About less than carload freight

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About less than carload freight
Posted by ungern on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:57 PM

Here's a question about the past.

 

In the 1920's and 1930's, if a railroad received LCL freight did they hold onto it at the terminal until enough was received to completely fill a boxcar or did they send it our on the next available train?  i.e. did it sit for days/weeks at a small town terminal or did it go out ASAP?  I figure the stuff from the big cities would leave either the same or next day but more about the small midwest town.

Thanks

Ungern

If mergers keep going won't there be only 2 railroads? The end of an era will be lots of boring paint jobs.
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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 7:20 PM

I suspect that small.towns may even have put it n a baggage car and moved it to a.bigger town or city for carloading to a final destination.

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Posted by greyhounds on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:40 PM

Here's how the IC set its Chicago South Water Street LCL freight house in July, 1938 for the Iowa Division:

Cars Destination
Illinois
1 E. Rockford
3 Rockford
2 Freeport
1 Scioto Mills
1 Buena Vista
1 Dixon
1 Elroy
Iowa
2 Dubuque
1 Julien and Way
1 Manchester
2 Waterloo
1 Waterloo Transfer
1 Cedar Falls
1 Janesville
1 Charles City
1 Iowa Falls
1 Ft. Dodge
1 Ft. Dodge Transfer
1 Sioux City
Other States
1 Madison, WI
1 Omaha, NE
1 Sioux Falls, SD

That's 27 cars pulled from the freight house at 7:00 PM nightly excluding Sunday's and holidays.  It didn't matter if a car was full or not.  It was pulled from the freight house and sent on its way at 7:00 PM. Of course, if there was more freight than could be handled with the set cars, some of it was going to miss the train.

As you may see, it didn't take a very large municipality to get a daily LCL car from Chicago.  The "Transfer" and "Way" cars are how the even smaller stations were handled.  For example, a car moved to Waterloo Transfer.  At that point the freight was worked across a dock into a "Peddler" car to be put on the local (or way) freight.  When the local stopped at a station the freight destined to that station was removed.  The car handled freight to several destinations on the local's route.

A "Best Practice" was considered to be placing the peddler car just ahead of the caboose.  That way the engine could work the carload customers in town while the LCL was handled.

Outbound LCL from small towns was handled in the reverse manner.  It was loaded into the peddler car and taken to a point where it was consolidated into a car going to Chicago, or wherever.  The railroads generally didn't just let the freight sit around.  Although it did that sometimes.

I don't think the IC could have held on to the LCL business between Chicago and Rockford no matter what they did.  It's 90 miles.  But I do know that the railroads were forced out of the LCL business on longer hauls by inane government regulation which blocked the introduction of an intermodal container system that greatly reduced the railroad's cost of handling LCL.  This regulatory block happened in 1931.

There are exceptions to everything, but LCL was freight and it generally didn't get in a baggage car.  It moved in a freight car on a freight train.  If you wanted your goods on a passenger train you had to pay the higher express rates, not freight rates. 

 

 

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Posted by jrbernier on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:45 PM

  It would depend on the shipment.  If it as 40 bags of cement, it would be loaded on a boxcar that a local would drop off at a station for unloading or maybe it was unloaded while the local waited.  The NP even had converted reefers with 1/2 still set up as a reefer, and the other half was a boxcar.  These cars had shipments trans loaded at major terminals and they would drop off LCL at the depot.  If the shipment was something like live brooder chicks - it was handle by REA usually in the baggage/express car on a passenger train.  REA was the UPS/FedEx of the day!

Jim

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Posted by ungern on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:06 PM

Thank you for the insight into how railroads handled LCL back in the day

 

Ungern

If mergers keep going won't there be only 2 railroads? The end of an era will be lots of boring paint jobs.
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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:28 AM

Many of us have forgotten that LCL Freight was a staple item of railroad freight during and after WWII through to the early 1960's. 

Middle to large cities in many cases had Freight Houses and a siding for that service. Many locations had large freight houses to service their local customers. Remember that Sears, Roebuck& Co sold whole house kits to their customers, and their customer  purchases were shipped  LCL, because the inter city trucking was mainly factory to factory or only store to store (in its infancy).  There were others who utilized LCL on railroads: Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penny,

IN Memphis, Tn where I grew up, the Sears< Roebuck Facility at Crosstown had a shipping and receiving facility at their warehouse that had tracks approaching a half mile long on both sides of their location that held their cars which were pulled and worked a couple of times a day, handling merchandise in and out. It was a large retail and catalog center. 

Railway Express had a large facility attached to the Central Station that was busy til the very end of their service. REA Green delivery trucks were almost as ubiquitous as are Fed Ex and UPS trucks now a days.

 

 


 

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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:02 PM

Yes but.  No one has addressed how a small town originator got the freight out of town.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:47 PM

The 'Peddler' car which contained the inbound freight for the small town, picked up the outbound from the community after the inbound was unloaded....the 'Peddler' was then moved on to it's next scheduled community.

ndbprr

Yes but.  No one has addressed how a small town originator got the freight out of town.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:07 PM

Normally small towns shipped via baggage cars on the local train serving that community. It could be a service strictly of the host railroad (local station agent accepting freight for shipment and then loading it with the help of the Baggage Car attendant-or crewmanm when the local stopped there. Years back pre late 19501960's in Parsons, Ks. Service was by the MKT RR north and South. The SLSF RR, east and west ( Chanute, Ks to the west and Pittsburg, Ks to the east.

