Date   
moderated Re: Enoree River

Bill Schafer
 

Doug:

The Southern does indeed cross the Eno River, at Hillsborough, N.C., just east of Durham. The railroad crossed more rivers than it owned sleeping cars, so not every river received the honor of having a car named after it!

—Bill

On Aug 16, 2019, at 4:22 PM, Doug Alexander <doug_alexander@...> wrote:

Richard, 

Southern named their 10-6 Pullman cars for rivers the railroad crossed.  There were scores of them.  And of course, not a one comes to mind at this moment.  But I don't know of an Eno River on the Southern.  There was an Enory River, I think....

Ah well.

Doug A.



On Friday, August 16, 2019, 03:52:03 PM EDT, rmorris_1 <rmorris52@...> wrote:


Walthers has a decal sheet for a "Eno River."  Was there another car with a very similar name?  I wouldn't have thought so to avoid confusion.
Trying to detail a car.

Richard Morris

moderated Re: Enoree River

Doug Alexander
 

Richard, 

Southern named their 10-6 Pullman cars for rivers the railroad crossed.  There were scores of them.  And of course, not a one comes to mind at this moment.  But I don't know of an Eno River on the Southern.  There was an Enory River, I think....

Ah well.

Doug A.



On Friday, August 16, 2019, 03:52:03 PM EDT, rmorris_1 <rmorris52@...> wrote:


Walthers has a decal sheet for a "Eno River."  Was there another car with a very similar name?  I wouldn't have thought so to avoid confusion.
Trying to detail a car.

Richard Morris

moderated Re: Enoree River

rmorris_1
 

Walthers has a decal sheet for a "Eno River."  Was there another car with a very similar name?  I wouldn't have thought so to avoid confusion.
Trying to detail a car.

Richard Morris

moderated ICC record interpretation help

A&Y Dave in MD
 

A&Y, Southern, and ICC Valuation Fans,

Can someone familiar with the ICC valuation records help me interpret the attached pages from an engineers' notebook?

These images are of pages from the engineers' notebook describing and valuing bridges and trestles. It came from Box 3386 in the ICC Valuation Records at the National Archives in College Park.  This portion refers to the CF line in Greensboro around mileposts 67-68.  I have the entire set of pages for Valuations Sections 27 (CF line Mt.Airy to Sanford), 27a (SM line Stokesdale to Madison branch) and 27b (CR line Climax to Ramseur Branch) for bridges, for buildings, and for land/right of way.  I'm trying to convert the bridges/trestles pages into a database in Excel to enhance the information I have from the 1912 track chart for the A&Y.  I want each row of the database to describe a single bridge or trestle.  I need help understanding the way the engineer laid out his notes.

  I think the original  "form 519" printed on the page of the notebook was designed to cover one bridge or trestle per page.  But it looks like the blue pencil lines indicate where the engineer added a new entries so that he could use up the whole page.  Only the info in the printed form below the owner info (i.e., kind of structure, name, location) was not repeated for each entry.  So, I'm not sure how many trestles are represented.  It looks like six different ones on two pages, but the maps I have don't show nearly that many (or I'm just not looking far enough because I'm misreading the scale of the Sanborn map).  Any help interpreting the Valuation trestle notes would be appreciated:

On the first page of the "Example-Pages-from-NARA..." file, you see the form itself refers to
Kind of Structure:  Frame Trestle
Name: W.A. Watson Roller Mills
Location: M.P. 68.4                        Length: 18'-04"

and then there is no header for the details (beginning with "Footplank...Metal")

Then there appears to be a header on top of the first blue line:
"Frame Trestle M.P. 68.4.   1 span 12' long"
and then details (e.g., caps, posts, sills...Metal) below the blue line.

Then there appears to be a new header again on a blue line:
"Frame Trestle   M.P. 68.1.   1 span 11'-04" long"
and then details (e.g., caps, posts, sills...GUARDS in blue) below the blue line

Is that THREE trestles (MP 68.4 on the CF line at Watson Roller Mills, MP 68.4,  and MP 68.1)?


On the second page, you see the form itself refers to
Kind of Structure:  Frame Trestles
Name: ____________
Location: M 68.0                        Length: 22'-00"

and then there is no header for the details (beginning with "Guard...")

Then there appears to be a header on top of the first blue line:
"Frame Trestle M.P. 68.0.  Spur left to Industry   1 span 10' long"
and then details (e.g., stringers, caps, sills, etc.) below the blue line.

Then there appears to be a new header again on a blue line:
"Frame Trestle Spur left to Industry  M.P. 67.8.   4 spans 46'-06" long"
and then details (e.g., guard, stringers, caps, etc.) below the blue line


Is that THREE trestles (MP 68.0 on the CF line, MP 68.0 on spur left to industry, and MP 67.8 on a different spur left to an industry)?


