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Date: 10/06/19 08:35
“Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Copy19

I am sure most of us graybeards remember the notable article written years ago by former Trains editor David P. Morgan back before Amtrak titled “Who Shot the Passenger Train”.  Makes me wonder who/what will be next.

JB - Omaha



Date: 10/06/19 08:57
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: PHall

TOFC will be next. Containers are quickly replacing them.



Date: 10/06/19 10:40
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: bradleymckay

Still see plenty of boxcars on the Kearney cam and others, so there is still demand.  UP moves plenty of Mexican beer in plain no frills boxcars...rates are reasonable.

Instead of "who shot the boxcar" the title should be more like "who's been taging/graffiting" all the boxcars.  


Allen



Date: 10/06/19 11:08
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: fulham

One item I found interesting in this article was the comment that the railroads still do not have a way to track customer's shipments accurately.  The quote that stuck out was this: "Railroaders point out that you can order a $5.99 pizza using the Dominos app, then follow your pie as it's delivered to your doorstep.  Yet when you put $200,000 worth of plastic pellets in a covered hopper, you can't tell precisely where the car is."

To me this comment was interesting mainly because in the same issue of Trains, there is an article titled "Big Data" talking about all the technology being used by railroads today.  The technology discussed is very complex and cutting edge.  Yet given all the technology, railroads still can't figure out how to track your shipment.  I would be interested to hear why railroads still can't track shipments given there focus on technology?  You would think that shipment tracking would be important and vital.



Date: 10/06/19 11:13
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: PHall

fulham Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One item I found interesting in this article was
> the comment that the railroads still do not have a
> way to track customer's shipments accurately. 
> The quote that stuck out was this: "Railroaders
> point out that you can order a $5.99 pizza using
> the Dominos app, then follow your pie as it's
> delivered to your doorstep.  Yet when you put
> $200,000 worth of plastic pellets in a covered
> hopper, you can't tell precisely where the car
> is."
>
> To me this comment was interesting mainly because
> in the same issue of Trains, there is an article
> titled "Big Data" talking about all the technology
> being used by railroads today.  The technology
> discussed is very complex and cutting edge.  Yet
> given all the technology, railroads still can't
> figure out how to track your shipment.  I would
> be interested to hear why railroads still can't
> track shipments given there focus on technology? 
> You would think that shipment tracking would be
> important and vital.

Considering that each car in interchange service is required to have an AEI RFID tag on it, they can track the car with the shipment in it.
It's just a question of is it important enough to the railroad to actually have a system that can track shipments for the shipper.
The technology is there, just need the will to do it.



Date: 10/06/19 12:05
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: coach

True story:  I had an LTL customer tell me one time he needed to know where his 4 cars of sand blasting sand were on the UP?  He called the only rep, who said "they're in xyz terminal still, but coming this way...".  On a whim, the customer drove to the local yard 4 miles away, and found his four cars, sitting there.  He called the rep back, and said "I found them.  They're sitting in the local yard here."  The rep didn't believe him.  The customer gave him the car numbers, and yep, those were his cars, the same cars the UP person couldn't even track.  So then the customer asked when he could expect the cars to be spotted (he really needed the product...).  The rep didn't know, said he'd get back to him....

And RR's wonder why they're losing market share.....honestly, they need some trucking managers to come into their system and kick ass and get things moving.....

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/19 12:06 by coach.



Date: 10/06/19 12:31
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: ntharalson

This entire business underscores a long and well known idea hat railroads do not understand service.  It all dates from when
railroads had a monopoly, pre-World War I.  they didn't care then because there was no alternative.  Since railroad operations
are a "hand-me-down"/apprentice system, there are no changes because they don't know how.  Well, they know how, jus not
how to implement it. 

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



Date: 10/06/19 12:44
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: sp8234

We used to be able to trace cars but after 911 they thought it was not safe to because of tracing militarily shipments. Terrorists could target the cars were & set them on fire, ETC, ETC. 
I think they did it for the right reasons but implemented it wrong, don't know of a better way.
I did a lot of tracking Autoracks this way until 911& did it through UPs website or on the phone.
I was tracking the cars that were coming Oakland CA that had autos going to a Santa Rosa dealership the I worked at in northern California.

Tim
Hanesworth



Date: 10/06/19 12:51
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: WrongWayMurphy

We see a LOT of boxcars here in Tyler, Tex, in UP’s Corsicana Sub.
They cycle back and forth from USA to Mex., mostly beer loads north, empties south.

Reminds me, I need a cold goblet of Dos XX prepared for Cowboys-Packers.



Date: 10/06/19 13:15
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: PHall

There's still a lot of boxcar traffic out there, but just like everything else it's become specialized.
The days of the unequipped, haul anything boxcar are fading but cars with cushion underframes and load restraint devices are still going strong.



