Author Topic: Car assignments - or how to overthink things  (Read 1169 times)

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brokemoto

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2022, 09:44:43 PM »
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There was a map of the U.S. of A. out there at one point that was divided into numbered regions along with a printed guide.  I have not seen it in some time.  After all of that information, there was a comment that most of the guidelines were honoured more in their breach than keeping.

Unless you have a Basement Empire and large operating sessions, it is best to keep it simple.  The only things to which I pay attention are whether the North or South bound B&O trains or the westbound  WM trains pick up the cars at the junction of a fictitious B&O secondary, a fictitious WM branch and a non-historic railroad.  Sometimes, there is a choice, particullarly for cars that could be picked up by the North bound B&O or West bound WM freights.  A pick up by the east bound WM is rare.

Cars bound for the P&LE could be picked up by either the northbound B&O or westbound WM and delivered to Dickerson Run.  Cars bound for the Penn, CNJ or New England would be picked up by the northbound B&O.  Cars for points on the southern roads or California would be picked up by the southbound B&O.  Cars bound for points around Chicago could be picked up by any train, although the fastest routing would likely be the VIA the southbound B&O.

Some businesses used to prefer one or two roads over the others, so you can have a business or two that wants loaded cars routed over WM/PRR/ATSF, as an example.  Thus only certain trains can pick up those cars.

sd45elect2000

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2022, 09:51:04 PM »
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There was a map of the U.S. of A. out there at one point that was divided into numbered regions along with a printed guide.  I have not seen it in some time.  After all of that information, there was a comment that most of the guidelines were honoured more in their breach than keeping.

Unless you have a Basement Empire and large operating sessions, it is best to keep it simple.  The only things to which I pay attention are whether the North or South bound B&O trains or the westbound  WM trains pick up the cars at the junction of a fictitious B&O secondary, a fictitious WM branch and a non-historic railroad.  Sometimes, there is a choice, particullarly for cars that could be picked up by the North bound B&O or West bound WM freights.  A pick up by the east bound WM is rare.

Cars bound for the P&LE could be picked up by either the northbound B&O or westbound WM and delivered to Dickerson Run.  Cars bound for the Penn, CNJ or New England would be picked up by the northbound B&O.  Cars for points on the southern roads or California would be picked up by the southbound B&O.  Cars bound for points around Chicago could be picked up by any train, although the fastest routing would likely be the VIA the southbound B&O.

Some businesses used to prefer one or two roads over the others, so you can have a business or two that wants loaded cars routed over WM/PRR/ATSF, as an example.  Thus only certain trains can pick up those cars.

 Yes, routing the loaded cars sometimes took unusual routes. The CNW was required to interchange loaded coal for the Waukegan power plant to the North Shore Line in Skokie only to be interchange again to the CNW for delivery to the plant.
Empty cars had no set routing and could end up anywhere.

SAH

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2022, 08:53:37 AM »
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There was a map of the U.S. of A. out there at one point that was divided into numbered regions along with a printed guide.  I have not seen it in some time.  After all of that information, there was a comment that most of the guidelines were honoured more in their breach than keeping.

I think the map you reference is in the back of the Equipment Register.  I have an April 1967 copy.  It's on page 1081, with the car routing rules on the following pages.  Read it and your mind will be twisted in knots for days.  Which leads directly to the overthink the OP related.

I find this stuff interesting.  Implementing something like prototype car forwarding would require an army of clerks or require a great deal more thought than the typical model RR operator, who is not so much interested in the process, is willing to spend.  I'm embedding the clerk work in a simple spreadsheet and limiting the care use rules to:  Load acceptable available foreign road cars first and fill the rest of the request with home road empties.

I'll guess the IPD box cars of the 70's changed the selection process somewhat.  I've not studied or done much reading about the process before 1970.  Can anyone shed some light on how it changed?

brokemoto

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2022, 09:13:38 AM »
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routing the loaded cars sometimes took unusual routes.  Empty cars had no set routing and could end up anywhere.

