Diversion Errors

Bob C <thecitrusbelt@...>

Many of you know about "diversions", the system by which shippers were allowed to divert cars in transit with their loads to alternate destinations to obtain a better price for the commodities.

As you can image, there was a lot of telegraphy and paperwork involved in this system. As Richard Hendrickson put it, "Diversions…kept a small army of clerks busy at the keyboards of typewriters and Teletype machines".

So what happened when there were diversion errors? Apparently an error resulted in a claim being filed against the errant railroad. Here is an example from the Milwaukee Magazine of October 1928. The magazine was a house organ for that railroad.

"Diversion Failure

SFRD 16432, 19456 and 70007, fresh vegetables, were forwarded from Hollandale, Minn., September 12, 1927. After cars had been forwarded instructions were received to reconsign car 16432 to Chicago, the other two cars being diverted to St. Louis. However, in handling the instructions, the reconsigning clerk at Blank Yard diverted all three cars to St. Louis, this resulting in claim in the amount of $150.42, representing the difference between the price which could have been obtained at Chicago and the price which was actually obtained at St. Louis."

Does anyone have other examples of diversion errors, especially gross errors?

Did diversion errors by the railroads always result in monetary claims or were there other remedies for the shippers?

Bob Chaparro
Citrus Industry Modeling Group

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