Car movements


Clark Propst <cepropst@...>
 

I've been trying to comprehend this freight car movement business, because I'm trying to work out an operating scheme for my layout. But I'm not getting it. The little info I have shows no preference to any car, just load what's available.

Chet just sent me train orders for a local wayfreight that said : "If you have any mty box give to co/op"
But, he also sent a switch list with a hand written note at the bottom stating: Spot the 2 foreign Bx first to load"

My question is: If I have two empties, one mine, one foreign road and a customer orders a car. Which do I give him and why? And why would I not give him the other car?

Hopefully the answer will straighten me out?
Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa


Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

Clark Propst wrote:

I've been trying to comprehend this freight car movement business, because I'm trying to work out an operating scheme for my layout. But I'm not getting it. The little info I have shows no preference to any car, just load what's available.

Chet just sent me train orders for a local wayfreight that said : "If you have any mty box give to co/op"
But, he also sent a switch list with a hand written note at the bottom stating: Spot the 2 foreign Bx first to load"

My question is: If I have two empties, one mine, one foreign road and a customer orders a car. Which do I give him and why? And why would I not give him the other car?

Hopefully the answer will straighten me out?
Clark,

Assuming they are both General Service boxcars, I would expect that the conductor would have the switch crew do as little work as possible. If the drop could be made from the head end, the selected boxcar would probably be the one closest to the engine.

Tim Gilbert


Greg Martin
 

Clark,

Having not being in the business during the steam era I can't say how the car service rules were handled or how well enforced they were, especially when cars were tight and by that I mean in a shortage were talking boxcars here). However in more recent times I can tell you that the local agents made a lot of decisions for the car applicators, regardless of service rules. When I needed a car and had one empty on spot or there was an empty in town we got it. We were usually ask where the load was headed and then if the two matched the gateway or and online destination in the "right" direction then we got it. Mostly they would save the online cars for "online" halls, as when cars were short you really didn't want "your" car going over a gateway off line because they took so long to get back. Right or wrong that is what was done. But these "local" rules played out the same way when car were long as well, they just never wanted their cars to go off line. The AAR made the rules but as one applicator told me in a whisper, "the AAR doesn't own any cars". Times have changed over the past ten years as the western class 1's have gone to computer application and are living it. What good is pre diem when what you needed was an empty car for a revenue haul?

I do know that in the early 50's the SP&S was extremely short of cars and the parent companies was forced by the AAR to buy equipment for the SP&S because the other class 1's were fed-up with the SP&S "stealling" cars for loads in the OE territory. The GN bought themselves and the SP&S the car we now know as the 10'-2" car to supplement/bolster their fleet in order to avoid an embargo... This was told to me by an old Q car applicator long retired from the BN. I can see where this could have been a huge issue. One rule that both the applicators and local agents lived and died by was, " you can never load a Canadian marked car , unless you had a Canadian destination under any circumstances". We never did. Car supply is a boon or bust with business. Once Tony Thompson told me when the UP was extremely short on Center Partition/Beam cars that he had found all the supply I would ever need but they were down in Phoenix... go figure...

As we always said, follow the rules but if you made a known mistake then be prepared to beg for forgiveness... 3^)

Greg Martin

-----Original Message-----
From: cepropst@...
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 1:54 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Car movements


I've been trying to comprehend this freight car movement business, because I'm trying to work out an operating scheme for my layout. But I'm not getting it. The little info I have shows no preference to any car, just load what's available.

Chet just sent me train orders for a local wayfreight that said : "If you have any mty box give to co/op"
But, he also sent a switch list with a hand written note at the bottom stating: Spot the 2 foreign Bx first to load"

My question is: If I have two empties, one mine, one foreign road and a customer orders a car. Which do I give him and why? And why would I not give him the other car?

Hopefully the answer will straighten me out?
Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa





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Miller, Andrew S. <asmiller@...>
 

In the days before computers, per diem charges were based upon who had
possession of the car at midnight. This led to a frantic movement of
cars through interchange yards as the witching hour approached. Each
road trying to dump as many foreign cars on its neighbor before the
bell went off. It was sort of like a game of hearts with hundreds of
50 ton queens of spades !