I have a small gasolene engine plant at Nopedale on the non-historic railroad portion of my pike that has a similar specification.  Any full car leaving it is picked up by the non-historic short line and must be rendered to the Western Maryland at Short Creek Junction.  The WM then, in theory, delivers it to the Penn at some Penn/WM junction point (not modelled) as the Penn is that plant's preferred carrier.  Thus, a loaded car bound for Washington or points south still must go west on the WM before it is interchanged with the Penn to head south.  It can not be picked up by southbound B&O freights at Short Creek Junction.  Coal for the plant's electricity generator usually comes in a WM or Penn hopper, so those, of course, will be picked up by the WM at Short Creek Junction.  Other empty cars can be routed as appropriate once they arrive at Short Creek Junction.  Cars are picked up at or delivered to Trona-Rodd Small Engine Company only five days per week as a rule.  The scheduled WM freight runs only five days per week.  If a special weekend movement to or from Trona-Rodd Corp. is necessary, the weekend B&O freights would have to pick up or deliver the cars from or to Short Creek Junction.  There is enough trackage at the plant to accommodate perhaps ten cars and it would be crowded, then.  As a rule, there are only six cars there at any one time.  For this reason, there would not be enough cars to justify a WM extra.  You could put another six or so cars on the track that serves the depot at Nopedale, but it would be necessary to remove them by Monday as the rebuilt-from-wreck-shortened RDC-3 would be arriving in the morning.




SAH

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 11:53:37 PM »

   

"your mind will be twisted in knots for days.  Which leads directly to the overthink the OP related."

I find this stuff interesting.  Implementing something like prototype car forwarding would require an army of clerks or require a great deal more thought than the typical model RR operator, who is not so much interested in the process, is willing to spend.  I'm embedding the clerk work in a simple spreadsheet and limiting the care use rules to:  Load acceptable available foreign road cars first and fill the rest of the request with home road empties.

This is why I keep it as simple as I can even to the point of oversimplification.  I want things to look realistic, so I must do something, but I am not going to spend hours on it.  What works best for me is sending out empty and loaded cars on the appropriate train.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 09:31:00 AM by brokemoto »

John

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2022, 10:02:28 AM »
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I refer you to this .. https://www.jmri.org/help/en/package/jmri/jmrit/operations/Operations.shtml#CarRouting



Railroad Division


The railroad divisions feature allows you to create prototypical car movements for your railroad. Cars with a home division are routed to their destinations and move with "purpose". To use this feature first create and then select at least one division for your railroad by using the "Add" button in the "Division" section of the "Edit Location" window. You can assign multiple locations to the same division, and you can create several divisions for your railroad. Cars that are assigned a home division will return to the yard or staging at their home division when their load state becomes empty. If the program can't find a home division yard or staging for the empty car, it will try to send the car directly to an industry (spur) at the car's home division. Cars with a home division will also return to an industry (spur) or staging at their home division when loaded from an industry or staging outside of their home division. Cars loaded at their home division can travel to any industry or staging on the railroad. The program will use interchange tracks and optionally intermediate yards to route the cars to yards, industries or staging that require multiple trains. When using the railroad division feature, it isn't necessary to create schedules for your spurs, schedules are optional unless your cars are using custom loads.

When setting up railroad divisions, it is best if there's at least one division yard for empty cars to migrate to, and at least one industry (spur) to service cars loaded outside of the division. Staging can be used as a substitute for industries.

Adding divisions to locations and home divisions to cars creates prototypical movement, but it can also reduce car movement since the rules for car movement have to be enforced by the program. It is recommended that you start off by only providing a home division to a limited number of cars and then determine if the restricted car movements meet your expectations. Prototypical car movement doesn't necessarily mean better for model railroads.

cv_acr

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2022, 12:20:58 PM »
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Or can a railroad grab a car from an unassociated RR, but headed home in the general direction of the receiver and use it?

Short answer, yes, this is exactly how car utlization is supposed to work, for unassigned, general service cars.

cv_acr

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2022, 12:29:19 PM »
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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.

For the shipment, each railroad participating will share in a portion of the freight charges based on the mileage. This has nothing to do with whose car the shipment is in.

For the car(s), each railroad pays a "per diem" (then, now it's more like an hourly car hire) rate to the owner of any "foreign" cars for every day that the car is on their property. So if you're the B&O, you will receive per diem charges from the other railroad(s) as long as your car is off your property. This has nothing to do with whether the car is loaded or not.

The car utilization rules will encourage the car to be sent back towards home.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 12:48:54 PM by cv_acr »

cv_acr

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2022, 12:47:40 PM »
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Class one railroad cars are really expensive car hire. ... 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.

So is that partly the reason why railroads lease so many cars with shortline reporting marks like COER, NOKL, AOK, etc.? Go into STB filings and you'll find large numbers of these that are leased to Class Is like CN or BNSF.

sirenwerks

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2022, 01:06:40 PM »
+1
If you are modeling the 70s it’s a good opportunity to use per diem ( class three ) cars en mass.


