Ratios of Home Road vs. Foreign Roads
Our prior discussion about foreign road hoppers got me to thinking again about the subject of proper ratios of home vs. foreign road cars in recreating history via a model railroad. I to am always pleased whenever I can get hold of a yard shot, etc. All those railfan photos showing quartering shots of the head ends get me too. I keep turning the book/photo sideways,but I never get a better angle on the train to get a good look at some reporting marks.
I am curious as to the list's opinions about what ratios y'all consider proper. In my mind the home road would be represented in the greatest numbers, followed by connecting/interchanged roads, then roads in the geographic area, followed by everything else. Am I off-base with this?
Warren Dickinson wrote:
Our prior discussion about foreign road hoppers got me to thinking againCertainly a valid generalization, Warren, but there are so many exceptions
that you can't count on it applying in specific cases unless you have
photographic or other documentation. I'll cite again my favorite example
of the kind of influence on traffic that requires specific knowledge of the
situation. Considerable freight traffic came down from the Pacific
Northwest on the Great Northern line through Oregon to Bieber, CA, where it
was handed off to the Western Pacific "high line" from Bieber to Keddie.
The WP then routed cars that were bound for Southern Calif. and the
southwest to Stockton, where they were handed off to the Santa Fe, since
the unpalatable alternative was to route them via the Southern Pacific,
WP's direct competitor. As a result, photographic evidence reveals a much
larger number of Great Northern (and, to a lesser extent, Northern Pacific
and Milwaukee Road) cars in Santa Fe trains between Stockton and Barstow
(and between Barstow and the Los Angeles and San Diego areas) than one
would normally expect.
Proportions of home road to foreign cars also depend to a large extent on
the nature of the traffic and whether it originated on-line or off-line.
SP and UP reefer blocks consisted almost entirely of PFE cars; N&W coal
drags were composed almost entirely of N&W hoppers. By contrast, in the
typical Santa Fe manifest freight inbound to Southern California only 1 in
3 or 1 in 4 cars were Santa Fe cars, with the rest of the train made up of
cars from many different (mostly midwestern and eastern) railroads that
funneled onto the Santa Fe via Chicago, Kansas City, and other interchange
points. It's worth noting also that some types of cars (e.g. coal hoppers)
tended to be in more or less dedicated service while others (e.g. general
service box and flat cars) wandered far and wide and might be off home
rails for extended periods.
Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520
Warren Dickinson asks:
I am curious as to the list's opinions about what ratios y'allDepends on the railroad, the era, and the particular part of the
Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history
Dana and Larry Kline <klinelarrydanajon@...>
I agree with Richard Hendrickson that photographic or other documentation is
the best approach to determining the ratio of home road and foreign road
cars. The photos and videos available to me show that boxcars are, by far,
the most common car type in WM merchandise trains, and that foreign road
cars are much more common than home road cars.
It is interesting to compare the data from photos and videos with Copeland
Report data. On the Western Maryland all merchandise traffic to and from the
west was interchanged at Connellsville, PA. The WM 1952 Copeland Report
gives the following numbers of cars interchanged at Connellsville.
Total Eastbound+Westbound 144,100
The WM had 2,284 boxcars as of January 1953. Assuming a typical value of
one car turn per month, the total number of WM boxcar shipments in 1952 was
about 27,000. Only a fraction of these shipments would have been
interchanged at Connellsville. Thus, home road cars can account for only a
small fraction of the cars interchanged at Connellsville and one would
expect that most boxcars in WM merchandise trains would be foreign road
cars, as suggested by photos and videos.
Dave & Libby Nelson <muskoka@...>
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I agree with Richard Hendrickson that photographic or otherBeg to differ. Photos will almost always show a small portion - usually
that portion closest to the locomotive. Far better evidence, while hard to
come by, are conductors books, interchange logs, and yard jumbos. On an
aggregate level, the railroads reported the percent of home house and open
top cars at home and said numbers were published by the ICC, the AAR, and
Assuming a typical value ofI don't recall ever seeing an cycle time numbers. I think it would be
interesting. But then I'm a data head.
Dana and Larry Kline <klinelarrydanajon@...>
<Larry Kline wrote: Photographic or other documentation is the best approach
to determining the ratio of home road and foreign road cars.?>
<And Dave Nelson replied: Beg to differ. Photos will almost always show a
small portion -usually that portion closest to the locomotive. Far better
evidence, while hard to come by, are conductors books, interchange logs, and
yard jumbos. >
The _other documentation_ mentioned in my earlier post certainly includes
conductors books, etc. I would be very happy to have them. So far the only
info of this type that I have found is from the 1970s, and I am left with
photos, videos, the Copeland Reports, ICC commodity reports and the info in
the WM Historical Society's book _Working on the WM_ as sources of
information about steam era merchandise trains on the WM Cumberland to
I agree that photos and videos tend to show only the front of the train, but
it seems to me that there are at least two other sources of sampling bias
with photos. 1) Trains run around the clock, but photos are usually taken
during the daylight hours, and 2) some photo locations are much more
accessible and/or more photogenic than others.
The WM photos and videos I have collected sometimes show all or a
substantial part of the train, especially at Helmsteader's curve where Bill
Price frequently shot slides and videos. On the other hand, Bowest Yard,
the location I am modeling, was out of the way, and seldom photographed. In
addition, panoramic photos of the yard at Bowest were possible only by
climbing a wooded hillside. As a result, I don't have any steam era photos
of the cars in the yard, only the usual engine shots.
<Dave Nelson also wrote: I don't recall ever seeing an cycle time numbers.
I think it would be
interesting. But then I'm a data head.>
My one car turn per month was off the top of my head, and low for the early
1950s. An article in the Jan 7, 1950 Railway Age gives the following numbers
for October 1949: All car types, 19.87 days, boxcars 13.94 days, gons
23.63 days and hoppers 36.89 days. The gon and hopper numbers were higher
than usual because of steel and coal strikes. For 1952 there were
approximately 36.4 million car loadings and 2.1 million cars so there were
17.3 turns per year, or 21.1 days per turn. The info in the 1989 edition of
John Armstrong's _The Railroad, What It Is, What It Does_ indicates 25.3
days per car turn.
T. C. Madden <tgmadden@...>
Most of you know that I'm totally involved with the compilation of Pullman
data, almost to the exclusion of all else. But I do have a set of three
freight logs that I'll never have time to analyze, so I'm willing to pass
them on to someone on this list who's interested enough to actually _do_
something with them.
They are: three Santa Fe "Record of Freight Trains and Cars Through
Terminals" ledgers, completely filled out, from 1951, 1952 and 1953. The
covers are scorched, so someone obviously rescued them from a fire. Richard
and I sat here in my studio one night and made a bit of sense of them, and
they seemed to cover transfer runs in the Joplin, MO area between the Santa
Fe and the KCS, if I recall correctly. Listed are train number, date,
conductor's name, and for every car, the car number, owning road, lading,
origin, and destination. Everything is handwritten, so it will take some
effort to decipher it all, but it can be done.
I don't want anything for them except the promise that the recipient will do
his best to extract the data from them. Please contact me off-list if you're
Dave & Libby Nelson <muskoka@...>
Tom,toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
You still have these? It is exactly the type of data I already transcribe
to ascii for further analysis. I'd be very keen on getting one (actually,
I've already got a B&O jumbo from Wheeling WV, but something outside the
coal belt would be another very interesting view).