Sunday, December 27, 2015

Traffic Flow

My last post focused on the grain industries found online. As I still await borrowing my in-laws truck to go get the rest of the items I need to finish off the room and base for the benchwork, I focused on the traffic flow. One thing I know is that my current roster is going to need to be overhauled. When I was focusing on Harrisburg, I bought a lot of intermodal items. When I changed to West Virginia Secondary, I loaded up on coal cars. Now, obviously, those cars aren't going to be needed so I'm going to start jettisoning them shortly. But I needed to research the traffic flow across the prototype.

The Ft. Wayne Line in this area really was the cut-through for trains and goods form Conway and points east it served with the South and Southwest gateways in Cincinnati and on the way to St. Louis (through Columbus and Indianapolis, respectively). In order to help with the research, I turned to what every Conrail modeler should when doing traffic flow/source research, Conrail Commodities. While it gives a general overview, one can deduce certain movements from it. Using grain as an example, as export grain (usually to Baltimore) dwindled, grain shipments became short hauls in Ohio and Indiana to southern markets. This would mean many would go towards Columbus for points south to NS and CSX. Auto parts traffic is another interesting development. Conrail used Columbus and Toledo for parts and vehicle distribution networks, however, parts also flowed to Indianapolis. The plant on my modeled portion was a GM plant which sent parts to Lordstown assembly but, in looking through the Automotive section of the book, quite possibly sent part to an assembly plant in Indiana as well as potentially GM plants Shreveport, La., and Arlington, Tx, as well as one in St. Louis. These parts would be forwarded to Avon (Indianapolis) for sorting into the 2 or 3 originating trains there for the westward connection. The one item I can take away from that is this plant could have a mix of Auto Part boxcars, mostly CR, but could conceivably have UP or predecessor road cars to offset per diem charges on their end. The results of this research can be summed up in the image I drew up below:

So with the above information in hand, I have an idea of the cars and road names I would need for cars coming online for delivery/shipment as well as "over the line" blocks.


Steven Johnson said...

I love studying commodity traffic flow. Great stuff.

Phil D said...

It is fascinating stuff to be sure. It also helps traffic flow and give realistic car movements on the layout. The only one I probably won't do is the "Chicago" traffic generated on this line would actually go to Conway to be routed back out to Elkhart. Our operators here have enough trouble with direction that I don't think I'll include move the car east to go west type moves.

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