Re: Milling in Transit

Dennis Storzek

--- In, "Aley, Jeff A" <Jeff.A.Aley@...> wrote:


Could you please expand upon this topic?

For example, who is it that has his wheat milled in transit: the farmer, or some intermediate elevator? Is the "milling in transit" done between the grain elevator and flour consumer (e.g. bakery)?

You imply that the exact same boxcar gets used for the flour as was used for the grain. Is this always the case, or was that a simplification?

Thanks much,

I'm getting near the fringes of my knowledge, but I'll start, and someone who knows more can chime in and correct anything I've mis-interpreted.

Milling in transit appears to pre-date the formation of the ICC. In the rough-and-tumble pre-regulatory days it was a way railroads could induce millers to locate on their line; offer a single through rate from source to customer. It appears to be the reason that both the M &St.L and Soo Line were built; the millers in Minneapolis were tired of paying two local rates to move grain in and then ship flour out, when the same RR's they were shipping on were offering better rates to mills located further east. The Minneapolis milling interests started building a railroad to St. Louis, but lost control, they later started two other lines, the Minneapolis & Pacific to bring grain in from the west, and the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic to ship flour to the east. When these roads were finished, they were consolidated into the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie. Then Pillsbury and the other Minneapolis Millers could also enjoy the the advantages of milling in transit.

Since this was the entrenched way that the flour trade was being conducted, it continued under ICC regulation; the tariffs were published, and all the ICC concerned itself with is that the rates were equally available to all.

Who was the Shipper? As I understand it, it was the miller, who bought the grain delivered at the elevator, and paid the freight from there to the customer, with the priveledge of a stop-off to mill it into flour somewhere along the way. The combined rate was less than the sum of the local inbound rate on grain and local outbound rate on flour; it was advantageous to the railroad as it gave them a longer haul on grain that was captive to their line.

Did it have to be the same car? I'm not sure, but I don't think so. I think most tariffs had a provision for changing the cars en route; there are instances of railroads who would reload coal into home road cars back in the days when labor was cheap.

In reality, it may well have often been a paper transaction, with fifty tons of inbound grain simply matched with fifty tons of outbound flour for billing purposes. You will notice the 1890 newspaper article I linked to concerns itself in part with the outbound loads being heavier than the inbounds :-)
However, since the same class of car was used for both grain and flour, back in the day, I would suspect that from track side, it looked like the same cars being used.


Join to automatically receive all group messages.