Today’s mail brought a copy of Freight Car Distribution and Car Handling in the United States by E.W. Coughlin, published in 1956 by the Association of American Railroads.
(I was fortunate to find a copy of this book in excellent condition via Powells. It was my first time buying from this venerable book dealer and the experience was great.)
I found out about Coughlin’s book through reading Modeling the SP, a blog by noted freight car authority and Signature Press co-founder Tony Thompson. Tony has written extensively about waybills and operations on his blog. It’s one of the few online model railway resources that rewards a careful read.
A 338 page book on freight car handling may seem like overkill for a simple layout such as mine. And given that all traffic either originates or terminates in a single staging area, it is. But I enjoy understanding how real railroads did things and feel it does help me to model them authentically. For example, this book will help me assign empty freight cars to team tracks for loading.
(Thanks, Tony, for helping me make sense of freight car handling, and pointing me to useful resources such as this book.)