I have been leaning towards earlier 70s - 1974 - which is the very cusp of Railbox and IPD cars starting to hit the rails.  Railbox's first order of cars hit the rails in October 1974, IIRC.  I am thinking about leaning towards 1976 to allow for IPDs to be more prominent in my rolling stock pool.  But I have a soft spot for 40' box cars and a very keen dislike of the color yellow (the color of insanity), so it's a catch-22. I'm jiggering my road's history and the general history of US railroading to fulfill all of my desires, but still in counseling to overcome the guilt.  Why couldn't TTX have stuck with boxcar red, or white (or robin's egg blue if it really wanted to stand out - How often do you see a robin's egg blue boxcar?), for it's fleet...
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

sd45elect2000

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2022, 03:01:58 PM »
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I have a small gasolene engine plant at Nopedale on the non-historic railroad portion of my pike that has a similar specification.  Any full car leaving it is picked up by the non-historic short line and must be rendered to the Western Maryland at Short Creek Junction.  The WM then, in theory, delivers it to the Penn at some Penn/WM junction point (not modelled) as the Penn is that plant's preferred carrier.  Thus, a loaded car bound for Washington or points south still must go west on the WM before it is interchanged with the Penn to head south.  It can not be picked up by southbound B&O freights at Short Creek Junction.  Coal for the plant's electricity generator usually comes in a WM or Penn hopper, so those, of course, will be picked up by the WM at Short Creek Junction.  Other empty cars can be routed as appropriate once they arrive at Short Creek Junction.  Cars are picked up at or delivered to Trona-Rodd Small Engine Company only five days per week as a rule.  The scheduled WM freight runs only five days per week.  If a special weekend movement to or from Trona-Rodd Corp. is necessary, the weekend B&O freights would have to pick up or deliver the cars from or to Short Creek Junction.  There is enough trackage at the plant to accommodate perhaps ten cars and it would be crowded, then.  As a rule, there are only six cars there at any one time.  For this reason, there would not be enough cars to justify a WM extra.  You could put another six or so cars on the track that serves the depot at Nopedale, but it would be necessary to remove them by Monday as the rebuilt-from-wreck-shortened RDC-3 would be arriving in the morning.




SAH

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 11:53:37 PM »

   

"your mind will be twisted in knots for days.  Which leads directly to the overthink the OP related."

I find this stuff interesting.  Implementing something like prototype car forwarding would require an army of clerks or require a great deal more thought than the typical model RR operator, who is not so much interested in the process, is willing to spend.  I'm embedding the clerk work in a simple spreadsheet and limiting the care use rules to:  Load acceptable available foreign road cars first and fill the rest of the request with home road empties.

This is why I keep it as simple as I can even to the point of oversimplification.  I want things to look realistic, so I must do something, but I am not going to spend hours on it.  What works best for me is sending out empty and loaded cars on the appropriate train.

Here's a what if. What if the WM picked up a car destined for the PRR at the engine plant. There are two PRR interchanges, one is 1/2 mile away, the other is 30 miles away. Regardless of the customer preferred carrier the WM is not easily going to short haul itself. The car will go the 30 miles on the WM. If the customer insists the WM can drop it 1/2 mile away but the free switching is off the table. Now we can hammer the engine plant for lost revenue for the short haul.

There are exceptions. Terminal agreements that share revenue from a large customer. The one I can think of offhand is Fairbanks morse in Beloit Wisconsin. That revenue was shared in a terminal agreement that gave the Milwaukee the business for 6 months and the CNW got the same business for 6 months. They alternated business monthly. In a terminal agreement the WM would shorthaul itself but there were offsets to cover costs and make a different revenue share split. Even though the PRR got the longhaul the WM would still get the revenue from the 30 mile haul. The customer keeps his free switch.

packers#1

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2022, 04:29:49 PM »
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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.

I’ll have to look at my Interstate RR book for the exact details, but they had this issue with northern roads and their hoppers. IIRC the host road could take the car and load it. But the Interstate had a special bulletin for Southeastern roads that they had to return Interstate hoppers when full, but the governing body (ICC?) would not grant them the same bulletin for northern roads, so Interstate hoppers could end up trapped in Northern Roads.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2022, 02:37:43 PM by packers#1 »
Sawyer Berry
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samusi01

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2022, 05:39:07 PM »
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The Northern Pacific's Historical Association has, at their site, a PDF copy of their late 1960's Terminal Office Manual, which may help a bit... it has an excerpted copy of the ORER map that others have referenced, on page 188 of the PDF.

Link: http://research.nprha.org/Pages/Operations-Traffic.aspx#Terminal-Office-Manuals

That said, it does predate your era by a decade or more. I don't have much information on the 1970s as, for the most part, it is supplemental information only that falls outside the scope of my layout and interest. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any BN (or UP, or SP) documentation that may fall more directly into your era and be of greater interest.

