Re: Return empty cars via

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>

Regarding the returning of empty rail cars, Canadian or otherwise, I have posted in the files section, a document that I found in the NP company records.

Note how cars are classed by car number and not all empties are sent to the home road empty.
James Dick - NP Archivist.

Thanks for posting that. It brings back interesting memories of many yard office visits, and it represents an interesting gap between management expectations and what's practical in the field. I remember that when I first saw such standing orders at HQ I thought that it was a pretty neat well organized system. Then I got out to a yard office and watched very busy clerks making up switch lists for train classification. How often do you think they actually checked those car numbers - when they had time of course ;-)

That brings to mind an incident when I was in service planning. We had a special flat car that was following record rights that we wanted to divert to a customer. I traced the car, called the next yard that would switch the car and asked them to divert it. About 8-16
hours later I traced the car again and got a report of it leaving that yard going to its original destination. So I called the next yrd, etc. I did this a half dozen times talking with clerks, yardmasters and trainmasters for several days until final the car was sent to where I had ordered it.

That story was typical of the fate of orders sent to yards about individual cars and equally so for general orders with a lot of car numbers. It brings to mind my first viit to a yard office to see what actually happened to car movement instructions. There problem was that the slip of paper with my order, along with dozens of others, was posted on a clipboard in the yard office. In theory, for each car handled, the clerks were supposed to be checking as to whether there was a special instruction for it. There was not a surplus of clerical time, most managements trying to minimize clerical cost - repeating what I said above. I said above "when they had time of course ;-)"

It would be interesting to know the level of compliance with that NP bulletin.

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

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