Paperwork for a stolen car

… or, “What to do with CML 1952?”

Regular readers will know that CML 1952 is an NMRA heritage boxcar lettered for the Crooked Mountain Lines – a freelanced O scale interurban empire built by Bob Hegge. I recently finished my S scale model, shown here:
 photo CML-1952-Finished_zpse99c7a01.jpg
(Click on the photo to read more about the model)

All that’s left to do is create some waybills for the car – and that’s posing some problems for me. These can be summed up as follows:

“What is CML 1952 doing on the Port Rowan branch?”

Hegge’s line was freelanced and I don’t recall him ever pinning down a geographic location for it, although I recall that he was inspired by the Oregon Electric and other heavy interurbans of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The Crooked Mountains through which his railroad ran certainly looked like that part of the world, too.

The problem, for me, is that the Pacific Northwest is way over there, on the left coast of the continent. And Port Rowan is more to centre-right – and in Canada, to boot. While the typical inbound traffic on my branch consists of consumer goods – everything from pineapples to pianos, tinned tuna to tractors – it’s unlikely that any of this was sourced directly, by the carload, from places like Oregon or Washington State. More likely, inbound goods would have come from a big distributor in a place like Toronto or Hamilton, or directly from various industries in Southern Ontario. And those would arrive – for the most part – in a CNR boxcar (which is why I have so many of them on the layout).

However, I have devised a scenario in which a load might arrive in CML 1952. Railways preferred to move cars loaded in both directions, because an empty car doesn’t earn anything for the carriers that haul it. And the AAR wrote the book, literally, on car-handling rules – describing how empty cars on their way home could be commandeered for re-loading:
Freight car rules photo AAR-Freight-Coughlin-1956.jpg
(Click on the image to learn more about this book)

I won’t go into great detail here about the rules, but one that applies in this case is that an empty car heading home can be commandeered for a load providing the lading is headed in roughly the same direction as the empty car. If CML 1952 ended up empty in Winnipeg or Chicago, it could not be commandeered for a load to Toronto, Hamilton or Port Rowan. But if it ended up in Montreal or Halifax, it could be – since the load would take it west, towards home rails.

So here’s the scenario for CML 1952: It was loaded in CML territory (let’s call that Oregon) and destined for Montreal. That’s possible, since Montreal is a big city that served as a distribution centre so somebody in Montreal might order a carload of something from Oregon. Once the car is empty, it’s destined to head home. But wait! There’s a load from Montreal headed to Port Rowan – and in the grand scheme of things, Port Rowan is on the way home, so the CML car can be used.

So, that’s my justification. Now, I need to figure out what the waybills look like for that.

I use scaled down prototype paperwork for freight car forwarding. Here’s an example:
Paperwork - Empty to Staging photo EmptyToStaging.jpg
(Click on the image to read more about my waybills)

Normally, an empty car bill looks like the one shown above. There’s the waybill with the load information, in white, and stapled to the top is the empty car bill showing that this car is now headed for home. Crews would look at the routing information on the waybill to determine how to forward this to home. What I’m not sure about is this:

“What does the paperwork look like once the empty car is ‘stolen’ for another load?”

Is a new waybill stapled to the top of this paperwork? That would make sense to me, since crews would still need to know where the car came from originally. In my example, once the car is unloaded at Port Rowan, we want it to continue on its way to Oregon – not returned to Montreal. But I’m not sure.

I will have to dig through my AAR book on freight car handling to see if I can determine the answer. Until then, CML 1952 will have to sit in the storage drawers under the sector plate…

13 thoughts on “Paperwork for a stolen car

  1. Hi Trevor,
    As to the mystery load, how about a load of apples from Oregon to Montreal and a return load of bricks from the brickyard in Pt. Rowan?
    P. S. If you are in my area drop in and critique my layout …a work in progress.

    • Hi Monte:
      Great ideas. I remember reading about the brick yard but I thought it had disappeared by the 1950s. Was it still in business? I’d love to add another customer. Can you tell me anything more about the operation?
      Yes – if and when I get back to the area I plan to look you up. You’ve been warned… 😉

  2. Always liked Hegge’s work. One of my favorite all-time Model Railroader articles was Hegge interviewing Bill Clouser,another great modeler and early proponent of what’s now known as”Proto:48″.
    It looks as though your work is on that same high level…

  3. I love the fact that your going to such extreme lengths to come up with a back story, but I doubt many people know that the CML is a freelanced road. Then again, it’s still your layout, and if you want to run it, run it! Anyone that starts nitpicking is welcome to go back thru the door!

    • Hi Walker:
      As you note – it’s my layout. That actually compels me to come up with a reasonable back story for why a CML car would appear – and represent that story with the appropriate car handling paperwork. Because otherwise, every time I look at that car I’ll wonder what it’s doing there.
      There are many advantages to pursuing the style of railroading that I have. For example, my prototype is manageable, I can model without too much selective compression, and I don’t have to worry about CTC machines, signals or other complex equipment to operate. In fact, I don’t even really need to worry about a time table, train orders and a dispatcher, since the entire branch was considered Yard Limits and was typically only occupied by one train at a time.
      But there are trade-offs too – and this is an example. Since I’m modelling a terminal at the end of a fairly isolated branch, it limits the types of cars one would see on it. This is especially true of modelling a steam-era Canadian branch line, since the CNR was a country-spanning system so there was relatively little interchange traffic – at least, compared to US roads, which were more regional in nature. Even the mighty PRR didn’t reach the Pacific, after all – but the CNR touched both coasts, in several places.
      Also, I enjoy the challenge of coming up with a plausible explanation for this car’s presence in Port Rowan. And I look forward to figuring out the paperwork, then having crews figure out what to do with the car when they get their stack of waybills!

  4. Hi Trevor;

    CNR was also a common route from the North West to New England via subsidiary Central Vermont. It’s possible a load from Boston, Portland or Bridgeport would have gone to Port Rowan. On the plus side, that avoids rules that would have charged duty for a foreign car loaded for internal use (I don’t know the rules, but recall that Canadian cars might not be allowed to reload in the US).


    • Hi Pieter:
      Yes, a very good point. Not only CV, but also Grand Trunk (New England – to Portland, Maine.) and Grand Trunk Western (in Michigan, Illinois and environs).

  5. Would you believe, I still haven’t solved this? I just haven’t had time to delve into the books. I’ve been too busy building stuff for the layout. Stay tuned…

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