Topics

Ratios


Armand Premo
 

I have had a major problem dealing with ratios .Considering the number of variables  that affect a relatively accurate of freight car distribution  i.e. Date ; Region ; Railroad.I have a relatively large roster  ,but have been troubled that I didn't have an  accurate distribution ,by car  type i.e wood vs steel  ,Reefer vs Box car  etcI ,etc ,etc .I would like to hear from others on how they deal with prototype practices ..Armand Premo


 

It’s my railroad.





Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni



From: STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com> on behalf of STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Reply-To: STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 9:37 AM
To: STMFC List <stmfc@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [STMFC] Ratios





I have had a major problem dealing with ratios .Considering the number of variables that affect a relatively accurate of freight car distribution i.e. Date ; Region ; Railroad.I have a relatively large roster ,but have been troubled that I didn't have an accurate distribution ,by car type i.e wood vs steel ,Reefer vs Box car etcI ,etc ,etc .I would like to hear from others on how they deal with prototype practices ..Armand Premo


thecitrusbelt@...
 

You mentioned "date". If you establish a date, or at least a narrow range of years for your railroad you can eliminate any cars that did not exist before that time. Beyond that others on this list more knowledgeable than I will explain how to use the railroad modeled, the region, industries modeled, wheel reports, etc. to hone in on a realistic freight car fleet.


Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Bill Welch
 

I am more interested in the evolution and design of freight cars, especially boxcars, and the variations as designs and thinking evolved. Because of this I have way too many GN, ATSF, CB&Q, and NP models built and kits to be built even though I am a "Ya'll" modeler. Even though steel cars were arguably more standard, there was still great variation in sill design, door sizes/types, ends, etc. that are interesting to represent. I don't think I have ever given "prototype practices" much thought. I just do what interests me.

Bill Welch



Paul Doggett <paul.doggett2472@...>
 

Bill 

I am in your camp with this as long as the cars fall into my time period 50 to 53 that is fine if outside braced or double sheathed wooden boxcars even better i have to many wooden cars but I like the they have more character than steel sided cars. Just my very humble opinion.

On Tue, 13 Jun 2017 at 16:31, fgexbill@... [STMFC]
wrote:
 

I am more interested in the evolution and design of freight cars, especially boxcars, and the variations as designs and thinking evolved. Because of this I have way too many GN, ATSF, CB&Q, and NP models built and kits to be built even though I am a "Ya'll" modeler. Even though steel cars were arguably more standard, there was still great variation in sill design, door sizes/types, ends, etc. that are interesting to represent. I don't think I have ever given "prototype practices" much thought. I just do what interests me.


Bill Welch



Nelson Moyer
 

I used the 1953 ORER for my home road cars since I model that year. After looking at the totals, I moved the decimal point to the left until I achieved a reasonable number of each car type. This eliminated cars with low numbers on the ORER. I used the national car fleet numbers for other cars, adjusted for geographical region and nature of traffic for the CB&Q, e.g. products of agriculture, products of mines, livestock and products of animals, products of forests, etc. The CB&Q ran a lot of grain in box cars, coal in gondolas, and a lot of livestock and meat traffic, so I have a disproportionate number of boxcars, gondolas, meat reefers, and stock cars to model specific trains. I use the national pool numbers for making up general merchandise trains. I choose meat reefers based upon the slaughter houses served by the Q, plus bridge traffic. Stock cars favor Hill Lines, i.e. GN and NP in addition to CB&Q. Same approach for produce reefers, but I model Fall 1953, so I consider seasonal produce shipments based upon the chart prepared by Tony Thompson. All this is just a starter if you really want to be protypical.

Nelson Moyer

On Jun 13, 2017, at 10:13 AM, thecitrusbelt@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

You mentioned "date". If you establish a date, or at least a narrow range of years for your railroad you can eliminate any cars that did not exist before that time. Beyond that others on this list more knowledgeable than I will explain how to use the railroad modeled, the region, industries modeled, wheel reports, etc. to hone in on a realistic freight car fleet.


Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Bruce Smith
 

Armand,

What follows is the approach I am using for modeling June 1944 (that creates some important caveats due to the war and I note that they may make my decisions easier!)