The operation has great potential for interesting operation on an
appropriately configured model RR.

regards,

Andy Miller


Russell Strodtz <sheridan@...>
 

Clark,

Another factor that may fit in with an operating scheme:

Say your local elevator is ordering three cars a day. The Car Distributor or
Conductor on your local is right with the program and shows up Monday with
15 cars or even spaces them out over the week. As luck would have it the
fields are wet and he does not have enough corn or beans coming in to load
at that pace. As long as the Agent has ordered cars on hand he must
constructivly place three cars per day, (see Harris Anti-Trust Law
pertaining to unlawfull rebates). In order to make the demurrage system
function fairly the cars have to be spotted in the order thay were
constructivly placed.

This would mean that both the Agent and Conductor would have to try and keep
the cars in the correct order to avoid unecessary switching.

I have worked in a situation where a single Customer might have 75 or 80
loaded or empty cars that have yet to be spotted and it does get
complicated. At times the Car Distributor would get ambitious and send you
un-ordered cars for "prospective loading". That was sometimes good and
sometimes bad. After a while the Mill Foreman did get used to me
and, to some degree, let me handle the spotting order of both loads and
empties. This made for easier switching but I still had to place cars in the
order of arrival. A byproduct of this was that it saved them some demurrage
on loaded cars because he did not know the arrival dates and was often
running around older cars.

Russ

I've been trying to comprehend this freight car movement business, because
I'm trying to work out an operating scheme for my layout. But I'm not
getting it. The little info I have shows no preference to any car, just load
what's available.

Chet just sent me train orders for a local wayfreight that said : "If you
have any mty box give to co/op"
But, he also sent a switch list with a hand written note at the bottom
stating: Spot the 2 foreign Bx first to load"

My question is: If I have two empties, one mine, one foreign road and a
customer orders a car. Which do I give him and why? And why would I not give
him the other car?

Hopefully the answer will straighten me out?
Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa


Schuyler Larrabee
 

As we always said, follow the rules but if you made a known
mistake then be prepared to beg for forgiveness... 3^)

Greg Martin
Always easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

SGL


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Posted by: "Miller, Andrew S." In the days before computers, per diem charges were based upon who had
possession of the car at midnight. This led to a frantic movement of
cars through interchange yards as the witching hour approached. Each
road trying to dump as many foreign cars on its neighbor before the
bell went off. It was sort of like a game of hearts with hundreds of
50 ton queens of spades !
====================

That is not what really happened. Most interchanges were done on a regular schedule. There were a number of freight trains that were scheduled to optimize per diem. For example, one of B&M's trains from Boston to Mechanicville was sceduled to arrive several hours before midnight to ensure that the cars made per diem on most days. Note that you couldn't schedule a freight train to always make per diem with all cars released during the day. If it was scheduled to wait for all cars pulled that day it would often miss perdiem while if it was scheduled to always make per diem it would miss taking some cars. That was because of the inherent time variability of freight operations.

There was no distinction between foreign and home road cars. The per diem applied equally.

There was little if any "frantic movement of cars through interchange yards as the witching hour approached".

Note that when I mention schedule for interchanges, I don't mean that the work was done at exactly the same time, but it was a regular part of a job. For example, a third trick switcher on duty at 23:00 might have had making an interchange delivery during its first hour of work as part of its normal work.


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


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

As we always said, follow the rules but if you made a known
mistake then be prepared to beg for forgiveness. .. 3^)

Greg Martin
Always easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

SGL
=============

Especially when the chance of getting caught is very low.