The morning inbound Locals would stop at each flag stop or station, and pick up local farm produce to take into Parsons ( Chickens and Turkeys to Swift's Packing House, Milk to Meadow Gold, and produce to local distributors. The locals also distributed LCL freight along the way as well.   MKT had a huge Freight House and Corporate Office Structure in Parsons, Ks. IT burned to the ground in the 10950's* IIRC0 

Found this photo of the Memphis, Tn. Central Station, I had previously mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

Linked @:  http://condrenrails.com/MRP/Birds-Eye-View-Central-Station.htm

[The photo is from Mike Condren's collection and website.]

 

 


 

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Posted by greyhounds on Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:59 PM

ndbprr

Yes but.  No one has addressed how a small town originator got the freight out of town.

Yes but, I did address how a small town originator got the freight out of town.  Please see the 2nd to last paragraph of my post of 2/23/2011, the 9:40 PM one.

I'll go over it again.  In a local freight's consist the railroad would include a boxcar (or boxcars)  that would be loaded with LCL for the various stations on the local's run.  (A "Peddler" car.)  There were several different shipments going to several different destinations in the one boxcar when it left its orgin terminal. 

When the local arrived at a station the LCL destined to that station would be removed from the boxcar.  Outbound shipments, those originating in the small town, would then be loaded in to the same boxcar.  The car generally stayed in the train and made the journey from the local's origin to destination.  At the local's destination terminal the freight loaded into the peddler car would typically be consolidated with other LCL shipments and forwarded toward its destination with all deliberate dispatch.

If there was enough LCL volume the railroad would assign multiple (i.e. two) LCL cars to a local.  They'd even put freight handlers who normally worked in the LCL freighthouse on the train if need be to speed loading and unloading.

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Posted by greyhounds on Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:44 PM

samfp1943

Normally small towns shipped via baggage cars on the local train serving that community. It could be a service strictly of the host railroad (local station agent accepting freight for shipment and then loading it with the help of the Baggage Car attendant-or crewmanm when the local stopped there. Years back pre late 19501960's in Parsons, Ks. Service was by the MKT RR north and South. The SLSF RR, east and west ( Chanute, Ks to the west and Pittsburg, Ks to the east.

The morning inbound Locals would stop at each flag stop or station, and pick up local farm produce to take into Parsons ( Chickens and Turkeys to Swift's Packing House, Milk to Meadow Gold, and produce to local distributors. The locals also distributed LCL freight along the way as well.   MKT had a huge Freight House and Corporate Office Structure in Parsons, Ks. IT burned to the ground in the 10950's* IIRC0 

Found this photo of the Memphis, Tn. Central Station, I had previously mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

Linked @:  http://condrenrails.com/MRP/Birds-Eye-View-Central-Station.htm

[The photo is from Mike Condren's collection and website.]

Sam, you're thinking of passenger train head-end business, not LCL freight.  It may seem that there was but a fine line between the two, but there was a line.

This is from "Organization and Traffic of the Illinois Central System."  This is a 526 page hard cover book published by the railroad in 1938.  On page 304 they said:

"...The balance of our express traffic consists of miscellaneous merchandise and perishable shipments.                                                                                                                     

     Milk traffic.  Mail and express produce most of our head-end revenue, however, the money we receive for handling milk and newspapers in baggage service is attractive, particularly because of our low cost of handling."

LCL was freight service, not baggage service.  With exceptions, it moved in freight trains.

I will add that the railroads never completely left the LCL business.  I had always heard that LCL was bad news - a sure money looser.  But in 1975 I got my first civilian transportation job with a company called Merchant Shippers located at 1601 S. Western Ave. in Chicago.  I was less than a year out of the US Army and had completed three quarters of grad school at Northwestern U. 

Merchant Shippers hired me as an intern for the summer.  I had no idea who they were or what they did, but I was thankful for the summer job.  When I started working there I was literally astounded at what they did.  They were shipping LCL (or LTL) by rail (mostly TOFC) and turning a buck doing it.  They were fully truck service competitive in the important markets.   They still forwarded boxcars of consolidated LCL to destinations such as Tucson that could not support two TOFC trailers per week.  The US government said you had to ship TOFC trailers in groups of two.  You didn't  have to ship 'em on the same day or on the same flatcar.  But you had to ship two.  It made no sense and it began to form my very negative impression of government economic regulation.

I learned a lot at Merchant's that summer.  That's what an internship is for.

I went back to NU that fall and decided to write my thesis on the transportation of LCL/LTL freight by railroad.  I had an  very good faculty adivsior, Dr. Joesph Swanson, who said I had to find the reasons the railroads had largely left the LCL business.  That began a day/night journey through the NU Transportation Library.  There were no PCs in 1976.  Only the written word pulled from a library shelf, noted and documented.

My proven conclusion (supported by my time on a Chicago freight dock at Merchant Shipers) was that the railroads can handle LCL/LTL just fine.  In fact, they' actually  have  an advantage over truckers for doing so since the railroads are far less senesative  to size and weight restrictions than truckers.  The railroads were largely forced out of the market by government regulators who had no idea what they were doing.  That conclusion stood up to three NU PhD types on my thesis commitee.