1) First determine the traffic on your section of railroad.  How many trains will you model?  What are the proportions of types of trains/cars (e.g. minerals, reefers, merchandise, petroleum, etc…)  Combined with train length, this will determine the proportion and number of car types needed (hopper, gondola, reefer, tank, box, flat, helium, pickles, etc…).  For a nice fleet, I would think at least double the number of cars for the number of trains you have would be a good place to start. This is often the most difficult data to find.

2) Second, identify the % home road cars.  On the PRR, that sticks pretty darn close to 50% overall over many many years. However, this is an average.  If you split cars out by type, it is likely that 75% of hoppers, 50% of gons and 25% of boxcars on the PRR were PRR, but there is no official reporting to support this. Apply these percentages to the total for each car type determined in #1
caveat - this includes stored serviceable cars, so the actual number of cars working may be less, depending on the economy.  For me, with a war on, there are almost no stored cars

3) Model the home road fleet on the basis of the actual home road fleet.  Modeling the home fleet based on the ORER will automatically compensate for construction and class.
caveat - this may be adjusted by assigned service cars.  In other words, if a large group of cars was in assigned service in or through the area you model, they may be disproportionally over represented.  Likewise if the assigned service cars don’t cross your rails on the prototype, they may be disproportionately under represented.

4) Model the foreign box cars and flat cars based on the national fleet composition, minus your home road fleet. To that end, the bigger the fleet, the more it matters.  If you identify the common cars in the big fleets for the date(s) you are modeling, that will automatically tend to adjust your ratios to represent the reality that was out there. That can be a lot of legwork, but much of that information is now in the archives of this list. 
caveat - In my own experience for 1944, it would appear that the bigger fleets were biased to more modern construction (steel).  As a consequence, my acquisition pattern for smaller fleets tends to emphasize older cars (often what that fleet consisted of anyway) with composite (wood siding, steel underframe ands structure) construction. We also have had a number of folks post on the subject of car construction types as portions of the fleet over the years.  Those approximations can be used to fill in the remainder of your modeled fleet with cars that approximate the correct ratio. This is especially true with boxcars.

5) Model the foreign road gondolas based on regional fleets with minor representation from outside the region.  So, if you’re in the middle Atlantic modeling the B&O, expect to model a lot of PRR and NYC gons.  If you model AT&SF, you should still have some PRR and NYC gons, but fewer, with more SP and UP gons than the B&O modeler.

6) Model the foreign road hoppers based on interchange partners and known mineral traffic patterns. 
caveat - This matters tremendously on location.  For example I was told that C&O hoppers “never” ran on the PRR.  Well, that’s pretty true for the area I model, but solid trains of them ran on Lines West PRR!

7) Reefers… ah reefers… Here is where I get lucky ;) I model the national fleet, because during WWII, the car service rules were suspended for reefers.  If you aren’t modeling that period, there are lots if issues.  These include location and traffic patterns.  If you model a “loading” railroad, then the vast majority of cars should be “home road” (ATSF = SFRD, UP/SP = PFE, etc…). The number and uses are tempered by season.  If you model a “transit” road, the numbers are modified as to the connections of that road.  If you model a “destination" road, the numbers become closer to the national fleet numbers. So determine what would be the common roads of reefers on your section of railroad and then model from the fleet.

8) Tank cars… like reefers, I get to model a larger fleet, but still need to stick primarily to cars assigned east of the plains.  In times other than WWI, cars were typically in something akin to assigned service, so you need to look at the refinery and dealerships associated with your railroad and model appropriately.

9) Special trains.  I want to model the Sunday morning high and wide train on the Columbia and Port Deposit branch of the PRR.  This will require that I have a disproportionate number of special duty flat cars.

Finally, it is critically important to realize that individual trains do not have to reflect the fleet.

Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."



On Jun 13, 2017, at 9:37 AM, Armand Premo arm.p.prem@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:



I have had a major problem dealing with ratios .Considering the number of variables  that affect a relatively accurate of freight car distribution  i.e. Date ; Region ; Railroad.I have a relatively large roster  ,but have been troubled that I didn't have an  accurate distribution ,by car  type i.e wood vs steel  ,Reefer vs Box car  etcI ,etc ,etc .I would like to hear from others on how they deal with prototype practices ..Armand Premo




Tony Thompson
 

BRIAN EHNI wrote:

 
It’s my railroad.

