Are model trains "toys" or not?

wrote:


I suspected that when I responded. I wonder at what price point it become cheaper for UPS to use the rails as opposed to planes.
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Spender wrote:

Rail has held on to bulk freight - coal, ore, etc and dangerous freigt - oil, chemicals etc. The next step is the freight carried by trucks, ISO containers, piggy-back trailers etc. I think airfreight has post and parcels long distance for a long time yet. It's bulk vs commodity value and product life. One would never fly coal, other than in a situation like the Berlin Crisis, nor would one rail a JIT consignment of computer chips, or strawberries. It's the block of commodities in between that will be forced to move from road to rail.
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<snip>

While I agree with all the rest, strawberries are a good USA rail commodity as they can be shipped by the car load to East coast markets by reefer. IIRC, UP and CSX have something going with West coast perishables, don't they? Something about run-through, high priority freights was in a Trains magazine a couple years ago. And strawberries, lettuce, etc. are the targets, IIRC. I can't see it being too much different from the Tropicana Orange Juice trains on CSX from Florida.
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Pac Man wrote:

Well, we like our strawberrys fresh ;-)
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Agreed. I have a patch in my back yard (part of my family's little "hobby farm"). But even the best strawberry plants don't offer berries in January here in Massachusetts. I have found that even relatively tasteless strawberries are better than none, especially after you sugar them and put them in a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream.
Yum.
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On Tue, 29 May 2007 13:53:31 GMT, Pac Man wrote:

That's where the Slow Food principle of "fresh, local, IN SEASON" comes in.

Perhaps you coud find strawberry flavored twinkies and get the same sugar rush. Or freeze your own berries (we have icecream with rasperry sauce and chocolate in the middle of winter, thanks to the chest freezer in the garage.
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Steve

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in.
Still, it's better than nothing.

and
Um, I do have a chest freezer in my basement. We do pick and freeze our own vegetables, and if we have a bumper crop of strawberries we'll freeze 'em, too. We even make our own jelly and jam (grape, currents, etc.).
I don't know what the heck this has to do with model railroading anymore, but I'm gonna get hungry if we keep this up. LOL
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On Wed, 30 May 2007 14:56:22 GMT, Pac Man wrote:

Mmmmm - just had a bowl of blackberries, fully ripened to that perfumy nectar stage. Now gotta go out and ballast the back yard (laying bluestone flags).
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*snip: Garden goodies*

Strawberries are just the right size for O scale hoppers. For our relatively small patch, we only would need a couple at a time, but for larger, established patches, you could run entire unit trains out to the garden.
There's always G gauge for the really big stuff like tomatoes. :-)
If your SWMBO lets you run track into the kitchen for vegetable delivery, she's pretty smart. If she encourages you to install a rotary dumper over the sink, she's an outright genius!
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 20:32:56 GMT, Pac Man wrote:

Well, yeah, if ya pick'em half ripe and let them "ripen" in transit. But you'd need to smoke some reefer to work up an appetite for that sort. You can grow strawberries in most of the US or in your back yard. Buy fresh, buy local, buy in season. Let 'em feed the Chilean peaches to Pinochet.
We got a flat of berries up the road a few miles; wonderful fully ripe, would never move farther than a local market without going to mush and mold. Made jam from some, ate a lot fresh, made homemade ice cream with the rest. Now we're eating blackberries and raspberries from the back yard, and the Black Tartarian cherries are coming ripe; two batches of jam already with some that were still a bit red (the minor tartness helps).
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Well, UPS already uses a lot of TOFC. They are one of the USA's biggest rail shippers. I assume you mean for things like next day service? The answer in that case will be never.
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Pac Man wrote:

but the day will come where long distance next day service might cease to exist.
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I highly doubt it. However, there may come a day when *affordable* long distance, next day service might cease to exist.
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Pac Man wrote:

That's much the same thing!
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    Not exactly the same. Now if you Want Next Day you can get it. AS long as you are WILLING to Pay the high costs to have it.     OTOH.... If no one WANTS to pay... the option will eventually disappear.
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long
But not *exactly* the same thing. Sort of like comparing air travel of the 1930's vs. modern air travel. A year ago, I flew to Florida from Rhode Island to Orlando for $65 one-way ($165 for the return flight) on Southwest. Now, that's cheap any way you slice it. But back in the 1930's, the only people who flew commercial (for the most part) were rich as only they could afford it. Some goes for some future time if transportation costs skyrocket. Only the rich (or rich corporations) will have freight flown and the average to small business will not. But it will still exist. Much, much smaller, of course. But it's not going away.
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Pac Man wrote:

The point here is that when oil rises to the point that air transport costs in the order that it did in 1930, only very high value goods will be airfreighted. Businesses will favour the fuel efficient modes of transport which equates to rail. As they've found in Europe, rail can cope with both bulk and high speed container traffic. LCL and parcels went to trucking because it was labour intensive and a niusance to "streamlined" rail service.
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Thank God for the rich. They are the first to buy many things which causes those things to become affordable for the average man.
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I feel like an alien. The only two trains I have ever ridden are the Metra in Illinois - from Crystal Lake to Chicago, and the miniature train at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
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Spender wrote:

I wouldn't have suggested that. ;-)

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