A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies. Was: Re: Re

Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>


After reading this thread for some time, I have to agree with your
basic premise. Most major through transcon routes such as the UP in
Wyoming would very likely have over a given period, percentages of
each road's boxcars in keeping with the national averages. The law
of averages supports this.

The danger lies in having a model car fleet that models many
exceptional cars, rather than a good overall representation of the
national fleet. But it's too easy for the modeller to, absent
knowledge of each road's freight car fleet and its relative
percentage to the national fleet, to model those exceptions. For
example, as much as I want a model of a B&O M-53, there are other B&O
cars that I have come to learn to be more common to that road. I
have to have many CN boxcars (fortunately, I do) to justify modelling
just ONE of the three aluminum-sided cars that they had. If you model
20 B&O boxcars, you can justify having one M53 in your fleet far
sooner than I can, where I will only need one B&O boxcar for my

Likewise there is some weighting that one has to be factored in by
the modeller to represent the location that they model. Your road
may move a lot of grain in boxcars, and the ratio of cars (home road
vs. national fleet) will change whether or not the grain is running.
Likewise, boxcar precentages from the ORER are not a good way to
determine the car population for a grain-hauling layout. Preferred
will be 40' steel or steel-frame boxcars with 6' doors. Far less
common will be cars with larger doors, as they were practically
useless for grain loading. And open coal hoppers, though not part of
this discussion, will have interesting distribution variations of
their own!

Steve Lucas.

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

Malcolm Laughlin wrote:
Let's not get too hung up on averages. After all, the average
rarely happenned. If 10 % of the cars were wagon tops, then
were probably days when out of ten cars five would be wagons . . .
Of course, but the average is a place to start. Otherwise
are just winging it. I don't understand the excitement of many
to point out that there are substantial swings from the average.
doesn't eliminate the importance of the average as the core datum.
Moreover, my instinct is that what "looks right" is probably the
average, not the extremes of the data. Without more specific data,
we have precious little, I believe that trying to look typical is
excellent beginning.

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

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