Re: Car travel (was NMRA Book)

Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>

Kurt Laughlin wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Gilbert" <tgilbert@...>
To: <STMFC@...>
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 10:51 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] NMRA book

1) Individual boxcars, because they could be reloaded with a wide
variety of commodities, could be seen anywhere in the US. Indeed, there
was a correlation between the percentage of ownership of foreign boxcars
on a line with the percentage of the boxcars that the specific boxcar
owner owned of the national boxcar fleet. That the CGW owned about 4,000
boxcars (or 0.55% of the national fleet of 720,000 boxcars) meant that
about 1 in every 180 boxcars could be owned by the CGW in any part of
the country whether it be Harrisburg, California, Maine or Florida.

2) The operating range of hoppers was far more restricted than boxcars
because they were generally loaded with only one commodity - coal.
Therefore, when unloaded, they generally were returned to the mines
empty although, not in all cases, to mines on the home roads.

3) Gondolas fell in somewhere between boxcars and hoppers. The operating
range of General Service Flatcars were more like boxcars than hoppers.
----- Original Message -----

I know this has been covered before in bits and pieces but I like this message for it's succinct and qualitative (rather than quantitative) discussion. If I could carry this further in the same vein:

1. For boxcars, was the home road percentage (which I'm defining as the number of own-road cars found on the owning road) typically higher or lower than the national fleet percentage? (Realizing that the percentages were probably all over the place based on a number of circumstances, just trying to get a feel if it was "about the same", "a little higher", "about half", "triple the number", something like that.)

The PRR owned between 9-10% of the National Boxcar fleet. The percentage of PRR to total boxcars on the PRR was greater than 9-10% because 1) home road boxcars served somewhat as a strategic reserve to be used only when other alternatives were exhausted; 2) in times when there was a national boxcar surplus, many PRR boxcars were returned home empty and placed in storage until the economy picked up again; and 3) a much higher percentage of PRR boxcars were unserviceable (or in car shops or dead lines) than those owned by foreign roads which were on the PRR.

The same thing happened on other roads - particularly when there was a boxcar surplus which caused the home road percentage to sky rocket.

2. Was the home road percentage affected by the geographical area served? For example, would it be different for a road like the Santa Fe, Southern, or PRR that covered a large area or a wide range of customers than for a road like the Maine Central or Monon that might have had a smaller area or customer base but owned a similar or higher proportion of boxcars? (In other words, if, say, the NYC and C&EI each had 45% boxcars in their fleet, would their home road percentages likely be the same or different?)

A larger road like the ATSF, SOU and PRR owned a higher percentage of the national boxcar fleet than smaller roads like the CIL and MEC, so there was a built in bias - the PRR owned 9-10% of the national fleet while the MEC owned about 0.4% meaning that, the PRR boxcars were 9 percent plus of the total boxcars on the PRR while the MEC's percentage would be 0.4% plus. The "plusses" would include the effect of strategic reserve, cars in storage or in car shops. How much those "plusses" were on the overall home road percentages varied.

Tim Gilbert

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