Schuyler Larrabee] wrote:
Schuyler, my understanding from talking to railroaders, and also from perusing data of this period, is that you are exaggerating the importance of per diem (as do many modelers). In the era of this photo, per diem was about a dollar a day. Most freight bills yielded revenue of 50 dollars and up. Of course I am not saying that per diem was ignored, only that it was only PART of the equation. Making sure you have cars for revenue loading, especially if you are keeping a customer happy,was far more important than a dollar a day. And even if Accounting complained, your boss in the Traffic Department would totally defend you.
Well, sure, Tony, a buck vs $50 is a big difference. But if you are holding those cars for . . . how long, ten days, twenty days? . . . like those cars in the line we’re discussing look like they might have been held, that starts to tot up to some money. And why would you do that when you’ve got your own cars in substantial numbers right there, enough to satisfy the Traffic Department? Better to load those off-line cars with a paying load and get them off the property. There are so many stories of the 11:45 PM transfer runs to get off=road cars off the property that I can’t believe this was not a consideration. The green eyeshades also had a lot of influence too.
And in those days, a dollar was still real money.