Re: "Reciprocal" Switching - Please Explain

Bill McCoy <bugsy451@...>

Reciprocal switching is a tarrif provision by which one carrier will
deliver to it's on line industry cars that were brought to town by
another, some times competing carrier.

Freight revenue is usually divided into 2 categories, line haul and
switching. The line haul rates are usually divided on interline
shipmwnts roughly by percentage based on the proportion of the
mileage on each carrier participating in the route. Origin and
destination carriers get an extra portion to cover local costs. When
the car reaches it's final destination city terminal area as defined
by the local switching tarrif, delivery to the consignee (or being
forwarded from industry by the shipper) can be performed by another
carrier with their switching charge for this local service being
absorbed in whole or in part by the line haul carrier.

Industries are in the following categories:
Open to reciprocal switching
Closed to recriprocal switching
A local ststion (not in the switching limits defined by tarrif even
though it may be part of the metropolitain area). For example
Naperville, while considered part of the Chicago metropolitian area
is a local station on the BNSF. Moser Lumber would not have been open
to reciprocal switching if it was still there.

Recriprocal switching was a major bone of contention between carries
and customers. Custoners wanted it with no restrictions because`of
the competive options it gave them. Carriers hated it because of the
chance of getting less than $100 revenue from a switch charge instead
of infinately more as the line haul carrier. As a salesman for the
SAL/SCL?FLRS nothing was worse than to be switched on ompetitive
traffic from the Southern. This was good for a large dose of
leadership from my boss about my relationship with my customers.

Dealing with switching is arcane in the exreme and a fascinating back
shop part of the railroad business. For some carriers this was their
whole reason for existance (BRC, IHB, NOPB, NPBL For the line
haul carrier it usually was a cross to bear except on non competitive
traffic where they couldn't have participated such as pacific
northwest traffic at chicago being switched by the NYC for the MILW
or CNW.

Deregulation reduced these options considerably but the issue still

I expect the case of Judson-Pacific Murphy at Emeryville, a large
shipper, would have made his locating a plant conditional on open,
unrestricted reciprocal switching especially since all three carriers
were expected to supply equipment and no doubt the WP wouldn't have
much interest in LA bound traffic.

Bill McCoy

Rob Adams <steamera@n...> wrote:

I can't speak to the specifics of the WP/SP arrangements, or to
this is type of Reciprocal Agreement you are referring, but some of
midwest roads that I'm familiar with would enter into agreements
one road would switch certain industries one period (e.g. year),
and the
other road would handle it the next. I suspect these practices
varied a
great deal, and may have depended to some extent on how much
traffic was
generated and how it was ultimately to be routed. Like you, I'd
like to know more about this.

Kind regards, Rob Adams

Beckert, Shawn wrote:


Is there a document or publication that explains the details
of "reciprocal switching"? This Western Pacific circular that
I'm wading through seems to give witness to a lot of this.

An example: The Judson-Pacific Murphy Company (a steel plant)
had two tracks in Emeryville with a combined capacity of 80
cars. That's a heckuva lot of gondolas and boxcars moving in
and out. This whole industry is listed on the tracks of the
Southern Pacific, yet the circular shows this as being served
by the Western Pacific.

How did this work? If the trackage was owned by the Espee, I
can't imagine them standing by while WP took the business of
a very large shipper away from them. Money must have changed
hands for the owner of the trackage (SP) to allow a competitor
(WP) to service one of their on-line industries.

Can someone clarify how this sort of transaction was done?


Shawn Beckert

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