Traffic Generation and Car Selection

BrianS Feb 25, 2003

  1. BrianS

    BrianS E-Mail Bounces

    767
    0
    24
    For those serious operator types out there, do you give any consideration to the origin/destination of your interchange traffic or the selection of cars for a specific load? Do you assign a specific destination to all loads leaving your railroad via interchange such as "Yakima, WA via BNSF" or "Akron, Ohio via B&O"? What about traffic coming to your railroad through interchange? Did that load of oranges just come from "somewhere else" or did it originate on the Southern Pacific in Merced, California?

    Along those lines, do you give any thought to car selection on your road? Will you ship a load of canned goods in any old boxcar, or do you pick an RBL that's been designated for food service? If the load is bound for Yakima, as mentioned above, will you do your best to find a BNSF car (Or the eqivalent for your era.) to ship it in?

    Any thoughts on this? I know it's been covered in Model Railroader in the past decade a few times, but not much recently. I'm just curious as to what everyone thinks about all this.
     
  2. Fred

    Fred TrainBoard Member

    236
    0
    19
    Yea, I give it a lot of thought. A load on inbound lumber for an industry on my line for example; waybill would read From Geogia Pacific, Crossett, Ark via ADN, RI, PRR, A car would be a ADN, or RI 50'box or flat. I always try to use the right type of frt car and routing. It takes a little (actually a lot longer) to make up the card-order type waybills but it's fun. If I hadn't railfanned that line then I look up in the Official Guide (1964) for routing.
     
  3. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,472
    396
    126
    Exactly why I have such a diverse array of rolling stock. After quite a bit of research while out railfanning (for example, the carbon black plants out in the Texas Panhandle served by Santa Fe, now BNSF), I get an idea of where raw materials come from, and where finished goods can be shipped. And of course, I have carbon black hoppers used in such service.
     
  4. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,472
    396
    126
    Guess I oughta put in a for-instance:

    Carbon black, shipped from a carbon black plant at Borger, TX (Santa Fe) in SHPX 75421 routed to Amarillo, TX by a local for inclusion in a run-through train to Tulsa, OK (Frisco) via Avard. This car then goes east up the Cherokee Subdivision to Monett, MO, then to a local for interchange with the Spring River Railway at Seneca Jct, MO for shipment to the Goodrun Tire Co. plant.

    The listing on a train manifest on my railroad would read like this:
    SHPX 75421, CABX, BORGERTX DEST:SENJCTMO
    Outbound:
    SHPX 75421 MTY SENJCTMO
    DEST:BORGERTX

    If I were to go to car cards, this is what I would put on a card for this particular card.

    And yes, I meant Frisco and Santa Fe- I model the late 1970s. Were I modeling the present, it would be an all-BNSF routing.
     
  5. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

    1,061
    0
    31
    At the NEB&W, we originally had all of this information printed everywhere. The car cards, waybills, switchlists, etc. I agree it is important to know where your cars are going and where they are coming from. But there is a point of overloading an operator. How many engineers and conductors on the local know that the car they are spotting will get loaded and shipped to Anytown, Anystate? Or how about on a through manifest? Sure, they may know some of it, especially large blocks (coal, tropicana juice train, PFE, etc.) but they won't know most of it.

    So we simplified things. For operator's ease, they know it came off interchange with xyz railroad or is going to interchange with xyz railroad. We do specify online destinations, however. This is evident on my operations sheets found at the NEB&W Operations site. Our old sheets can be found here.

    Oh, and at the bottom of the ops page you can find our breakdown for coal hoppers by percentage. Quite interesting.

    Another thing most people forget is empties. You want to send an empty if at all possible back towards its home road (per diem costs - similar to horsepower hours on locomotives, but usually paid in cash). So a car clerk would assign empties to industries shipping in that direction (hence the reason I'll probably include this position in my operations) or just send the car along empty. We have no idea where it will end up, just the next yard it will arrive at.

    And don't forget the per diem shove, where one RR will shove empties to the other RR's yard tracks just before midnight so as not to get charged for the cars for that day. This is much less common now, but was highly practiced right through the 60s.
     
  6. Fred

    Fred TrainBoard Member

    236
    0
    19
    Corey, On my railroad the original destination of customer and railroad are indicated on the waybill because most of the guys operatoring on my layout are avid railfans as well, and might have been with me on that trip to the shortline listed on the waybill - kind of fun to hear one of the guys call out " hey, I remember that trip- they went out of their way to show us around" - or something to that effect. In fact, on that trip to the ADN the people at Georgia Pacific did go out of their way to let us nose around their facility, something we all agreed upon would have never happened here "up north"! No, the operators do pay attention to most of the waybills lookig to recognize a railroad or industry they might have visited on one of our many railfan trips.
     