      Brian cites the familiar "Rule No. 1" employed by many modelers. But as Tony Koester often says, if you hide behind Rule No. 1 all the time, you are confessing that you aren't really trying to model anything specific. That's a perfectly fine hobby, but it's not modeling real railroading. I think if you use the context right (as I believe Brian does), Rule No. 1 only says "I get to choose my prototype and era," but I would say, "beware of using Rule No. 1 for everything."

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






 

Exactly, Tony. I try to be correct, but sometimes you see something and just have to have it.





Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni



From: STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com> on behalf of STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Reply-To: STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 12:19 PM
To: STMFC List <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ratios





BRIAN EHNI wrote:





It’s my railroad.



Brian cites the familiar "Rule No. 1" employed by many modelers. But as Tony Koester often says, if you hide behind Rule No. 1 all the time, you are confessing that you aren't really trying to model anything specific. That's a perfectly fine hobby, but it's not modeling real railroading. I think if you use the context right (as I believe Brian does), Rule No. 1 only says "I get to choose my prototype and era," but I would say, "beware of using Rule No. 1 for everything."



Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com

(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@signaturepress.com

Publishers of books on railroad history













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


Tony Thompson
 

     Excellent summaries by Bruce Smith and by Nelson Moyer. I know people who are just starting to plan get overwhelmed by the variety of informations sources, but we really do know a great deal about how to answer Armand's questions.

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






O Fenton Wells
 

Brian you da man


On Jun 13, 2017, at 1:32 PM, BRIAN PAUL EHNI bpehni@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

Exactly, Tony. I try to be correct, but sometimes you see something and just have to have it.

Thanks!
--

Brian Ehni

From: STMFC List <STMFC@...> on behalf of STMFC List <STMFC@...>
Reply-To: STMFC List <STMFC@...>
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 12:19 PM
To: STMFC List <STMFC@...>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ratios

BRIAN EHNI wrote:

It’s my railroad.

Brian cites the familiar "Rule No. 1" employed by many modelers. But as Tony Koester often says, if you hide behind Rule No. 1 all the time, you are confessing that you aren't really trying to model anything specific. That's a perfectly fine hobby, but it's not modeling real railroading. I think if you use the context right (as I believe Brian does), Rule No. 1 only says "I get to choose my prototype and era," but I would say, "beware of using Rule No. 1 for everything."

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




Aley, Jeff A
 

Armand,

 

                Unless I am mistaken, you have a very nice collection of Rutland wheel reports / conductor’s books.  So perhaps your problem is really one of “how do I selectively compress my fleet”?

 

                Others have written about how to select the ROADNAMES for a fleet, and I think you should also have no problem selecting the ratio of reefers to tank cars, etc.

 

                The problem gets a lot more complicated when you want to maintain a ratio of single-sheathed boxcars vs double-sheathed vs steel.  How many of the steel cars are PS-1’s vs X29 “clones”?  In this case, I personally would err on the side of “what is easily modeled”.  If I need a single Maine Central boxcar, I’m going to see which of their cars is most easily modeled, which may not be their most common car.

 

                I also happen to know that Armand is a much better modeler than I am, so perhaps he’ll pick the most obscure MEC boxcar, just for the challenge of scratchbuilding it.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:37 AM
To: stmfc@...
Subject: [STMFC] Ratios

 

 

I have had a major problem dealing with ratios .Considering the number of variables  that affect a relatively accurate of freight car distribution  i.e. Date ; Region ; Railroad.I have a relatively large roster  ,but have been troubled that I didn't have an  accurate distribution ,by car  type i.e wood vs steel  ,Reefer vs Box car  etcI ,etc ,etc .I would like to hear from others on how they deal with prototype practices ..Armand Premo


 

I had far too many freight cars when I finished building my layout.  I measured each siding, including the yard tracks and figured out how many forty-foot cars would fit onto those tracks.  Then I divided that number by two which gave me the maximum number of cars that could be on the layout at any time.  This prevents gridlock and makes plenty of room to actually operate the layout.  After that I looked at the industries on the layout to determine what kind of freight cars I needed to service those industries.  I immediately eliminated refrigerator cars because there was no place to deliver them.  I have a coal mine that can handle nine cars so I needed eighteen hopper cars divided between loads and empties.  Flat cars are not really needed either so I have only a couple.  The time frame is 1953 so no cars have build or reweigh dates later than 1953.  The layout is set in northwestern Pennsylvania so the emphasis is on eastern roads although, because there is a lumber yard, a few western and Canadian boxcars are occasionally used for lumber traffic.  I still have too many cars and will sell off some more sooner or later.  No point in having them sit on boxes on shelves when someone else might enjoy having them.  Hugh t Guillaume


Tim O'Connor
 


That's one strategy. Another is to maintain an off-layout "stage" of extra
cars and figure out how to randomize the use of all of the cars, so you don't
have the same cars all the time on the layout.