I'll stand by that conclusion beyond the day I die.

 

 

 

 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, February 25, 2011 10:17 AM

The LCL business was quite labor-intensive and may have been overserved to boot.  While I will concede that a large number of intermediate points needed to be served, the number of cars and routes between major endpoints seemed to be excessive.

I remember reading that C&NW's LCL business dried up pretty quickly when free pick-up and delivery was discontinued.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, February 25, 2011 10:37 AM

greyhounds wrote [in part]:  "...Sam, you're thinking of passenger train head-end business, not LCL freight.  It may seem that there was but a fine line between the two, but there was a line..."

Greyhounds, absolutely correct!  The original poster indicated, I think, (paraphrased) how was LCL freight distributed (handled) in smaller communities.    There was a tremendous amount of local originated traffic handled as mentioned as freight for Baggage/Express on local passenger service.  The railroad freight houses were the resource where railroad employees brok down LCL shipments incoming and forwarded them to areas of final destination, either by rail or local cartage operators,( railway express was in this category, as well, as railroad owned cartage operations ( as an examples, SP, UP, Mo Pac, to name on three who operated their own truck lines, etc.)

THe Pool Cars and LCL cars from large shippers and catalog operators would send their cars to the closest freight house operator, and the contents broken out for final delivery.  Pool car distribution was the tool used by company's that  could not generate a full carload for a specific destination, so they were routed from one shipper to another til they were at a salable capacity to go on to their destination. I think that the Merchant Shipper's operation you worked with was in that category?

 

 


 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, February 25, 2011 11:04 AM

greyhounds, thanks for those histories above - both Merchant Shippers' and yours - and those insights.  I expect that you're aware of the paper I'll cite and link to below, but others may not be, and may be interested in seeing it - it's only 16 pages (approx. 95 KB in size), and not too tough of a read.  A big thanks  Bow  to Mike/ wanswheel for finding and posting at the current end of the thread here at the bottom of page 2 of 2 on "Question about Gondola Load" at: http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/t/156787.aspx?PageIndex=2 

"Saving the Railroad Industry to Death: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Rail-Truck Cooperation" by Albert Churella, Assoc. Prof. in Social and International Studies at Southern Polytechnic State University, as published by the Business History Conference in "Business and Economic History On-Line", Vol. 4, 2006, at: 

http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHonline/2006/churella.pdf 

and/ or,

http://www.thebhc.org/publications/BEHonline/2006/churella.pdf 

 - Paul North.   

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by henry6 on Friday, February 25, 2011 4:52 PM

LCL freight was freight and not baggage nor  was it Railway Express...three different services.  LCL was handled by local freight trains either leaving and picking up cars from freight house sidings or by carrying an LCL car in thier consist and which the train crew would have to load and unload piece by piece at given stops (aided by the local freight agent or ticket agent).  At some stations or places, cars would be set out at the freight station platform, at others on the team track.  Railroads had LCL transfer stations where LCL cars would be unloaded, sorted, and reloaded depending on destinaitons, etc.  These transfer stations were usually in a terminal or core city or yard.

Baggage was carried in baggage cars on designated passenger trains usually but not always being things owned by passengers aboard and usually stayed on the carrying railroad.  Railway Experess packages were carried on designated trains and cars to and from Express Company agencies and stations.  They were also handled like LCL in that packages were sorted at transfer stations and among cars.  Agencies were usually the local passenger station and agent but could also have seperate facilities and agents in larger cites. 

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Posted by ungern on Friday, February 25, 2011 9:04 PM

from what I can understand from all the replies, I see multiple services the railroads provided back in the day

I just want to understand the diference.

 

LCL - the lowest priority parcel service

REA - higher prioiry but more expensive

Head end service - used for highly time sensitive things like fresh milk which is carries in baggage cars

Is my understanding correct?

Ungern

If mergers keep going won't there be only 2 railroads? The end of an era will be lots of boring paint jobs.
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Posted by henry6 on Saturday, February 26, 2011 8:53 AM

ungern

from what I can understand from all the replies, I see multiple services the railroads provided back in the day

I just want to understand the diference.

 

LCL - the lowest priority parcel service

REA - higher prioiry but more expensive

Head end service - used for highly time sensitive things like fresh milk which is carries in baggage cars

Is my understanding correct?

Ungern

 

Wellllll.....yeahhhhh......sortof.....but you seem to be mixing all together from one source.  "Head end service" would be mail, baggage, and express while LCL would be freight and freight and passenger service was not together except on designated "mixed trains" which were usually branch line trains or trains that served more desolate stretches of mainlines and consisted of locomotive, freight cars maybe including an enroute LCL car, maybe a baggage car or baggage compartment in a coach (a combine of full coach) and accomodated passengers although no schedule was guaranteed (often listed as 3rd class trains in timetables).  Milk was head end service only because it was usually switched in and out of the train by the locomotive.  (DL&W had one car, usually weekends, which was switched out of a diesel hauled train at Dover, NJ and picked up at the hind end of an electric MU train to be pushed into a siding at South Orange, NJ I believe...maybe Orange. 

