Date   

Re: Freight car distribution

devansprr
 

--- In STMFC@..., "Chet French" <cfrench@...> wrote:


Group,

Five years ago I went through all the yard lists for one location,
(Forrest, IL on the Wabash) for an entire month (March 1955) focusing
on foreign house cars, mostly 40' with a few 50' cars. Over 800 car
representing 75 railroads are shown. The message number is 23571,
dated 9/15/03. I have lists for five more months 12/54, 2/55, 6/55,
8/55, and 6/62, but I haven't done the same exercise with any of them.

Chet French
Dixon, IL
Chet,

Thanks! I have not compiled 1955 fleet data, but if percentages are
similar to 1943, then the data in msg 23571 deviates from national
averages by factors of 2 or 3. NKP is several times more than RDG,
P&LE is more than RDG, and many other deviations, but the NKP and RDG
fleets were comparable in 1943 (possible NKP was much larger by '55?),
but I think P&LE was still smaller than RDG. Several RR's had greater
representation than the PRR (still the largest fleet?).

Thanks for the work!

Dave Evans


Re: Frt Car Distribution, diversions, routing et al

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dan Holbrook wrote:
Yardmasters did not supply cars to industries. Unless it was a large industry with specific switching requirements most yardmasters did not have time nor want to deal with the industry/customer.
You are right, and I should not have implied that yardmasters themselves assigned any cars. I was thinking (obviously less clearly that I should) that yardmasters would have directed the work, but I'm well aware that the yard clerks would have been processing the empty car orders to hand over to the switch crews.
No one has said that the Car Service rules were NEVER followed, but quite a few former employees have said that no great effort was expended to follow them whenever cars were in short supply or time was tight. It sounds like you agree with that, Dan.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Freight car distribution

devansprr
 

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Cars didn't travel randomly by DESIGN. They travelled randomly
because it was the EASIEST way to deal with cars. Every single
movement of a car costs real money -- crew time, fuel, and loco
time. Railroads who wasted money sorting cars based on reporting
marks (and for no other reason) would go out of business in a
big hurry.

Tim O'Connor
Tim,

Thanks for the explanation, although I think I've read posts of agent
mischief with car assignments and routing on the Op-Sig group, but
they were likely rare.

Your points make sense to me, but I'm still trying to understand why,
as I scan a bnch of pictures along the PRR main, L&N box cars seem to
outnumber NYC, yet NYC had nearly four times the fleet...

I'm beginning to suspect it is more a statistical issue. After viewing
over 100 box cars, there are a number of major roads where not a
single box car was observed. Conversly, I see a few instances of
smaller roads with two boxcars in sequence.

Thanks,Dave


Re: Freight car distribution

Chet French <cfrench@...>
 

Group,

Five years ago I went through all the yard lists for one location,
(Forrest, IL on the Wabash) for an entire month (March 1955) focusing
on foreign house cars, mostly 40' with a few 50' cars. Over 800 car
representing 75 railroads are shown. The message number is 23571,
dated 9/15/03. I have lists for five more months 12/54, 2/55, 6/55,
8/55, and 6/62, but I haven't done the same exercise with any of them.

Chet French
Dixon, IL


Black ATSF Hopper Info?

olin4812
 

Looking for photos and/or car numbers, and any info as to geography,
year or service assignment of ATSF hoppers painted black,
especially '34 AAR type offset triples (Ga-73 etc).

Many Thanks!
Olin Dirks
Omaha, NE


Re: Frt Car Distribution, diversions, routing et al

Greg Martin
 

Dan Holbrock writes:




"After 35 years of railroading and sitting in clerks, yardmasters, car
distributors, trainmasters chairs I'll throw in my two cents.

