy in dpi if known. Note: images created using a camera rather than a scanner may be estimated.

e.       Final set of characters indicating process of this image copy: c=color; g= grayscale, b=bitonal; lg=reduced levels of gray in image but not bitonal; i=interpolated colors – reduced number of colors to save storage space when original had limited colors.

Identifying supplemental maps not differentiated from the main map number.

Index Maps

·         Inset on map #1. Indicate in sheet notes and Section index field.

·         Designated as “INDEX” in place of number – assign as Map #0.

·         No map #. Assign as Map #0

·         Covers more than one section or subsection. Use lowest section # and indicate additional sections in sheet notes.

Land and Track maps without separate numbers.

·         Use naming scheme for other sections of railroad if possible. Otherwise assign “L” to land map.

Example: Boston & Albany (NYC.B&A) valuation section 1 subsection A Sheet Number 1A.  For most sections the railroad added an “L” prefix to the Land map, but for the Grand Junction Branch they did not. So both land and track maps have a sheet number “1A” in the title block. When Conrail organized the microfilmed maps they added an “L” prefix to the land map as “L1A”, leaving the right of way track map “1A”. But when entering the information on the microfilmed aperture cards the opposite was done, adding a “T” prefix to the track map as “1AT” and leaving the land map “1A”. All other sections of the B&A added an “L” prefix to the land map and left the track map without a prefix. This was different than most of the rest of the NYC Lines East that used both the “T” and “L” prefixes to differentiate maps that separated land and track.

When naming the land maps for B&A section 1A, add an “L” prefix to indicate the land map to maintain consistency with the rest of the B&A. In a few cases, a railroad separated the land and track maps after the initial valuation. Sometimes the prefix was added to both the land and track maps and sometimes only to the land map. It is recommended that this convention be used for any land map that needs to be differentiated from a track map.

Separate Land and Schedule of Property without differentiating supplemental numbers.

There is no consistency in how railroads numbered supplemental sheets when needed in complicated areas. Some used a superscript or subscript; others just add a letter “A” to indicate it is supplemental to the land map.

When naming these maps use the railroad’s system or if none, use “_SP” to indicate schedule of property. (SP would replace SL if necessary, in the prefix column.). Sheet Type = “SP”

Separate Track and Schedule of Sidings and without differentiating supplemental numbers.

When naming these maps use the railroad’s system or if none, use a “_TS” to indicate Track Siding Schedule. (TS would replace ST if necessary, in the prefix column.) Sheet Type would  be “TS”.

Abbreviations and Sources for information in notes:

Notes were created over many years and abbreviations may not always be consistent.

1.        Related maps using Valuation section, State and Map# based on above naming scheme

2.       Engineering Survey Stations sometimes preceded by abbreviation “ES” or “sta.”. On the maps, stations use a “+” to separate the station (usually 100’ but NYC Lines east used 1000’) from the feet past that station. To make calculations possible a decimal replaces the “+” symbol.  Example: 10+33 = 10.33 = 10 *100’ + 33’ = 1033’ from 0.00 point.  Some station #s are preceded by“PS” = Point of Switch; “PT”=Point of Tangent; “TO”=Turnout;

3.       ICC Valuation Reports: Compilation of Valuation Dockets published in volumes. For example, 22ICCVR1 (1929) [Vol 22 page 1] includes Valuation Docket VD928 (ICC Reference #) which covers the PRR valuation in detail including subsidiaries. Among many details, lists construction details and mileage for each company and this information is transcribed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Trains | ICC Valuations.

4.       ICC Finance Reports: Published in Volumes. Finance Docket abbreviated “FD” with the number and date if shown. These are Interstate Commerce Commission reference numbers and published in separate volumes from valuation reports. Most references are to abandonment cases noted on the valuation map.

5.       Coverdale and Colpitts 4 volume history of the PRR abbreviated CCv#p# where “v#” = volume and “p#” = page. Available on Hagley website.

6.       RRV###i### = Pennsylvania State Archives images from microfilm. RRV#### = microfilm reel number, I### = image number. Note there are 2 pages per image.

7.       Project Envelope “PE” used by PRR.


Steve Titchenal updated 03/03/2021