Date   

Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Bruce Smith wrote:
A large portion of the national fleet of tank cars was concentrated in a series of linear routes between the gulf coast oil fields and the north eastern refineries . . . So for us lucky PRR modelers, we get to model a great percentage of the national fleet as it traversed Pennsy rails, but someone modeling, say the ATSF, would see very few of those cars. So in this particular case, both time and location are absolutely critical!
So Bruce, what railroads do you think served those Gulf Coast refineries? Could Santa Fe be among them? But of course to model the tank trains, you'd have to model the right part of the Santa Fe at the right time--just as a Pennsy modeler has to model the right part of the PRR at the right time.
As with so many things, the locality and time one is modeling CAN be entirely controlling. Seth Neumann's layout includes a car plant, so he switches lots of consists of auto racks as well as parts cars. Most of us would only be able to have such cars in bridge traffic.
I once visited a layout on which was a representation of a regional GATC tank car cleaning and repair plant. Wow, could you have a big variety of tank cars in there--and not even restricted to GATX, since others could contract for work to be done there. And you can model cars in various stages of repair or re-assembly, not to mention partly painted, etc. If you love tank cars, it's hard to beat.

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: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies. Was: Re: Re:Fwd: Re: Freigh

Mike Brock <brockm@...>
 

Bruce Smith writes:

"As I
alluded to in an earlier message a large portion of the national fleet of
tank cars was concentrated in a series of linear routes between the gulf
coast oil fields and the north eastern refineries, and once the big inch
pipeline was finished, between the end of the pipeline and the refineries.
So for us lucky PRR modelers, we get to model a great percentage of the
national fleet as it traversed Pennsy rails, but someone modeling, say the
ATSF, would see very few of those cars. So in this particular case, both
time and location are absolutely critical!"

Hmmm. I'm not so sure of that. Checking, I note that the train of tank cars [ MT's ] I referred to was on the Frisco, at Sullivan between St. Louis and Spingfield running to Oklahoma during WW2. Santa Fe might actually also been the recipient of such traffic going from Texas and Oklahoma into Kansas City.

Incidentally, I note that two of the 35 trains in my frt conductor's book contain a few Sinclair tank cars. One with 59 [ 63% ] and one with 52 [ 42% ]. Based on max train lengths of 35 cars, that means I will need 22 SDRX tank cars. I have [ gasp ] 5.
Something tells me...

Mike Brock


division of revenue

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote
" All participating lines in a given routing would have to have some prior agreement regarding the division of revenues for THAT particular tariff, and there were tens of thousands of tariffs."
---------------------

This was not the case (before the 80's). Divisions were almost completely independent of tariffs. They were governed by division sheets that applied to all traffic. The divisions were private agreements among railroads that were not public documents as tariffs were. There were national division sheets and many sheets for two or more railroads for particular routes. This information leaked into the public domain only when the railroads could not agree and one or more protested to the ICC that the divisions were unfair.

Freight agents and shippers knew very little about divisions. Thye were appled in the railroad revenue accounting offices after the freight had been delivered an billed.

With the millions of individual tariff items, there was no possibility of having a division sheet for each tariff in the days BC.




Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478


Selecting cars for loading + statistical observation

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

My apologies for taking so long to replay to all of these interesting posts. On top of an extemely busy week, the hard disk on my office computer crashed and I'm just now catching up.

I’d like to address Dave Evans’ comments about how cars were loaded.


1) 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? Or do the agents not know the load's destination, only that a shipper needs a 40' XM?
-----------

In theory the agent should ascertain from the shipper where the loads were going and select cars accordingly. Among the reasons that the desired result was not achieved.


