Re: 3:1 Reefer to Reefers to Boxcar ratio



Fantastic data. For an eastern WWII modeler, it does raise a few questions:

1) You wrote "Of the total refrigerator cars moving through Ogden, Salt Lake, El Paso, Belen and Albuquerque, the loaded cars increased from 12.2 percent in 1942 to approximately 50 percent in 1945." Is this referring to WB reefer movements? I would think EB reefer movements would be nearly 100% loaded at these locations?
Yes this is referring to the westbound movement. The eastbound movement was heavily loaded, however, keep in mind, some perishable from the Southeast, East and Northeast was moving westbound. Thus using the "total" to determine total eastbound/westbound movement does not give a complete picture.

2) Is there a public or published source of the more detailed data necessary to derive these numbers?
No published source, yet. I've been spending a significant part of the past 10 years gathering the information about the ARA/ICC/AAR Car Service Division. I'm happy to quote specific information, but a complete rundown would exhaust the scope of the group. Much of the data has come from my years working in the industry and Car Service publications I saved while working.

3) Were any other reefers included in the car service orders in effect during WWII other than PFE and SFRD?
None, except on Service Order 822 covering the loading to the Pacific Northwest area and this only covered from Sept 1, 1948 until June 30, 1949. After that date, the movement was covered under tariff and statistics were not kept for "all" 3:1 or 2:1 movements.

If the data in (1) is for WB reefers, and EB reefers were nearly 100% loaded through the same locations, then with only 25% of western reefer movements empty, and the fact that 35.1% of all reefer miles were empty, then eastern empty reefer miles must have remained close to the pre-service order, 1942 empty mileage percentage of 43.8%.
The percentage quoted is the "total" for the US railroads. Thus some areas of the country could have had more loaded vs empty mileage, but the overall US average was as stated.

I know Richard is looking for hard facts - but I suspect that eastern 3:1 reefer loadings may not have been that common, for the simple reason that there were LOTS of available MTY XM's on the east coast during WWII, and from the east coast the percentage of merchandise loads destined to the specific locations defined in the car service order would be a low probability - better for an agent/yard master to just grab an MTY XM than to find the correct 2 or 3 MTY reefers to load for the specified destination.
There were NOT lots of available mty XM's on the east coast during WWII. ICC Service Orders, Quota Orders and Car Service Division Special Car Orders were redirecting freight cars on a daily basis and the use of the refrigerator cars was an effort to maximize car loading and minimize empty mileage. Prior to WWII much of the traffic in the US was moving west to east towards the population centers. During WWII traffic patterns changed.

I would also theorize that much of the 3:1 loading was occurring in the midwest, since that region had a significant imbalance of outbound loads compared to inbound loads.
A significant part of the 3:1 loading was being done in the Midwest, but not all. Much of the loading was magazines, phone books, printed material and thru LCL cars. I cannot quote a percentage.

Dan Holbrook

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