Is there anyone on this list with engineering or valuation experience who can help me figure out if I'm interpreting this right?  The mileposts should be located in Greensboro, somewhere south of the Furnace Branch junction and north of West Market Street Crossing, if that helps those of you who know Greensboro.  I've  attached an image from a 1943 detailed map of Greensboro in the vicinity that Marvin Black let me photograph.  I think that unnamed spur might be the "spur to the left" referred to in the notes.  A 1925 Sanborn map of Greensboro contains Prescott street, and I believe  the "trestles" referred to in the engineering record include the one over the "Brook" (which becomes North Buffalo Creek)  between AK Moore and Greensboro Building Supplies spurs, and then one more up above on the spur up to Lassiter Construction.  But that's only TWO, not SIX.  And I cannot find a "Watson Roller Mills" on the Sanborn map (either this 1925 or even on an earlier 1919 version).

So what am I missing?

Dave

--

Sent from David Bott's desktop pc

moderated Re: Low side gons

Jim King
 

Dave … I have a few pix of 9-rib gons; 2 show 1938 and 1941 built dates.  It’s been a LONG time since I researched the 11-rib gon (when I produced the HO kit in 2006) so don’t know if ALL of the 1924-blt 9-ribbed cars were rebuilt to 11 ribs in 1945.  The 9-ribbed car had unique ends … just a flat plate with 2 formed horizontal ribs.  I’ve photographed 11-rib gons in MOW service that clearly show a 1924 build date despite having the 1945 Dreadnaught + darts end.  No mention of 1945 on those cars.  As with all modeling, it’s best to find photos to verify what you want … drawings and “lists” tend to get forgotten during updating, especially when the cars are moved to MOW service.

 

Jim King

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Bill Schafer
 

While we’re on the topic, Gordon Andrews recalls that, as a kid in Virginia, he saw the section gangs burning the brush and grass on the right-of-way every year. Here’s my reply:

The spectacle you witnessed - of the section gang burning the right-of-way - was peculiar to Virginia in the sense that it was Virginia law that all railroads - the RF&P, the C&O, the N&W, the SAL and ACL - had to burn their ROW every year. After the section gangs were cut to the minimum, even after dieselization, Southern still had to burn its ROW in the Commonwealth. In later years, this function was performed by contractors. When I was in Southern’s purchasing department (1976-1982), it was my job, at one time, to solicit bids from contractors to burn ROW on most segments of Southern’s main lines in Virginia. Unless the Virginia forestry commission gave SOU a waiver, all ROW with combustible vegetation on it had to be burned, regardless of what the neighbors said. The burning usually took place in the winter or early spring, before the vegetation began to sprout. The law was finally annulled in the 1980s or 1990s.

As far as I know, Virginia was the only state served by the Southern with this law or this requirement. Does anyone know otherwise? Did Southern burn their ROW in any other states?

—Bill

On Aug 9, 2019, at 4:38 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

A&Y Dave in MD
 

Specific to the Southern? no.  This was general business and technological history of the 20th century from grad school.   I can get articles and studies to back up the claim and to see if it was as true for the Southern, but I was merely suggesting support for Bill's theory.

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 7:52:59 PM, you wrote:


Dave,

Do you have anything to backup your statement that "the biggest expense was payroll"?

Thanks,
Darrell Sawyer

On Friday, August 9, 2019, 05:38:44 PM MDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:


This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

darrell2010
 

Wow! I had no idea labor would have been such a large percentage back then. I was thinking the swing would have been later. 

Thanks for the info!

Darrell Sawyer


On Friday, August 9, 2019, 06:21:17 PM MDT, Robert Hanson via Groups.Io <RHanson669@...> wrote:


There's a pie chart in the 1961 annual report that shows that 37.9% of the company's expenses were payroll expenses.  By far the largest single item.\

The next largest was the catchall "other operating expenses" that made up 13.7% of the total.

Source - Southern Railway Annual Report for 1961, page 5.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: darrell2010 via Groups.Io <darrell2010@...>
To: main <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Aug 9, 2019 7:53 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Dave,

Do you have anything to backup your statement that "the biggest expense was payroll"?

Thanks,
Darrell Sawyer

On Friday, August 9, 2019, 05:38:44 PM MDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:


This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Rodney Shu
 

A quick comment from a new subscriber......

I was working a summer job as a "Rodman" on a surveying crew in Birmingham in 1966 and remember seeing a work train spraying "fuel" on the right of way in north Alabama.   It was an extremely hot day and I remember how glad I was to see that train leave the area where we were driving stakes and turning angles for a new industrial spur.

