Making money with a railroad

Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>

I'm having a little trouble following these freight car movement discussions because I have some simple - perhaps infantile - questions about how railroads make money:

Let's say the AAA RR gets an order to ship a boxcar full of shlurm from some point on their road to a point 1500 miles away on the CCC RR. To get there it must travel 500 miles on the AAA, 500 on the BBB, and 500 on the CCC.

a) Does AAA get paid the same whether it loads it's own car or someone else's?

b) Who pays the per diem charge for the car - the road on which it sits at midnight or the road who is using it to ship a product, i.e., the AAA. (I'm pretty sure it's the former.)

c) I assume the BBB and CCC each get paid for hauling the equivalent of 500 car-miles across their road. Would the shipper get a bill from each RR or would AAA charge them them for 1500 car-miles and pay off the BBB and CCC as billed later?

d) I also assume that there were fixed mileages (and rates?) established between various points, otherwise there'd be no incentive to move things to their destination rather than taking the grand tour. If this is true, how could RRs "sell" themselves to various shippers (as has been described on this list in the past) - wouldn't the charge to get from point A to point B be the same no matter which way it went?

Thanks for your forebearance,


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