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


Miller, Andrew S. <asmiller@...>
 

Mal,
In my college days at MIT I witnessed the midnight madness on the Grand
Junction every night as long strings of cars were moved from the NYC
yards in Brighton to the B&M in Charlestown and vice-versa just before
midnight. After midnight the line went quit for a long time.

regards,

Andy Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Malcolm Laughlin
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:25 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Car movements

Posted by: "Miller, Andrew S." In the days before computers, per
diem charges were based upon who had
possession of the car at midnight. This led to a frantic movement of
cars through interchange yards as the witching hour approached. Each
road trying to dump as many foreign cars on its neighbor before the
bell went off. It was sort of like a game of hearts with hundreds of
50 ton queens of spades !
====================

That is not what really happened. Most interchanges were done on a
regular schedule. There were a number of freight trains that were
scheduled to optimize per diem. For example, one of B&M's trains from
Boston to Mechanicville was sceduled to arrive several hours before
midnight to ensure that the cars made per diem on most days. Note that
you couldn't schedule a freight train to always make per diem with all
cars released during the day. If it was scheduled to wait for all cars
pulled that day it would often miss perdiem while if it was scheduled
to always make per diem it would miss taking some cars. That was
because of the inherent time variability of freight operations.

There was no distinction between foreign and home road cars. The per
diem applied equally.

There was little if any "frantic movement of cars through interchange
yards as the witching hour approached".

Note that when I mention schedule for interchanges, I don't mean that
the work was done at exactly the same time, but it was a regular part
of a job. For example, a third trick switcher on duty at 23:00 might
have had making an interchange delivery during its first hour of work
as part of its normal work.


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]




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Russell Strodtz <sheridan@...>
 

Malcom,

I beg to differ. In the case of an intermediate switch road they were
getting very little revenue from the movement of a "Road to Road" car.
Their profit may have been about equal to one day's per diem.

The IHB at Gibson would have 7 or 8 transfer jobs going on duty between late
afternoon and early evening. The jobs that had the longest runs,
(CMStP&P,C&NW,IC West,CGW,CB&Q,AT&SF McCook, with some of these being
combined), were made up first. As they left the shorter jobs,
(IC South,C&EI), would be made up. They ran by a pattern that had been in
place for a long time and even after the rules were changed stuck to the
same pattern for some years.

The B&OCT was not positioned to handle a great deal of intermediate traffic,
other than that supplied by it's owner, and was free of much of this
pressure.

In the case of the BRC most of the owners delivered and pulled at Clearing
and ran on their own schedules. Since the BRC was on a usage share rate
system it really did not matter that much.

I personally handled the issue on a case by case basis. My employer was not
terribly concerned over the issue. I learned rather quickly that it was
better if you did not make a decision until after the train was yarded.
Since they were yarding the train with air the movement had to be slow but
there was a big difference between 2 mph and 5 mph. I also had a connection
to make at 0300 for Eastbound traffic and that was one my employer did
consider to be of great importance. The system required accommodation on
both sides.

Russ

----- Original Message -----
From: Malcolm Laughlin
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, 14 December, 2006 10:24
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Car movements



There was little if any "frantic movement of cars through interchange
yards as the witching hour approached".


Frank Greene <fgreen01@...>
 

"Malcolm Laughlin" <mlaughlinnyc@...> wrote:
There was no distinction between foreign and home road cars. The per diem applied equally.

I understood everything you said except this. Are you saying the home road's cars earned the same PD on foreign roads as the foreign roads' cars earned on the home road?

Thanks,

Frank Greene
Memphis, TN


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Mal,
In my college days at MIT I witnessed the midnight madness on the Grand Junction every night as long strings of cars were moved from the NYC yards in Brighton to the B&M in Charlestown and vice-versa just before midnight. After midnight the line went quit for a long time.
Andy Miller
--------------

Sorry Andy, but what you say here doesn't correspond with the facts. It was not "midnight madness", and there was nothing frantic about it. It was most likely the third trick switcher out of Beacon Park which among its duties would have been the B&M interchange delivery at L&F Junction, which BTW is in Cambridge or Somerville, not Boston. The NYC did not reach the Charlestown part of Boston.

I spent some time on the B&A in the summer of 1960 and learned that L&F Jct. was a very minor interchange point. Did you ever follow that train to see how much was set out at L&F Jct ? That it was quiet behing the MIT dorms doesn't tell us that they weren't switching the many industries between Main Street and East Boston.

As for the B&M interchange, there was no need for any special effort to make per diem there. The interchange track was part of their yard and they could spot cars there at any time it was convenient for the yardmaster.


