Re: Santa Fe & PFE's-Erie Citrus Traffic

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>

. Having the SFRD or PFE somehow prefer
the Erie makes a good story, but I don't believe it's borne out by
the facts.

This overlooks an essential fact. It was the shipper who determined the routing, not SF or PFE of their owners SP and UP, so it didn't matter that much if the PFE car service people preferred the Erie. The routing wasn't their call. Shippers had the absolute right to select any route in the tariff.

We have some annecdotal evidence from a few PFE people looking back 50 years and talking about how the situation was perceived, but that tells us little about how traffic was actually routed. Some it had to do with which railroad's salesman had most recently bought them a good dinner on the San Francisco waterront.

I'm not saying these reporters are in error about their route preferences, just that we should not be generalizing too much from their statements.

> way, their opinion of New York Central perishable performance was only a hair better.
Neither road especially seemed to care about timely perishable deliveries;

That may have been their impression, but I know that in the case of the NYC it was false. In the 50's and 60's we may not have been as good as the Erie, but not for lack of trying. Don't know about PRR, but wouldn't be surprised.

> He clearly stated that Erie was the most dependable service to New York and as a connection to Boston. I really doubt he was just telling a "good story." He had no reason to.

A comment like this should be taken in context. Most likely he's talking about the difference between 80 to 87 percent reliability for one and 85 to 92 percent for the other. It's not like the difference between 60 % and 95 %. The 80 to 90 % on major routes was typical of the 60's. Much over 90 % was of course unachievable because of the inevitable bad orders, derailments, storms and other events that made perfect connections impossible.

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

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