Re: freight car distribution - rejecting the equal distribution hypothesis.

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

John Stokes wrote:
Finally got some response other than the repetition of the studies. No, not meant to be insulting at all, but I think correct for the notion that this "data" applies absolutely. I don't think Tim is saying that the equal distribution accurately depicts the status on every railroad in the country on every day of every month of every year . . .
No, Tim did not, and I think would be horrified if anyone so applies it. He was quite knowledgeable about prototype car handling and knew about all the variables people think they are the first to point out.

And I have looked at the facts, and they are more than statistics based on small samples, and they say that this mathematical precision did not occur in real life. But I would like to hear why that is not correct. Tell those who disbelieve, in a good concise paragraph again, the meat of the theory and the facts that back it up. I am willing to try to learn.
I personally think Tim's data say very clearly that the appearance of free-running cars like box cars DID follow, statistically, not absolutely with mathematical precision (Tim never said anything like that, so let's drop it now), the proportions in the national car fleet. That means that in MOST cases, the ancient hobby rules of thumb, than interchange partners dominate other roads and that the farther away the railroad, the less likely are its cars, are wrong.
OF COURSE there are other variables. OF COURSE this doesn't work in every location or on every train. The point is that it's the underlying reality. Anyone who doesn't have better data than Tim's will just have to get used to it.

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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