perishable traffic patterns


Tony Thompson
 

I have been working for some time to develop a way to show perishable diversions and reconsignments on model waybills. Other traffic, such as lumber and livestock, can also be moved with diversions. Greg Martin has regaled us more than once with stories about the lumber side of this, and Charles Hostetler, among others, has contributed on the prototype side also. I have now completed enough of my model waybill goals to post a blog segment on this topic. If you're interested, here is the link:

http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2016/04/waybills-part-49-diversion-and.html

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


Charles Hostetler
 

Tony:

Thanks for your recent post regarding modeling waybills depicting perishable diversions and reconsignments.  As you pointed out, a number of commodities were moved with diversions.  A while back I got interested in the problem of identifying which commodities were most commonly diverted.  After looking at the few waybills I had that appeared to be diversions, I took a look at the ICC Freight Commodity Statistics that tabulate (by commodity class) the number of carloads originated, terminated, and total handled.  My hypothesis was based on the notion that loads that were diverted tended to have more interchanges in their routes.  Hence the total number of carloads handled for commodities that tended to be diverted would be greater in proportion to the number of carload originated or terminated than for ordinary commodities.  

These data are from 1952, they are in carloads, and they are national totals (not a sample like the 1% carload waybill survey).  

For all carload commodities in 1952:

Class Orig Term Total Ratio
Carload Traffic 32,847,481 31,559,706 66,819,697 1.034

[For those interested in the details, the Ratio = the total carloads handled / the greater of the carloads originated or terminated - 1}

This suggests that the average carload of freight is interchanged about once per route.  

Here are a couple of commodities that aren't interchanged much at al and their rations are close to zero, that is they tend to stay on a single railroad with no interchange from start to finishl:

Class Orig Term Total Ratio
Flaxseed 18,376 18,729 22,275 0.189
Beverages NOS 13,630 14,010 16,250 0.160
Sugar beets 144,730 141,286 165,641 0.144
Logs 346,740 360,338 402,564 0.117
Ice 20,793 20,311 21,904 0.053
Copper ore 19,045 99,547 104,201 0.047
Anthracite coal breakers 293,909 294,397 294,716 0.001


and these are the 26 commodities with the most interchanges per trip (top 10% of all commodities):

Class Orig Term Total Ratio
Tomatoes 21,725 25,203 102,544 3.069
Celery 26,388 27,793 111,477 3.011
Lemons limes 10,740 13,226 53,010 3.008
Canteloupes 28,257 29,623 117,613 2.970
Oranges grapefruits 82,114 81,399 324,319 2.950
Cigarettes 11,052 10,902 43,144 2.904
Watermelons 21,812 22,285 86,571 2.885
Vegetables fresh NOS 69,036 74,824 284,549 2.803
Copper ingot matte pig 15,836 16,663 63,196 2.793
Grapes fresh 25,799 27,870 105,298 2.778
Lettuce 82,174 79,505 302,419 2.680
Cabbage 15,036 14,746 54,796 2.644
Manuf tobacco NOS 1,514 1,572 5,704 2.628
Fruits dried 6,380 6,291 22,889 2.588
Food frozen 9,257 9,656 33,815 2.502
Cotton cloth 13,681 14,855 51,612 2.474
Matches 3,951 3,887 13,690 2.465
Pears fresh 14,713 15,333 52,845 2.446
Fruits frozen 4,255 4,624 15,782 2.413
Candy confectionery 15,086 14,460 50,946 2.377
Peaches fresh 13,936 13,898 46,113 2.309
Wine 18,570 21,094 69,345 2.287
Fruits fresh NOS 10,620 10,274 34,596 2.258
Aluminum NOS 21,139 21,543 69,377 2.220
Drugs medicines 8,657 8,639 27,714 2.201
Vegetables frozen 10,473 10,732 34,056 2.173

Note that perishables dominate this list, which I think is quite interesting.  Also note that some of the "high interchange" commodities probably weren't diverted much (e.g., manufactured tobacco, copper, aluminum and drugs); the relatively high number of interchanges probably more reflects the restricted geographic production areas and the long distance and complicated routes to the points of termination.  But on the whole I thought these data support the idea that modeling diversions for selected commodities (like perishables) was a reasonable way to add variety without unduly emphasizing very rare events.  

These data are available on a yearly basis from sometime in the early 1920s through at least 1960.  In addition to the national data I showed here they are also available for each individual Class 1 railroad.  Thanks again for an interesting post!

Regards,

Charles Hostetler
Washington Ill.


Todd Sullivan
 

Really interesting data, Charles. 

A question: How did you determine the number of interchanges for each load?  I understand the numbers of originating ("Orig") and terminating ("Term") loads, but I didn't think you included data on the number of times a load was interchanged (which, I assume, means an inter-railroad movement).

Todd Sullivan
Modeling E. Portland OR in 1952
in Liverpool, NY


Charles Hostetler
 

Todd Sullivan wrote "A question: How did you determine the number of interchanges for each load? I understand the numbers of originating ("Orig") and terminating ("Term") loads, but I didn't think you included data on the number of times a load was interchanged (which, I assume, means an inter-railroad movement)."

