Re: Freight car Distribution

Tim O'Connor

In all this talk of SP soliciting traffic to route over the
UP, we are ignoring a key point: Whether SP chose to load a
HOME ROAD box car or a RETURNING FOREIGN box car for shipment
to the east, was completely outside the scope of any of these
agreements. It fell strictly under the scope of AAR loading
guidelines listed in every ORER.

In other words, the routing of freight cars via Ogden has almost
NOTHING per se to do with the distribution of ownership of the cars.

I do recall from Tim's and Dave's work (and other sources) that
percentage of loaded car-miles for XM box cars was somewhere in
the 65%-75% range. In other words, if a PRR box car came west
via UP-SP, then if SP had an eastbound load to send to the UP,
the SP would be quite happy to use that PRR box car for the
load rather than carry it empty for 700 or 800 miles until it
could be handed over to the UP. The fact that loaded/empty
miles were not 50:50 in the country is strong evidence that
railroads worked hard to reload foreign cars -- and those cars
had to be sent "towards" their owners.

I have never accepted Mike's tiny data sample as representative
of the entire traffic load carried over the UP within a longer
time period. Like I wrote before, the UP carried something like
1,500,000 freight cars over Sherman Hill in a year. A data sample
of even a few thousand cars is simply not statistically meaningful.
So yes there are some extra SP and WP cars in his data. Could just
be an "above average" day, or days... or maybe his conductor rode
a freight train that expedited some particular traffic flow. A
lot of variables here, and none of them are taken into account.

Now, large scale traffic flows are meaningful -- how much box car
traffic was westbound on the UP, and how much was eastbound? If
the flow was unbalanced, then this could easily "skew" the results.
But where is that data in this discussion?

Tim O'Connor

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