Author Topic: Hashing out a Freelance Road  (Read 12648 times)

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mopaustin

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Hashing out a Freelance Road
« on: October 19, 2007, 08:24:40 PM »
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I don't know where to put this...  :P

I've been doing some thinking in the past couple of years since I finished my Atlas roundy-round layout; been researching for my next, more proto-typical layout, and I've always been drawn to the Missouri Pacific's Texas lines (International-Great Northern, Gulf Coast Lines, Texas & Pacific) both for their amazing variety of motive power (esp. steam, from 2-10-4s and 4-8-2s on the T&P to 4-6-0s ands 2-8-0s on the rest of the Texas Lines), their crack passenger trains, mainly the three branches of the Texas Eagle and Sunshine Special, as well as the fact that they were among the three main railroads in the area I live (Austin, Texas area: I-GN, M-K-T, T&NO), but I've never found a place on the MoP that had that perfect combination of what I wanted (and it's really hard to find MoP steam-era anything), so I've come up with several freelanced railroads since then, the latest being thought up only today.

I have no idea as to what to call it, but, it's tentatively called the Austin, Texas, and Northern.

Main lines:
  • Port Lavaca (near Corpus Christi) - Lubbock (via San Angelo): 572 miles
  • Austin - Denton (via Ft. Worth): 226 miles
  • Junction - Shreveport: 439 miles
  • Victoria - Corpus Christi: 93 miles

Branch-lines:

  • Llano - Kerrville: 63 miles
  • Luling - New Braunfels: 34 miles

Know most of you guys here are eastern or midwestern modelers, but I guess, one of my questions is: would a 1430 mile line in the 1950s-60s in one state be feasible? Anything else I should think about before I started working on a layout? Maybe traffic patterns in whatever area I choose to model? Other comments? Interchanges with real railroads?

3rdrail

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2007, 09:19:14 PM »
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In order for a 1400-mile railroad to still be independent in the 1950-1960 era, it somehow would have to have come under the control of an individual or a trust rather than be a common stock company with a diversified ownership. Otherwise, one of the larger railroads would have offered a high enough price for the shares to buy it out. The Midland Valley, Kansas Oklahoma & Gulf, Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka Railroads were owned by such a trust, but MoP raised its offer to a point it could not be refused.

So, assume some rich but eccentric Texan bought your railroad from the Depression bankruptcy trustees, owns it outright, and has no plans to sell out as long as he lives. After all, Ed Ball used the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust to buy the FEC...Fortress Investments just made the Trust an offer it couldn't refuse, but Ed Ball died at 90 years of age in 1981.

Railroads live on heavy industry, what really major shippers or receivers would be located on your lines? By the 1950's, general agriculture and miscellaneous manufacturing could no longer support a railroad.

CoalPorter

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2007, 09:46:38 PM »
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I don't think the Western Pacific could have been much over 1400 miles, if even that much. It only ran from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. It was a publicaly traded company, and it lasted until 1983. Although it was technically Western Pacific  Industries, which was inguaged in several other business, but they only amounted to a small precentage of earnings. The railroad was the primary business.
Maybe they put in a "posin pill", what ever that is? It's a step to prevent a hostile take over.
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SquirrelHollow

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2007, 09:55:13 PM »
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If it's a freelanced road, I don't see the problem in freelancing some industries.   ;D
-Robert

Uintah Railway, Utah Railway.

mopaustin

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 09:56:34 PM »
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Thanks for the reply, Gregg. How big might a railroad have to be in that era to be an independent common-stock company? I would guess extending the lines east to New Orleans and north to Oklahoma City might work ;) ?

As to industries, there's oil production in west and northeast Texas, oil refineries in west Texas and the Gulf Coast, heavy manufacturing (autos, airplanes) in Dallas and Houston, petrochemicals in Houston-Beaumont-Galveston area, cattle in the west and central Texas areas, grain in the Panhandle, mohair in central and west Texas, meat-packing in Dallas and Fort Worth, rock quarrying in central Texas, cement in the San Antonio-Austin area, as well as Houston and Dallas, as well as medium to small coal mining in east and central Texas. That's the biggest industries I can think of right now

That's an interesting fact, CoalPorter.

3rdrail

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 10:08:20 PM »
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WP stayed independent because everybody wanted it and would have fought a buyout at the ICC. The Staggers Act deregulating railroads was passed in 1980. It didn't last much longer, did it?

If Santa Fe, Mop, and Espee all wanted your 1400-mile Class I, it could stay independent prior to 1980, but what lines are so desireable all three would want them?

The industries you want are grain, petrochemicals, rock quarrying, and cement. The auto industry moves a lot by rail, but in limited lanes. Cattle was drying up as butchering moved closer to the feedlots, and trucks were getting the lion's share of the other traffic by the 1950's.

Ryan87

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 10:11:07 PM »
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As Gregg already mentioned the big thing you need to ask is why does this railway exist? (and why it still exists?) Considering the AT&N will be located only around Texas, bridge traffic might not be a huge traffic source, so local traffic will have to be your main revenue source. (as opposed to WP which was mostly bridge traffic)
Not being a major bridge route may also help keep other railroads hands off...