Yardmasters did not supply cars to industries. Unless it was a large
industry with specific switching requirements most yardmasters did
not have time nor want to deal with the industry/customer. Empties
on hand at a given terminal were assigned to car orders placed by
customers within the terminal complex. Keep in mind that this might
also entail supplying cars to locals operating out of the terminal
over 100 to 150 miles of a division. Normally this activity was done
by industry service clerks or local car distribution folks. Yes we
did deviate from planning but attempted based on the destination
specified by the industry, to find an appropriate Rule 1 or Rule 2
empty. Lacking this we found, or looked for, an appropriate home
road car. Also local conductors had a habit of providing empties to
shippers at their digression and not via the direction of the local
orders provided by the clerks. Yardmasters did appreciate the clerks
that went out of there way to make their switching easier by finding
cars in appropriate blocks to supply customers on car orders. Most
clerks new the short home routes for empties without looking at an
ORER. Usually this was specified in "tide" or "flow" instructions to
specific terminals to eliminate any confusion over "where" to send a
foreign empty. My early experience with the ORER was looking for
load limits and capacity on specific cars to fill car orders.

Shippers did specify routings but were not required to do so.
Shipper specified routings were more commonplace during the 40's and
50's and fell off during the 60's and 70's and shippers began to let
the railroads determine the best routing. In most cases the carrier
that originated the load tried to get the longest possible
routing "on-line" to get the largest division of revenue. However,
some customers liked to specify their routing to avoid either major
terminals or to pay back a marketing person.

Diversions were specified by the broker. However, a car could be
diverted once without cost to the broker providing the car was going
in a straight line movement between two end points. Example would be
diversion lumber moving from Pacific Northwest via MSTL to Peoria and
Peoria being the broker specified destination. It the car reached
Albert Lea, MN and was diverted to Indianapolis, IN for the final
customer the diversion was free. However, if the diversion was from
Albert Lea, MN to Sioux Falls, SD then, depending on era, was either
treated as a diversion with a specific charge, or as an entirely new
shipment because of the diversion being back in a westward movement.
Brokers made every attempt to sell their product en route and in a
linear fashion.

Tim Gilbert and I talked a number of times over the years. His
conclusions were based on careful analysis of data and his own
personal background. We are lucky to have had his insight into car
distribution and breakdown of ownership and use.

Dan Holbrook"

Dan,
I enjoyed your post as it seems to take a bit of the "random-ness" out of
Car application/distribution that I am certainly accustomed to and some sanity
and structure to the railroads, that some might think existed.
Local station clerks that I was familiar with (when there was such a thing
on the BN) were always acutely aware of the empty cars online (at least
locally) and never forgot to ask you the destination of the car. Whenever possible
they kept company cars online and looked for home road cars that were not
either assigned pool cars or special equipped/service cars. I was told by an
applicator that when cars are "long" we like to send our cars "long-east" and
when cars were "short" they stay online, the cars were your most valuable
asset, so they claimed, what good is a rate with no cars? If there were no cars
locally available then the clerk would call Fort Dirt and get in touch with
the applicator and have a car routed to the industry and apply a car order
number. You were expected to keep track of your car order number and the car
numbers assigned to that order. If a particular car didn't show you had to have
the car order number to identify it with. For some it seems a bit
complicated, but is became second nature. I don't believe it was much different 30 or 40
years prior.
Greg Martin






**************Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget?
Read reviews on AOL Autos.
(http://autos.aol.com/cars-BMW-128-2008/expert-review?ncid=aolaut00050000000017 )


Re: Freight car distribution

James Eckman
 

The cheaters way....

Pick a location and period you like to model and try and find a photo of a nearby yard if possible.

Buy only the cars in the photo ;)

Jim Eckman


Re: Freight car distribution

Tim O'Connor
 

Kurt

Of the 533 saved emails from Tim Gilbert in my Eudora mail
boxes, maybe 200 are concerned with freight car distribution
and LCL...

But you are probably thinking of the old Freightcars list. I
have 57 monthly digests of the FCL on my hard drive, including
the best years of the FCL before Yahoo and STMFC. There's quite
a few more emails from Tim in there. All of it is indexed by
my Google desktop, but it's really too much information to
summarize.

Tim O'Connor

At 8/12/2008 10:11 PM Tuesday, you wrote:
I think they are referring to a previous USENET-based mailing list whose
archives is out in the ether somewhere. I occaisionally run across
individual threads when doing a google search, but I haven't stumbled onto a
reliable way to reference it as a whole.

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Cyril and Lynn Durrenberger

You all keep saying to look at the past messages for some of this data. I
found a number of them, but I did not locate any that had the work that is
being sited. Could some one provide the message numbers to assist this
process.


