Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/438

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Solving the Car Shortage Problem

We have enough cars, if we use them properly

���The regular trading unit of the sugar industry is four hundred bags, weighing 40,800 lbs. Notice the waste of car space. Such wastage is largely responsible for the recent car shortage

��THE lack of sufficient cars is as detri- mental to a railroad as a shortage of guns is to an army. The scarcity of cars which confronts America is thus one of those present-day problems which we must set ourselves to solve immediately. For upon an efficient transportation or service at home depend favorable condi- tions abroad.

Our shortage of cars reached its climax in May, when so much material was tied up that it would have taken an extra six per cent of the country's total equipment to move it. To add this amount of cars when Russia and the rest of Europe will tax our builders to the limit, would be as difficult as it would be unnecessary. There is a better way.

Only about one-half or less of the car capacity of the country is utilized. A buyer used to order half a carload of goods at a time. The shipper would order a

��car, and after perhaps several days', or even a week's delay, he would load the car and send it on its way. But the effi- ciency of that car hovered dangerously near to twenty-five per cent with such tactics. And all industries were much alike. Oil dealers, for instance, would buy the regular sixty-five-barrel trading unit, when nearly two and a half tinies sixty-five barrels could have been packed in the same freight car.

The employment of such wasted space in the trains of one railroad alone would release one hundred and twenty thousand cars for transporting the materials for building ships, for instance. The prompt loading and unloading of assignments would add a great deal more. This more efficient use of the railroad facilities in America has already resulted from the patriotic spirit. Figures show that the United States has enough cars to meet all needs properly.

���A thousand bags of sugar weighing 102,000 lbs. can be loaded in the same car. The haulage expenses are but slightly increased while the efficiency of the car is raised seventy -five per cent

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