Rod Shu

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

George Eichelberger
 

Certainly an interesting series of comments! All are certainly logical and probably contributed to the decision to get rid of section houses. Could the fact that most of the company house designs; section hand, section foreman, station agent, etc. did not have either indoor plumbing or running water be a factor? Upgrading everything would have been a cost to avoid.

And congrats and thanks to Dave Bott for his article on the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1905!

It is in the current issue of “TIES” and does an excellent job of describing how a complex topic effected the railroads. That the event led to the creation of the Public Health service (an interesting factoid) tells us how serious it was. For non-SRHA members, many train shops sell White River publications and issues can be ordered through the SRHA company store. (We will have copies and a table at the upcoming Atlanta train show.)

Ike


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:52 PM, darrell2010 via Groups.Io <darrell2010@...> wrote:

Dave,

Do you have anything to backup your statement that "the biggest expense was payroll"?

Thanks,
Darrell Sawyer

On Friday, August 9, 2019, 05:38:44 PM MDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:


This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Robert Hanson
 

There's a pie chart in the 1961 annual report that shows that 37.9% of the company's expenses were payroll expenses.  By far the largest single item.\

The next largest was the catchall "other operating expenses" that made up 13.7% of the total.

Source - Southern Railway Annual Report for 1961, page 5.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: darrell2010 via Groups.Io <darrell2010@...>
To: main <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Aug 9, 2019 7:53 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Dave,

Do you have anything to backup your statement that "the biggest expense was payroll"?

Thanks,
Darrell Sawyer

On Friday, August 9, 2019, 05:38:44 PM MDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:


This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

darrell2010
 

Dave,

Do you have anything to backup your statement that "the biggest expense was payroll"?

Thanks,
Darrell Sawyer

On Friday, August 9, 2019, 05:38:44 PM MDT, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:


This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

A&Y Dave in MD
 

This sounds as plausible as any theory.  There was the restructuring to simplify the corporate complexity to save money and deal with the funded debt that was due.  This would be another way to save money, and one that was pushed by mechanization and the growing cost of labor after WWII. The economy was growing, but competition was based on reducing labor costs. The unions were nearing their zenith in size and power and the cost per employee was getting higher.  Income wasn't growing quickly that long after WWII and the only way to improve profits was reducing expenses. The biggest expense was the payroll.  And once you reduce the payroll, why keep the supporting infrastructure?

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019, 11:37:01 AM, you wrote:


Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections.

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way.

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty.

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too.

—Bill  


On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Low side gons

A&Y Dave in MD
 

I am a 1/87 scale modeler.  

The problem with Speedwitch kits is that they aren't making any (Ted has a full time job in NY and I don't want to wish him to be unemployed again, even if it would mean more kits).

I only have one of each, and the kit boxes read 1937 and 1938 build dates.  I have no idea what keeps them from being used for earlier versions, but I am guessing it is "cast in" to the kit body, not just a detail, or the box would claim the cars go back to the earliest build dates of '24.   I'll have to get them out and see if I can compare to the photos on the Duke University construction archive (there are several SOU low side gons from late '20s era in that archive--the only photos from the era I've seen except for the one fuzzy one in the Southern Railway Handbook).

Dave

Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 2:20:01 PM, you wrote:


The question is scale. Jim King knows that my interest is S, presumably David and Dan are HO and Jim has re-entered the O-scale market.

Jack Wyatt

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 02:14:04 PM EDT, Dan Miller <danieljmiller@...> wrote:


I'll add to Jack and Dave's interest in an un-rebuilt gon kit.

Dan Miller

On Wed, Aug 7, 2019 at 10:35 AM A&Y Dave in MD <
dbott@...> wrote:

Jack has a more direct way of getting to the point...so I’ll follow his lead:

Anything for 1934?

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Aug 7, 2019, at 12:40 PM, C J Wyatt <
cjwyatt@...> wrote:


Any hope of producing a kit of the un-rebuilt  car?

Jack


On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 12:32:05 PM EDT, Jim King <
jimking3@...> wrote:


Not all 9-ribbers were rebuilt in 1945; some lasted as-built well into the 60s based on photos.
 
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com
 

--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com



--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC

moderated Re: Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

Bill Schafer
 

Ike:

My sense is that mechanization was a major driver in the reduction, or elimination, of MofW section gangs and the need for section houses. I’d like to see some documentation of this hunch, but Southern, like most other railroads in the 1950s, realized that they no longer needed section gangs every five to ten miles to maintain a given section of track. The sections were expanded in size when routine labor-intensive functions, such as spike driving, tie replacement, or ballast regulating, were economically performed by machines. While mechanization probably came to the large system gangs first, it did eventually trickle down to the sections. 

