For example, empty coal cars accumulating at Conroy or Maxey
could be moved toward or directly to the Elwood mines, about midway between
the two points, as figure 1.4 shows. They could be accepted to the limit of
the area's storage capacity since it would be known that they would
eventually be loaded.
Car distributors, however, must be careful not to
advise moving empty cars to a particular point where they may remain
unloaded for several days, only to have them needed at a point past which
they have just been hauled. With few exceptions, to backhaul loaded cars is
regarded as inefficient, but to backhaul empties, except in rare instances,
is not tolerated. To backhaul means to move a car or shipment back toward
its origin after it has reached a more distant point.
b. Special cars.
Not only does the car distributor have the
responsibility for providing a great many of the common types of empty cars
for large-scale loading but also for furnishing a smaller number of those of
special type and design. These include automobile boxcars, depressed-center
flatcars, extra-long flatcars, boxcars, and gondolas. Freight agents along
the line receive requests for empties from individual shippers.
requests are consolidated and forwarded to the car distributor through the
freight or traffic department. The location of special-purpose empties is
usually furnished the car distributor by the office of the superintendent of
car service, the office that always knows the location of every car the
railroad owns. However, information on the location of large quantities of
commonly loaded equipment comes to the car distributor from situation
reports telephoned or wired to him by all yards on the division.
c. Situation reports.
At regular intervals, usually every 4 or 6
hours, situation reports are compiled to show the status of empties at a
particular yard. The reports are telephoned or wired to the car distributor
who consolidates all reports and enters the information on a master sheet.
The yard reports are usually divided into two parts: empties that are
switched and ready to be moved, and those on hand which are not switched.
Some cars are separated on reports according to capacities and others
according to length. Boxcars are always reported according to their class:
1, 2, 3, or 4.
Class 1 boxcars are comparatively new, clean inside, and
suitable for loading grain or other high-class merchandise.
classes, 2 through 4, range from perfect condition and fairly clean
interiors to cars with rough, greasy floors and leaky roofs. The latter are
often used for such rough lading as steel castings and car wheels.
other commodity that would be unharmed by dirt, grease, moisture, and floor
nails may also be loaded in class 4