I don't think the services were seperated because of priority but rather because of weight, sources, and consignees.  Maybe better stated as wholesale and retail differences rather than shipment differences.  But, then, again, there were no hard and fast rules except the general public did not receive car loads or train loads of merchandise and manufaturers did not normally receive or ship one package at a time.  Times were different, and so was marketing and delivery.

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Posted by greyhounds on Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:00 AM

ungern

from what I can understand from all the replies, I see multiple services the railroads provided back in the day

I just want to understand the diference.

 

LCL - the lowest priority parcel service

REA - higher prioiry but more expensive

Head end service - used for highly time sensitive things like fresh milk which is carries in baggage cars

Is my understanding correct?

Ungern

You've got the general idea.  But LCL wasn't parcels.  Think of a family ordering a coal fired kitchen stove from the Sears catalog.  Think of a Ben Franklin store ordering merchandise.  Think of a grocer ordering things like coffee, spices, and candy.  It all moved by rail in LCL service.

These were shipments that moved in lots of thousands of pounds.  But they weren't  big enough lots to justify an entire boxcar.

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by Norm48327 on Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:12 AM

Greyhounds,

You are decidedly showing your age.Wink There are still few of us around who remember a Sears, Montgomery Ward, or other catalogs that we could order from at the price shown in the book. They have gone the way of the cigar store Indian, and the younger generation has no knowledge of their existence. Sure, we get occasional mailings of catalogs that are much smaller, but the days of catalogs thicker than the phone book are far behind us. If you want to know Sears best price on something you had best have high speed internet service.

Norm


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Posted by greyhounds on Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:46 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

The LCL business was quite labor-intensive and may have been overserved to boot.  While I will concede that a large number of intermediate points needed to be served, the number of cars and routes between major endpoints seemed to be excessive.

I remember reading that C&NW's LCL business dried up pretty quickly when free pick-up and delivery was discontinued.

First, there's no free lunch and there was no free pick up and delivery.  It had a cost and that cost had to be covered.  The railroads had major fights with the economic regulators as to whether they could include PU&D in their rates.  The railroads wanted to include it, the regulators didn't want it included.

LCL was an intermodal service.  To be financially successful on a large scale an intermodal freight service must be priced on a door to door basis (PU&D included in the rate.).  By inhibiting door to door rail LCL pricing and service, the economic regulators helped drive the LCL business to the highway.

As to being labor intensive and "Over Served"....Well, it was the best system that could evolve in the 19th Century.  Remember, to get to or from the boxcar the freight had to be moved by a team of horses in a wagon over a dirt road.  The costs of doing such a thing were far greater than the "Labor Intensive" LCL system.  So the LCL system developed to minimize the amount of high cost movement by team and wagon.

Obviously , things changed.

When people began converting Henry Ford's Model T into trucks he took notice and began producing Ford Trucks.   Then the dirt roads were improved to gravel roads and paved roads.   This changed the equation and the rail LCL system needed to change with the times.

They were doing this quite well, using an intermodal container system that greatly reduced their labor costs (and other costs).  This 1920's container system was successful in greatly reducing the cost of moving LCL by rail.  The containers were not the containers of today.  They weren't 53' long.  They were smaller and designed to handle the smaller LCL lots of freight.

Then the government got involved.  They ordered the railroads to increase the container rates to a point that made container service non competitive.  They did this in 1931.  (I've got more documentation on this than you would ever want to read.)

This asinine regulatory decision not only hurt the railroads, it hurt the overall US economy by increasing logistics costs.  The average person suffered from it.  And that average person didn't need any more economic problems in 1931.  The government literally froze the 19th century rail LCL system in place and we are still suffering the consequences.

 

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, February 26, 2011 12:30 PM

Excerpt from Border Line by William L. Rohde (in Aug. 1947 Railroad Magazine)

The traffic manager gave his final order, "route these via the CV," closed his little red book and watched six cartons of fine briar pipes receive an address stencil and waybill to Chicago. A few minutes later a company truck backed up to the loading platform and the cartons were loaded with many others into the one-ton body. The steel doors were secured with a padlock ...and six cartons were safely originated on the Central Vermont Railway at New York.

Next stop is Pier 29, East River, almost at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, facing New York harbor.

The pier is a typical wood-shelter dock, with an agent's office at the landward end and company offices upstairs occupied by the Central Vermont Terminal and the Central Vermont Transportation Company. To the left and right are other piers, where the booms of Liberty ships and several larger cargo vessels are constantly working cargo.

Through the gloomy, musty scented freight shed our little shipment moves with hundreds of others into the belly of a small ship painted funereal black. There is enough LCL and carload freight in break-bulk lots to fill one ship every day, and enough inbound traffic to warrant the arrival of a sister ship each morning.

The Central Vermont Transportation Company operates three of these steamers, one each way to New London, Connecticut, from New York every night. The third vessel is held in reserve and used as an extra or repair substitute.

Now our shipment moves out on Long Island Sound, eastward to Chicago. At 5:30 a.m. it leaves New London on CV train 491, and begins to cross Canada south of Montreal about 8 a.m the following morning. Still not much nearer its destination, it turns west and south until it reaches the United States again. At 2 a.m. on the third day it arrives in Chicago.... This is excellent time for a journey which began the wrong way by water from New York, then moved north over single track from New London, via double iron across the B&M and along the CV's main line into Canada.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29CVT.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29BrooklynBridge.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/RailwayCV.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/CVHG.jpg

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, February 26, 2011 1:30 PM

greyhounds

You've got the general idea.  But LCL wasn't parcels.  Think of a family ordering a coal fired kitchen stove from the Sears catalog.  Think of a Ben Franklin store ordering merchandise.  Think of a grocer ordering things like coffee, spices, and candy.  It all moved by rail in LCL service.