One other consideration was the sense that a pretty railroad was not necessarily a cost-efficient railroad. We all love to see images of main line trains on rock ballasted track with a knife-edge definition to the ballast line. Restoring the roadbed to this condition after routine maintenance was, in the old days, performed manually with shovels and a large straight-edge - it was called dressing the track. As the 1950s progressed, that knife-edge appearance disappeared, not only because of deferred maintenance, but because the railroad no longer believed it needed a pretty right of way. 

Another consideration is vegetation control. In the days of sections, weeds and brush were manually cleared to the right-of-way line - maybe 100’ on each side of the track - to prevent fires from passing steam locomotives. Section hands used picks and shovels and maybe scythes or sickles in this process. Once the steam engines disappeared, many railroads, Southern included, stopped clearing brush and weeds by hand, and depended on chemicals from weed spray trains to control stuff growing between, and just outside, the rails. In the Brosnan era, Southern even economized on weed control, spraying diesel fuel on the weeds instead of a specialty chemical. A review of photos of Southern trains from the 1960s will show that diesel fuel was largely ineffective on weeds, and the track and right-of-way really looked ratty. 

All factors mentioned above made the old style section gangs - where you had a gang of five or six men and a foreman assigned to a section, which covered five to ten miles of track - an unnecessary luxury. Not all of the massive layoffs among the MofW forces in the 1950s were due to mechanization of the big gangs. Many men from the local section gangs were laid off too. 

—Bill  

On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:16 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike <French Lick, IN  section house 79-EB-1.jpg>

moderated Extraordinary Obsolesce - Section Houses

George Eichelberger
 

Two days of work in the SRHA archives has turned up yet another category of Southern Railway data...and a question.

After WWII, there were a number of "programs" that included the retirement of various structures and facilities. Memos show at least 20 different programs but a comprehensive list has not been found. One large system wide program identified structures and tracks no longer needed because of dieselization. Lists of items were prepared, then reviewed to determine which would be removed. Not every item made the final list, for example if a track used to service steam locos was also being used for diesels it would be taken off the list. The timing of the dieselization list is obvious, when a division stopped using steam. That list included all roundhouses, turntables, and coal and water stations as well as any stem rerlated tracks and "appurtenances".

The time of another "program" is not clear. 1951 appears to be when the Southern decided section houses were no longer needed. Can anyone suggest what happened in 1949-51 for the railroad to make the decision to dispose of many section houses: a new labor agreement, an ICC ruling, changes in tax laws?

There are several drawings and many photos of section houses in the SRHA archives, certainly enough for a comprehensive TIES article. I've attached one example of the documents used to sell company property. Although I have always been aware that section houses and depots were sold and then removed from railroad property, the proportion of "sold" properties is much higher than expected. The attached sale document may explain why, even in 1951 dollars, $65 to purchase a house, coal shed and outhouse is a good price, even considering they had to be removed from Southern property in most cases.

Although many section houses were constructed in the 1880s and 90s, some survive today as residences.

Ike

moderated Re: Low side gons

Jim King
 

Speedwitch is the only other source for HO Southern low side gon kits besides mine (that were sold only thru SRHA).  Like most of Speedwitch’s kits, you have to find them on the secondary market.  Ted’s was a 9-rib version with 2-rib ends and suitable for 1924-ish into the 70s in MOW service.

 

Jim King

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

moderated Re: Enoree River

Curt Fortenberry
 


The CofG #665 is one of the cars that came to Alaska RR. 

Curt Fortenberry 

moderated Re: Low side gons

C J Wyatt
 

The question is scale. Jim King knows that my interest is S, presumably David and Dan are HO and Jim has re-entered the O-scale market.

Jack Wyatt

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 02:14:04 PM EDT, Dan Miller <danieljmiller@...> wrote:


I'll add to Jack and Dave's interest in an un-rebuilt gon kit.

Dan Miller

On Wed, Aug 7, 2019 at 10:35 AM A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:
Jack has a more direct way of getting to the point...so I’ll follow his lead:

Anything for 1934?

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Aug 7, 2019, at 12:40 PM, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:

Any hope of producing a kit of the un-rebuilt  car?

Jack


On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 12:32:05 PM EDT, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:


Not all 9-ribbers were rebuilt in 1945; some lasted as-built well into the 60s based on photos.

 

Jim King

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

moderated Re: Low side gons

Dan Miller
 

I'll add to Jack and Dave's interest in an un-rebuilt gon kit.

Dan Miller


On Wed, Aug 7, 2019 at 10:35 AM A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:
Jack has a more direct way of getting to the point...so I’ll follow his lead:

Anything for 1934?

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Aug 7, 2019, at 12:40 PM, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:

Any hope of producing a kit of the un-rebuilt  car?

Jack


On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 12:32:05 PM EDT, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:


Not all 9-ribbers were rebuilt in 1945; some lasted as-built well into the 60s based on photos.

 

Jim King

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com