Re: Boxcars In Grain Service

John Larkin

I was the Manager of Grain Trains in 1978-80 on UP.  All the cars assigned to unit grain trains were covered hoppers, all from UP when we started the shuttle grain program, running from Western Kansas into Topeka with what started as 25 car trains and later expanded to some 75.  I got my rear burned a few times for "stealing" the newer and getter grain cars but I did what I could because there was no rate incentive to the shippers for participating in the unit grain trains, just the ability to move grain.  At it's peak we moved 220 cars in one week from the Spaulding branch into Topeka and back out, leaving the same cars to some of the shippers 3 days in a row.  Needless to say, our car utilization went through the roof.  We were averaging 17 round trips a month for cars that were lucky to get 15 round trips a year.  I tried to talk our grain marketing people into giving the shippers a 5 cent a bushel lower rate as an incentive but they wouldn't go for it.  My manager used to yell once a while because he was afraid we'd have an elevator complain to their senator but that only happened once and when we found out the potential shipper had taken his allotment of grain cars and moved it to single car destinations, we cut him off for a couple of months since it wasn't fair to the shippers who were willing to work with us using a very small portion of our covered hopper fleet.  I hadn't heard from anyone on using box cars for loading at any time, the shippers didn't like them either.

John Larkin
Omaha, Ne

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:24 PM, "ed_mines@... [STMFC]" wrote:

I lived in Cleveland in 1981 and saw many freight trains every day.
40 ft box cars were rare by then.

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