These were shipments that moved in lots of thousands of pounds.  But they weren't  big enough lots to justify an entire boxcar.

And, at times a shipment which did not fill a car would still be sent in a boxcar. I once had to help unload a shiment of flour that did not cover the floor at one end of a boxcar. It may have been that the milling company sent shipments to several stores in that car, but would it have been possible to keep them separate? The car did not have a smooth floor, and I had to pick splinters out of one sack (100 pounds) and sew the rip up.

Johnny

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, February 26, 2011 1:33 PM

wanswheel

Excerpt from Border Line by William L. Rohde (in Aug. 1947 Railroad Magazine)

The traffic manager gave his final order, "route these via the CV," closed his little red book and watched six cartons of fine briar pipes receive an address stencil and waybill to Chicago. A few minutes later a company truck backed up to the loading platform and the cartons were loaded with many others into the one-ton body. The steel doors were secured with a padlock ...and six cartons were safely originated on the Central Vermont Railway at New York.

Next stop is Pier 29, East River, almost at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, facing New York harbor.

The pier is a typical wood-shelter dock, with an agent's office at the landward end and company offices upstairs occupied by the Central Vermont Terminal and the Central Vermont Transportation Company. To the left and right are other piers, where the booms of Liberty ships and several larger cargo vessels are constantly working cargo.

Through the gloomy, musty scented freight shed our little shipment moves with hundreds of others into the belly of a small ship painted funereal black. There is enough LCL and carload freight in break-bulk lots to fill one ship every day, and enough inbound traffic to warrant the arrival of a sister ship each morning.

The Central Vermont Transportation Company operates three of these steamers, one each way to New London, Connecticut, from New York every night. The third vessel is held in reserve and used as an extra or repair substitute.

Now our shipment moves out on Long Island Sound, eastward to Chicago. At 5:30 a.m. it leaves New London on CV train 491, and begins to cross Canada south of Montreal about 8 a.m the following morning. Still not much nearer its destination, it turns west and south until it reaches the United States again. At 2 a.m. on the third day it arrives in Chicago.... This is excellent time for a journey which began the wrong way by water from New York, then moved north over single track from New London, via double iron across the B&M and along the CV's main line into Canada.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29CVT.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29BrooklynBridge.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/Pier29.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/RailwayCV.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/CVHG.jpg

That's really interesting, Mike. The CV ws certainly determined to get LCL traffic in New York City, even though New London was the closest its rails came to the Big Apple. I wonder how the elapsed time compared with that of the roads that served NYC directly.

By the way, I was unable to look at the first three pictures.

Johnny

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Posted by erikem on Saturday, February 26, 2011 2:15 PM

greyhounds

As to being labor intensive and "Over Served"....Well, it was the best system that could evolve in the 19th Century.  Remember, to get to or from the boxcar the freight had to be moved by a team of horses in a wagon over a dirt road.  The costs of doing such a thing were far greater than the "Labor Intensive" LCL system.  So the LCL system developed to minimize the amount of high cost movement by team and wagon.

Which is why, back in the days, that no point in Iowa was more than 8 miles from a railroad track.

Obviously , things changed.

When people began converting Henry Ford's Model T into trucks he took notice and began producing Ford Trucks.   Then the dirt roads were improved to gravel roads and paved roads.   This changed the equation and the rail LCL system needed to change with the times.

The Model T (and trucks) were made possible by the development of relatively lightweight and inexpensive internal combustion engines running on relatively cheap fuel. Steam traction engines have been around longer than steam railroads, Cugnot's engine dates back to ca 1770, but the cost, weight, limited range and labor involved made them impractical for mass use. The increased use of cars and trucks then led to improved roads.

They were doing this quite well, using an intermodal container system that greatly reduced their labor costs (and other costs).  This 1920's container system was successful in greatly reducing the cost of moving LCL by rail.  The containers were not the containers of today.  They weren't 53' long.  They were smaller and designed to handle the smaller LCL lots of freight.

Then the government got involved.  They ordered the railroads to increase the container rates to a point that made container service non competitive.  They did this in 1931.  (I've got more documentation on this than you would ever want to read.)

This asinine regulatory decision not only hurt the railroads, it hurt the overall US economy by increasing logistics costs.  The average person suffered from it.  And that average person didn't need any more economic problems in 1931.  The government literally froze the 19th century rail LCL system in place and we are still suffering the consequences.

I hear you on that!

The regulation also hurt the war effort during WW2 - think of the manpower than could have been freed up for more productive use. The containers would have been a natural for shipping military supplies as well.

- Erik

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Posted by ungern on Saturday, February 26, 2011 2:23 PM

 

I'm just trying to relate to modern shipping concepts

LCL similar to today's Less than truckload.  Ex.  Sears ordering products from a company for their warehouse

Then when I ordered something, where to day it would arrive UPS, how would it get to me back in the days of railroad transportation?