It would have been necessary to reswitch the empty box car track to get the right cars to the right shipper. Not likely to happen. The first ten cars go to shipper A, the next five to B, etc.
No agent was going to refuse bills of lading because the shipper put the Elkhart load in the PRR car and the Altoona laod in the NYC car.
Looking at it from the point of view of the shipper’s loading dock. Say there are ten cars going to ten consignees with similar loads. The loading dock foreman has ten loading orders. He puts the first order in the first car and the tenth order ends up in the 10th car. So the car that gets each laod depends on the sequence in which the orders were typed in the sales office. Nothing to do with marks of cars.


2), is it more likely that the NYC yard clerks would have it routed over the NYC's water-level route, rather than to the PRR, which could get it there over a slightly shorter distance
Yard clerks did not route cars. The freight agent receiving the shipper’s bill of lading copied the routing on the bill. If the shipper specified railroads but not junctions, the agent chose the junction giving his road the long haul, provided it was a service route. If the shipment was completely unrouted by the shipper, he would give his road the long haul and select the rest of the route based on service and friendly connections.

> 3) There is still the issue of statistical variations……….A little research found that Bell Labs/AT&T spent a ton of money developing the operations research for modeling these sorts of problems (it directly impacts the size of telephone systems). Turns out the deviations from average are often significant for many processes, especially if they involve processes that are not purely random

I took a couple of OR courses when I was at MIT. What I found in the real world of railroads was

1) The distributions were so lumpy that statistical methods usually didn’t work.

2) You couldn’t get any meaningful data from the field to plug in to the models.

3) What data you could get would be far enough behind that the results were out of date before transmission to the filed.

For example, I was asked to work on a model for diverting MDT reefers from the NYC main line to Weehawken for banana loading. But the railroad had a daily cycle imposed on a weekly cycle. Maybe there was a boat arriving every eight days. But the standard deviation of time between arrivals was two days and might be affected by labor in Central America and weather at sea. Now try to develop an algorithm for diverting the cars to Weehawken. Oh, and other variability – the flow of cars past the diversion point (Selkirk, congestion state of the yard and variations in train operations.


I actually did get some useful results with graphical inventory control models, but nothing more sophisticated was worth doing.

I can’t tell you some amusing tales about trying to apply linear programming to car distribution because that clearly required after 1961 computer capability.



Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Selecting cars for loading + statistical observation

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

My apologies for taking so long to replay to all of these interesting posts. On top of an extemely busy week, the hard disk on my office computer crashed and I'm just now catching up.

I’d like to address Dave Evans’ comments about how cars were loaded.


1) 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? Or do the agents not know the load's destination, only that a shipper needs a 40' XM?
-----------

In theory the agent should ascertain from the shipper where the loads were going and select cars accordingly. Among the reasons that the desired result was not achieved.


It would have been necessary to reswitch the empty box car track to get the right cars to the right shipper. Not likely to happen. The first ten cars go to shipper A, the next five to B, etc.
No agent was going to refuse bills of lading because the shipper put the Elkhart load in the PRR car and the Altoona laod in the NYC car.
Looking at it from the point of view of the shipper’s loading dock. Say there are ten cars going to ten consignees with similar loads. The loading dock foreman has ten loading orders. He puts the first order in the first car and the tenth order ends up in the 10th car. So the car that gets each laod depends on the sequence in which the orders were typed in the sales office. Nothing to do with marks of cars.


2), is it more likely that the NYC yard clerks would have it routed over the NYC's water-level route, rather than to the PRR, which could get it there over a slightly shorter distance
Yard clerks did not route cars. The freight agent receiving the shipper’s bill of lading copied the routing on the bill. If the shipper specified railroads but not junctions, the agent chose the junction giving his road the long haul, provided it was a service route. If the shipment was completely unrouted by the shipper, he would give his road the long haul and select the rest of the route based on service and friendly connections.

> 3) There is still the issue of statistical variations……….A little research found that Bell Labs/AT&T spent a ton of money developing the operations research for modeling these sorts of problems (it directly impacts the size of telephone systems). Turns out the deviations from average are often significant for many processes, especially if they involve processes that are not purely random

I took a couple of OR courses when I was at MIT. What I found in the real world of railroads was

1) The distributions were so lumpy that statistical methods usually didn’t work.