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


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Posted by: "Russell Strodtz" Malcom,

I beg to differ. In the case of an intermediate switch road they were
getting very little revenue from the movement of a "Road to Road" car.
Their profit may have been about equal to one day's per diem.
=============

I don't think you are really differing from what I said so much as expanding on it with good info on another common situation. I was objecting to characterizing the normal pattern of interchange operation as "frantic movement of cars".

What you say is an example of what I meant. When I said a long way from the interchange, I was thinking hundreds of miles, which was not applicable if you were working for one of the Chicago switching roads. Which railroad did you work for ? I like your brief summary of the Chicago roads.

An interesting example of a whole fleet of trains not scheduled to make per diem was NYC's westbound fleet of Chicago interchange traffic. Most of the trains arrived Elkhart in the evening from the east and departed for Chicago connections in the early morning hours and were interchanged before noon. Those schedules actually reflected time sthat traffic was ready to move in New York and New england.

Eastbound a large part of the traffic arrived and was interchange shortly after midnight. You'll recall the IHB pullers with a 1:30 am cutoff. Of course we should remenber that per diem was irrelevant to a large part of the eastbound hot traffic. That was the produce and meat traffic which was carried almost entirely in private line cars which were on a mileage basis, not per diem.




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


Tony Thompson
 

Frank Greene wrote:
I understood everything you said except this. Are you saying the home
road's cars earned the same PD on foreign roads as the foreign roads' cars
earned on the home road?
How could it be otherwise? unless I misunderstand Frank's question.

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


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Posted by: "Frank Greene" ) I understood everything you said except this. Are you saying the home
road's cars earned the same PD on foreign roads as the foreign roads' cars
earned on the home road?
==================

Per diem was a daily payment, at a fixed rate, paid by each railroad to the owner of any railroad-owned car on its railroad at midnight.


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


Tim O'Connor
 

--- Frank Greene wrote:

Are you saying the home road's cars earned the same PD on foreign
roads as the foreign roads' cars earned on the home road?
Yes, until differential PD came into being (after the STMFC era).
But home road cars paid no PD on their own lines, and that provided
some incentive to prefer to load foreign cars and get them off line
with a revenue earning movement. Also if one's own cars were better
quality than the foreign cars (e.g. equipped with roller bearings),
one might prefer not to send them offline if another road's car
was available for the load. At certain times of year a railroad
might hoard its own equipment online, as the GN did for the wheat
rush. This meant parking equipment for a month or more in
anticipation of the rush, and they didn't want to pay PD on those
idle cars.

Tim O'Connor


Rupert and Maureen <gamlenz@...>
 

Per diem was a daily payment, at a fixed rate, paid by each railroad to the owner of any railroad-owned car on its railroad at midnight.


Malcolm Laughlin, Editor
New England Rail Shipper Directories

Malcolm

A couple of questions relating to rates and ORER's.

Were the per diem rates fixed solely by the individual railroad, by agreement or by regulatory imposition? I suspect the latter, thereby avoiding price wars (noting recent comments about competing on service or whisky bottles!).

However they were fixed, did these rates take into account the size of the car, cubic capacity, etc? The picture I have gained over the last three years of posts (especially from those who actually worked in the yards) was that little consideration was given to the dimensions of the car being assigned, as long as it was long/wide/high enough,, etc. This then begs the question as to why car owners showed the dimensions in the ORER's down to the nearest sixteenth of an inch, or the cubic capacity to the nearest cubic foot.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ


Russell Strodtz <sheridan@...>
 

Rupert,

As to ORER's there were many tariffs that involved minimums and took into
account the capacity of a furnished car. The ORER was the only official
publication that could be cited.

As to the exact numbers with fractions there are those that like to go to
that extreme.

As to the concept of publishing the dimensions at all it did serve a
purpose. A factory loading appliances packed in cardboard cartons was very
concerned about interior width and height. If they could steer their contact
to only order or spot cars that they could use it helped both them and the
carrier.

