Author Topic: Car assignments - or how to overthink things  (Read 1170 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

sirenwerks

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 5704
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +302
Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« on: August 10, 2022, 04:12:12 PM »
0
I'm going through my rolling stock to thin the herd of stuff I won't need and started to overthink a very basic question that, humbly, I don't know the answer to.


In regards to basic cars, like a flat car, when a railroad's customer requests an empty to ship off-road, does the car provided have to be owned or leased by the RR the shipper's on, or the RR the receiver's on?  Or can it happen either way?  Or can a railroad grab a car from an unassociated RR, but headed home in the general direction of the receiver and use it?  Recognizing things change over time, I'm trying to model the mid-70s, and recognize that TTX, private lease, and per diem trends effect how this is perceived; I am more interested in the basic process.


I think about stories I've heard of grain season in the Palouse, when box cars were the preferred shipping method of grain, and heard of non-house cars being used.  I can see if that would be an issue if, say, a B&O box became captive on the GN moving from Washington wheat field to elevator in Seattle rather than back home to Baltimore for the owner to use.  But if the GN grabbed an empty ATSF box for a shipment headed to a recipient on the SP in Dallas (but travelling over ATSF rails at some point in travel), it doesn't feel like a problem to me.
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 22293
  • Head Kino
  • Respect: +5588
    • Conrail 1285
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2022, 04:40:13 PM »
+1
This is a huge can of worms you're opening my friend. It's also a time I really miss Gregg.

Anyway, much of it is dependent on your era. You're doing the 60s, right?




sd45elect2000

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 976
  • Respect: +401
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2022, 05:26:31 PM »
0
This is a huge can of worms you're opening my friend. It's also a time I really miss Gregg.

Anyway, much of it is dependent on your era. You're doing the 60s, right?

You got that right ! I did find in a quick search on eBay a selection of AAR interchange rules that should help. Avoid the field manuals as they deal with mechanical and loading.
The ones that have indexes with demurrage and car hire is what you are looking for .

It is possible that a B&O car was loaded to move further west but the car hire would have been high enough to make it not worth it. That said, a car can be loaded to move East with a lower car hire.
Randy

milw12

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 359
  • Respect: +281
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2022, 05:28:03 PM »
0
Tony Thompson's blog post on Car Service Rules may be of interest, even if his focus is the 50's. Basically there were (are?) rules for getting cars back home:

https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/01/car-service-rules.html

Of note:

"The simplest way for a railroad to handle the freight cars of all other railroads (called “foreign” cars) would be for the road to return them, when made empty, to the owning road, while loading its own cars exclusively. This means, nationwide, that empty miles for every car would be equal to loaded miles, because every other railroad would be loading its shipments in its own cars and getting them back empty. But since many cars are functionally equivalent, such as general-purpose box cars, why not load that fresh empty and send it homeward, but loaded? This obviously reduces empty mileage considerably, and improves utilization. If Road A loads a car to Road B, and B then loads the same car back to A, there is no empty mileage at all. Even if the car only moves, say, halfway homeward with a load, the ratio of loaded to empty miles is improved."

He even provides a nifty map used to guide cars in the general direction of home.

His post on free running cars may be helpful as well:

https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2017/05/free-running-freight-cars.html

An aside of this is that any car could end up in any location, but probability is a factor. Tony also covers this in detail:

https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-unusual-cars-on-your-freight-roster.html

And then you can have fun trying to route a Central of Georgia box home from California  :)

-Lucas

sirenwerks

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 5704
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +302
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2022, 06:23:00 PM »
0
This is a huge can of worms you're opening my friend. It's also a time I really miss Gregg.

Anyway, much of it is dependent on your era. You're doing the 60s, right?


Focusing on 1974-1976, prime of my misspent youth...
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker

sirenwerks

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 5704
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +302
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2022, 06:33:21 PM »
0
Tony Thompson's blog post on Car Service Rules may be of interest, even if his focus is the 50's. Basically there were (are?) rules for getting cars back home:

https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/01/car-service-rules.html


This is a good read while I wait to travel back home.  But I can't wrap my head around #6 in the link -  Between suitable cars available for loading, give preference to cars most distant at loading point from the owner.


WTH does that mean?  If have an empty WM box, I can send it back with a load headed to Columbus, because that routing is kinda on the way back to Connellsville? 
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker

sirenwerks

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 5704
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +302
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2022, 06:45:03 PM »
0
I guess I am trying to wrap my head around something that doesn't really matter to me as a modeler - how do routing miles get paid to the railroad where shipment originates versus the railroad that delivers the load, and what pay percentage goes to the owner of the car.  If I were the B&O, I wouldn't want my car used on a foreign road unless it were coming back onto the B&O, I wouldn't want to pay for the wear and tear caused by a load I did not benefit from or have the car offline for me for any longer than necessary to use for a load paying premium to me.  That's where I start overthinking it, or trying to rationalize movements as a bean counter rather than a logistician.
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker

learmoia

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 3461
  • Respect: +650
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2022, 07:02:31 PM »
0
I found an NYC shippers guide from the 1960s, and that had a wealth of info...  I'll see if I can find the link to it.
I wanted a few GN cars to fill out my 10 car BN passenger train.
.. I ended up with 21 Empire Builder cars.
~Ian

milw12

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 359
  • Respect: +281
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2022, 07:35:46 PM »
0
This is a good read while I wait to travel back home.  But I can't wrap my head around #6 in the link -  Between suitable cars available for loading, give preference to cars most distant at loading point from the owner.

