Re: Crew gratuities (was Citrus Traffic) now gon hoarding by crews

Gatwood, Elden J SAD <Elden.J.Gatwood@...>


In that vein, I used to operate my layout (until recently, in fact) in a
manner similar to what I was told they did at many yards on the PRR in the
Pgh area, which included this exact issue. I was told that the PRR
consistently "hoarded" gons, and in fact, that crews that regularly switched
certain industries (USSteel being one) had a regular standing order for more
gons than the PRR could provide, with certain types (65' being one) in higher
demand. This resulted in situation where assemblages of gons were "stashed"
at small yards and sidings throughout the area, to be pulled when called on
by these industries. The industry reps would then cull the gons for those
they considered acceptable or not acceptable, based on the particular type of
load they were shipping. The PRR apparently had lots of really old or
significantly damaged gons that these reps turned down, which would then be
recycled back into the larger group of gons for re-consideration or for
consideration by another industry that used gons. Obviously, the gons the
scrap industry got were the worst examples of gon ever seen by any railroad,
since we are talking about both the largest and most decrepit gon fleet in
the nation, being used by a group of folks (I am only referring to then and
there) that purposely bashed magnets into the gons in an effort to destroy
them. Jack Consoli and I both remember the resulting outline of gons in
fallen rust chips found on the ground after these crews had dropped magnets
from 20 feet into the floor of a gon.

I personally remember gons sitting on sidings that had bashed out sides,
bashed out or missing ends, bashed through or even burned through floors, and
even some that had been turned down so many times they had been
semi-permanently parked in a siding and allowed to grow a forest in their
interior. There were some that had had ties or other things tossed across
the floor to disguise the lack of a viable floor, or act as a barrier to
things falling through. I even remember one that had obviously been torched
as a result of a hot coil load being placed on a treated, but probably tinder
dry wooden floor, which had charred floor timbers and blackened sides with
blistered paint at the periphery. But occasionally, one of these
end-of-the-line gons (perhaps not the latter example) would disappear, only
to pass by later with a load in it. Those that believe these gons were bad
ordered the instant they were spotted with a defect are kidding themselves.

I know there are some that doubt that steam-era gons looked this way, or pass
it off with a "pooh pooh, that was the Pennsy" like that makes it dismissable
from the reality, but we are talking many, many gons from all sorts of roads.
And, there are pics that show the miserable condition these gons were in! No
wonder they had to collect and hoard them!

I am gradually building my fleet of gons that vary from awful to brand-new,
and I hope I will closely replicate both the visual and operational reality
of that era and locale (sans the magnet treatment).

Elden Gatwood


From: [] On Behalf Of Russ
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Crew gratuities (was Santa Fe & PFE's-Erie Citrus


I could easily say that the problem was that he came to the same conclusion
as you did.

Let's move this more toward modeling. Switching and Belt type roads are
usually net users of gons. While the Roadhaul Roads will fill orders for
their own business they will not create a car supply for a Switching Road's
internal needs. At this time period IHB owned no gons at all but their
orders could be in the hundreds. This Shipper could have loaded those cars
in two days if the scrap price was right. They would have probably all have
gone to Inland Steel at an Intraterminal Switch Charge of around $300.00
each. If Inland liked the condition of any they would have probably held
them for loading. That's another clang of the cash register.

In essence he was making a cost/benefit decision without being in a position
to know it's implications. While the volume on a Switching or Belt Road
looks good that is not what pays the bills. Overhead traffic was cheap. The
big money was/is in Intraterminal Switches.

I doubt the kickbacks went higher up the chain but on a road like that the
General Manager knows exactly what he is getting for every move. I'm
sure the crews knew the tolerance level for gon hoarding and were probably
aware of the scrap prices. I know I used to look at them almost every day.


----- Original Message -----
From: < <> >
To: < <> >
Sent: Wednesday, 27 June, 2007 11:21
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Crew gratuities (was Santa Fe & PFE's-Erie Citrus

But why was he dismissed? Car rental (per diem) on 30 gondolas has
to be quite a lot of money. Surely someone at the railroad pays that bill?
The trainee was trying to save the RR a lot of money. Or did the kickbacks
go higher up the chain?

Tim O'Connor

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Russ Strodtz" <
<> >

Pielet Brothers had a auto scrap shredder
in Argo IL. One weekend a new Trainmaster Trainee from PC got told to
cover that location for a weekend. There were over 30 empty gons in the
yard and no one would explain why they were there. He had them all
shipped out of town. Pielet was paying a number of crews a sizable
for a good car supply. That Monday the Trainmaster Trainee was

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