Re: Freight car distribution

Schuyler Larrabee
 

Nope. The vast majority of this previous discussion happened on this list. I don't think Tim was
ever on The Freightcars List.

BTW, I was wondering the other day about the archive for The Freightcars List. Does it still exist?
And where might one find it?

SGL

I think they are referring to a previous USENET-based mailing list whose
archives is out in the ether somewhere. I occaisionally run across
individual threads when doing a google search, but I haven't stumbled onto a
reliable way to reference it as a whole.

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Cyril and Lynn Durrenberger

You all keep saying to look at the past messages for some of this data. I
found a number of them, but I did not locate any that had the work that is
being sited. Could some one provide the message numbers to assist this
process.


Frt Car Distribution, diversions, routing et al

lstt100
 

After 35 years of railroading and sitting in clerks, yardmasters, car
distributors, trainmasters chairs I'll throw in my two cents.

Yardmasters did not supply cars to industries. Unless it was a large
industry with specific switching requirements most yardmasters did
not have time nor want to deal with the industry/customer. Empties
on hand at a given terminal were assigned to car orders placed by
customers within the terminal complex. Keep in mind that this might
also entail supplying cars to locals operating out of the terminal
over 100 to 150 miles of a division. Normally this activity was done
by industry service clerks or local car distribution folks. Yes we
did deviate from planning but attempted based on the destination
specified by the industry, to find an appropriate Rule 1 or Rule 2
empty. Lacking this we found, or looked for, an appropriate home
road car. Also local conductors had a habit of providing empties to
shippers at their disgression and not via the direction of the local
orders provided by the clerks. Yardmasters did appreciate the clerks
that went out of there way to make their switching easier by finding
cars in appropriate blocks to supply customers on car orders. Most
clerks new the short home routes for empties without looking at an
ORER. Usually this was specified in "tide" or "flow" instructions to
specific terminals to eliminate any confusion over "where" to send a
foreign empty. My early experience with the ORER was looking for
load limits and capacity on specific cars to fill car orders.

Shippers did specify routings but were not required to do so.
Shipper specified routings were more commonplace during the 40's and
50's and fell off during the 60's and 70's and shippers began to let
the railroads determine the best routing. In most cases the carrier
that originated the load tried to get the longest possible
routing "on-line" to get the largest division of revenue. However,
some customers liked to specify their routing to avoid either major
terminals or to pay back a marketing person.

Diversions were specified by the broker. However, a car could be
diverted once without cost to the broker providing the car was going
in a straight line movement between two end points. Example would be
diversion lumber moving from Pacific Northwest via MSTL to Peoria and
Peoria being the broker specified destination. It the car reached
Albert Lea, MN and was diverted to Indianpolis, IN for the final
customer the diversion was free. However, if the diversion was from
Albert Lea, MN to Sioux Falls, SD then, depending on era, was either
treated as a diversion with a specific charge, or as an entirely new
shipment because of the diversion being back in a westward movement.
Brokers made every attempt to sell their product enroute and in a
linear fashion.

Tim Gilbert and I talked a number of times over the years. His
conclusions were based on careful analysis of data and his own
personal background. We are lucky to have had his insight into car
distribution and breakdown of ownership and use.

Dan Holbrook


Re: Freight car distribution

Tim O'Connor
 

Dave

The Southern Pacific would number specially equipped or assigned
box cars into various 600000 series. Cars moved in and out of these
series as needs changed. I have to think the whole logic of this
renumbering was that it made it far easier for yard personnel to
identify and segregate these cars so they didn't get mixed up with
the general purpose XM's.

As cars became more and more specialized, I'm sure the handling of
these cars greatly complicated car handling in terminal yards. No
wonder the railroads have so strongly embraced intermodal boxes!

Tim O'Connor

That said, specialty cars exist... And are problematic: should they be
included or excluded from the sample of road names? Consider how the data
from Sherman Hill might be wholly indifferent to the appearance of such
cars, given overall traffic volumes, as compared to, say, the Western
Pacific which saw both considerably fewer bocars and was a terminating road
at an auto assembly plant. Consider how the PM boxcar fleet was mostly
specialty cars.

Dave Nelson


Re: Freight car distribution

Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>
 

I think they are referring to a previous USENET-based mailing list whose archives is out in the ether somewhere. I occaisionally run across individual threads when doing a google search, but I haven't stumbled onto a reliable way to reference it as a whole.