Ungern

If mergers keep going won't there be only 2 railroads? The end of an era will be lots of boring paint jobs.
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Posted by ungern on Saturday, February 26, 2011 2:32 PM

greyhounds

 

.

This asinine regulatory decision not only hurt the railroads, it hurt the overall US economy by increasing logistics costs.  The average person suffered from it.  And that average person didn't need any more economic problems in 1931.  The government literally froze the 19th century rail LCL system in place and we are still suffering the consequences.

 

How are we still suffering the consequences.  Is it because trucks have then over the former LCL business?

Ungern

If mergers keep going won't there be only 2 railroads? The end of an era will be lots of boring paint jobs.
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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, February 27, 2011 3:25 AM

Engineering and Contracting for October 18, 1922

 http://books.google.com/books?id=SqXmAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA378#v=onepage&q&f=true

New Freight Shipping System by "Container Cars" of New York Central Lines

 The new system of freight shipping by "container cars," just inaugurated regularly after exhaustive tests on the New York Central Lines, was described in an address delivered Oct. 10 by F. S. Gallagher, Engineer of Rolling Stock, before the Society of Terminal Engineers at New York.

The steel "containers" give the shippers of less-than-car-load lots all the advantages of the carload shipment and additional benefits, through carrying shipments under utmost protection against pilferage or damage from the door of the sender clear to the door of the receiver. The "containers" are steel boxes, six to nine of which fit sectionally upon a car behind low steel walls which absolutely prevent their opening in transit. They are hoisted between motor truck and car by means of cranes, thus quickly releasing rolling stock and preventing congestion of platforms or tracks at terminals. The "containers" have been used regularly in carrying United States mail for over a year without any loss or damage whatever to valuable consignments; have reduced necessity of sacking mail and have greatly expedited inter-city deliveries. The "containers" permit a shipper to stow consignments on his own shipping platform and eliminate need of costly boxing and crating.

The successful tests of the "container" cars in carrying express and mail matter have now been followed by the establishment of crane equipment for regular "container" service in carrying less-than-carload freight between 33rd St. Station, New York City, and Carroll St. Station, Buffalo, N. Y., the "container" cars leaving each terminal Tuesdays and Saturdays. Special rates have been established under tariffs published with the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission. These provide rates for a minimum of 3,000 lbs. up to the maximum capacity of a 7,000-lb. load for each container.

Mr. Gallagher, in describing the new system before the Terminal Engineers' Society, said in part:

Although the container system of handling less-than-carload freight is too young in years to furnish definite or concrete figures as to costs, we are able to show success in economy and safety effected through the new method.

The accomplishment of a means of loading or unloading a car of less-than-carload lots of freight within a few minutes alone carries far-reaching potential benefits, when we take into consideration the railroad equipment of the country and the inability of the railroads to control this equipment during the peak load of business. In times of heaviest demands, it is known that shippers, while waiting for a change in the market, gladly pay the regulation demurrage charges rather than unload the car in which their goods were shipped, using the car as a temporary storage place, and tying up equipment that is badly needed. This condition was very prominently brought out during the war when goods were shipped, especially in this eastern district, to consignees who either could not or did not want to unload the freight, but instead took advantage of the demurrage provisions, which was at an expense to the railroad company for car revenue which they would have had if the car had been unloaded promptly and returned to service, and at the expense of the public at large because of the inability of the railroads to handle greater tonnage because of the lack of equipment.

This condition with the use of the less-than-carload containers should be greatly reduced, if not altogether eliminated, because of the fact that the containers can be removed from the car, immediately taken to the shipper's warehouse, and while there might at some day be a demurrage charge of holding the containers, it would not keep the rolling stock out of service. In other words, the container method of handling freight permits the enforcement of quick unloading, and of course the quick unloading means the quick return to service of the car. During periods when there is a shortage of cars, the quick unloading of the freight car is a benefit to all concerned - the railroads, the shipper and the public.

Thirteen Man-Handlings Now. - The saving in labor and time may be seen by noting, in detail, the number of times that less-than-carload lots of freight must be handled from the shipper to the consignee. Let us follow one package from start to destination: First, it is carried from the packing room to the warehouse platform; second, from the warehouse platform to the wagon by hand truck; third, from the hand truck into the wagon. This is man-handling. The wagon then proceeds to the freight house, where at the platform occurs the next manhandling. The fourth man-lift is from the wagon to the freight house platform, and the fifth from the platform to the hand truck.

The individual package must be weighed, proper records made, and then taken into the car, making the sixth movement. A seventh handling is the stowing into the freight car, after which is attached the seal, which is broken at destination. The eighth handling is by the unloader lifting the freight to the floor of the car for the hand trucker; the ninth, the hand trucker with the package stopping while record is being made of the shipment going out of the car. The trucker then carries this freight to a designated place in the freight house and it is left there.

The consignee is notified that the goods for him have arrived, sends his wagon to the freight house and notifies the delivery clerk. The delivery clerk points out the shipment to the hand trucker, who takes it to the wagon for loading, which is the tenth handling. When the package is delivered by the hand trucker to the wagon platform, it is dumped at the tailgate of the wagon, making the eleventh handling, and must be handled the twelfth time to place it into the wagon. At the consignee's receiving platform, the goods must be unloaded from the wagon, making the thirteenth time that this package has been handled.