Glad you are enjoying it, and I believe you are on the correct thought process. It's how I see it at least, relay the car in the homeward direction, and try to get it close with preferences to the longest run. With your example, I would interpret that a WM box would go to Columbus before a similar B&O (or whatever) car. I believe these service rules were more like guidelines and exceptions did occur, but in a simplified model world it's a good starting point.

As a midwest modeler, Chicago (east), KCMO (south and west) and the Twin Cities (north and northwest) do a lot of the heavy lifting for me when it comes to waybills when I lack specific data. It's a simplification, but if I don't know how to get a car back, have it shipped it to a major hub in the general direction.

Tony's series on waybills might be worth a read depending on how deep into car routing you want to go.

And these thing do matter to you as a modeler, the nuances of how traffic flows as a whole across the nation can directly effect your chosen modeling topic, either a model of a prototype or something more freelanced. It lends your railroad credibility in the long run. And as a friend said, once you start prototype modeling you can't go back. Enjoy the journey!

Lucas

sd45elect2000

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 976
  • Respect: +401
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2022, 07:54:16 PM »
+1

This is a good read while I wait to travel back home.  But I can't wrap my head around #6 in the link -  Between suitable cars available for loading, give preference to cars most distant at loading point from the owner.


WTH does that mean?  If have an empty WM box, I can send it back with a load headed to Columbus, because that routing is kinda on the way back to Connellsville?

Yes, you must move the car back East and give preferred loading over your own cars. You cannot for example load a foreign SP car East to Columbus. Remember each town had a station agent that was in charge of the cars spotted either in a yard or industry.  He made the decision on the disposition of foreign cars. If there is no lading for an empty car it was moved to the next terminal where a different agent or yardmaster made the same choice, either load the car to a general direction to its home road of send it along empty.

The shipper had the option as well to reject a car for loading if it leaked water for example or wasn’t equipped with load restraining devices LRD or bad order doors etc.

I don’t think many of these rules were flawlessly adhered to but they did try..

SAH

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1084
  • Respect: +886
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2022, 08:52:53 PM »
0

I don’t think many of these rules were flawlessly adhered to but they did try..

I posed this question to a retired local (Northern Ohio) railroader as I was designing the car forwarding scheme for my AC&Y layout.  As you go back in time the above statement was true.  By the 70's any car that met the customers requirements was loaded, regardless of which road owned it.  Particularly true for box cars. 

If you have an industry that requires a lot of a specific car type (box cars for instance) adding a clean out track at the local yard might be appropriate and add some operating interest.

Chris333

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17125
  • Respect: +4794
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2022, 09:03:42 PM »
0
That is what 3rdRail used to say. I think you get per diem rates for other roads that people need to keep track up. And then they settle up because it would work both ways with many other roads.

ncbqguy

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +355
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2022, 09:11:28 PM »
0
Since some of us might have accumulated more cars than industries on a layout can possibly use, using staging on both ens of the modeled railroad can use the car service rules to cycle foreign cars off the layout.
Some car forwarding articles seem to cycle cars within the layout.  Empties which can’t be loaded promptly should be gotten rid of promptly….unless there is about to be a need for that type of car, like an impending grain rush. 
Railroads would complain about cars not being returned all the time.
Charlie Vlk

sd45elect2000

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 976
  • Respect: +401
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2022, 09:21:14 PM »
0
I posed this question to a retired local (Northern Ohio) railroader as I was designing the car forwarding scheme for my AC&Y layout.  As you go back in time the above statement was true.  By the 70's any car that met the customers requirements was loaded, regardless of which road owned it.  Particularly true for box cars. 

If you have an industry that requires a lot of a specific car type (box cars for instance) adding a clean out track at the local yard might be appropriate and add some operating interest.

Class one railroad cars are really expensive car hire. Group the TTX cars I the class one category as TTX is owned by the class ones. Most of our customers won’t load a class one car over a class two or three as the car hire rates are much lower. Since we don’t own a car fleet most of the time we look for private cars or class three cars like GATX or the sort. I’m in Mass so BNSF cars need to be routed west, not East , North or South . A CSX car has the same car hire so a BNSF car is used interchangeably but a customer can reject an expensive car.

If we got a back haul on our boxcars we got car hire for two directions. We used this gimmick on the ore trains. They hauled coal on part of the trip coming East , the cars were cleaned in Fond du lac and sent north for ore, big money maker on backhauls. Empty cars make nothing.


On the WC we of course had WC cars which were class 2 cars but we also lettered a group of cars as SSAM to give customers a cheaper class three car if that was desired .

Randy
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 09:33:32 PM by sd45elect2000 »

sd45elect2000

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 976
  • Respect: +401
Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2022, 09:24:31 PM »
0
Since some of us might have accumulated more cars than industries on a layout can possibly use, using staging on both ens of the modeled railroad can use the car service rules to cycle foreign cars off the layout.
Some car forwarding articles seem to cycle cars within the layout.  Empties which can’t be loaded promptly should be gotten rid of promptly….unless there is about to be a need for that type of car, like an impending grain rush. 
Railroads would complain about cars not being returned all the time.
Charlie Vlk

Right and here’s the thing, let’s say I have a customer that ships one boxcar per day. The cycle times on the cars is 5 weeks, how many cars do I need on the books to handle this traffic?

There is a justification for having a lot of cars on inventory for a small industry.

If you are modeling the 70s it’s a good opportunity to use per diem ( class three ) cars en mass.

Randy
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 09:35:22 PM by sd45elect2000 »