Re: Freight car distribution

Bruce Smith

On Aug 12, 2008, at 4:01 PM, devansprr wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., Bruce Smith <smithbf@...> wrote:
ting repairs,
so the actual number in trains is slightly less.

For the rest of your boxcar fleet, the NYC cars should be roughly 6%
of your total fleet. Thus if you have 100 non-PRR boxcars, six
should be NYC. Of those cars, a substantial portion should be the
USRA steel boxcar (Westerfield, and styrene?(someday).


But I'm still not convinced on NYC boxcars. I certainly plan on more
than 1, but looking at pictures I rarely see NYC box cars in through
freights on the PRR Middle and Pittsburgh divisions. But I think I
recall seeing several at the Altoona freight house.

I think it is legitimate to bias populations based on the local
situation. Isn't it likely that nearly all NYC box cars loaded in New
England, with destinations in the upper west - west of the
Mississippi, would be routed over the NYC's water level route if they
touched NYC rails before PRR rails? Or would most shippers specify the
entire route of their shipment?

You are basing your analysis on the incorrect assumption that most NYC cars were loaded on NYC rails. Those NYC boxcars you see on the PRR in WWII could just as easily have been loaded on PRR rails, or NP rails or AT&SF rails, etc... as NYC rails. Boxcars were basically in a national fleet for most of the steam era. During WWII, when many of the car service rules were suspended for other classes, those classes also operated in a national pool, most notably flats and reefers. Ultimately, those of us modeling WWII really have it quite easy.

Boxcars - national pool - model the fleet (with a slight home road bias, as these cars did get sent home for repairs etc)

Flats - national pool - model the fleet (which we cannot do as we do not have the correct SP and UP flats)

Reefers - car service rules were suspended - model the fleet... on the PRR, that means that PFE and SFRD cars may outnumber FGE cars, a situation that might not occur normally.

Tank Cars - model the fleet, split east and west (ie the central US and eastern US, where there would normally have been mostly local and regional distribution of tank cars are a single vast fleet, and the western US is a second fleet/pool). I'm halfway through a fascinating book called "The Petroleum Administration at War" (Thanks to Frank Peacock!), the kind of book Tim Gilbert would have loved(!), that details many of the oil transportation issues of the war.

Gons, Stock cars and Hoppers - model regionally but with the hint of a national flavor (less so for hoppers). Individual cars might be seen far from home rails, but not in numbers proportional to the fleet. For the PRR modeler, that might mean for example an ATSF mill gon, or a UP GS gon once in awhile, or that hopper from Georgia in Harrisburg in Ted and Larry's book. ATSF, UP and SP stock cars were common on the PRR.

Non-WWII modelers may not have it quite so easy, but as Tony has said, in the absence of other information, it seems clear from Tim Gilbert's data that modeling based on the national fleet for boxcars is the most accurate method to achieve a realistic fleet - and that Mike Brock average of 1 NP boxcar per train ;^)


Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
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