2) You couldn’t get any meaningful data from the field to plug in to the models.

3) What data you could get would be far enough behind that the results were out of date before transmission to the filed.

For example, I was asked to work on a model for diverting MDT reefers from the NYC main line to Weehawken for banana loading. But the railroad had a daily cycle imposed on a weekly cycle. Maybe there was a boat arriving every eight days. But the standard deviation of time between arrivals was two days and might be affected by labor in Central America and weather at sea. Now try to develop an algorithm for diverting the cars to Weehawken. Oh, and other variability – the flow of cars past the diversion point (Selkirk, congestion state of the yard and variations in train operations.



Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Tim Gilbert's work - LCL

water.kresse@...
 

There are still a one or two folks at CF that started out working as "on call" laborers at the LCL operation in CF. Good place to get your foot in the door and get to know someone who could get you a better job . . . if you worked hard. The retirees use to meet at the "Come to Corn Bread and Beans" lunches at the freight house to get together . . . before it became the Heritage Center. Don't know, with the layout, if there is room there anymore.

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
" I planned to share some of Tim's LCL research (a whole other kettle of fish) in some way in that magazine. "
----------

Although I strongly disagree with Tim's conclusions on car fleet distribution (more later today), I will piggyback on the above statement, with which I agree. When Tim visited our club he brought a wealth of data on C&O LCL operations. Our LCL operation is centered on Elkton, VA, not far from the actual C&O terminal at Clifton Forge. Thanks to Tim and the use of selective compression, we have a set of LCL routes that relfects the traffic flow proportions implied by the C&O data.

Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478


Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

George Hollwedel
 

Dang, there goes my searchlight car...

Prototype N Scale Models (TM)
by George Hollwedel
310 Loma Verde St
Buda, TX 78610-9785
512-796-6883
www.micro-trains.com/sr-0806-hollwedelATSF.php
www.micro-trains.com/hollwedel.php
www.imrcmodels.com/n/sr/html/GHollATSFExpressN.htm

--- On Fri, 8/15/08, al_brown03 <abrown@...> wrote:

From: al_brown03 <abrown@...>
Subject: [STMFC] Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.
To: STMFC@...
Date: Friday, August 15, 2008, 3:18 PM
--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor
<timboconnor@...> wrote:




My impression of most club layouts is that anachronism
is a far
worse distraction than reporting marks.
What?!? You mean that Coast Guard guided-missile car
shouldn't have
arch-bar trucks??!? Say it ain't so!

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.




------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links



Tim Gilbert's work - LCL

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

" I planned to share some of Tim's LCL research (a whole other kettle of fish) in some way in that magazine. "
----------

Although I strongly disagree with Tim's conclusions on car fleet distribution (more later today), I will piggyback on the above statement, with which I agree. When Tim visited our club he brought a wealth of data on C&O LCL operations. Our LCL operation is centered on Elkton, VA, not far from the actual C&O terminal at Clifton Forge. Thanks to Tim and the use of selective compression, we have a set of LCL routes that relfects the traffic flow proportions implied by the C&O data.


Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478


Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Al Brown wrote:
What?!? You mean that Coast Guard guided-missile car shouldn't have arch-bar trucks??!? Say it ain't so!
Well, at least the missile, its markings, and the launcher are accurate <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


Re: tax vs. customs

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Malcolm Laughlin wrote:
And speaking of "tax authorities" that may be too much of a generalization. Is it federal income tax, state sales tax or other. Think of how many of us casually viloate state sales tax rules by not reporting purchases in other states.
Good question. Earlier posters, who seemed to have SOME knowledge, just said "tax consequences." Someone still on the list may know more.
But how an individual handles tax issues is not usually how a corporation behaves.

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: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

al_brown03
 

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




My impression of most club layouts is that anachronism is a far
worse distraction than reporting marks.
What?!? You mean that Coast Guard guided-missile car shouldn't have
arch-bar trucks??!? Say it ain't so!