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: Cyril and Lynn Durrenberger

You all keep saying to look at the past messages for some of this data. I found a number of them, but I did not locate any that had the work that is being sited. Could some one provide the message numbers to assist this process.


Re: Freight car distribution

Tim O'Connor
 

1) If a freight agent in LA has 2 shippers requesting 40' XM MT's,
one load destined for Syracuse, and the other for Harrisburg, and
he has a bunch of empty 40 foot XM's - including one PRR, and one
NYC, would he just flip a coin? I've got to believe he would send
cars towards their home roads ...
Dave

This sounds highly unrealistic to me. A freight yard is not a
deck of cards. A string of MT box cars is held on a track. The
yard clerk has a list of them, but all the agent knows is that
there are 27 XM's on a track. The first 5 are picked off for
local X, then next 7 go to local Y, etc. WHY ON EARTH would any
employee care which car went where? Per diem was fixed at that
time, the same for every 40' box car, new or old, wood or steel,
plain or roller bearing. Unless a customer had special loading
requirements (e.g. DF devices) or needed a special door size or
whatever, surely the customer didn't care.

Can you IMAGINE your scenario? -- There's a PRR box car 12th in
the line. The shipper is going to receive 3 cars at 3 doors, and
the cargo for the second door is going to Fort Wayne on the PRR
and the cargos for the other doors are going to Syracuse. The
train crew doesn't give a damn, so someone has to arrange the
cars in the local freight job so that when they spot 3 cars on
the customer siding, the first and third cars are NYC and the
middle car is PRR.

Does that sound INSANE to you??? It should!

Tim was right. Thousands of employee anecdotes back him up. About
15 years ago there was a terrific article about the UP management
trying to get UP employee to -insert- cars into trains to preserve
their destination-block-order. This ordering was ESSENTIAL to keep
costs down so UP could get the business. It was a TOTAL FAILURE.
The train service employees didn't care. The trains would arrive
in Portland OR in a total mish-mosh order, requiring a lengthy
sorting out. UP lost the business (which was substantial).

Cars didn't travel randomly by DESIGN. They travelled randomly
because it was the EASIEST way to deal with cars. Every single
movement of a car costs real money -- crew time, fuel, and loco
time. Railroads who wasted money sorting cars based on reporting
marks (and for no other reason) would go out of business in a
big hurry.

Tim O'Connor


Re: Freight car distribution

Cyril Durrenberger
 

I had the same problem

Cyril Durrenberger

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...> wrote:
--- In STMFC@..., "Steve Lucas" <stevelucas3@...> wrote:

I never had the pleasure of meeting Tim, but it's patently obvious
that his work was very thorough. What is reasonably typical, on the
average? He's probably closer than any of us ever will be.

======

I'll have more to say on this later, but first maybe we need to review
what Tim actually said. Yesterday morning, after urging from Mike
Brock, I did a search in our archives on "freight car distribution"
and got 266 messages to look at. During the course of the day I
browsed the 150 or so from before I joined this list. I'm still
confused as to what Tim really concluded about distribution by
ownership. Is there anyone who has those details or can point us to
the messages that have the conclusions,.

In regard to the above snippet from Steve.

My key point is that "reasonably typical" "on average" is not a really
useful concept. Like of my many drives between Boston and New York it
would be extraordinary for one to be the average time, and don't forget
that in the car stuff we're talking about distributions with all kinds
of skewness and normal distributions aren't demonstrably common.

"He's probably closer than any of us ever will be."

I think I strongly disagree with that statement but need to find what
he actually said.


Re: Freight car distribution

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
Tony, all I meant was that the shipper chose the AVAILABLE route. Not all possible routes were available, and many of those that were available, were circuitous. That was my point -- a railroad did not have to take part in a tariff if they didn't want to.
That's quite true. In fact, the railroad was empowered to REJECT a route they saw as too circuitous, though if the shipper threatened to file a complaint with the ICC, they often would back down. The ICC was believed by railroaders to always favor shippers.

