Re: Ratios of Home Road vs. Foreign Roads

Richard Hendrickson

Warren Dickinson wrote:

Our prior discussion about foreign road hoppers got me to thinking again
about the subject of proper ratios of home vs. foreign road cars in
recreating history via a model railroad....I am curious as to the list's
opinions about what ratios y'all consider proper. In my mind the home
road would be represented in the greatest numbers, followed by
connecting/interchanged roads, then roads in the geographic area, followed
by everything else.
Certainly a valid generalization, Warren, but there are so many exceptions
that you can't count on it applying in specific cases unless you have
photographic or other documentation. I'll cite again my favorite example
of the kind of influence on traffic that requires specific knowledge of the
situation. Considerable freight traffic came down from the Pacific
Northwest on the Great Northern line through Oregon to Bieber, CA, where it
was handed off to the Western Pacific "high line" from Bieber to Keddie.
The WP then routed cars that were bound for Southern Calif. and the
southwest to Stockton, where they were handed off to the Santa Fe, since
the unpalatable alternative was to route them via the Southern Pacific,
WP's direct competitor. As a result, photographic evidence reveals a much
larger number of Great Northern (and, to a lesser extent, Northern Pacific
and Milwaukee Road) cars in Santa Fe trains between Stockton and Barstow
(and between Barstow and the Los Angeles and San Diego areas) than one
would normally expect.

Proportions of home road to foreign cars also depend to a large extent on
the nature of the traffic and whether it originated on-line or off-line.
SP and UP reefer blocks consisted almost entirely of PFE cars; N&W coal
drags were composed almost entirely of N&W hoppers. By contrast, in the
typical Santa Fe manifest freight inbound to Southern California only 1 in
3 or 1 in 4 cars were Santa Fe cars, with the rest of the train made up of
cars from many different (mostly midwestern and eastern) railroads that
funneled onto the Santa Fe via Chicago, Kansas City, and other interchange
points. It's worth noting also that some types of cars (e.g. coal hoppers)
tended to be in more or less dedicated service while others (e.g. general
service box and flat cars) wandered far and wide and might be off home
rails for extended periods.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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