locked Southern box car preference, circa 1918


George Eichelberger
 

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.

Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.

I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!

Ike

 


O Fenton Wells
 

I think this is interesting and appreciate your sharing it. 
Thank you
Fenton 


On Apr 13, 2021, at 12:23 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.

Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.

I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!

Ike

<1918-9-20 comments on 50-T box cars Pg 1.jpeg>
 

<1918-9-20 comments on 50-T box cars Pg 2.jpeg>


Tim
 

This is very interesting and is indicative of the long history of Southern doing its own thing for its own reasons.

When I'm on other lists here at groups.io and mention the practices on my layout, I also preface it with, "This is the Southern Ry., so it's different than everybody else."

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


Matt Bumgarner
 

Keep up the good work Ike. 

These posts are very much appreciated.

Matt Bumgarner

On Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM Tim <tarumph@...> wrote:
This is very interesting and is indicative of the long history of Southern doing its own thing for its own reasons.

When I'm on other lists here at groups.io and mention the practices on my layout, I also preface it with, "This is the Southern Ry., so it's different than everybody else."

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


George Eichelberger
 

Tim:

I agree “different” was always the Southern way. Watching every penny and adhering to accounting policies always served the company well.

Conventional wisdom explaining why the Southern kept 40-T 36ft box cars in service so long is typically that Fairfield Harrison simply did not like change or spending money. It may be that SR management knew their territory so well, their financial decisions followed.

When the Southern started buying all steel box cars in 1938, it was a recognition its rolling stock was antiquated but it also took advantage of RFC loans to buy them.

Ike


On Apr 13, 2021, at 1:30 PM, Tim <tarumph@...> wrote:

This is very interesting and is indicative of the long history of Southern doing its own thing for its own reasons.

When I'm on other lists here at groups.io and mention the practices on my layout, I also preface it with, "This is the Southern Ry., so it's different than everybody else."

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


Bill Schafer
 

Fairfax Harrison certainly didn’t/couldn’t adapt and it darn near bankrupted the railroad during the depression. One of the factors that nearly sank SOU in the 1930s was that SOU eventually closed the shops and stopped maintaining its wooden boxcar fleet. The result was an incredible per diem imbalance. An argument could be made that if Harrison had accepted the USRA boxcars when they were offered, and continued to buy steel cars thereafter,the railroad would not have been quite as disadvantaged by the per diem issue fifteen years later. One of the first things Ernest Norris did when he took over for Harrison in 1937 was to take out an RFC loan and buy 5,000 steel 40-foot boxcars. One of these cars is at TVRM today in need of restoration. 

—Bill Schafer

On Apr 13, 2021, at 13:58, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Tim:

I agree “different” was always the Southern way. Watching every penny and adhering to accounting policies always served the company well.

Conventional wisdom explaining why the Southern kept 40-T 36ft box cars in service so long is typically that Fairfield Harrison simply did not like change or spending money. It may be that SR management knew their territory so well, their financial decisions followed.

When the Southern started buying all steel box cars in 1938, it was a recognition its rolling stock was antiquated but it also took advantage of RFC loans to buy them.

Ike


On Apr 13, 2021, at 1:30 PM, Tim <tarumph@...> wrote:

This is very interesting and is indicative of the long history of Southern doing its own thing for its own reasons. 

When I'm on other lists here at groups.io and mention the practices on my layout, I also preface it with, "This is the Southern Ry., so it's different than everybody else."

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC



A&Y Dave in MD
 

Ike,

This complements the information in the 1934 conductor books for the Winston-Salem division over a decade later.  I was struck in the wheel reports on the relatively small tonnage values in loaded cars.  I wish I had more years of such data to track it.  Ton-miles and car load count statistics hide that aspect a bit.   These men knew the region and how to run their railway.

Dave

Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 12:23:26 PM, you wrote:


I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.

Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.

I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!

Ike

 





--
David Bott

Sent from David Bott's desktop PC


 

Ike,
 
I’ve certainly enjoyed reading all (or most) of the Southern Rwy’s historic letters and documents that you’ve posted.  Keep up the good work.
 
Ed Locklin at mp367.
 

 

From: George Eichelberger
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 12:23 PM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Southern box car preference, circa 1918
 
I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.
 
Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.
 
I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!
 
Ike
 
 
 


John Stewart
 

Thanks for sending this along the “wire” Ike

 

John

 

John R Stewart

www.bhamrails.info

205-901-3790

 

image004

 

From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 11:23 AM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Southern box car preference, circa 1918

 

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.

 

Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.

 

I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!

 

Ike

 

 

 


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Ike, the letter shows that the problem of cube vs tare is not a new one.  Truckers for years have begged for ever longer trailers because so many of their loads cube out before reaching the weight limit.  Then they beg for a higher weight limit.....

The letter also sheds light on the reason why tonnage numbers from back then don't seem to add up to our modern minds.  And by modern I mean post-1960.  We're used to many of our loads being darn close to the cars' load limits, because the cars were designed that way.  It wasn't always so.  "Here's a boxcar.  Fill it.  Or don't."

And I must again please ask list members to pay attention to how their email program handles attachments when they reply to an email.  Ike's email was nearly 1 MB.  Now we at least four replys containing Ike's original.  A 5 MB hit to our storage limit.  Storage space in Groups.io is not infinite and not free.

