National Geographic : 1923 Apr
378 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE additional mile per day would equal the mileage of Ioo,ooo new ones; an addi o tional ton per day would give as much service as 8o,ooo new cars could render, and the reduction of "sick leave" to 14 days would yield the same results as the addition of 8o,ooo new cars. bx "TRAMP STEAMERS" OF THE RAILS Freight cars have a way of wandering . from their own lines and becoming the So rail counterparts of tramp steamers. o When the demand for cars is acute, it is \~ very much cheaper for a railroad to keep a "foreign" car than to return it to its ° home line; for the "per diem" charge for a foreign car is only one dollar a day. Not long after the outbreak of the World War a St. Louis car-builder had an order for some freight cars from a o California road. He started one west loaded, to save haulage charges. It de .,- livered its load and then began to wander : 3 around. It made two or three trips to Z ~o the Atlantic seaboard, a half dozen up . and down the country, and finally, long S- after the armistice, reached its destina o m- tion. There are instances of cars wan Sdering around the country for seven years o before setting wheels on home rails once S more. The freight car is the Cinderella of the o transportation household. The passenger car flits about at high speed, day after - day, and never would be able to support wv itself except for the toiling of its humble - sister. If the passenger trains had to pay their half of all the expenses of railroad - operation-for they make half the train ° mileage-they would show one of those 2 dreaded red-ink balances in the profit gband-loss account. STheaverage passenger car runs far enough to make two trips around the earth every year, and some of them run x for a full generation-first, usually, in . the big express trains, then on the main - line locals, and finally out on some "jerk water" branch or in the dollar-excursion equipment. HAULING TIIHE NATION'S FREIGIIT ,E Turning from tracks and rolling stock to freight, one finds an equally startling story of the amazing proportions of rail E- road transportation.