Re: Freight car Distribution (off list)

Dave Nelson

leakinmywaders wrote:
Tim: I have, with a lot of help from Allen Rueter, Matt Herson, and
others, built a NP database for 1969 that's whopping big now (and
growing)---13419 freight car records, ca. 150 trains spread
throughout 1969. Obviously it's post-steam era but certainly can
help inform G-N and alternative hypotheses.

There are some obviously skewed deviations from G-N predictions in NP
traffic flow, but they're all explainable based on recognized
exceptions or geography. In a nutshell I'd say from the NP's point
of view, there is the CBQ (way overrepresented), the GN (way
underrepresented), and all others (conform more or less roughly to
G-N proportions). Some other car types, in particular reefers, are
very severely skewed away from national fleet proportions. The
upshot is that G-N strictly pertains to such a small subset of the
overall freight car fleet that Like Al Brown, I question if it's
worth all this energetic argument.
Neither Tim or I had any anything to say about data from 1969... Indeed, not
much could be said by either of us post 1955-56 or there abouts. And what
we did say was about ordinary free running boxcars, not all car types. Tim
was of the opinion that ordinary flat cars were also free running and I
thought he made a decent enough case for that. I never looked into it very

At any rate, it has been my opinion for many years now that the hypothesis
would loose accuracy as the general purpose boxcar fleet declined, whether
that occurred by subsitution of grain hoppers, cut lumber cars, or
commodity-dedicated equipment in larger boxcars. Which puts the mid to late
50's as my own target date for inapplicability... 1969 is in a different

Dave Nelson

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