Re: Coal car loading on "home"roads...A. Thompson's answer (reprise).

Mike Brock <brockm@...>

First...donning my Head Judge robes...tattered as they may be...I think we are forgetting something with this debate about coal carrying cars. Remember that the STMFC culture welcomes debate. If someone asserts that Santa Fe designed better frt cars than, say, UP [ we all know, of course, that that could not be <G> ], that's fine. Let us hear the argument supporting that. Please bring to the table facts that you might have to support it. If it turns out that someone else PROVES that Pennsy frt cars were better than either Santa Fe or UP...fine. That's one function of the ferret out truth. So, please, we don't have to apologize for disagreeing and we don't have to worry about offending IF all members are treated with respect. So, the discussion about coal carrying cars is within scope, is not in itself offensive, it should not be treated that way and we are probably learning from it...I hope so anyway. OTOH, if you have no interest in such cars...simply pass.

Now, removing my robes, I think I'll add a few more comments because I still think something is missing...perhaps not, however.

Tony Thompson writes:

I won't defend Andy's comment about N&W, since I was then and
am now well aware that N&W hoppers made numerous off-line trips (no,
I'm not going to assess the Sherman Hill story). But please NOTICE
what Andy SAID. He said "for the most part" captive. If that means
80%, as some data suggest, what on earth is wrong with Andy's statement?
Nothing...except it is perhaps too general. And, I'm not certain of the term "captive". Let's examine "captive". To means a car is operating in a confined area. That could be a Mopac hopper car operating on the B&O between Lake Erie and West Va or it could simply be an N&W hopper operating between Roanoke and Norfolk. The suggestion is that the car is confined to a particular RR and appears in this case, to be confined to the home road. If the definition means confined to the home RR, as I have postulated...based on the coal moved into specific areas...that 80% percentage fails with regard to the N&W. At least in 1948. That yr we know N&W sent 63% of its carried coal offline. The what does this mean from a modeling point of view? Well, for one thing, those N&W cars were not becoming captive somewhere...they were coming back home. Second, they had places to go when off line...they were heading to a locale where by contract, they were to deliver coal. IOW, it was not like a UP box car that might wander around the country before coming back home. So, while one might say that 63% of N&W coal carrying cars went off line [ I realize that such a projection is subject to more thorough analysis ], that doesn't mean that 100% did not operate on N&W rails. In fact, I would argue that close to 99% of N&W coal carrying cars traveled on N&W tracks during a rather short time period [ based on how long they were off line and the distances off line weren't large ]. The significance of this simply means that if one models a RR in the area Illinois, Indiana, Mich, and Ohio, one needs quite a few N&W coal carrying cars...primarily hoppers. One might also ask about N&W...with its fleet away from home, were non N&W cars more pravelent? I think not because N&W's cars were coming back home fairly efficiently from what I read of N&W operations. However, photo evidence does suggest that other RR's coal carrying cars were operating on N&W trains. Certainly L&N, Interstate, and Clinchfield cars are seen in numbers. I don't believe these cars are "captives" in the sense that N&W is using them, but, more likely they are carrying coal from mines L&N served [ for example ]...just as Q cars traveled on the C&EI in the Illinois coal fields...and are proceding to places where by contract the coal is being delivered...just as N&W cars moved on Pennsy and NYC tracks north of Columbus [ although north of Columbus, the number of N&W cars was huge ]. What the numbers of non N&W coal cars on N&W tracks would be is beyond the scope of this message <G>.

In Matt's case, he is...I think...referring to coal GENERATING RRs whereas I am referring to coal RECEIVING RRs...NYC, NKP and Pennsy north of Columbus, other smaller lines northwest of Cincinnati. This is, I think, a significant difference when it comes to determining home cars on home rails. IOW, I would bet, as I said, that 99% of N&W coal cars would operate on N&W tracks within a given, relatively short period of time, but only 63% [ again, subject to analysis ]...would find their way off line. The time off line, BTW, would likely be LESS than the time on line by more than traveled distances might suggest. IOW, in traveling to a lake port, an N&W car might be off line for, say, 30% of its trip from the mine but it might be off line for much less than 30% of a specific period of time.

BTW, just because N&W carried coal moved in large quantities north and west of Cincinnati and Columbus does not mean that RRs depicting areas south and west of those areas would have N&W coal cars in significant numbers.

Of course, the notion of eastern coal carrying cars operating west of the Mississippi [ whatever that area is called ] is insignificant. I might add that I doubt that such coal carrying cars entered the state of Florida very much during our time period. I'd like to know more about how far south coal moved by train in our period.

Mike Brock

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