Re: Freight car distribution

Walter M. Clark

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Gene Green, perhaps tongue in cheek, wrote:
All this discussion of freight car distribution has what purpose? A
purpose does not seem self-evident to me.
Is there a model railroad, as opposed to model building, purpose?
Gene, I believe people are interested (perpetually) in knowing
the balance they need in freight car fleets--which I guess could be
called model building--but are also interested in accurate handling of
empty cars as well as of inbound loads from "off the layout."

Wouldn't the area one models and the industries on that model
play a greater role (than statistics) in determining which cars one
might model?
Of course. If you have a pickle plant on your layout, then
you should have pickle cars, regardless of their proportion of the
national car fleet. But most layouts model a certain amount of bridge
traffic, which of course isn't local, and moreover inbound loads need
to be in credible cars (car reporting marks). Tim Gilbert showed that
free-running cars, primarily box cars but also flat cars to a fair
extent, ARE in proportion to the national fleet. I would guess this is
true also for gondolas handling merchandise loads, but much less so for
bulk cargo--in the latter case, they are much more like hoppers and are
more nearly distributed by region.
But Gene's point is still vital to keep in mind, and one has
to know how one's prototype worked. SP lumber traffic was extremely
heavily on SP flat cars, because SP maintained a big fleet of those
cars for that traffic. Train photos show very few foreign flat cars
with lumber loads on the SP lines. That's an example of something a
modeler just needs to know.

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
And Tony's comment about SP flat cars means those of us who model the
SP pre-World War II are up the creek because there aren't any models
of pre-World War II SP flat cars (in HO scale that I know of, at least).

Time stopped in November 1941, which is my problem regarding SP flat
cars <g>
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA

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