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

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Malcolm Laughlin wrote:
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.
This is absolutely true. But as PFE people said, many shippers wanted advice about conditions in the east. Sure, they had the call, and some shippers had hard-nosed traffic people who would make routings regardless of advice. But many, from what I was told, were fairly small concerns and would accept, even request, guidance.

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 admire your cynicism, Malcolm, but I really doubt this was dominant. Yes, schmoozing was a factor, but performance mattered to PFE: those cargoes were perishable, remember. Of course, I realize YOUR anecdotes are much more reliable than those of senior people at PFE.

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.
I don't know that PFE people were very interested in whether NYC was trying or not--they just talked about performance.

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