Like so many things, the timeframe varied on different roads. For example, the Steam Era ended on the New Haven in 1952.
I know in the era I’m modeling (1946-54) the NH still handles a lot of LCL traffic. The “peddler” or “way” car is long since gone, and many of the smaller freight houses are served by truck (by the NH using NETCo trucks). This is all documented in their twice-annual publication of Package Car Schedules.
Most of the stations that are open are routed directly to regular service points; Chicago, Enola, Philadelphia Transfer, etc, but a few are consolidated at Cedar Hill before shipping offline. I believe that it is primarily the truck traffic that is consolidated there.
Having said that, there are some intraline transfers. New Britain was a large freight house, and in some years it is noted that LCL for Middletown is routed through New Britain, which is obviously consolidated at the freight house, and it is routed by train - on a local to Hartford, then a local to Middletown the next day. Undoubtedly there are other locations that do the same.
I also have a book of freight bills from the O&W that is all the inbound and outbound traffic handled at Norwich, NY in July ‘52. It’s a mix of LCL cars handled at the freight house, and LCL from local industries (although I haven’t verified if they have local sidings), and those cars have up to a dozen or more destinations, sometimes on several roads. I don’t see any that seem to be traveling down one line, freight house to freight house, but I wouldn’t expect that to come from a foreign road anyway. But clearly they are loaded for local destinations. For example, NYC 159515 was loaded on 7/28/52 with the following destinations:
Baltic OH (NYCStL); Yorktown Heights NY (NYC-E); Great Valley NY (B&O); Amenia NY (NYC-E); Corfu NY (NYC-E); Warsaw NY (B&O); Brockport NY (NYC-E) (2 different industries); and Conajaharie NY (NYC-WS).
Pretty much every day there are a couple cars loaded from a couple industries in this way.
That’s the order of the bills in the book, I haven’t plotted a route (the route to each destination is noted, though). I suspect that majority of these deliveries would be to a local freight house, but I also haven’t verified the existence of an open freight house in the matching Open and Prepay Station List for that year.
If one of the destinations in 1952 was Rocky Hill CT, and it was an industry without their own siding, then it would be unloaded at the Hartford freight house and trucked to Rocky Hill.
Modeling the New Haven Railroad 1946-1954 | https//:newbritainstation.com