The NP and other railroads collaborated to create weird routes for loads of lumber that would attract this traffic to their lines. The destinations of such tariffs were in the middle of nowhere -- so the shipper wanted plenty of time to re-consign the car before it arrived there. If it did arrive, they would have to pay
I understand the story, but it seems weird. Perishable diversions on PFE were almost entirely via real routings and major cities (Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, etc.). One part of a perishable diversion (I don't know about lumber) was to hold a specified number of days at a designated point, though of course with perishables you didn't want to stretch too far <g>.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Not just RAILMODEL JOURNAL

Greg Martin
 

If I could comment on this from experience, I will only say this. I once had a meeting with a publisher close to me at the time and was in the company of another ex-editor and this publisher made a comment about the future of his magazine that struck me like a truck. HE said that he had discuss the magazine with friends of the magazine and that they had come to the conclusion that content is not what sells a magazine, that it is presentation that sold magazines.

I know that Tony knows exactly who I am talking about. That magazine is now gone. The two of us outside the magazine argued the point based on the early success of the magazine. But alas it was pointless the die had been cast and I am convince it was the wrong direct to take.? I believe that content is KING and presentation is important as well, but I would buy and have a nice collection of the early days of this magazine when the magazine was mostly B&W and the content prepared was very well supported by incredible historians and modelers... NO NEED TO NAME NAMES.

Is there room for a new magazine in our market place? I would say?YES, but I am not sure it needs to be on paper. There has been many fine paperback options introduced into the marketplace albeit it not necessarily on modeling, more devoted to historical aspects of our hobby.?Interestingly enough I was approached by an individual that said he and an other?was interested in doing a new modeling magazine... vaporware? Well...?

The?issue with all modeling articles, and we reviewed this when?developing TKM, the shelf-life of any subject is about two years and then it can be re-invented by another modeler with as much success as the original, providing the techniques are different and there is new data or a new subject?as a platform, i.e. a new model or a different era. The other issue for editor's is author burn-out happens about 5 years or there about.?

Tony's right deadlines for Editors are a bone crusher...?

Greg Martin??

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 5:02 pm
Subject: [STMFC] Re: RAILMODEL JOURNAL






Kurt Laughlin wrote:
What's your professional opinion as a publisher Tony: Is a magazine
that carries more/only "articles of a serious nature" viable
financially? If you received commitments from the cognoscenti to
provide content, would you be willing to start such a magazine?
Wish I could comment intelligently on this, but I really know
nothing about magazines (except that I sure don't want to deal with
monthly or bi-monthly deadlines). I do think that if the content is
100% "freight car mafia" I had better plan on a smallish list of
subscribers. Whether there is a business model which could carry that,
I don't know. But if you talk to some of the folks responsible for
business models in hobby magazines, your eyes will cross and your
tongue will curl up. Either they know really, really a lot, or they
don't get it at all. I'm not sure which. Recent events may help with
that answer, but in fairness, times are changing--as they always are.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Prototype Drawings in Mags

drgwrail
 

I am quite ceratain that within the next 5 years there will be no
accurate scale drawings of cars and locomotives in any madel rairload
magazine.

From my contacts in the mags I understand that 1) They cost too much
in terms of what it costs to have drawings done 2) they take up too
much space...particlularly if they have to be a fold out 3) Reders
survey show they are of little interest.

I have been doing drawings for mags as well as product design
engineering for almost 50 years now (and turned out my share of poor
drawings years ago) Switched to AutoCAD 20 years ago and gave up pen
and ink. In working for almost all of the major model RR mafgrs CAD
is a must.

If youa re just doing mag or book drawings pen and ink is almsot as
fast...as has been pointed out, the savings are in the commonality of
trucks, brake fittings, etc. plus the ease of checking accuracy and
making corrections.

So far as I know Harold Russell and I are the only ones doing thsi
sort of thing...and I think Harold has dropped out.

Might also comment that it is pretty apparent that a lot of the
people on this forum are confused between true engineering CAD systems
and the graphics type programs used in the graphic arts. There are a
lot of CAD programs out there for less that $100 that are OK for
simple floor plans, sketches, and circuit schematics but the cheapest
version AutoCAD is about $1400. Solid Works, which is more or less
the industry SD standard cost over $5000 plus an anuual fee of around
$1000.

