Re: Freight car distribution

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Dave Evans wrote:
1) If a freight agent in LA has 2 shippers requesting 40' XM MT's, one load destined for Syracuse, and the other for Harrisburg, and he has a bunch of empty 40 foot XM's - including one PRR, and one NYC, would he just flip a coin? I've got to believe he would send cars towards their home roads, national pool or not, even during WWII.
Sure. But let's say cars are short and he has only an NP and an ACL box car. He'll use 'em and not worry about "homeward loads." People who have worked those jobs have told us repeatedly that they usually saw no particular effort to follow the Car Service rules unless there were plenty of cars and plenty of time. And remember, the agent doesn't deliver cars; the yardmaster pulls empties for the local, based only on the requirements for the empty. That's the main use of the ORER: the yard clerks wore 'em out looking up cars to be sure they would work for shipper needs.

Wouldn't a PRR freight agent in Harrisburg deliver an MT PRR 40' XM to a shipper with a load for
Pittsburgh, and deliver an MT ATSF 40' XM for another shipper's LA bound load?
He probably SHOULD do that, but will be tempted by the long run the PRR car will get if he loads it to LA. And he's probably in a hurry and will grab "those empties on track 7" rather than go through the whole yard carefully matching loads to "homeward directions." And again, it's not the agent who makes this decision.

Or do the agents not know the load's destination, only that a shipper needs a 40' XM?
The agent usually knows, but he's not the car selection guy. If it's a 40-foot XM, it'll be what's in the yard. If it's a 50-foot car with end doors, obviously you hope you have one on hand.

2) I'm completely uncertain about this and looking for guidance, but if a NYC box car out of New England and destined for southern Illinois hit a NYC yard in New Jersey, is it more likely that the NYC yard clerks would have it routed over the NYC's water-level route . . .
Dave, the clerks do NOT route cars. They obey waybills. The waybill specifies the entire route in most cases. An agent made out the waybill, but did so according to shipper direction.

I think considerable latitude is possible. It would be interesting to take wheel report data in 400 car blocks, and look at the statistics of each block, to determine how much variation from the "average" is normal, and reasonable, to model.
Good suggestion. Problem is, we have awfully few wheel reports available, and for most of us, NONE for our area or time period. Wish we had bundles of them!!

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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