I know some email programs just resend the attachments and you have no way to stop them.  That's because too many programmers are idiots who write code that they never use.  Until it becomes legal to throw them into live volcanos it is a problem that will be tough to solve.  Your vigilance will be necessary.

Thank you.  I'll step down from my soapbox.

Please keep uncovering wonderful nuggets from the past Ike.  I've learned a lot about the Southern.

Scott Chatfield


George Eichelberger
 

Scott:

Thanks for the comment about attachments! I think you are setup as one of the list “owners”. I’ll check on that but among other things, it gives owners the ability to delete posts, and only attachments, I think.

Everyone probably knows there are two* Southern.io groups sponsored by SRHA, this one and “ModelingThe Southern”. As many people are on both, I hesitate to cross-post items on both but the distinction between modeling and prototype is not always clear cut. (The archives has kept me away from my workbench for the past few months but I hope to post more on “ModelingTheSouthern”.)

SRHA sees the .io groups as a way for people interested in the Southern Railway to pass information as well as an extension of the SRHA archives. I am not aware of any other list that has that linkage and uses it to distribute archives material. (Note: While we don’t take the time to put a copyright notice on every document, nothing posted from the archives should be used (to a large extent) commercially, in publications or distributed to others without permission.)

We expect to re-start full archives work sessions, in (hopefully) June. Please, everyone, make a plan to go to Chattanooga and spend some time at TVRM and the SRHA/L&NHS archives later this year.

Ike

* Actually, there are three .io lists. The third is for SRHA members only but so far, we are not limiting material only to members so it is not used much.


On Apr 13, 2021, at 11:02 PM, D. Scott Chatfield <blindog@...> wrote:

Ike, the letter shows that the problem of cube vs tare is not a new one.  Truckers for years have begged for ever longer trailers because so many of their loads cube out before reaching the weight limit.  Then they beg for a higher weight limit.....

The letter also sheds light on the reason why tonnage numbers from back then don't seem to add up to our modern minds.  And by modern I mean post-1960.  We're used to many of our loads being darn close to the cars' load limits, because the cars were designed that way.  It wasn't always so.  "Here's a boxcar.  Fill it.  Or don't."

And I must again please ask list members to pay attention to how their email program handles attachments when they reply to an email.  Ike's email was nearly 1 MB.  Now we at least four replys containing Ike's original.  A 5 MB hit to our storage limit.  Storage space in Groups.io is not infinite and not free.

I know some email programs just resend the attachments and you have no way to stop them.  That's because too many programmers are idiots who write code that they never use.  Until it becomes legal to throw them into live volcanos it is a problem that will be tough to solve.  Your vigilance will be necessary.

Thank you.  I'll step down from my soapbox.

Please keep uncovering wonderful nuggets from the past Ike.  I've learned a lot about the Southern.

Scott Chatfield


Paul Scheible
 

Ike

 

I find this sort of document fascinating.  They give insight to both the railroad and the larger society at the time.  Keep them coming.

 

Paul Scheible, CPA

(919) 382-2507

(919) 383-4711 (fax)

 

From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of John Stewart via groups.io
Sent: 04/13/2021 6:15 PM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Southern box car preference, circa 1918

 


Paul Staller
 

George-

I  agree with the other Paul.  These documents are fascinating.  Please keep them coming.  In the meantime, hope you are well safe and sane.  Have a really good day.

Paul


On Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 12:23 PM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:
I mentioned in an earlier post that the Southern was not particularly interested in obtaining 50-Ton USRA box cars. Here (attached) is a 9-20-1918 memo to SR President Fairfax Harrison explaining why 30-T capy box cars are more suited to Southern’s territory and traffic base. Note that in 1918, “The South” was still an agrarian economy with not much heavy manufacturing. The memo is as much about the Southern’s business environment as it was about box car design.

Comments please! There is no reason to fill up the .io list if this kind of material is not of interest to many people.

I believe it IS a reason for people to donate both their cash and their time working on the SRHA archives material!

Ike

 


michael lowe
 

   Since WW1 had started, it could be the USRA was upset, the the Southern  boxcars weren't big enough to load war supplies , when they were unloaded on other railroads.
suppose they shipped cotton bales to textile plants in New England . The textile plant might have to use another rr boxcar, to ship out unitforms to a military warehouse,
resulting in at least one extra switch, and the empty southern car having to move empty back to the Southern..
    It might be possible to check the official railway equipment register or other sources to see the boxcar capacity of other railroads in comparison.
   Michael Lowe


George Eichelberger
 

Michael:

I have scanned a number of documents with those comparisons, many “fallen flags” are represented. I’ll try to post something this wekend.

Ike


On Apr 15, 2021, at 5:11 PM, michael lowe <jimhill1867@...> wrote:

   Since WW1 had started, it could be the USRA was upset, the the Southern  boxcars weren't big enough to load war supplies , when they were unloaded on other railroads.
suppose they shipped cotton bales to textile plants in New England . The textile plant might have to use another rr boxcar, to ship out unitforms to a military warehouse,
resulting in at least one extra switch, and the empty southern car having to move empty back to the Southern..
    It might be possible to check the official railway equipment register or other sources to see the boxcar capacity of other railroads in comparison.
   Michael Lowe