Percent of Fleet Home Road?

Discussion in 'Freight Equipment' started by Boomer John, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    About a week ago I posted a message regarded decals for a
    early 1950's boxcar fleet. Solved that one, I'm starting to order equipment. My West Bottoms runs comfortably with about 35 boxcars in/out the various warehouses and freighthouses. Does anyone have any input as what percentage should be the home road, Frisco? Don't tell me 100%, Rick M has alread used this one.

    I can get a nice mix with:

    Outside braced wood-Tichy

    1934 AAR-Red Caboose

    USRA 8 panel, fishbelly underframe, 5-5-5, Atlas due in Aug


  2. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Supporter


    I'm sure that you probably already realize this, but I would think that you will first need to establish what the various warehouses/industries received and shipped out. Let me give you one example that applies to Wichita, KS. The local newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, was switched by the Frisco and over the years received inbound loads of paper rolls (modern era) in CN paper load boxcars originating in Canada. As far as shipping anything outbound, I can't think of anything. In the early years they probably also received ink in railroad cars and occasionally equipment such as presses. If I was modeling this industry, I would need to establish if the Frisco brought these cars in from the East or interchanged them off and on from another railroad in Wichita.
    As you probably already realize, there are several people that are West Bottoms historians and modelers on the forum that can help you. I would guess that you would probably have a bigger mix of foreign road equipment than someone like me would as my locale and equipment is predominately agriculturally oriented.
  3. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    Excellent comments. I was thinking maybe 1/3, but given we are talking about most industries not being tied to local economy that now seems high to me. Here is the line-up:

    SLSF freighthouse (real)

    Holsum Foods (fictional)

    TBD Manufacturing (fictional)-TBD= Too Be Determined, not sure what they will do

    Crooks Warehouse (real)

    Crooks Terminal Warehouse (real)

    Weber Paper (real)

    Davis Company (real)- not sure what they did

    Schooler-Gorman Chemical (real)

    Universal Supply (real)- appliances

    Rudy Patrick Seed (real)

    Sunshine Biscuit (real)

    Rudy Patrick Elevator (real)

    Armour-reefers (real)

    Armour-by products track (real)

    Armour-inbound materials (real)

    Armour-coal (real)
  4. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    John, if you have not yet checked it out, you really need to check out the OpSIG data and Shenandoah Software's Waybills program ( You use the data with the software to pick the origins of raw materials or finished goods that will be delivered to your industries; this will help you figure out the proper road based upon the road(s) that service that origin area. Additionally, you can also pick the receiver of finished goods or raw materials from your industries. Outgoing goods or materials would be most likely loaded in home-road cars.

    SLSF freighthouse (real) Mix as you see fit

    Holsum Foods (fictional) mix according to possible sources - also is Holsum a wholesaler that might ship a carload (Frisco)?

    TBD Manufacturing (fictional)-TBD= Too Be Determined, not sure what they will do Raw materials in, finished product out Frisco

    Crooks Warehouse (real) ?

    Crooks Terminal Warehouse (real) ?

    Weber Paper (real) Almost assuredly all foreign road boxcars inbound

    Davis Company (real)- not sure what they did Paint? raw liquids, powders inbound foreign roads, Frisco boxcar loads out

    Schooler-Gorman Chemical (real) Raw liquids, powders, solids in, finished product out Frisco boxcars or tanks?

    Universal Supply (real)- appliances All finished goods arriving inbound foreign roads, no outgoing

    Rudy Patrick Seed (real)- Seed in from all over, Seed out all over Frisco Boxcars

    Sunshine Biscuit (real) - Dry powders, liquids inbound - finished product out Frisco boxcars

    Rudy Patrick Elevator (real) Boxcar loads of seed inbound - sack seed out Frisco boxcars

    Armour-reefers (real) Swinging beef, Amour reefers or Frisco reefers out

    Armour-by products track (real) same

    Armour-inbound materials (real) packaging materials, salt, seasonings inbound boxcars mostly foreign roadss

    Armour-coal (real) Coal could be from Frisco territory (SE KS) and/or foreign roads
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    One nice thing about modeling the KC area is that you can conceivably interchange a wealth of foreign rolling stock: Chicago Great Western, Alton/GM&O, AT&SF, MoP, CRIP, Milwaukee. There are a lot of possibilities!

