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Interurban freight train length ...
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Warren_Thompson
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Posts: 403
Interurban freight train length ...
 
« on: Oct 23rd, 2008, 2:38pm »
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Both the C&LE and the Indiana Railroad commonly had freight trains of only two or three trailers plus motive power. The Eastern Michigan ran much longer trains (e.g., When Eastern Michigan Rode the Rails, Book 4, has a photo on p.120 showing what appears to be a train perhaps a dozen cars in length).
 
QUESTION: Why the disparity?


« Last Edit: Oct 23rd, 2008, 2:39pm by Warren_Thompson » Logged
Walt_C
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Posts: 2934
Re: Interurban freight train length ...
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 24th, 2008, 7:58pm »
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I haven't read the Eastern Michgan book and don't know much about that property ( other than the fact that it hosted the Toledo-Detroit portion of C&LE's Cincinnati- Detroit Limited runs, which, for the short time they lasted, were the world's longest interurban runs), but the short length of most interurban freight trains was a product of the fact that they often had significant street running, and city and town fathers were not happy when even four car freight trains wound their way through city streets, particularly in the day time. ( Many Ohio municipalities had ordinances which limited freight train lengths. The typical restriction was a two car limitation during daylight hours, and longer, maybe even no limit on the length of trains at night).
 
    A second factor was power consumption. With most freight trains being powered by streetcar sized box motors, train lengths were often limited by the hauling capacity of the motors. Running trains that were too long meant that they would run slower, and potentially be unable to handle steep grades where these existed. Additionally, slow freight trains impeded passenger service ( sounds familiar in our Amtrak era). A third related factor was the fact that a major selling point for interurban freight over the service provided by the steam railroads was speed. C&LE, in conjunction with the Lake Shore Electric ran overnight Cleveland-Cincinnati freight trains whose selling point was the fact that a merchant in Cincinnati could place an order with a supplier in Cleveland and get next morning delivery. If the trains were too long, and ran too slowly as a result, the interurban would lose this competative edge.
   I don't know what factors permitted the EMT to run 12 car freight trains; maybe this property had less street running than the C&LE and IRR, but, according to Jack Keenan, few midwestern interurbans ran freight trains that were longer than eight cars.  C&LE did constant battle with the city fathers in Springfield over its running freight trains through that city for its entire 10 year existance.


« Last Edit: Oct 24th, 2008, 8:07pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
Warren_Thompson
Historian
Posts: 403
Re: Interurban freight train length ...
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 27th, 2008, 10:56am »
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on Oct 24th, 2008, 7:58pm, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I haven't read the Eastern Michgan book and don't know much about that property ( other than the fact that it hosted the Toledo-Detroit portion of C&LE's Cincinnati- Detroit Limited runs, which, for the short time they lasted, were the world's longest interurban runs), but the short length of most interurban freight trains was a product of the fact that they often had significant street running, and city and town fathers were not happy when even four car freight trains wound their way through city streets, particularly in the day time. ( Many Ohio municipalities had ordinances which limited freight train lengths. The typical restriction was a two car limitation during daylight hours, and longer, maybe even no limit on the length of trains at night).
 
    A second factor was power consumption. With most freight trains being powered by streetcar sized box motors, train lengths were often limited by the hauling capacity of the motors. Running trains that were too long meant that they would run slower, and potentially be unable to handle steep grades where these existed. Additionally, slow freight trains impeded passenger service ( sounds familiar in our Amtrak era). A third related factor was the fact that a major selling point for interurban freight over the service provided by the steam railroads was speed. C&LE, in conjunction with the Lake Shore Electric ran overnight Cleveland-Cincinnati freight trains whose selling point was the fact that a merchant in Cincinnati could place an order with a supplier in Cleveland and get next morning delivery. If the trains were too long, and ran too slowly as a result, the interurban would lose this competative edge.
   I don't know what factors permitted the EMT to run 12 car freight trains; maybe this property had less street running than the C&LE and IRR, but, according to Jack Keenan, few midwestern interurbans ran freight trains that were longer than eight cars.  C&LE did constant battle with the city fathers in Springfield over its running freight trains through that city for its entire 10 year existance.

 
Thanks for your response. Perhaps the Michigan line was not lumbered with local restrictions limiting freight train length, though it's hard to visualize a 12-car freight train winding its way through the streets of Detroit. On the other hand, perhaps the longer trains were broken up into smaller units inside the city limits. At any rate it still wonders me.
 
The Western Ohio, part of the Lima Route, also ran longer freight trains, including one that was powered by a box motor with three-axle trucks. The Cincinnati Car Company made three sets of these trucks in the early 1930s. Two were used on a couple of odd-looking locomotives, one for the C&LE and the other for the CG&P.  The C&LE version was intended for use on the Mt. Healthy freight line but proved unsatisfactory in that role. Keenan says it sat around the Moraine yards gathering rust, while a different source claims it became the shop switcher.


« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2008, 11:05am by Warren_Thompson » Logged
Walt_C
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Posts: 2934
Re: Interurban freight train length ...
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 27th, 2008, 8:00pm »
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Breaking up longer freight trains at city limits seems to be one reasonable explanation, especially if the EMT ran through fewer towns and cities than did the C&LE. The Cincinnati- Cleveland overnight "hot shot" ( to use Jack Keenan's term) would have had to run through Hamilton, Middletown, Dayton, Springfield,  Urbana, Bellefontaine, Lima & Toledo on just the C&LE portion-- all street running, and probably all with some restrictions.  This would have made it difficult to break those trains up into shorter units at city limits except at the Cumminsville and Cleveland ends of the run. If the EMT run between Toledo and Detroit had fewer intermediate towns and cities, or if the EMT didn't have to run through the streets of towns on its route, it could have run longer trains. I note that the Keenan book, on page 61, has a photo of box motor No. 641 with a caption indicating that it was purchased new in 1930, along with 14 sisters which had enough power to pull a 12 car train at 30 MPH on level tangent track---- though it does not appear that C&LE ever ran trains of that length.

« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2008, 8:03pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
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