Re: Car Service Rules

Bill Keene <wakeene@...>

Hello Jim & Group,

I have been lurking on this thread and have greatly enjoyed the knowledge that has been learned. 

That said, I am a bit confused by Jim’s question… Would not any foreign road car loaded in Roseburg head eastward would be considered a proper loading per the Car Service Rules?

I do not believe that the “rules” specifically state that the foreign car must be loaded and shipped to a destination on that specific foreign railroad as long as it is headed more or less in the general direction of that home road. 

Let’s say that load of plywood is billed to a purchaser located in Vinita, Oklahoma, (served by either the MKT or SLSF … I will let you choose which of the two) and that plywood is loaded into a PRR box car. As long as that PRR box car is getting closer to home — closer to Chicago or St. Louis, the two major connection points as an example — the car is being moved in compliance with the Car Service Rules. 

With the general population ratio of foreign road to home road cars on the SP being anywhere from 3 out of three to perhaps 4 out of 5 box cars it is doubtful if there would be an issue or difficulty having an empty foreign road car available to send eastward. 

The above is just my thoughts and a crude understanding of the “rules”. I am looking forward to learning more.

Bill Keene
Irvine, CA

On Sep 6, 2015, at 10:48 AM, jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

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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