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.


Re: Question re Tichy USRA hopper - HO

Jonathan Grant <jonagrant@...>
 

Thanks for the invaluable help with the information. I'll post a photo
of the hopper when I'm done, probably tomorrow.

Jon


Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

Tim O'Connor
 

With respect to the 'purpose' ...
I think it has been left unsaid that it is very common to go to an NP
layout and see far too many NP cars - or to a B&O layout and see almost
nothing but B&O cars.

My impression of most club layouts is that anachronism is a far
worse distraction than reporting marks. At least with good staging
the percent of reporting marks can be corrected, while the anachronisms
are impossible to fix. (They can only be surgically removed.) I've only
seen a few home layouts in my region, and when it comes to freight cars
well... the word "irremediable" comes to mind.

Tim O'Connor


tax vs. customs

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

But remember, the responsible entities on tax issues were not Car Service but governmental bodies. I don't know about you, Steve, but my experience with the tax people is that they frown on doing things which are against the rules but "convenient. " Any taxation authority which got the bit in their teeth might well be quite aggressive on this point, though I have no idea if this actually did happen with freight cars in the steam era.
-----------------------

We should distinguish between tax authorities and customs rules in this discussion. AFAIK, customs violations were a civil violation that could result in payment of impots duties and fines for not reporting and making prompt payment. That is very difference from the rules enforced by the IRS which involve criminal penalties for deliberate violation.

And speaking of "tax authorities" that may be too much of a generalization. Is it federal income tax, state sales tax or other. Think of how many of us casually viloate state sales tax rules by not reporting purchases in other states.


Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478


Loading Canadian cars

Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Although we know there was a rule that Canadian cars could not be loaded between points in the US, and it was a customs violation to do so, and a rialroad could be fined for a violation, that doesn't tell us it didn't happen.

The likelihood of being caught was very low, and the penalty for being caught might have been insignificant.

Suppose you are the trainmaster, agent or GYM at Wallula and the agent at Yakima is screaming for cars at Yakima. You have a few CN cars just unlaoded. You send them to Yakima. Maybe you tell the Yakima agent those are cars for the shipper's loads to Canada ;-)

Now consider an unlikley event in which a some inspector notices the CN car laoded to Ogden and informs customs. Sometime later a notice comes down through channels and you get a strong slap on the wrist. The next month you get promoted because of your good record for serving customers well and keeping costs down.

An unlikely scenario, but not at all implausible.







Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478


Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies

Tim O'Connor
 

This obviously presents some very real problems: folks often don't like to /
or shouldn't handle cars. The solution to this lies w/ each person and
their layout. Staging is probably part of the answer. Having decent off
layout storage and figuring out best way to remove in and out of that
off-layout storage has to be another.
Dave Nelson
Dave

A train club I belong to last month had a design "bake off" for a
new layout. I'd submitted a design with a large amount of staging,
enough for 1,000 freight cars (for a layout w/ a 500' mainline). The
winning design chosen by members has no staging whatever, and only two
very small yards, which I take to be a vote for really poor operations.
I have no hope at all for that club anymore...

Tim O'Connor


Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dave Nelson wrote:
IOW, you should not plan your inventory of cars visible ON THE LAYOUT according to the distribution hypothesis, but your COMPLETE roster. And you must vary what's on the layout over time.
Here I think Dave makes a vital point. The cars you see when you visit a layout multiple times should not be the same cars every time. Of course the most eye-catching cars are the real offenders: the CofG "football" scheme, that huge transformer on an FD flat car, the Chateau Martin burgundy wine car, even the yellow MKT box car. But the unusual and small railroads are in this category too, even though to a lesser extent: the LS&I, the Rutland, West India Fruit, Buffalo Creek, Portland Terminal. They are absolutely entitled to be there, but just not every time or even every other time.
For me, the essential part of the Gilbert/Nelson hypothesis is that free-running cars from farther-away railroads are NOT less likely than nearer ones. The frequency-inverse-with-distance rule is an incorrect idea that dates back at least to Boomer Pete's book in the 1940s, and it needs a decent burial.