I have mentioned that I viewed the whole process as "pragmatic and
practical". That does not mean that you gave the Customer cars that they can
not load to their satisfaction. Did a little trace on a car last night.
Was loaded with some type of forest product at Longview TX for a building
materials company in La Crosse WI. When empty it was spotted at City Brewing
and loaded with Malt Liquor for Coors at Golden CO. That is a lot of
revenue for an empty haul of about five miles. Both Customers got what they
wanted and needed. Was this an assigned car? Probably not. These days more
and more cars are assigned to commodity pools with no specific loading
point.

Russ
A couple of questions relating to rates and ORER's.

Were the per diem rates fixed solely by the individual railroad, by
agreement or by regulatory imposition? I suspect the latter, thereby
avoiding price wars (noting recent comments about competing on service or
whisky bottles!).

However they were fixed, did these rates take into account the size of the
car, cubic capacity, etc? The picture I have gained over the last three
years of posts (especially from those who actually worked in the yards)
was
that little consideration was given to the dimensions of the car being
assigned, as long as it was long/wide/high enough,, etc. This then begs
the
question as to why car owners showed the dimensions in the ORER's down to
the nearest sixteenth of an inch, or the cubic capacity to the nearest
cubic
foot.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Further on Rupert’s questions and Russ’s response.

> As to ORER's there were many tariffs that involved minimums and
> took into account the capacity of a furnished car. The ORER was
> the only official publication that could be cited.

The RER was actually a tariff subject to the same publication rules and regulation as other tariffs. Nearly all freight rate tariffs made reference to the RER.

There were published rates that related to the capacity of the car or specified a car type or dimension. For example, when a rate specified “loaded to full visible capacity”, the defined capacity for a car came from the RER.

> Were the per diem rates fixed solely by the individual railroad, by
agreement or by regulatory imposition?

It was simple in the steam era. Multi-level per diem, hourly car hire, regulatory interference, etc. all came after the mid 60’s. There was a single per diem rate for all railroads, set by the AAR. That goes back into ancient history. It was diffcult to make a change in the rate because it required a vote of the railroads, weighted by size. Big eastern roads had the most weight and tended to resist increases.

> why car owners showed the dimensions in the ORER's down to
the nearest sixteenth of an inch, or the cubic capacity to the nearest
cubic foot.

The numbers came from the mechanical department, which needed to have the numbers to that level of accuracy to have they car built. The answer to your question in many cases may simply be if you have the exact number why bother to round it.


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


Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
 

Posted by: "Russell Strodtz" sheridan@... theloweryard Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:11 am (PST) Rupert,

As to ORER's there were many tariffs that involved minimums and took into
account the capacity of a furnished car. The ORER was the only official
publication that could be cited.

As to the exact numbers with fractions there are those that like to go to
that extreme.

As to the concept of publishing the dimensions at all it did serve a
purpose. A factory loading appliances packed in cardboard cartons was very
concerned about interior width and height. If they could steer their contact
to only order or spot cars that they could use it helped both them and the
carrier.

I have mentioned that I viewed the whole process as "pragmatic and
practical". That does not mean that you gave the Customer cars that they can
not load to their satisfaction. Did a little trace on a car last night.
Was loaded with some type of forest product at Longview TX for a building
materials company in La Crosse WI. When empty it was spotted at City Brewing
and loaded with Malt Liquor for Coors at Golden CO. That is a lot of
revenue for an empty haul of about five miles. Both Customers got what they
wanted and needed. Was this an assigned car? Probably not. These days more
and more cars are assigned to commodity pools with no specific loading
point.

Russ
A couple of questions relating to rates and ORER's.

Were the per diem rates fixed solely by the individual railroad, by
agreement or by regulatory imposition? I suspect the latter, thereby
avoiding price wars (noting recent comments about competing on service or
whisky bottles!).

However they were fixed, did these rates take into account the size of the
car, cubic capacity, etc? The picture I have gained over the last three
years of posts (especially from those who actually worked in the yards)
was
that little consideration was given to the dimensions of the car being
assigned, as long as it was long/wide/high enough,, etc. This then begs
the
question as to why car owners showed the dimensions in the ORER's down to
the nearest sixteenth of an inch, or the cubic capacity to the nearest
cubic
foot.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ


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