Re: Car distribution vs era

Walter M. Clark

--- In, <tmolsen@...> wrote:

Dan and all,

I started on the Penn in the Philly area in '65, working in the
block stations that serviced local and major yards in addition to the
main lines. Most of the people I worked with all started on the road
back in the late 30s and 40s. Working with local and road crews
either making up trains or making pick ups and set offs and putting up
with irascible yardmasters, who thought that they were "GOD" and
always right, was just in a days work, but it was also an education.

Yardmasters always had ten trains to get out their garden before
they would take one in, not caring that you had one of main tracks
blocked up with trains waiting, some on short time.

The problem here is that for the most part we are trying to
replicate freight car movements from 50+ years ago with little
information to go on.

As a Pennsy modeler of the late 1953 period, I am lucky as we have
several guides to work with. We have system freight schedule books
which give the routings, yards where pickups and set outs are made and
the way the road freights were blocked. In addition to the freight
schedules in the Employee Timetables, there is the book called the
C.T.1000 which lists every branch, yard, main line and what industries
are located on them. This book also came in regional issues as well.
These were updated and issued about every 5 years. And in some
cases, we have found local freight schedule books showing routing and
schedules. Of course, you have to realize that the schedule timing is
tentative and was used as a guide to the train departures and
arrivals. Knowing what industries are in any given location, you can
then research the type of products that they made, shipped and received.

Since I model what was the Middle Division, I can run just about any
type of freight car that was in service in my time frame, even some of
those roads which Richard Hendrickson calls those "yall roads." This
is because the "Middle" was more of a conduit that tied the western
end of the system to the eastern end. When watching the videos, it is
like looking at the catalog of cars from Sunshine, Westerfield, F&C
and just about every other car manufacturer. Even with the through
freight operations, there was still enough local industries at various
towns on the route to keep a vigorous local freight operation going.

Again, the number of loads and empties on road trains varied in that
period along with the various commodities that either were shipped in
or shipped out of each of these small towns. For example, Lewistown
had five branches that emanated from the yard there, with industries
on all of them. Trains operations were pretty much the same as any on
another big road, whether it was the PRR, the NYC, Santa Fe or the UP.
Each had their own idiosyncrasies, but the operations were about the

To replicate any type of balance or type of equipment on a daily or
even weekly basis is very difficult, even with the information that we
have. You are never going to get it right, as every day was different
and varied week to week, year to year, depending on the country's
business cycles. Yes, maybe the best way to guess at what would be
close would be to have snapshots of what the yards looked like over a
given time period. The Kline/Culotta book put out by the NMRA is
about as close to this as you can get, but again, you are still
guessing as it is only one maybe 6 month period in 1947.

I would think that at this point this discussion has run it's course
as it is about the tenth time this subject has come up. It is a
fascinating discourse, but for now I think that everyone should take a
deep breath, print out the information from the list archives, work
out what works for them, and go back to building freight cars. Good
Luck guys!

Regards to all,

Tom Olsen
7 Boundary Road, West Branch
Newark, Delaware, 19711-7479
(302) 738-4292

I may be over-simplifying things, but it seems to me that you first
have to decide what industries and other receivers/shippers you will
have on your layout, then research what you need to know regarding
who/from where/in what type car your receiving cars will be, along
with who/to where/in what type car your shipments will be. Then add
the bridge traffic and start buying and building car kits. The
information from the discussion and analysis gives us the background
we need for the distribution of box cars between owning roads, and the
receiving/shipping and bridge traffic information, along with the
discussion and analysis tells you what
flat/gondola/hopper/tank/reefer/specialty cars you need.

I'm working from a comb-bound book entitled "Ton's 1938 Register" I
got several years ago. Tom is Thomas A. Gloger, and he spent an
enormous amount of effort researching and cataloging companies that
were in operation in 1938, what their products were, along with the
railroad(s) serving the company operation(s). I'm using this to
determine my answers to the "need to know" from the above paragraph.

He lists a web site in his book, but it's no longer there.

The book just makes it easier, the process will still work without it.

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA

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