    While it's not scientific or grounded in prototype data, I hope to maintain a Frisco to foreign car ratio of 3:1 on our KC Terminal, once things start moving. This may be too low, however.

    Keith's provided some superb details that I plan on utilizing, although I fear that his thorough research may be enabling my procrastination to do things like this on my own.

    I'll add to this that a basic knowledge of the AAR's Car Routing Rules is helpful to have. I've included a 1943 list of rules, "Principles to Govern Car Selection," and car routing map from the 1943 Official Register of Railway Equipment. I've tried to make the type as large as I can with what I have, but I'm concerned that the map won't show too well. If not, let me know; I'll try to get a higher-resolution posted. I also included this in Vol. 2, #1 of The Meteor.

    Best Regards,

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2011
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Higher resolution please?
  7. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    Very helpful, thanks guys.
  8. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Supporter

    I would suggest going to the Model Railroader website and looking through their old magazine Index. They did an article on this back in the 70's or 80's. If I get a little spare time I will research it.
  9. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    Wouldn't the Frisco's "home and away" ratio, be about even? About an even number of home and "foreign" cars and about an even number of originating and teminating shipments. It was a fairly "average" railroad without a lot of speciality commodities like coal, iron or steel. AND it's MODEL railroading, it doesn't have to be all that exact...

  10. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Rarely do we do anything that is exact (sigh) . . . . but we do try.:cool:
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Keith, I'll try to re-scan and re-post this weekend or early next week; thanks for asking.

    Tom, thanks for your input. I'm only basing my ratio on a modicum of photographic evidence and a bushel of hunch. Seems that many online photos I've seen indicate more SL-SF cars than foreign roads.

    Of course, now that I think about it, some of those pictures were in yards, so maybe my hunch is jaundiced.

    Hope that you fellas in the KC metro area aren't too snowbound. Or that if you are, you have plenty of coffee and have seen a LOT of your layout rooms. :)
  12. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Supporter

    Tom's comment about specialty shipments bodes an interesting question. Is this actually true and does the specific era being modeled make a difference. During the era of the 30's-50's especially the Frisco generated a lot of coal and others minerals from Kansas and Missouri. I even have two two booklets that the railroad pblished even earlier than that about their "Mineral Belt" prowess. Think back at the sheer number of 2 bay open hoppers the railroad owned compared to its size. Also, grain played a major factor in operations in all eras clear up to the end.
    Having said that, what do others think?
  13. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    My first intuition is that most of the mineral commodities that were shipped by the Frisco in Frisco cars probably did not stray far from home territory. I would be willing to bet that there were very few cars loaded with coal or mineral ore that left the Frisco's direct influence. There were plenty of users of coal and mineral ores right here in the Frisco home territory.

    Grain shipments in hopper cars would be another thing altogether; grain had a tendency to travel realitively long distances.
  14. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    FYI, I've added a higher resolution, 2-page PDF of the AAR Car Routing Rules and the Map.

    Bob, I think you raise an interesting question, especially vis-a-vis interchange traffic.

    Somewhere I have a C&EI Switch List (I think Karl may have linked me up with this goodie) for the C&EI "Chaffee Turn" via Thebes, Illinois in the 1960s. It had a whole lot of IC MTY hoppers heading back to the Southern Illinois Coal Mines. To where they had been delivered I'm not sure; I don't know if the large coal power plant around New Madrid was live at that time, and I don't think that the new, big Sikeston plant was operational yet.

    Regardless, there was nary a Frisco hopper in the lot sitting in that train at a Frisco division point.

    El Bobo, I hope to hear the results of your research soon; it sounds like a good article to read.