Date: 10/06/19 13:20
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: gandydancer4

I guess I'm gonna sound like an ol' man when I say this but I think it all comes down to work ethic...which anyone under 30 just doesn't have or understand. And it makes sense. This generation has had EVERYTHING given to it without ANYTHING to stress it like a World War or a Depression. They simply don't know how to work.   ×   



Date: 10/06/19 14:20
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: n6ojj

In reply to fulham, re a shipper/receiver being able to track a freight car in near realtime  that they have a commercial interest in — ocean container shipping has had this challenge for quite some time.  Earlier this year Maersk, in a nod to Customer Service, decided to offer a customer log-in accessible database wherein the customer/shipper could track the exact location of a container consigned to Maersk.  The project is still being tested out.  Some challenges have been acknowledged.  Some other container ship lines are interested.  Rail transport has challenges not seen by ocean shipping, and vice-versa.  As poster Phall noted, all it would take is the will to do it.  The details would be sorted out.  



Date: 10/06/19 14:56
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Copy19

I find it interesting that Amazon can provide up to the minute tracing information on our packages including an online map tracing the delivery truck right into our neighborhood and telling us how many stops they are from our house.

JB - Omaha



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/19 15:07 by Copy19.



Date: 10/06/19 15:04
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Evan_Werkema

Another item of interest in that article is that while carload traffic is disappearing, the boxcars themselves are disappearing faster because it doesn't make financial sense to build new cars.  Something that didn't quite jibe for me was the assertion that boxcars don't make enough turns per month to recoup the investment in new cars...yet new boxcars are being built, just not as quickly as old ones are being retired. 



Date: 10/06/19 16:13
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: PHall

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another item of interest in that article is that
> while carload traffic is disappearing, the boxcars
> themselves are disappearing faster because it
> doesn't make financial sense to build new cars. 
> Something that didn't quite jibe for me was the
> assertion that boxcars don't make enough turns per
> month to recoup the investment in new cars...yet
> new boxcars are being built, just not as quickly
> as old ones are being retired. 

There's an oversupply of the old non-equipped "per diem" cars from the 70'sand 80's which are the one's that seem be the one's getting the torch.
The new cars all seem to have stuff like plug doors, cushioned underframes and load restraints. Which seem to be what the shippers want.
The shippers want cars that won't let their freight get damaged.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/19 18:16 by PHall.



Date: 10/06/19 17:18
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: CPR_4000

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There's an oversupply of the old non-equipped "per
> diem" cars from the 70'sand 80's which are the
> one's that seem be the one's getting the tourch.

Those cars are running afoul of the FRA 50-year rule, so they're being taken out of service.



Date: 10/06/19 19:10
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Evan_Werkema

The article (or rather the sidebar on "The Looming Boxcar Retirement Cliff") also says, "At the current default rate of 17 cents an hour, a fully utilized boxcar pays its owner $124 a month," and, "GATX and the Rail Supply Institute are pressing the Association of American Railroads to change the default rate methodology to reflect current market rates so that a boxcar's revenue matches the car owner's interest cost."  Could someone please flesh out a bit more what they are talking about here?  In the post-Staggers world, are there still rates that are set for all railroads by a governing body other than the federal government?



Date: 10/06/19 19:27
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: spwolfmtn

I’ve seen BNSF was a bunch of brand new boxcars out now.

As for railroads’s “service”, it’s just they do not want to work that hard, literally. It’s not that important to them. And we are talking about many young managers hired out of college.



Date: 10/06/19 19:53
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Juniata

Most larger shippers - especially those with private railcar fleets - have tracking systems that enable them to determine about where a car is located.

We used a company called Intellitrans. They download the sighting data from Railinc that is picked up when a car passes a wayside AEI scanner. These scanners are generally located at roughly 40 mile intervals along mainlines and at the entrance to most yards.

While not as real time as tracking your pizza delivery; it’s more than accurate enough for most rail customers.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/06/19 20:21
Re: “Who Shot the Boxcar? In current Trains magazine
Author: Conrail7659

Regarding tracking cars, the railroad provided portals/info are so unreliable that we added a number of solar powered GPS trackers to our fleet.

$14 per month per tracker, but we know exactly where all the cars are at any given moment. In addition, you can establish geofences to give text notifications when a certain point is reached. Money well spent and the units have proved to be very durable and reliable.

In fact, just in the past two months our unit trains have become....um... “lost” three times taking a alternative route than the assigned route. Once was because headquarters transposed the train symbol halfway through transit and sent the train to the wrong destination. The other two times was because the dispatcher routed the trains to other lines for no apparent reason (it was a result of computer control automated routing). These instances turned in to huge ordeals because the crews were not qualified beyond certain points.

In conclusion, in all three cases we notified the railroad within 10 minutes of the irregularity because of our gps trackers. The railroad’s own operations management had no clue of a issue until they were notified. This quick action allowed a quick plan to get the trains back on track and saved a great deal of money. The local railroad officers and crews are doing their best, but with centralized dispatching/control, we are tracking our trains by the minute now because issues are becoming more regular.



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