Tim O'Connor




I had far too many freight cars when I finished building my layout.  I measured each siding, including the yard tracks and figured out how many forty-foot cars would fit onto those tracks.  Then I divided that number by two which gave me the maximum number of cars that could be on the layout at any time.  This prevents gridlock and makes plenty of room to actually operate the layout.  After that I looked at the industries on the layout to determine what kind of freight cars I needed to service those industries.  I immediately eliminated refrigerator cars because there was no place to deliver them.  I have a coal mine that can handle nine cars so I needed eighteen hopper cars divided between loads and empties.  Flat cars are not really needed either so I have only a couple.  The time frame is 1953 so no cars have build or reweigh dates later than 1953.  The layout is set in northwestern Pennsylvania so the emphasis is on eastern roads although, because there is a lumber yard, a few western and Canadian boxcars are occasionally used for lumber traffic.  I still have too many cars and will sell off some more sooner or later.  No point in having them sit on boxes on shelves when someone else might enjoy having them.  Hugh t Guillaume


Dave Nelson
 

If Tim Gilbert were still with us he’d whip out his set of ICC Blue Books and write 14 pages in one paragraph telling us about steel vs. wood, etc. etc. etc., no doubt managing to toss in ton miles as a necessary unit of measure for something. :-)

 

I could go unearth old ICC documents I have that have pretty much the same thing and if you wanted very specific numbers I could write a bunch of sql queries and get the answers from my ORER database (April 1950)*, but to be frank, I’ve got other things to do than walk over such old ground.

 

Search the archives, my posts or his.

 

 

I opened up this database a couple of weeks ago WRT southeastern hoppers in the SOU Wheel reports… probably the first time in 10 years I’ve looked at it.  It still works.  I had always hoped to put it online, part of the forum I host but w/o a tech admin to help upgrade the board software (a prerequisite)  so no, it hasn’t happened.

 

Dave Nelson


Jim Betz
 

Armand,

First select the cars that will service your -on layout- industries.
Usually that will be about twice as many cars as you have car
spots (for empties in/loads out or vice versa).
Second select the cars that you will use as 'alternates' for those
selected in the first step (for variety over time).
Third select cars for run thru service (the cars in the second set
can be part of these).
NOW - apply your Ratios to adjust the overall layout fleet. If you
still have a lot of cars left over then they can be stored to be used
to swap (again to provide variety over time).

Don't forget to consider the "quality" of the cars you select.
Everybody oohs and aahs about layouts where "all of the cars
looked like museum quality/contest winners".

There are some errors in "car fleet decisions" that I notice the
most (as being "common" problems):

1) Too many home road cars. "I'm a Santa Fe modeler - so I'm
going to run almost all Santa Fe cars."

2) Cars/trains that 'always' go to the same industry/yard and
become 'recognizable' over time. (Also swap out the power
used for a particular train once in a while, same for cabeese.)

3) Too many cars that are "exceptions" - cars the owner fell in
love with and justified with the "it's my RR" rule (over used).

4) Too many cars that are exceptions simply due to the
stated era/date for the layout ... such as cars that would
have been seen in that era - but there are too many of them.
(For instance cars that are older. Same thing for cars that
would have been seen - but not in high numbers because
that particular car type/model was introduced only a few
years before the layout's date.)

5) Cars with paint/lettering schemes that don't fit the stated
era/theme. This is actually quite common - for foreign
road cars that the layout owner isn't up on the nuances
of those other roads. I'm a GN guy - I frequently see GN
cars on layouts that say "this is 1953" ... but there are
GN cars that are wearing paint/lettering schemes that
'weren't invented yet'.