Hi Todd,

The answer is that I inferred it from more detailed information inside the report.  Each year's ICC Freight Commodity Statistics Report consisted of a set of master sheets, with detail on each Class 1 carrier.  Each carrier reports (on an annual basis) the following (in tons):
a)  traffic originated on line and terminated on line
b)  traffic originated on line and delivered to another carrier
c)  traffic received from another carrier and terminated on line
d)  traffic received from another carrier and delivered to another (third) carrier

So the sum of a and b are the total originated by the reporting railroad and the sum of a and c are the total terminated by the reporting railroad.  Here's an example of raw data I had already transcribed from 1957 for bananas, fresh.  (For brevity this table shows only a few of the 110 Class 1 Carriers; had to transcribe the total list to get the grand total in the bottom line):


Tons Originated Tons Received Tons
Carrier Terminating Connecting Terminating Connecting Total
ATSF 18,635 282 8,015 12 26,944
CNW 0 0 24,852 47 24,899
CO 12 9 21,998 2,321 24,340
ERIE 108 2,350 6,594 2,977 12,029
NKP 0 0 20,201 521 20,722
PRR 27,561 17,629 38,744 6,857 90,791
SP 33,803 9,255 16,706 218 59,982
TNO 8,854 50 76 0 8,980
WAB 0 0 9,665 2,369 12,034






Total 317,485 571,082 466,815 301,354 1,656,736

The total tons (last column) are obtained by sum of the first four columns and the total row at the bottom is obtained by the sum over all of the carriers (including those not shown in this brief snippet).  The fourth numeric column, tons received from connecting roads is actually what we are after, the total number of tons of pure interchange (or overhead) traffic.  It was my hypothesis that the number of tons in this column would be greater for commodities that would be diverted more frequently.  

The trouble is that there are 261 commodity classes and each commodity class has 4 raw numbers to transcribe for each of 110 Class 1 carriers.  So I've been plugging away at transcribing and QAing this for a while now and it's not done yet for all commodities for any single year.  And when I was looking at Tony's post I wanted to see if perishables as a group had more interchanges compared to other commodity classes.  So I took a shortcut and transcribed one of the summary tables after I had convinced myself that there was a correlation between the total number of tons (or carloads) handled and the total number of tons (or carloads) of bridge traffic.  It was kind of a kludgy demonstration, but that's how the ratio was computed.  

I figure I'll complete all of the transcriptions in a year or so and then I can look at the detailed data more analytically, but anyway it was a start. Eventually I hope to use this type of information to pattern my bridge traffic (I have a lot of overhead traffic to deal with relative to locally originated or terminated traffic).   Hope this wasn't too confusing and if you want to take a look at a couple of spreadsheets to see some of the details please drop me a line off list and we can discuss in more detail.  

Regards,

Charles Hostetler
Washington Ill.


Tony Thompson
 

The total tons (last column) are obtained by sum of the first four columns and the total row at the bottom is obtained by the sum over all of the carriers (including those not shown in this brief snippet).  The fourth numeric column, tons received from connecting roads is actually what we are after, the total number of tons of pure interchange (or overhead) traffic.  It was my hypothesis that the number of tons in this column would be greater for commodities that would be diverted more frequently.  

    Really thought-provoking data and analysis, Charles. But I'm not sure what I'm learning, and I'm not sure the logic works here. Many perishable loads traveled long distances, thus had many interchanges. But if the eastward load was diverted in St. Louis to go to Boston instead of Philadelphia, I don't see how total interchanges bears on that. Seems to me that the numbers of total interchanges, even if correctly analyzed, cannot of themselves tell you anything about diversions.
     Or is there some part of this analysis that I don't get?

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






william darnaby
 

It’s just a coincidence with this subject that I found on Youtube last evening this interesting Santa Fe video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtm520gYdC4

 

from 1956 that talks about perishable traffic including interchanges and diversions.  Lots of good freight car views.  From what I saw I have been incorrectly painting my SFRD’s over the years because I saw a lot of unpainted or missing/deteriorating paint roofs.

 

Bill Darnaby

 

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Pierre Oliver
 

Bill,
I may have to rewatch this video, but I felt that most of the roofs that we got a good look at were more dirty than unpainted.
Pierre Oliver
www.elgincarshops.com
www.yarmouthmodelworks.com
On 4/14/16 8:08 AM, 'William Darnaby' wdarnaby@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

It’s just a coincidence with this subject that I found on Youtube last evening this interesting Santa Fe video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtm520gYdC4

 

from 1956 that talks about perishable traffic including interchanges and diversions.  Lots of good freight car views.  From what I saw I have been incorrectly painting my SFRD’s over the years because I saw a lot of unpainted or missing/deteriorating paint roofs.

 

Bill Darnaby

 

_,_._,___


Virus-free. www.avast.com


John Barry
 

I too didn't notice much paint failure.  But did you see the ART reefer?
 
John Barry
 
ATSF North Bay Lines 
Golden Gates & Fast Freights 

707-490-9696 

PO Box 44736 
Washington, DC 20026-4736



From: "Pierre Oliver pierre.oliver@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: perishable traffic patterns

 
Bill,
I may have to rewatch this video, but I felt that most of the roofs that we got a good look at were more dirty than unpainted.
Pierre Oliver
www.elgincarshops.com
www.yarmouthmodelworks.com
On 4/14/16 8:08 AM, 'William Darnaby' wdarnaby@... [STMFC] wrote:

 
It’s just a coincidence with this subject that I found on Youtube last evening this interesting Santa Fe video
 
 
from 1956 that talks about perishable traffic including interchanges and diversions.  Lots of good freight car views.  From what I saw I have been incorrectly painting my SFRD’s over the years because I saw a lot of unpainted or missing/deteriorating paint roofs.
 
Bill Darnaby
 
_,_._,___

Virus-free. www.avast.com




riverman_vt@...
 

   Interesting film, Bill. The most notable thing for me was the icing machines at each terminal.
These were a far cry from the icing platforms so prevalent in the model fraternity where 300 lb.
blocks were move by hand or a conveyor to each car and then broken up by a two man crew
to ice each car. Does anyone know the manufacturer of the ice machines?

   Also, when did the MTC (Mechanical Temperature Control) reefers come into general use?

Cordially, Don Valentine