Re: Cranberries

Greg Martin


First of all if we look for paper to verify the use of foreign line cars in reloading or loading application we are not likely to find it. Marketing agreements and contract were private and protected from the public.?In conversations with several marketing guys (now retired and as you might expect working as consultants and one old head ex-Q ex-BN car applicator) this was the way it was explained to me.

When marketing wanted to increase market share the first hurdle of new business was to go to car management and bring the idea to them, ultimately they made the program happen or die. Marketing would explain the opportunity, "we have this piece of business on the Santa Fe in the LA Basin to move a product (this case cranberries, it could be apples) into LA Markets and capture some SP market share..." The reply was always, "Okay, so where do we get the cars?" "We are tapped out on reefers and if the Santa Fe wants the business they will have to agree to?supply the cars or allow us to reload their empties out of Hoquim, Markem,or South Bend to make the program work." With heads down and lower lips rolled down the marketing guys head back to their desk... However if the Santa Fe car management agrees to a portion of the car supply the program goes forward.?If cars of a particular type were long because of? short harvest or in betwen harvest then car management?might agree, it was simply a matter of asset management.

Why would car management that serves the origin want to supply a?car offline to cover the business for the Santa Fe(or any foreign road)? Cars and especially?high?value cars like reefers?were always tight, all through the 40's, 50's and 60's. Now if there was a new class of car displacing another?similar perhaps they could be added to the service, but by the 50's?many older car?of like types were being scrapped or rebuilt but the fleet never grew on a one to one basis.?

We have had long discussion regarding?car management on this list, and I realize it might be difficult for some outside the business to understand asset management, but railcars were the railroads most valuable asset, other than people.?

Tony, your right the SP would not likely?request or reload?an ATSF car?for an online move, but I wonder how PFE management would view several carloadings that destine for someplace like Albuquerque, NM and furthermore, why would the Santa Fe want to pay mileage to PFE for a move?from Albuquerque with an empty?dead head back? Why?would?PFE want to loose a car offline for perhaps two weeks or more in the middle of a harvest? And it might not be cranberries, it could be pear from southern Oregon, or hops from the upper Willamette Valley, these were all considerations for good car management. As one retired Milwaukee marketing guy told me we have to give you a car, that is mandated, but we never said when... But he admits that this was part of the ultimate death of his railroad...

Greg martin?

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 10:37 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cranberries

Greg Martin wrote:
Product reaching the LA markets were likely seen in PFE or ATSF and
some WFEX cars (likely in that order) based on demand. Some might
question the SFRD cars with cranberries, but it make perfect sense as
I am sure the folks at Western Fruit Express would request that the
Santa Fe supply their own cars into the pool to supply their markets,
or at?least allow their car to be reloaded towards home roads?once
unloaded with fresh Navel?Oranges that ended up in the PNW, equipment
sharing was part of the marketing exchange game.
This is an interesting speculation and it would be nice to find
evidence. I personally doubt if it happened this way, as the WFE people
were responsible to their own roads and would have preferred their own
cars. Certainly in other markets served by SFRD and PFE there was no
such "market pool" for particular crops, even if such pools did exist
for other products.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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