The Edgemont Tribune; Jan. 17, 1945; FREIGHT CARS
"Freight cars should not be used as warehouses, that's why they have wheels."
Col. L. J. Meyns, Chief of Ordnance Departments Storage Division, today informed Col. James L. Keasler that, in keeping with this slogan, Ordnance has achieved a new all-time record for the movement of ammunition from depots to ports of embarkation.
During the week ending December 2 alone, 5,993 freight cars were handled by Ordnance depots. This was 411 more cars that the previous peak load.
There are 1,704,122 freight cars needed by Ordnance and the other armed services, by industry, and by farmers to transport their products to market. Yet available cars can scarcely keep pace with the extra-ordinary war-time demand.
For this reason, the Interstate Commerce Commission at on time place an overtime penalty of $16.50 a day on each car held over five days. Army Ordnance is making every effort to keep the cars rolling, to cut down overtime charges, and to speed badly needed ammunition to our fighting forces overseas.
Ordnance has more than 50 depots in various parts of the country and employs 45 percent of all freight cars used by Army Service Forces. It is a herculean task to keep accurately posted daily on the movement, or delay in movement, of 50 odd thousand freight cars in all parts of the county.
There are certain transportation factors over which ordnance has no control. For example, the greatly increased wartime traffic has slowed down the speed of movement of freight cars from one point in the country to another. Normal running time for a freight car, for example between the Gulf Ordnance Plant at Aberdeen, Mississippi, and the Toole Ordnance Depot in Utah was 10 days. A recent check, however, showed that the actual running time today was between 16 to 20 days. This requires many additional freight cars to do what could normally be done with a smaller number.
Whenever possible, Ordnance tries to maintain an even flow of ammunition and general supplies in and out of depots. It is striving to obtain maximum utilization of depot space, manpower, materials, and handling equipment. It is seeking to eliminate unnecessary cross-hauling, back hauling and diversions. It determines the ability to each depot to handle ammunition and general supplies and establishes an average daily carload handling level. It regulates the flow of supplies into depots in order to keep the work load proportionate to handling ability and it is constantly reviewing the performance of each depot.
Each depot sends in every day to Ordnance Headquarters in Washington last minute information on the current shipping situation. This information is immediately posted on a huge blackboard which shows: the average daily carload handling level of each depot: the percentage of vacant space: the number of freight cars actually handled each day by each depot: the number of freight cars on tracks at each depot awaiting unloading: and the running average of actual daily car handlings for the month to date.
At the present time, 36 percent of the ammunition now being manufactured is being shipped direct from loading plants to posts of embarkation thereby lessening the depot load by 10,000 cars a month. A day by day check is also kept on these cars. Although the situation is constantly changing, Ordnance has developed a system for keeping freight cars rolling as much as possible.
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