Re: NYC box car that went far...

Robert kirkham

Hi Ross, that's not an area I know much about yet. Have you found a source that demonstrates the movement of empty USA cars into Canada for lumber loading? To what era does it apply?

I don't have any trouble accepting the idea, for example, that the GN in southern B.C. sent ore cars north to serve a GN serviced mine. But I have not seen any clear explanation of how a US carrier could send its empty cars north from the USA to, for example, a west coast lumber mill port served by car ferry or barge. To achieve that, they would be sending the empty car a lot of miles over other people's railways and railroads all to secure the load. And potentially incurring customs fees too. Then the fees for sending it to a customer would not necessarily see the car travel over the railway's own track - especially if the route involved re-directing cars to new consignees as it went.

I can, on the other hand, see a railway negotiating with customers who wanted to move lumber to their on-line site trying to negotiate the routing with the customer and supplying a car order and waybill to the railway that was near where the load was to be picked up. But I suspect that is where their control might end, and the cars supplied by the nearest carrier would be what they had on hand. In BC that would often be Canadian railway cars until at least WWII (when things changed for a time) and some years after.

I'd be happy to be shown how this misunderstands the economic factors, the on-the-ground happenings an the tariff walls etc. But I've not seen anything directly on the subject before.

Your comments on bonded and sealed cars moving through Canada east and west did remind me of the answer for the short cut traffic through Southern Ont., thanks!

Rob Kirkham

From: "Ross McLeod" <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:08 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] NYC box car that went far...

Of course, if rules were followed, the choice of route and destination were limited
because of tariffs and other regs. re crossing the border.

US freight tariffs permitted many overhead routings thru Canada, inconnection with a thru rating all authorized routings/gateways had the same price.
One of the rules I don't have any insight into is how the "shortcut" for US traffic heading between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mid-West across southern Ontario was dealt with in terms of customs tariffs etc.

Handled "In Bond", Seals intact, Customs manifest required for both countries.
US cars in British Columbia:
Lumber from British Columbia went to many destinations in the USA, from many origins, to many destinations, multiple routing choices, lumber was either sold direct by the producer or by lumber traders selling cars on the roll, there were a multiple of factors that made this business line more complex than the routing/shipping patterns of other commodities that were pretty straight forward after the first shipment. Lumber for the most part moved as single car shipments, multiple gateway/routing choices meant an opportunity for any railroad to participate in the routing by route solicitation or car supply (by agreement with the originating carrier). Lots of competition/interest for this business between the railroads. Foreign cars seen in Canada in some cases were specifically supplied empty for lumber loading. US railroads had "offline" traffic offices in Vancouver or Seattle to target this business. Lumber was a highly competitive business requiring
much more resources to service than other lines of business.

I am not suggesting that the NYC car was sent to BC for loading, just that not every foreign car seen in BC moved loaded into the province, some were supplied empty for loading.

Ross McLeod Calgary

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