Another observation is what a lot of guys say can be done is true if
you have access to state of the art software, plotters, rapid
protyping as done in large high tech industry but this stuff is
beyond what an individual or the average model rr mfgr can
afford...or justify.

End of sermonzing!

Chuck Yungkurth
Boulder CO


Re: Freight car distribution

Tim O'Connor
 

I'll repeat my point: the shipper chose the route.
Tony Thompson
Tony, all I meant was that the shipper chose the AVAILABLE
route. Not all possible routes were available, and many of
those that were available, were circuitous. That was my
point -- a railroad did not have to take part in a tariff
if they didn't want to. The example I gave was a real one:
the Rock Island signed on to a C&NW tariff from Peoria to
St Louis. Even though the Rock Island's route structure
meant the car had to travel west to Kansas City and then
east to St Louis -- about 4 times the distance.

In the brokered cargo cases, yes, the shipper chose the
route specified in the tariff -- but ONLY because the
railroads involved chose to create that tariff. The NP
and other railroads collaborated to create weird routes
for loads of lumber that would attract this traffic to
their lines. The destinations of such tariffs were in
the middle of nowhere -- so the shipper wanted plenty of
time to re-consign the car before it arrived there. If it
did arrive, they would have to pay

Tim O'Connor


Re: Freight car distribution

Cyril Durrenberger
 

You all keep saying to look at the past messages for some of this data. I found a number of them, but I did not locate any that had the work that is being sited. Could some one provide the message numbers to assist this process.

Thanks,

Cyril Durrenberger

benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@...> wrote:
Ton Thompson wrote:
"We really need to get it into print somewhere, since it's natural
that not everyone has access to, or wants to access, the archives of
this particular list. Maybe RP CYC? Ed or Pat, are your scanning
this?"

Tony, Tim and I had discussed before he passed away. Tim had drafted
a paper with his findings, but it was extremely detailed and by his
own admission something we probably could not have pushed in the
hobby press, even in a publication such as RP Cyc. Our biggest
hangup was how to express the information in terms that most
hobbyists could understand without losing the heart of his analysis.
It's my desire to follow through on this, but it's competing with
many other projects, not to mention the day job and the reserves.

Unfortunately, this thread has shown this work to be sorely needed.
I share Dave Nelson's frustation - we seem to keep coming back to
this subject, and people continue to fail to look in the archives and
continue to ignore Tim's work. It's true it's not the be-all and end-
all on this subject, but it has far more analytical rigor than the
unsupported opinions that have been presented over the past few
days. Tony's challenge that the burden of proof rests with those
making the argument is dead on - if you think the "Boomer Pete/Chubb
Neighbors Weigh Heavier" is a more valid model, then back it up with
some data. If you can't, then you're just wasting all of our time.

Ben Hom


Re: Freight car distribution

Dave Nelson
 

-----Original Message-----

1) If a freight agent in LA has 2 shippers requesting 40' XM MT's, one
load destined for Syracuse, and the other for Harrisburg, and he has a
bunch of empty 40 foot XM's - including one PRR, and one NYC, would he
just flip a coin? I've got to believe he would send cars towards their
home roads, national pool or not, even during WWII.

-----End Original Message-----

Wasn't there a magazine ad about a brand new PS-1 boxcar that travelled for
over 5 years before returning to home rails? Anybody recall that? Seems
cars scattered like marbles out of a dropped, busted bag and once in motion
they tended to continue to bounce around.

Anyway, WRT to my earlier summation of the various hypothesis... I forgot
something: when the word boxcar is read one should think XM cars and for
flatcars, FM cars. These will be more evenly distributed than special cars
(e.g., XAP) which were usually tied to service in particular locations.

That said, specialty cars exist... And are problematic: should they be
included or excluded from the sample of road names? Consider how the data
from Sherman Hill might be wholly indifferent to the appearance of such
cars, given overall traffic volumes, as compared to, say, the Western
Pacific which saw both considerably fewer bocars and was a terminating road
at an auto assembly plant. Consider how the PM boxcar fleet was mostly
specialty cars.

My point in bring this up is to show some of the complexity and to remind
people the while hypothesis is strong, it is still a generally speaking
hypothesis, and as such should not be seen as an iron clad rule but just
something suitable as a guideline in the absence of alternative factual
information.

Dave Nelson