Now assuming that a carload of less-than-carload freight were 20,000 lbs., this means that it must be man-lifted thirteen times, or man-power must be provided to lift 260,000 lbs. in order to transfer one carload of 20,000 lbs. of freight. This does not include the numerous checkings and records that must be made of this freight, which in itself is a big item of expense.

By the new system, the container is delivered to the shipper, who, if properly equipped, will have a light overhead crane or some other means of carrying the container into his warehouse, so that one handling of the original package into the container is all that is necessary. The expense of crating is eliminated. When the goods are in the container, the door is closed, and if the shipper desires, he can put his own lock on it. The railroad company would also seal the container with the regular car seal.

Being loaded with one handling of the freight, the container is lifted by hoist from the floor of the shipper's warehouse to the motor truck and is lifted by hoist from the truck to the car.

Particular attention is directed to the security of the shipment when placed on the car. The bottom of the door of the container sets in behind the side of the car, making it impossible to get into the container while on the car, and the container is big enough so that it cannot easily be taken from the car without proper lifting facilities.

At destination, the operation described is reversed. The container is lifted by crane from the car onto the motor truck and then from truck to the consignee's platform, where it is unloaded and may be ready for a return shipment, or it may be picked up by truck for the use of some other shipper. While the container is being unloaded, the motor truck, as well as the railroad car, is released.

Saves Man-Lift of 110 Tons. - Instead of having to handle this container shipment of less-than-carload freight thirteen times by man-power, it is handled twice, saving on the same basis as before. That is, on a carload of less-than-carload freight weighing 20,000 lbs., the saving is the lifting by man-power of 220,000 lbs., or 110 tons. This is an economy that we cannot lose sight of, and while it may be said, of course, that there will be an expense incident to the installation of equipment for handling these containers at the various shippers' and consignees' plants, when this equipment is once in, the expense ceases. It does not cease with the present method of handling less-than-carload freight, because every time a 20,000 lb. carload of less-than-carload freight is handled from shipper to consignee, it requires 260,000 lbs. of man-lifting, while the container system would require only 40,000 lbs. of lifting - a saving in manlifting power of 220,000 lbs.

Saving Justifies Equipment. - When we started to carry freight by rail, and for considerable time thereafter, facilities for side tracks, shop tracks, etc., into the factories were not provided, but instead the freight was hauled between the railroads and factories by teams. Then somebody conceived the idea that if they had a railroad track into their yards, they could handle their freight a good deal cheaper and with less delay, with the result that a track was put in. Today, the first thought a manufacturer gives to the building of a new factory is, What are the railroad facilities, and how can we get sidetracks into our plant so that we can have our freight delivered by the railroad right into our own plant?

Now, why shouldn't a shipper of less-than-carload freight take into consideration the provision of overhead hoists or other means of handling containers to avoid the necessity of loading the wagon at the shipping point, unloading again at the freight station; then at destination loading the wagon, and at the consignee's platform unloading once more? The time required for loading and unloading the wagons is saved, except the moment it would take to lift the container from the car or station platform to the truck and from the truck to the shipper's or consignee's platform.

Container cars have been in regular mail service between New York and Chicago on the New York Central for many months. In this service, the eight containers regularly are placed on the trucks by overhead crane in seven or eight minutes, and the crane used is not one especially built for the handling of the containers, but a regular freight yard Gantry crane of heavy capacity. If this were a special crane designed for handling containers alone, I think the time required to place the containers on the trucks from the car, or vice versa, would be less than one minute per container.

Loss and Damage Minimized. - We are all familiar with the enormous amount of money returned to the shippers by the railroads and by the express companies on account of loss and damage to freight. On less-than-carload freight it amounts to more than 8 1/2% per cent of the revenue. The express companies pay claims to the amount of $125,000,000 a year for loss and damage.

A great portion of this can be saved by the container system, because there is no chance of damage if goods are properly packed in the containers, unless there is a disastrous smash-up, and no chance of loss en route from the shipper's platform to the consignee's platform, because it is impossible to open the door of the container while on the truck because the solid back of the truck prevents the door opening, and while on the car the sides of the car prevent the door from opening.

The container cars were in express service continuously for nearly two years without any loss or damage to any express matter whatever. I think that is quite a record.

The Post Office Department, aiming for economy and safety in handling mail, authorized a trial line of container cars to be used between New York and Chicago. These cars were placed in service regularly on Jan. 15 this year, and results have been such that, the Post Offlce Department has authorized the New York Central to continue the service indefinitely.

Construction of Container Cars. - In the container car construction, a solid floor is not used, but instead a wire screen is spread between the steel frame work so that any snow or water that drops between the containers will pass through.

The containers have guide shoes which are arranged to slide between the guides on the sides of the car and hold so firmly that no container can shift about, even if some of the containers are removed.

Container-Tanks for Milk . - I have discussed the container for less-than carload freight, express and mail, but there are other commodities handled by the railroads where the container should play a big part. This includes the handling of liquids, especially milk, fruit juices, edible oils, acids, etc., where temperature is an important factor.

