Re: Car Service Rules

Jim Betz

Dan and all,

  Please remember that in all of this thread what -I'm- talking
about/interested in is the ubiquitous box car and not about
special purpose cars or cars with "return to sender" on them
or cars that are "contaminated" by the load(s) they carry.

  Your last response helps - but it still prompts me to ask ... just
how much effort - or delayed delivery to the shipper - did the
RRs really go to in order to satisfy the car service rules?
  I'm guessing that most shippers were unhappy with any delays
in the delivery of the car (for most loads for most shippers). 
Storing product (what ever product it is) for extended time can
be a problem for the shipper (additional cost). 

  Using the Roseburg plywood mill as an example - I would
suspect that the car service rules (using a foreign car) were
primarily used for cars that were already in Roseburg ...
that were being continuously re-supplied by empties from
Eugene.  And those re-supply empties would definitely be
using/considering the car service rules.  I'm operating
under the assumption that Roseburg - as a city/area -
had a definite imbalance in terms of loads in -vs- loads
out ... the mills there would be producing far more loads
than would be 'consumed' by the population/industries
in Roseburg.  So there had to be a constant supply of
empties coming to Roseburg from Eugene (and possibly
  But if the supply of foreign empties wasn't keeping up with
the demand - right there in Roseburg - then I would expect
that Roseburg (and then Eugene) would be using whatever
box car is available ... even if it meant sending a GN or an
SP car to St. Louis.
  In fact - if I understand the basic idea of "keeping the cars
busy (loaded more than not)" correctly ===> any box car
that took a -load- to Roseburg  would probably be the
"first choice" for a car to be loaded in Roseburg.  Yes,
they would have tried to use the car service rules - but
it doesn't make a lot of sense to haul that car empty to
Eugene ... and another empty from Eugene to Roseburg ...
in order to satisfy the car service rules.

  Your response seems to imply that it was actually more
profitable to use a foreign car for a shipment to a foreign
destination.  I 'sort of' understand why you are saying that -
but it just doesn't seem to "fit" with my understanding of
how revenue flowed for loaded cars versus empties.
  My suspicion is that the reluctance to send home road
cars off road would be directly related to longer term
trends (over time) - rather than the immediate need to
supply a car for a load (now/short term).  And similarly
if the car is from a foreign road ... but the load isn't to a
destination that makes sense (by the car service rules).
  In fact the car service rules themselves have "wiggle
words" in them in that the further you go down the list
the less "correspondence" there is between the destination
and the owning RR.

  Yes, obviously, if the car selected can be loaded,
transported, and unloaded ... all on home rails and
using a home road car ... the revenue was significantly
increased for the RR ===> assuming that it was going
to a destination where it can easily be re-used for
another load.  Going anywhere.  But I also suspect
that those kind of loads were relatively rare (for box

  Am I all wet here or do I have the basics right?

                                                                           - Jim B.

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