Sam

Maletrain

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2022, 11:05:20 PM »
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During some time periods, some railroads had rules about some classes of cars either not being loaded for foreign road destinations or not being available for loading when on foreign roads.  Getting to know the history of your preferred prototype in the period you want to model would provide these rule insights, if you are interested in such things.

But, for just getting interesting ops on a model railroad, you really only need to think about what types of operations you want to model to satisfy your own sense of fun.  My club uses the same waybills for the same cars all the time, with cars going to staging, getting their waybills flipped, and coming back next session to go to the same places by the same routes again over the next 4 op sessions.  So, the yard masters have no need to find cars for customers - it is all predetermined.  But, others may not like that, and like the idea of having the empties get assigned ad hoc to destinations when they reach the yard empty - which can be done by replacing the waybills.

To me, the important thing is that the model flow does not get to be too much of a headache for any operators to have fun.  So, the system needs to keep the cars reasonably well dispersed and flowing in reasonable sized trains, rather than accumulating off-spot at clogged industries or overwhelming yards at some points and leaving the yardmaster twiddling thumbs at other time.  One method to deal with too many cars in a yard is to do what the prototypes did - dispatch an "extra" train that is not on the schedule.

Of course, if you want to model headaches of car handling, you can always model something like a miners' strike and let returning coal hoppers fill the mine tracks and start clogging the yards while you "wait for a contract settlement".  Or, you can close a rail route due to an accident or landslide or blizzard, so that your trains must use another route, or maybe even have foreign trains use your tracks if theirs are modeled to be the location of the impassable problem. 

brokemoto

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2022, 09:09:18 AM »
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Here's a what if. What if the WM picked up a car destined for the PRR at the engine plant. There are two PRR interchanges, one is 1/2 mile away, the other is 30 miles away. Regardless of the customer preferred carrier the WM is not easily going to short haul itself. The car will go the 30 miles on the WM. If the customer insists the WM can drop it 1/2 mile away but the free switching is off the table. Now we can hammer the engine plant for lost revenue for the short haul.


This is not a concern on my pike.  The SC&N is the only road that services the small engine plant at Nopedale.  The SC&N fetches the cars from the engine plant and hauls them the five miles to Short Creek Junction.  There, it interchanges them with the WM.  In addition, it fetches the cars from the WM at Short Creek Junction and delivers them to the engine plant.  I do not know if there are any switching fees involved in interchange.  Other than this' serving to explain why there are mostly WM and Penn cars at the small engine plant, I do not worry too much about how the cars got onto my pike or what happens to them once they are off it.  Mind you, this is all in the interest of keeping it simple and avoiding the overthink that is a concern to Original Poster.

The small engine plant at Nopedale and the bicycle factory twenty miles distant at Short Creek also help to explain the presence of two NW-2s and a Baldwin VO-1000.  Under most circumstances, that would have to be a pretty prosperous short line to afford all of that diesel power.  During the Second World War, the War Production Board was less worried about who could afford what and more concerned with what was necessary to move war materiel.  Trona-Rodd was converted to build motorcycle engines under licence from Harley-Davidson or Indian, I do not worry too much about which one it was.  The bicycle factory was converted to build the motorcycle  frames.  The engine plant sent the engines to the bicycle factory where everything went into a packing crate and shipped either to Europe or the Pacific or even the Russians, again, I do not worry too much about where.  The yard goats were necessary for the constant shuttles between the engine plant and the bicycle factory then back to S.C. Jct. to be fetched by the WM or B&O.  By the mid 1950s, the traffic has diminished, of course, so the Baldwin is the S.C. Jct. switcher (allowing the retirement of the USRA 0-6-0) and one EMD is the Short Creek switcher while the other one works in MU with the S.C. switcher on longer train days when extra power is required or serves as a reserve when one of the others is in the shop.

nscalbitz

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Re: Car assignments - or how to overthink things
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2022, 07:39:32 PM »
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... 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? ... per diem trends effect how this is perceived; I am more interested in the basic process.


Last first- per diem was accounted at midnite; so if it was on your raod, you had to pay the owner (a loss to you). Thats why so many 'transfers' happened after the day shift- "get them off our rails".

'Return' was supposed to always be toward the home base road; except if a car was 'requested' by a customer- and you had it- it could travel in the wrong direction ON YOUR rails.

I recall reading that some roads 'pooled' cars sometimes, and someone like (just an example, not a fact) SCL or RI may have needed weather sealed cars, or hoppers for a seasonal crop; and would send out a message to local roads in case they had empties available. In that case the risk of pd moved to them. The D&RGW I think partly got into the 'spare runners' remote cars in the late 70-80's and made extra revenue from their 'travelling stock' (and the motorcar and household appliances pools).
cheers d