Power-Sharing in the Past?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I've kind of asked this question before but I'm curious if railway lines shared power in the past, say in the '40s and '50s?

    For example, it's not uncommon to see BNSF, UP locos or others running on a CN line. Would this have been common 50-60 years ago -- for example, would you have seen a Santa Fe loco hauling freight on a CN line?


  2. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Very rarely.
  3. Relic

    Relic Member

    There are more "forign Road" cars in a freight now than thewre are CN. What would the ratio have been in the '60's, and what "foreign Road names would you have seen ,in say '62 in eastern Canada{real east, NS}
  4. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    You would hardly have seen any foreign road name locomotives - even CN on CP or visa versa. If you did, it was a very rare event and cause for celebration. One of the features on a slide night in the Ottawa railfan community is to see photos of Union Pacific A-B-B-A sets or other American roads in CPs yards in LeBreton Flats. The railfan who got photos of these locos got requests for many copies.

    Many of the "foreign road name" locos you see on mainline freights these days are "lease" units. Some railways have major shortages of motive power and leasing companies have discovered that "renting" locos to railways with shortages of motive power is a profitable business. One of the major lease companies is Helm Leasing (Citibank) with the reporting marks CEFX. Most of their locos are painted blue with 3-digit numbers. Lease locos come from two sources - new from the manufacturer - like GE, or used from railways that are discarding their units. I've recently seen former UP locos in their yellow livery with the UP markings painted out and the lease company markings painted on top.

    Bob M.
  5. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    That covers the locomotives.

    With railway cars, it's a different matter. Today, the majority of railway cars are lease cars. One of the major suppliers of lease cars is TTX - originally known as Trailer Train. TTX Home They have a fleet of over 210,000 - intermodal, autorack and general use. You are probably familiar with the yellow autoracks with the logos of major railways on the side. However, look at the reporting marks (the car numbers preceded by letters) and you will see that the autoracks have TTX (or a combination thereof). For the yellow double-stack intermodals, you will see DTTX. TTX is owned by their primary customers - all of the major Class 1 railways in North America, including CN and CP.

    In addition to their lease cars, TTX provides fleet management services to the major railways. They are specialists in the management of railcar fleets so it is quite common to see Norfolk Southern on CP Rail in Eastern Ontario. In this case, the NS car probably delivered product to southern Ontario. In days gone by, this car would have been immediately returned empty to NS. However, TTX knows that CP needs a car in Smiths Falls to load mechanics tool boxes manufactured by Stanley Tools. So the NS car is sent empty to Smiths Falls where it is loaded with the tool boxes and then returned to a customer on the NS line. For more info, click on this link TTX - Boxcar and Gondola and look at the top right-hand box.

    Because of free trade, multi-national markets, the consolidation of smaller railway lines into a few major railway lines, the efficient management of a railcar fleet has become more important. In the same way that a rolling stone gathers no moss, an empty car gathers no revenue. Fleet management has become more important which is where TTX steps in. Many Class 1 railways no longer manage their railcar fleets - they hand the job over to TTX.

    "X marks the car", the X indicating that it is a private car not owned by the railways. It is very common to see lots of "X" cars that look like railway cars. For example, look for the cars marked CNLX or CPLX. These cars have CN and CP logos on their sides. Actually, they're CN and CP lease cars.
  6. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    That covers the major roads.

    Old freight cars (expecially old box cars) never die. They get purchased by smaller railways - in particular short line railways. Or rather, short line railways that have longer lines.

    As an example, CP Rail used to have a fleet of green boxcars used to ship newsprint from Quebec. The Quebec Gatineau Railway took over CP Rail operations from Gatineau (Ottawa) to Quebec City. Lots of newsprint mills along the line. CP was getting rid of their fleet of green boxcars in favour of longer higher capacity boxcars. So, QGR bought up a bunch of the green boxcars, painted out the CP markings (kept the CP numbers) and stencilled on QGRY in white. Voila, a fleet of revenue-producing boxcars that provide efficient service to their paper mill customers. You will see a lot of these cars on the major roads as the newsprint is shipped to places like Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, etc. They are usually returned empty to the QGR. They are making a pretty penny on the use of these discards.

    So, next time you see freight cars up for sale, don't think of the scrap value. Think of the lease value! That scrap is worth a lot more than scrap.

    Bob M.
  7. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    So, that covers freight cars in recent times.

    In olden times, if you saw a foreign road freight car, it was because the supplier of the merchandise in that freight car was serviced by the foreign road. The car would be unloaded ASAP and returned empty ASAP to the foreign road. Freight cars generate revenue on a "per diem" rate - one rate when their full, another rate when they're empty. When full, the per diem rate can be passed on to the customer (with a markup). When empty, the per diem rate is swallowed by the owner - either the railway or the lease company. In the old days, lease companies were few and far between (one exception being tank cars), so it was the railway that choked on the empty per diem. If the railway could find a return load back to the foreign road, then so much the better. However, there was very little product that could be put into an empty Lehigh Valley coal hopper to return it back to the US of A, so the hopper would be returned ASAP back to its home road.

    Probably not some very direct answers but I hope you get the idea.