  7. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

    1,061
    0
    31
    Fred, that's cool, especially when you travel with the operators. We have a situation at our club where some members can't wade through all of that extra information, and it seriously hurts operations. So we "dumbed it down" to what was necessary to run the trains while still being prototypical. It's a little harder with a 130x27 foot layout.
     
  8. Doug F

    Doug F TrainBoard Member

    24
    0
    15
    I'm not yet into full operation as I don't have a home layout and run trains only when my club (http://www.railsonwheels.com) is set up at a show.

    With the large amount of equipment that I own I wanted to find a way to randomly vary what I run. I settled on using the various multiple sided dice used in gaming. These dice have 4, 6, 8, 10, and 20 sides.

    I roll them all at once and then go through my cars taking the next count from the previous one. It takes a few rolls to get a couple twenty car trains made up but they are a cross section of what I own and eventually everything will get on the rails. When I get back from a show the cars used are then placed at the end of the line so that only a few will go to the next show and they will be in a different order than they were before.

    I hope this is an idea that someone else can use.

    Doug
     
  9. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    I'm in the same boat as you Doug, but I think about it all the time so when I do finally get to the place where I can operate, I'm ready to go!
     
  10. Doug F

    Doug F TrainBoard Member

    24
    0
    15
    Maxwell:

    I do this set up before I leave for the show. I usually try to set up a couple of twenty car trains, with the engine I intend to run.

    The cars are all checked for weight and coupler problems before I leave. I find that transport is hard on the couplers and some may be damaged just getting to the show so they are eyeballed again as they are put on the track at the show.

    I have in the range of 400 cars and there is no way I could take them all to a show and decide then what I was going to run.

    I usually take a few extra engines so that I can change them out if a problem comes up or for variety if I get more than normal operating time.

    I settled on 20 car trains as I can get a train, with the engines, into a computer paper box for easy transport. I usually take three or four boxes to a show. Two with freight trains, one passenger train, and a box with extra engines and cars just in case they are needed. The fourth box will also have basic tools (nothing elaborate), couplers, and the very important list of what I already own so that I don't duplicate what I have at the sale tables.

    Doug
     
  11. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    4,826
    13
    64
    Has anyone told you guys that all this trouble and loss of sleep you go through is really appreciated by us yokels who visit your shows to watch the trains run? It make for a fantastic time for us just seeing the variety and all the different cars and engines, even though many viewers really have no idea of what you have gone through just to put the show on for a few days. You are to be commended! :D
     
  12. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    8,701
    986
    117
    This is a very interesting topic although no matter how many articles I read I can never really get a good grip on how to use waybills etc.

    One day I would love to have someone come over to my place and work out an operating system to keep the layout more active.

    I like the idea of having cars being allocated to industries as well as through trains etc.
     
  13. Doug F

    Doug F TrainBoard Member

    24
    0
    15
    Watash:

    I thank-you for your appreciation of what it takes to set up for a show. I doubt that most at the shows even think about it.

    My real benefit comes from talking to youngsters and people new to the hobby. They show their appreciation by the questions that they ask. I am happy to answer even the most basic questions as I think that model railroading is the best hobby that there is. I have really missed the helping part since I sold my hobby shop 13 years ago and this way I can still do it.

    Thanks again

    Doug
     
  14. Fred

    Fred TrainBoard Member

    236
    0
    19
    Corey, You're right - what may be good for one, may not be good for another. I'm lucky in that the 6-8 guys operating on my layout are all good friends (20+ years) and do a lot of railfanning/modeling together. Only problem we been having lately is - our eyesight ain't quite like it use to be !!!!!
     
  15. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

    662
    43
    28
    Colonel (and others),

    The best solution I have found is a computer program that I have been beta testing for over a year now. The program is called Interchange and it should be available in about a month or so. This program does just about everything you can imagine. It generates switchlists, waybills, car cards and also maintains inventory and maintenance information for those that want that.

    I said a month or so because there have been requests to add the ability to use the program for modular and regular clubs where individuals bring equipment to run.

    As I said, I have been using the program for over a year as a beta tester. I had an operating session last week with a couple of new people. They were able to sit down at the computer and print out a switchlist with only minimal guidance from me.

    Just like all such programs, the pain is getting started. It takes a while to define your layout to the program. This includes entering your towns, yards, industries, routes, trains, locomotives, and rolling stock. Then you have to define all the shipments you want.

    Once you have entered all this data, to generate a switchlist only requires a couple of steps. You select a train you want to run and select a caboose/van (if your railroad still has them) then press the Print button and out pops the switchlist. If you want waybills with you switchlist all that requires is to select the Print Waybills button.

    If you are interested in reading more on this program you can go to:

    http://www.mcswiz.com/MCSMRCDS/MainPage.asp

    I have no financial interest in this program. I just think it is a great program for running a model railroad.

    David

    [ 07. March 2003, 00:34: Message edited by: ncng ]
     

Share This Page