A glass-lined tank built by the Pfaudler Co. of Rochester, N. Y., encased in an insulated container, has been devised for such traffic. Time-saving and labor-saving is accomplished in every operation of handling milk or other liquids by the use of the container car tank. The liquid being placed in the tanks at the proper temperature and the container being properly insulated, the use of ice is eliminated. These tanks may be made as large as required, or as large as may be transferred over the highways.

In actual service all of the containers from the car will be hoisted and placed on a motor truck regularly in about a minute per container. To transfer the same amount of milk between truck and railway car in the standard ten-gallon cans would require over two hours in manual labor.

The cleaning of one of the large 600-gal. containers could be accomplished within five minutes, while it would require fully an hour to clean 60 cans required to carry the same 600 gal. of milk.

Platforms requiring extensive space for handling the 10-gal. milk cans will be done away with. This will greatly facilitate the handling of milk at the unloading platforms, because more cars can be handled in the same space and in less time.

The consumption of milk in large cities has had a steady increase, and of course it is a railroad problem to supply facilities for the handling of milk. As long as the 10-gal. cans are used, each can must be handled individually, but any milk station shipping 600 gal. or more, or multiples of any designated size of tank, could utilize the container car tank service and lessen the handling at the shipping point and at the receiving point.

The limiting feature of a liquid container would simply mean the capacity of the truck for transferring over the highways. The tank can be made to carry in bulk any amount- 600. 1,000, 1,500 or more gallons of milk. The capacity depends solely upon the truck.

In the milk containers the glass lined tank is sealed and locked, and in addition a regulation refrigerator car ice hatch plug is used for insulating purposes. This plug is dropped into the opening, and then the container cover is fastened down and sealed.

May Be Handled on Ships. - An important feature of the container system is its adaptability to water transportation. Containers can be loaded, transferred by rail, and lowered into the hold of a ship without necessity of handling small packages, saving man-power and space.

Let us take, for example, a shipment from China of silk, which is one of the most valuable of commodities, to New York. There is no reason why the container system should not be extended to a shipment of this kind, the container being loaded in China, placed on the boat, unloaded at San Francisco, and transferred by rail to New York with contents not touched. This would permit a shipment of this kind to come by regular freight, secure at all times from tampering or damage, because it is not possible to open the doors without taking the containers off the cars. Such interchange with foreign countries is a possibility of the future.

New York-Buffalo Service. - The container car system of handling less than-carload freight now in operation regularly between New York and Buffalo and intermediate points, gives "store door to store door" service for less-than-carload freight. All the equipment that is necessary to install the system with utmost saving is a crane for lifting the container to and from the trucks at the shipper's or consignee's plant. The container may be left on the truck and unloaded there, but if there exists lifting facilities it is quicker and cheaper to take the container from the truck and place it on the shipping or receiving platform, releasing the truck for other work while the container is being loaded or unloaded.

The containers are 7 ft. wide, 9 ft. long and 8 ft. high, and they have a carrying capacity of 7,000 lb. This keeps the gross weight within the carrying capacity of a 5-ton truck. The containers are made of steel throughout, except the floors, which are of laminated wood. They are well braced, and there is very little chance of damage with ordinary handling.

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, February 27, 2011 4:33 AM

Deggesty

 I wonder how the elapsed time compared with that of the roads that served NYC directly.

Johnny, thanks for commenting. It took longer to get to Chicago but it was cheaper because of a differential rate. Freight lightered from New Jersey and Brooklyn also went aboard the CV steamers. According to the Mayor's Market Commission Report of 1913, "The Central Vermont Railway receives by boat at its Pier 29... about 19,000 tons of hay annually, 39,000 tons of condensed milk, 3,000 tons of flour, and about 200 tons of maple sugar and syrup." CV built the New London pier in 1876, long before Grand Trunk control, to receive coal from the Reading.

Mike

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Posted by Victrola1 on Sunday, February 27, 2011 1:21 PM

The demise of LCL closely follows that of passenger service and the branch line.

Especially in rural areas, did the loss of passenger revenue hasten the decision to close stations also handling LCL?

 

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Posted by greyhounds on Sunday, February 27, 2011 2:59 PM

ungern

 greyhounds:

 

.

This asinine regulatory decision not only hurt the railroads, it hurt the overall US economy by increasing logistics costs.  The average person suffered from it.  And that average person didn't need any more economic problems in 1931.  The government literally froze the 19th century rail LCL system in place and we are still suffering the consequences.

 

 

How are we still suffering the consequences.  Is it because trucks have then over the former LCL business?

Ungern

Some amount of rail freight was going to divert to motor movement no matter what anyone did.  The legacy harm of the 1931 regulatory decision comes from the fact that the civilian logistics network of the US was prevented from configuring itself into its most efficient structure.

The resultant sub-optimal configuration increased the costs of doing almost everything.  It required greater inputs in terms of economic resources and produced less output.  It diverted freight to truck movement that could more efficiently be handled by rail using the new intermodal container system. 

The increased costs of this sub-optimal system made the economy smaller than it otherwise would have been.  Since we go forward from where we're at, this smaller economic base point resulted in the economy continuing to be smaller than it would have been absent the regulatory blockage of a more efficient logistics system.

And, the US economy had to grow while being hampered by sub-optimal logistics system imposed by the regulatory system. 

The changes the railroads were making were necessary because the word had changed  Motor freight was a reality and the roads were being improved.  Gotta' change with the times or you'll go extinct. 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.

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