    Best Regards,
  15. SteveM

    SteveM Member Supporter

    To emphasize, this is very era and location specific. Fort Smith once shipped lots of coal and furniture, then appliances. During that time home road would have dominated, as seen in photos of yard on Mike Condren's website. But Tulsa at the same time might be much more bridge traffic and goods coming into town.
    Research and logic will have to be used. The MR articles are going to be general info.
    What was seen in West Bottoms might not even relect what was in the Rosedale yard.
  16. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    Ok, after all the discussion about 30-40% seems right with almost zero minerals traffic. Say 10-12 Frisco.
  17. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    I like to keep things as prototypical as possible but I also like to respect Rule #1. I think you should put whatever mix of cars on your railroad that you think looks good, fits the era, etc. With so much time gone by and so little photographic evidence, it is difficult to say that something either "always happened" or "never happened." Customers changed suppliers (translated: geographic change = originating railroad change) when better prices could be found, some vendors were used to fill production gaps that main vendors could not fill, some vendors went out of business (steel industry, wood barrel industry, etc.) . . . . . . When I worked for Meek Lumber in Springfield in the 1970s we bought shake shingles from Nova Scotia and the Pacific Northwest, usually going with the lowest price, decent quality supplier. That meant we could receive cars from CN or SP/UP/SPS/BN.

    It should also be noted that railroads had dedicated, pooled cars for specific customers and those customers did not have to be on the line to get the cars. For example, the Frisco supplied those ubiquitous 50' yellow box cars to the Amana appliance plant in Amana, IA in the 1970s, most likely in a pool with CNW, BN, ROCK. Those cars delivered appliances all over the US. Another example for the yellow box cars was at the GE plant in Appliance Park, KY with the possible pool including ICG, CONRAIL.

    One of my favorite pools was the one for the Schilitz plant in Memphis in the 1970s. My friend Brian Holtz was the traffic manager for Schlitz and had insulated box cars pooled from SOU, SLSF, MP and ICG. These cars might as well had "Schlitz" painted on their sides because any railroad's cars could go in any direction, as long as it carried Schlitz beer.

    I am not sure when railroads started pooling cars BUT I know that the Frisco had "automobile" box cars in the 30s and 40s and they were no where close to Detroit so there you go. I use the pooling concept when I route cars for my 1947-50 operating sessions.

    All this is being said to open up the possibilities for car movements, not to restrict them or impose even more rules.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2011
  18. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Supporter

    To further either expand upon or confuse the line of thought this thread has taken, I would like to know whether railroads used the “backhaul” principle like trucking companies did to more efficiently manage their car fleets and if so starting when?
    Let me give two examples that I have firsthand knowledge of:
    (1) In the 1980’s when I worked for P&G I called on a grocery chain headquarters located in the north central part of Kansas which supplied stores clear across the northern part of the state and southern part of Nebraska. Oddly enough, to me at least, they had one store way down in the southwest corner of the state. I wondered why and was told that it was there because they “backhauled” meat from one of the packing plants there. Groceries one way, meat the other and never an empty semi-truck.
    (2) A modern example that still exists today is a trucking company based in Minnesota contracts to distribute Valasis newspaper coupon inserts printed here in Wichita to newspapers in all states north from here to Minnesota (modern day LCL) picking them up on Tuesday or Wednesday and needing to have them all delivered by Saturday. The truck then drives to near Minneapolis, MN and picks up a full load of specialty potato chips for a distributor which is also headquartered here. Newspaper inserts one way, potato chips the other with never an empty truck.
    Having said that, I do know that railroad cars had stenciled on them “When empty return to Agent” at a specific location point of origin.
  19. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    I have a recollection that the Frisco hauled auto parts in hi-cube boxes through(or from) the St Louis gateway to somewhere in the Dallas Metroplex. The boxes were loaded with Johnson & Johnson products (bandages, gauze, etc?) in the Sherman-Dennison area for the trip back. I remember reading about this in one of the All Aboard or perhaps one of the annual reports. It was a pretty big deal as I remember. Does anyone else remember this?
  20. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    When I was working as summer help (1973,4,5,6) at the P&G plant in Cape Girardeau (Pampers, Luvs, Rely - later Always), the only incoming loaded rail cars that left the plant empty were the ones that arrived with dry lap (absorbent, blotter type paper), roll plastic film, liquid fragrance, super-absorbent pellets, cardboard cases, and product cartons. The rest were cars that arrived with other P&G paper products that were unloaded and warehoused or empties for out-going shipments. Into those cars went cases of Pampers, Luvs, Charmin, Bounty, etc that were headed to some distributor that bought varieties of the P&G paper products line. The outbound cars were not necessarily Frisco boxcars, but a variety of roads.

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