Re: Per Diem, the O&W, and slow freight movements...


Another side note on the O&W and per diem. Scranton to Maybook might have, in concept, been covered in 16 hours. Even so, much of the O&W, because of when, how and where it was built, was composed of overly stiff grades and curves, that the route could have easily assumed the moniker of, "Over the Tops of the Mountains, and Never Around or Through Them".
I have to concur with the idea that the per diem payout was probably many times greater than what little might have been taken in. I was not around to see O&W freights in action, in 55-57, but have been told by a friend that was there, that it was a very labor-intensive process.
A classic example of slowing down the freight-forwarding process would be trying to get a train up, over the top of Apex Mountain, in NY state, also know as Cadosia Summit. MP 167.25, on the Southern Division Mainline. Tales of that location make mention of the fact that because the grade was so severe, and motive power so limited, that it was not uncommon to take a train to the top of the mountain, literally in sub-sections of 15-20 cars at a time.
Uncouple, take a section to the top, drop it, return to the bottom, grab another string, etc. Talk about a poor way of doing business, and a great way to lose money, especially when working against the per diem clock.
Matt Forsyth
Modeling Elmira, NY
in "O" Scale, 1951

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