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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. While on a trip this last week I saw a long train with a mix of cars being pulled. Some flat cars some box cars and some tanker cars. I noticed that the tanker cars weren't all together but rather randomly mixed in. Two or thee together then further down another all by its self then anot her grouping further down. To me this sees disorganized and would require a lot of shuffling around when they get to the end destination for off loading. Is there some hidden organization that I am not aware? Just curious.

Thanks!
 

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Mixed freight trains like that are organized into where the car(s) is/are destined for. So chances are one group of the cars are headed for one destination while another group could be headed else where.
 

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Eric is correct... Think computers in todays world..
They do all the orders... Thus placement..or makeup of the trains we see pass us!
Many shippers.
Many receivers.
A fixed bag of cars moved at any one time! Everywhere!!

Copy them in your toys..

SD
 

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Yep. What's happening is that shippers are loading all day, and making cars available to their serving railroad. Chemicals, grain, sand, lumber, etc. The railroad collects the cars and takes them to a yard (look for "Waycross classification yard" on You Tube to see what's happening.) The railroad sorts the cards into different tracks like dealing cards; the tracks are according to where the trains need to go.

But the mainline trains might not make every route every day. So another local of cars from a shipper gets "dealt" onto the tracks still occupied by cars from yesterday. Then the full train heading, say, north is compiled, it departs. This process gets repeated at various interchange yards along the journey. At the receiving end, the result is often getting a week's worth of cars all at once, even though the receiver ordered then shipped every day ... thus ensuring a hefty demurrage invoice! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all,

I was sure there was some sense to it all. I'm sure they do know what they're doing.


Have a great weekend everyone!
 

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I worked for the Norfolk Southern for a summer as a conductor, and got to see the rhyme and reason for train make up. Most freight cars are "blocked" into groups depending on where they are going. Certain cars, espically tank cars that haul some nasty stuff are put on the very end of the train, this was in a derailment, they are as far away from the locomotives as possible. The most nasty stuff we hauled back in the late 1990's was Hydrocyanic Acid, takes only a pen drop to do you in. Tank car is white with a red strip around the car. We called them candy strippers and they had better be at the very back of the train! The yard jobs block the cars either thru flat yard switching or using a hump yard and humping cars down into the "bowl" into preset tracks controled by personal up in the yard tower. Of coarse a caboose would be on the very end in the old days, just a EOT these days. That is an End Of Train device. Radios back air pressure, train movement, distance traveled and can "dump the air" all via radio link to the lead engine. Mike
 

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Just remember, the little red caboose always comes last. :)
Caboose? What's a caboose?

JackM
 

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I think I'm at that awkward age (for a G scale train fan) where I have things I remember from childhood that some of you are too old--and others too young--to remember.

There's a Little Golden Book called The Little Red Caboose that I loved when I was a kid. Basically, the little red caboose is at the end of the train and no one waves at him. One day the train can't quite make it up a mountain and the little red caboose's brakes save the day until additional engines arrive to push the train up. From then on, everyone waves at the little red caboose.

 

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Try flexibility... Move your time era back an forth across the "Caboose Date Line",... Some days employing those neat ETD...at times running little Red booses on the rear... Double your pleasure! Double your Fun!!

SD
 

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And always remember, rule number 1 (or number 8 if your on the other side of the pond) applies....its your railroad. I normaly run a caboose that either has marker lanterns or a flashing light on the rear. And my passenger train has marker lantern(s) on the rear as well. In the rule book I have from my days on the NS, a train isnt considered a train unless there is a marker on the rear. This can be an EOT, a red flag or a caboose. Of coarse cabooses and the tail car of passenger trains carried the "Markers". Kerosene lanterns in older days, electrified lights in newer days. European trains normaly carried a market that was turned to a "target" side by day, then turned and lighted at night and were Kerosene lanterns well into the 1970's if not even later. Many sources for EOT's and lanterns in G scale if you need to get some. Cheers Mike
 

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One thing not yet mentioned is loads and empties. Some of the tank cars originally mentioned may be loaded with whatever kind of fluids and headed to a receiving industries. Others may be empties which have already been to the receiving industry, drained, and are now empty and headed back to the yard to be rerouted to a new and different receiver. I believe the loaded cars are generally towards the front of the train and the empties are tacked onto the rear as they are picked up.
 

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Another is if the tank cars contained hazmat. In that case, some of the oother cars may have been used as buffers.
 

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The thing to remember with tank cars is that regardless of the fact that they all look alike, they can contain a myriad of different products, from orange juice, shampoo or corn syrup to crude oil or molten Sulphur or dangerous chemicals. Same with boxcars. Anything from appliances to cat litter.

Some cars have special restrictions, such as empty flat cars being in the back of the train, to keeping certain types of hazmat away from other types of hazmat or even food products.

Also, many commodities, grain, coal, oil, run only in bulk trains, with the train either 100% loaded or 100% empty.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wonderful stuff all. Thank you for enlightening me. Clearly it's not as random as it might appear.
 
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