Re: Car movements

Miller, Andrew S. <asmiller@...>

In my college days at MIT I witnessed the midnight madness on the Grand
Junction every night as long strings of cars were moved from the NYC
yards in Brighton to the B&M in Charlestown and vice-versa just before
midnight. After midnight the line went quit for a long time.


Andy Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Malcolm Laughlin
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:25 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Car movements

Posted by: "Miller, Andrew S." In the days before computers, per
diem charges were based upon who had
possession of the car at midnight. This led to a frantic movement of
cars through interchange yards as the witching hour approached. Each
road trying to dump as many foreign cars on its neighbor before the
bell went off. It was sort of like a game of hearts with hundreds of
50 ton queens of spades !

That is not what really happened. Most interchanges were done on a
regular schedule. There were a number of freight trains that were
scheduled to optimize per diem. For example, one of B&M's trains from
Boston to Mechanicville was sceduled to arrive several hours before
midnight to ensure that the cars made per diem on most days. Note that
you couldn't schedule a freight train to always make per diem with all
cars released during the day. If it was scheduled to wait for all cars
pulled that day it would often miss perdiem while if it was scheduled
to always make per diem it would miss taking some cars. That was
because of the inherent time variability of freight operations.

There was no distinction between foreign and home road cars. The per
diem applied equally.

There was little if any "frantic movement of cars through interchange
yards as the witching hour approached".

Note that when I mention schedule for interchanges, I don't mean that
the work was done at exactly the same time, but it was a regular part
of a job. For example, a third trick switcher on duty at 23:00 might
have had making an interchange delivery during its first hour of work
as part of its normal work.

Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478

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