Re: Early train length laws

Larry Jackman <Ljack70117@...>

They had these laws in several states. The train crews had their hand in it. The shorter the trains the more train would have to be run and more trainman would be working. One state had a law you could have so many cars with a 5 man crew. Then as you added cars you had to add extra crew members.
On the Kansas Pacific owned by The Un Pac, the steepest grad between KC and Ogden was between Salina and Hayes Ks. THe engine crews got a rule that the RR could not put more tonnage on a train that one engine could pullover the division. They could use a helper on the main grade. So the Un Pac just killed the Kansas division. (Kansas Pacific). They built the Menoken cut off to Marysville and all traffic from from Kansas for Denver and west went up the cutoff to the main line and the Kansas trackage became a branch line.
Thank you
Larry Jackman

On Sep 17, 2008, at 1:31 PM, George A. Walls wrote:

I think it probably had more to do with economics then any thing
else. The big voter turnout was from Cochise Couunty, which had large
mining interests, a lot of railroads. Shorter trains means more money
from taxes, expenses, more crews, etc:.
Would like to find out more about the reasons behind the law but
haven't had a lot of success since I no longer live in AZ.

Mike, makes his own laws. Just like UP. Operate in their own little
world. hehehe Wonder if we can find N&W hoppers on the Santa Fe in AZ?

George A Walls

--- In, "gary laakso" <vasa0vasa@...> wrote:

Its very odd to have a train length provision in a state
constitution and its not something the usual politically connected
interests want. The question is then "who benefits" and i don't
think its the local coupler sales guy. Smell test remains a good
test. My money says a couple of union members were on the drafting
committee and they did some trades to get support for the provision.
The post convention rationalizations by politicians tend to be
Does the law apply to Mike Brock's layout?

gary laakso
south of Mike Brock

----- Original Message -----
From: George A. Walls
Sent: 9/17/2008 12:44:55 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws

This law was put in place by the people of AZ when developing the
State Constitution in 1912 and voted on by the people of AZ. I've
seen any reference to union involment. Santa Fe and SP railroads
the state of AZ in 1924 to get it overturned. Didn't work. Law was
set aside in 1942 because of WW2 and then later thrown out by
Supreme Court in 1945, as was mentioned earlier. Some information
this subject appears in David Myrick's book " Railroads of Arizona,
Vol 4, pg 192-194"

Several states have their own agencies that oversee railroad
operations in their states and have been sucessful in maintaining
those laws above what union or railroad wants.

George A Walls


Old timer guidance and historical recollections are
great "original
sources" in my book. If it was not for "old timer sargents"
us straight we wouldn't have servived in the war zones either.

The final briefs are rather pure: statistically proving
safety risks vs. impeding free trade across the states.

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "gary laakso" <vasa0vasa@>
I spent 20 years in the ESPEE legal department and everyone
including the olde timers when i was a pup, told me it was union
lobbying for more work not coupler strength that was involved. If
look at class 1 railroad employment and the timing of the laws,
is a striking (no pun intended) correlation. There ought to be some
mention of the views of the parties in the Supreme Court case and
briefs of the parties.

gary laakso
south of Mike Brock

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 9/17/2008 10:36:30 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws


First, I don't doubt your very logical conclusion. Do you have
pre-WWI "original source" documentation to back that up? . . . or
even a general book on railroad history during those times? Longer
trains would mean less train crews per ton moved. Looking at the
State of Virginia Laws and Codes on the internet I find that the
ministers were more influential in trying to ban movements of
trains "not completely filled" with interstate commerce on Sundays
(1908), or banning train crews from not being brought home before
Sunday services (1890s), or prohibiting sales of liquor on trains,
even prohibiting passenger trains to pull reefers . . . because
might carry German-style beer from Cincinnatti down to Newport News
(1890s). Plus, there were the Jim Crow laws.

Us Northerners up here in Michigan (born in Ashland, Kentucky)
aren't suppose to say anything about Southern Culture without
references to back it up.


Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "gary laakso" <vasa0vasa@>
The state laws had much more to do wth union politics then
strength. The laws were desiged to maximize union employment and or
overtime. The unions were pushing for federal laws to do the same

gary laakso
south of Mike Brock

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 9/17/2008 9:32:35 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws

Thanks for finding support material relative to the 1912 Arizona
car freight train length limit. Rationale appears to be to minimize
coupler failures resulting from higher slack-loads from longer

My question is why would this affect C&O, N&W, and Virginian coal
traffic between Kentucky, Ohio, WV, and Virginia . . . and
Were other states considering maximum train length laws at the same
time? Ohio seemed to be progressive in mandating 24-ft, 8-wheeled
cabooses on interchange service circa 1914. it seems that these
railroads at that time had enough problems just finding loco power
pull loaded coal trains up their grades . . much less making trains
longer than 70-cars (even though they were going towards 100-car
tracks in their coal classification yard improvements in the early

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "James F. Brewer" <jfbrewer@>
I believe this law was the basis for litigation that led to a
Supreme Court decision declaring it to be a violation of the
Interstate Commerce Act and therefore, unconstitutional.

Jim Brewer
Glenwood MD

----- Original Message -----
From: al_brown03
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 5:12 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Early train length laws

-- In, "al.kresse" <water.kresse@> wrote:


Maybe this a new subject?

Do we have any information on State Legist's attempting to
maximum number of freight cars allowed per train?
Yes. Arizona had a law limiting freight trains to 70 cars and
passenger trains to 14; in the forties the SP tested it, and SP
The law dated to 1912; I don't know how consistently it'd been

(Found this by googling "train length law". If the link wraps,
may need to type in the last few characters.)

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

Andrew Dow's great N&W Coal Car book refers to that being a
reason for building 120-ton and 90-ton "Battleship Gons" in the
late teens and early twenties. Do we have copies of specific
proposed rules?

Were there Federal proposes also?

Al Kresse


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