Don't be too enslaved by the concept of ratios. Yes those
ratios existed and were real. But on any one day, on any one
railroad, on any one train ... you would rarely get those ratios
if you simply counted the cars and did the math.
In fact, as long as you don't fall into one of the traps above
(especially #1) and your cars are appropriate for era ... your
crews/visitors won't notice.
But they will notice if they keep delivering the same car
to the same industry every op session.

One last comment - I've operated on a lot of layouts that
were too crowded (had too many cars and trains and tried
to run too many trains in a session). I can't remember
ever saying to myself "this layout needs about 20% more"
(cars/trains) ... there's a lesson to be learned here. *G*
The same can be said of the number of operators - with
the exception that you do have times when "you hold an
Op session and nobody showed up". ;-)

Always go to actual photographs as your guide!
- Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

In a longer comment, Jim Betz wrote:

2) Cars/trains that 'always' go to the same industry/yard and
become 'recognizable' over time. (Also swap out the power
used for a particular train once in a while, same for cabeese.)


   Over the years, working railroaders have often pointed out that a local train crew, when coming on duty, could take one look at their train and know where most of the cars were going. So "repeats" of the kind Jim mentions are actually good, IMO.

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






Tim O'Connor
 

Tony

I think it is highly variable, based on the location. In the 1960's the
two PRR branchlines near my home in NJ saw a wide variety of freight cars,
especially food, beverages and lumber from the western US. And seasonally
there were special shipments, like refrigerator cars. I lived across the
river from Philadelphia, a huge destination for freight, so the variety
is not surprising.

Tim O'




   Over the years, working railroaders have often pointed out that a local train crew, when coming on duty, could take one look at their train and know where most of the cars were going. So "repeats" of the kind Jim mentions are actually good, IMO.

Tony Thompson  


Jim Betz
 

Tony,

If you mean "the reefer goes to the grocery warehouse" and "the
tank cars go to the oil dealer" and .... etc. Then I agree with you.
But the same car, including the same number ... day after day (or
Op session after Op session) ... ??? Doesn't that fly in the face
of the very purpose of railroading and how it works?

But - should the Antioch local look similar enough that when
you look at the yard you can pick it out? Yes, I agree to that.

As to the power and caboose - yes, on the real RR the equipment
for a particular job, especially for a local, was pretty stable/repetitive.
But some times can't we toss in a different switcher or caboose ...
just to make the Op -seem- different?

Ops can be like dating (a different girl every night), or it can be
like courting (where you look forward to the same girl every
night), or it can be like a mature marriage (where sometimes
you do stuff "just to change it up" ... which doesn't mean I'm
saying you need to go out with someone other than your
wife ... but maybe you shouldn't go to the same restaurant
every Friday night for 50 years ... ;-) ...).

The layout owners are lucky - they get to decide. The operators
are ALSO lucky - they get to play the hand they are dealt.
- Jim

________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
3.1. Re: Ratios
Posted by: "Tony Thompson" tony@signaturepress.com sigpress
Date: Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:41 am ((PDT))

In a longer comment, Jim Betz wrote:

2) Cars/trains that 'always' go to the same industry/yard and
become 'recognizable' over time. (Also swap out the power
used for a particular train once in a while, same for cabeese.)
Over the years, working railroaders have often pointed out that a local train crew, when coming on duty, could take one look at their train and know where most of the cars were going. So "repeats" of the kind Jim mentions are actually good, IMO.

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


Schuyler Larrabee
 

Or not, Tim. Some (OMG!) 32 years ago, I did an architectural project for
an engineering firm in Waltham MA. Their facility was next to a steel
fabricators shop. Every week, they would get the exact same gon full of
steel shapes delivered. Evidently, the car was in some sort of captive
service. I took particular note of the car because it was an EL gon, and as
an ERIE/EL modeler, well, I wanted to take photos - but the company had a
track that went inside their building, out of view. I never did get a shot
of it.



Schuyler



From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 1:06 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Ratios





Tony

I think it is highly variable, based on the location. In the 1960's the
two PRR branchlines near my home in NJ saw a wide variety of freight cars,
especially food, beverages and lumber from the western US. And seasonally
there were special shipments, like refrigerator cars. I lived across the
river from Philadelphia, a huge destination for freight, so the variety
is not surprising.

Tim O'





Over the years, working railroaders have often pointed out that a local
train crew, when coming on duty, could take one look at their train and know
where most of the cars were going. So "repeats" of the kind Jim mentions are
actually good, IMO.

Tony Thompson