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: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

water.kresse@...
 

Folks,

Even though this discussion "appears" to go on fo ever, Dick Argo did a good presentation on what was freight car distribution in the C&O Parsons Yard, Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950s. A lot of lines run east-west through or just north of Columbus . . . including a PRR yard just north the C&O yard. I don't believe his study would meet the statistical standards needed by this group . . . . just notes over time taken while working as an "on call" diesel switch engine fireman or a rail-fan.

I've found some great C&O related FC images taken out in St. Louis, MO (boxes), Los Angeles, CA (scrap aluminum and steel gons), and up in Minnesota (coal gons). These freight cars sure do get around.

Al Kresse

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...>
It would be nice if this topic would get integrated into the mainstream Model Railroad Hobby.....

Having been in both the manufacturing and distribution end of the Industry, there is WAY too much sales regionalism in
roadnames.... (and I'm not even going to broach the tendency for people to buy the colorful and unusual over what
they really "need" to represent the prototype on their railroads!!).

While we might overbuy our favorite prototype road, those of us that have fictional home roads probably underpopulate
our railroads with cars for it due to the task of decaling or having custom runs done.

It is interesting to think about the distribution of roadnames and car types on a particular stretch of modeled railroad....
and to figure out how that should impact how the cars are waybilled. I don't think schemes that purely randomize the
car assignment by type without regard to owner duplicate the prototype. The car accounting rules and interchange
conventions between roads forced patterns that flavored the consists of individual trains.

Maybe Ted could think about this as a sidebar to his "Essential Freight Cars" series to provide the answer to the unwashed
as to WHY a Soo Line or Pennsy car is essential, even though a person models ATSF or B&M, etc..... I think MR had a
piece that opened the subject of car interchange rules and the accounting that was supposed to drive utilization of the fleet...
but perhaps more needs to be said on the subject, both for the general modeling public and as a handy authoritative reference for
more sophisticated students of freight cars....

Charlie Vlk

It


Re: Frt Car Distribution, diversions, routing et al

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Greg Martin wrote:
I think that there was far more self discipline and professionalism at the local level than is being given credit even in the steam and diesel transition era. I think that Dan's post proves that . . .
I don't discount what Larry Jackman has offered by I am of the opinion his generalization is the exception not the rule.
Ah, got it. Dan's post proves your viewpoint, while Larry's is just an exception. Interesting.

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: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies.

Charlie Vlk
 

It would be nice if this topic would get integrated into the mainstream Model Railroad Hobby.....

Having been in both the manufacturing and distribution end of the Industry, there is WAY too much sales regionalism in
roadnames.... (and I'm not even going to broach the tendency for people to buy the colorful and unusual over what
they really "need" to represent the prototype on their railroads!!).

While we might overbuy our favorite prototype road, those of us that have fictional home roads probably underpopulate
our railroads with cars for it due to the task of decaling or having custom runs done.

It is interesting to think about the distribution of roadnames and car types on a particular stretch of modeled railroad....
and to figure out how that should impact how the cars are waybilled. I don't think schemes that purely randomize the
car assignment by type without regard to owner duplicate the prototype. The car accounting rules and interchange
conventions between roads forced patterns that flavored the consists of individual trains.

Maybe Ted could think about this as a sidebar to his "Essential Freight Cars" series to provide the answer to the unwashed
as to WHY a Soo Line or Pennsy car is essential, even though a person models ATSF or B&M, etc..... I think MR had a
piece that opened the subject of car interchange rules and the accounting that was supposed to drive utilization of the fleet...
but perhaps more needs to be said on the subject, both for the general modeling public and as a handy authoritative reference for
more sophisticated students of freight cars....

Charlie Vlk

It

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