 
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Zox

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 10:54:18 PM »
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In my freelance universe, I basically "dialed back" the drive to merge, allowing mid-size railroads to continue to exist. Some of the major consequences were:

1. Several small- to mid-size Midwestern railroads (a larger-than-life KB&S, Monon, TP&W, and the wholly freelanced Dayton & Western) joined together under the MidStates Transportation (MST) umbrella, operating as semi-independent railroads but in close cooperation.

2. Both the Illinois Central and Conrail still exist as independent Class 1 railroads. (Most likely the SP/UP and BNSF mergers didn't take place, either, but that's outside the scope of what I'm doing.)

3. In this more diverse environment, the railroads are more willing to experiment. For example, MST has several commuter services, including a route from Kankakee IL to Indianapolis IN (largely to serve Purdue University in Lafayette IN).

So you see, all you have to do is change the universe, and your freelance line will take the shape you want as a natural consequence... :)
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
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mopaustin

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 12:21:44 AM »
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Would 2075mi. be large enough to be an independent railroad of that era, as I took into consideration some of the things discussed, and stretched the "AT&N" into New Mexico and Kansas, as well as narrowing down some duplicitous routes.

So now, the railroad looks like this:

Main lines:

  • Santa Fe, NM - Portales, NM - Lubbock, TX - Big Spring, TX - San Angelo, TX - Austin, TX - Port Lavaca, TX: 895 miles
  • Del Rio, TX - San Angelo - Abilene, TX - Wichita Falls, TX - OKC, OK - Wichita, KS: 692 miles

Branch lines:

  • Abilene, TX - Ft. Worth, TX: 160 miles
  • Midland, TX - Sterling City, TX: 69 miles
  • Austin, TX - Giddings, TX - Houston, TX: 162 miles
  • Victoria, TX - Refugio, TX - Corpus Christi, TX: 97 miles

In this format, it still access most of the same local traffic sources, but also generate more long-haul rail traffic, being that it now connects to Santa Fe, OK City, and Wichita. I believe that the major roads it crosses are the SP, MoP, M-K-T, AT&SF, RI, SLSW, SL-SF, T&P, and FW&D. Of course, it might also now enjoy easier access to northern New Mexico coal, too! Obviously a lot of grain and cattle from OK and KS. And some kind of produce from produce from E. NM now.

mopaustin

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 12:25:12 AM »
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And what size steam and/or diesel power could be justified in a loco roster of this railroad? 2-10-4 at the largest? 2-8-8-2 in some of the hills of OK or NM on the route?

wm3798

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2007, 06:28:04 AM »
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You could always pull a Koester and presume that your home road is a subsidiary of some other larger road.
Base your paint scheme on a favorite prototype, and start running trains!
Either that or push the clock forward to the mid 80's when Staggers created a market for mid-sized regionals like the Wisconsin Central, Montana Rail Link and others.  That was the original premise of my Laurel Valley.  By this time the trunk lines were no longer interested in switching cars on long, expensive to operate stretches of track in the middle of nowhere (Which I believe is the definition of Texas... ;D)

Would oil be a viable industry to serve?  Was that still rail-oriented by the late 50's/60's?
I would imagine that petrochemicals of some sort or another would be part of your traffic mix.

Stockyards might have still been prominent during your chosen era, also.

Lee

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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

3rdrail

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2007, 10:01:53 AM »
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As to the oil industry, only during World War II did the rails handle a large portion of gasoline and oils. It normally moves by pipeline and ship for local truck or railcar delivery only. The ship portion moved by rail due to the German U-boat threat. There's a tanker, the Empire Mica, that was sunk just off Port St. Joe during the war.

The size has nothing to do with independence. Pre-Staggers, it was more the amount of opposition that would be generated to a takeover at the ICC. That's how KCS escaped.

Matthew Roberts

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2007, 10:09:59 AM »
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Lee, sounds good, but an independent operator is always nice; I might have to think about post-Staggers, though. Your definition is only partly true for Texas. ;D

Like Gregg said, oil would only be a viable industry in WWII.

I have no idea as to what railroads would fight over ATN in the ICC, though.  ???

Bob Bufkin

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2007, 11:38:00 AM »
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You could also model modern tankers hauling gasoline.  Check out the latest Trains mag and the article on MRL hauling dedicated trains of gas.  Sounds like a good excuse for a modern independent pike.

squirrelhunter

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Re: Hashing out a Freelance Road
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2007, 11:15:03 PM »
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mopaustin, I am from Texas, and I wouls suggest looking at the Handbook of Texas Online for railroads that were chartered but never built. Some of these had grand asperations like running from the central texas coast all the way across the continent.

I like the original terminus of Port Lavaca on the tExas coast, since it was a major port through the late 1800's. But Instead of going to Santa Fe, I would suggest a new western terminus of Devner, perhaps on a line like this-
Port Lavaca- Luling-Austin-Burnet-San Angelo-Big Spring-Lubbock-Amarillo-Boisie City-La Junta-Pueblo-Denver

This would allow it to connect with Union Pacific and the D&RGW.

Some good branches might be Luling or Lockhart to Houston/Galveston, Lubbock-Oklahoma City/Tulsa, or Lubbock E