    I'm not an expert in this stuff, so if anybody has more info, jump in on the discussion.

    Bob M.
  8. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Very interesting information railwaybob, thanks.
    At least I won't be ashamed to run a GP18 MoPac once in a while on my CPR-TH&B layout.
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- very good info!

    Well, as a kid in the 1960s, I fondly recall my Dad and I watching freight trains and looking for all the different railway logos. I remember us seeing PRR, Grand Trunk, CNR and my favourite, Sante Fe on the various freight cars.

    So, would this have been the case for the 1960s (i.e. foreign road names being common like today) or is it a case of my childhood memory acting up!!?

    By the "olden days" I trust you're referring to the 1940s/50s as per my original question? To summarize, it sounds as if, in the 1940s/50s, foreign road names were NOT common. But from the 1960s onwards to today, they were/are.

    Thanks again -- I'm enjoying this thread and info!

  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Growing up in the '50s, I recall seeing lots of "foreign" road rolling stock, although there was a tendency to not notice most of the home-road stuff, as we saw it every day.

    I've never seen a Mopac unit on the TH&B, but it's your railway, so run it if you wish.:D I have seen lots of CPR stuff (back when the TH&B was "independent"), along with NYC (which was a part-owner, along with CPR), Penn Central, Conrail, Erie Lackawanna, Chessie, B&O, and Union Pacific.

  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Your original question was about power - and I don't think power sharing was nearly as common in days past (pre 1950) as it is now - as per railwaybob's info.

    The interchange of freight cars (albeit with cumbersome rules, again as per railwaybob) quickly developed in the 1800s soon after railways realized that 1) they could not build multiple/duplicate roads to every destination, and 2) customers would not pay to have their goods shipped by six different railroads - i.e. loaded and unloaded between each road, rather than just interchanging the loaded car.

  12. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    That was very informative. Puts alot of things into perspective.:cool:
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Back in my younger days.....Very little POWER sharing took place. Nowadays, with the mega-mergers swallowing up every road that they lay their eyes on you will see engines from roads that never left their "home" rails a few years back. A few days ago I saw an IC engine way down here in this little-bitty corner of Texas (right on the southmost border with Mexico). Here we see mostly Up & BNSF.
  14. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Actually, freight car interchange developed gradually over about 40 years (1860-1900). Central Pacific records of the early 1880s indicated a lack of interchange - freight from the East destined for Virginia City, NV (as an example) got transferred at Sacramento, taken back to Reno, and then transferred to V&T rolling stock. Quite expensive and inefficient. But in the 1860s, there were incompatible track gauges everywhere. Even when the gauge was standardized, the lack of common fittings on cars (brakes and couplers) made actual interchange unusual. The 1893 law mandating air brakes, knuckle couplers, and other standard fittings (final compliance in 1903) made freight car interchange physically practical and possible. The billing systems and per diem rates made interchange a viable business model.

    The arrival of viable interchange was the final nail in the coffin for the 3ft gauge common carriers. Most of the non-isolated 3ft lines where the routes had any potential for profit were widened to standard gauge in the 1890-1910 era. Only the recessions of the 1890s made the process last as long as it did. The amazing story of narrow gauge is that so many marginal lines limped along for another 30 years into the 1930s to 1950s.

    hope this helps
  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Fred. Yes, this is interesting and helpful. Rob
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In old times, there was some leasing of motive power. However, it wasn't horsepower-hour payback, but larger-scale leasing for longer periods. For example, in 1956, the PRR leased ATSF 2-10-4s and RDG 4-8-4s. In 1973, CNW leased UP U50s. Just after startup in 1976, CR leased CN units. Around 1980, ATSF leased Chessie units. Etc. But each of these leases clearly says a specific time.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- this is helpful & interesting. So it at least sounds as if power-sharing/leasing if relatively recent. Rob
  18. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    If you subscribe to "Branchline" published by the Bytown Railway Society (an excellent $40 investment if you are interested in what is happening on the Canadian railway scene), you will find listings (amongst other things) of what units are on lease with what major railway, what units are being stored serviceable or unserviceable, what shortline units have been transferred in or out, etc, etc. It makes for interesting reading.

    The second "must have" for railfanning in Canada is the "Canadian Trackside Guide", also published by Bytown for $32, usually available in your LHS. It's one of those "never leave home without it" items whenever you go railfanning. The motive power passes by, you write down the numbers. You think you've identified the model, manufacturer, etc but are you sure? A quick look into the Canadian Trackside Guide will give you a wealth of information.

    Bob M.
  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Bob. I'm certainly going to see if I can get a Cdn Trackside Guide then -- I think George's Trains might have them. Take care, Rob
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Fred - I guess "quickly" is a relative term... ;) :rolleyes: hamr

    The Newfoundland Railway was a narrow gauge road that came under the control of Canadian National after Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. It's version of interchange involved bringing cars on a ferry, then lifting the bodies off the standard gauge trucks, and substituting narrow gauge ones. The load would remain in the body of the car. Once the job was complete, the process would be reversed, and the cars sent back to the "mainland".

    Did any of the US narrow gauge lines do this for interchange?

    All the tracks in NFLD have now been removed... :(


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