Hi again Olivier. It's taken me a little while to find the time to compose this post.
takata_1940 wrote:Simply said, traffic was highly prioritized, meaning that all daily traffic could not be delivered. Yearly global figures don't explain by themself where and why bottlenecks have appeared. On the other hand, the operating area being vaster and rolling stock more abundant, figures for tons moved and car placing rose (to come back to your original remark) but they don't tell us if performance was better or worse than before as the basis changed from one year to another. Your examples tend to prove that situation was going worse due to added burden on railway from goods that were moved previously by other means, mostly sea shipping. Road-bound German traffic was negligible (in volume, not in value) but international trade of raw material that could have moved otherwise in peacetime was certainly important. On the other hand, war caused also recession in many sectors, so it is not even possible to acertain that demand was expanding above the means or that it was the means that decreased below demand.
Yes. So we have increased demand, and also increased performance. The problem, which we don't seem to be getting much closer to solving, was whether decreasing or stagnating Altreich performance might have been accompanied by decreasing or stagnating Altreich demand. Especially because these two parameters are masked by increased performance in newly conquered territories (i.e. more overall coal car placings, but fewer Ruhr coal car placings)
My point was that 1940 coal traffic inside the Ruhr was seriously affected, as far as 81% of 1937 level, while steel output went down from 16 million tons to 13 million tons (and it's also 81%) while coal extraction remained stable.
Well, measured by calendar year, rather than by coal year, it would appear that Ruhr coal output fell, although admittedly not by much. As a parallel example of sorts, Britian experienced her own coal crisis of sorts during the winter of 1939-1940, which was exceptionally harsh. The main reason was that cabotage fell, and the railroads could not handle all the resulting extra traffic right away.
Jon G. wrote:
I would contend - and for now it remains only a contention - that the RB did manage to increase inland (or Altreich) goods traffic, in part by introducing various measures (overloading of cars, for example), in part because its inventory of rolling stock and locomotives had been gently rising (though it's nothing compared to what happened later) from 1938 on.
Overloading cars measures are a good indicator of crisis extent. If cars were being overloaded, it means that car number was inadequate but it doesn't explain why it was. Looking at car rotation is a clue. Peacetime traffic rotation rate was 3 days and grew to 6-7 days. Consequently, more than twice the number of car was needed to maintain the same rate of traffic.
Overloaded cars denote a shortage of cars only if we put it relative to demand. Clearly, the RB had difficulties serving all needs already prior to the war, but we don't know how those needs grew and changed due to the outbreak of war. And traffic was not the same, so we can't conclude that a larger number of cars would have been needed to serve the same traffic as pre-war. New territorial acquisitions meant that railroad cars on average travelled longer, more ton-miles were pulled, and - pertinent to this
discussion - car placings rose, too. So we're dealing with another non-linear relationship.
Unloading and loading of railroad cars is, by and large, something you can leave to unskilled labour, although I am sure there are exceptions to that.
Then shortage of cars was not directly linked to an inadequate number of cars but to rotation rate. This is a good proof of traffic bottlenecks. Then overloading cars was an expedient resulting from other causes that were not addressed by this solution, neither adding more and more cars would have fixed the problem.
...but the increased rotation rate might have been caused by the longer average haul, surely? All that coal across the Brenner and what not. Which is why car placings are a superior parameter for measuring railroad perfomance
It looks like the Germans pooled everything from "annexed territories" into DRG and completed their means by taxing "occupied territories" railways. So I don't think it might have caused more burden than good. On the other hand, those "occupied territories" railways were only left with the remmants while having to deal in priority with traffic for German economy and the Wehrmacht.
Yes, but administrativia does not explain to us if added territories meant added burdens for the RB, or if those same added territories could provide the means to make plunder pay and move itself, so to speak. For example, if the Germans lay hands on the coal deposits of the Donbaz, and manage to keep them in operation, then that is an overall plus to the German economy. However, if there's no Soviet rolling stock to truck all that coal away on, it will be a net loss to the Reichsbahn in terms of extra commitment.
Jon G. wrote:
Right, but in terms of car placings and assigned rolling stock, the wild East did not count for all that much in the big picture. Part of that, of course, was due to the chaos of first building, then running and protecting long distances of railroads in a short timespan, but in and of themselves, the eastern railroads were just a small part of the big picture.
For example, as of 01.01 1943, daily car placings in the east (excl. the Generalgouvernement) were 13,012 as opposed to 1,575,572 in the Reich (that is, not including occupied Europe) and 3,625 in the 'Gedob' (Generaldirektion der Ostbahn in the Generalgouvernement); locomotive stocks at the same date amounted to 4,671 in the East, 2,088 in the Gedob, and 28,630 in the Reich.
You meant (including Gedob)
The Generaldirektion der Ostbahn, which was established in 1939 in Krakow and was equipped with a multitude of ex-Polish and RB hand-me-down equipment was an altogether different and perhaps more settled organization than the multiple RVKs and FEKs which the Reichsbahn was operating in the east, so it does not give an entirely accurate picture to lump Gedob car placings &c together with RVK+FEK statistics.For example, the Gedob's east-west lines were massively expanded (in fact, expanded beyond what was needed) in preperation for Barbarossa. There's a reason why Kreidler and Potgiesser list FEK+RVK and Gedob seperately, after all
.17,537 vs 557,572 = 11.12 % of Greater Reich's car placings;
. 6,759 vs 28,630 = 23.60 % of Greater Reich's locomotives;
. 743,832 vs 1,415,569 = 52.54 % of Greater Reich's operating manpower;
. 1,398,613 vs 857,000 = 163 % of Greater Reich's operating kms.
Or (FEK+RVD) 2.33% of car placings; 16.31 of locomotive stock [this includes locomotives built for, and operated by the Wehrmacht under the FEKs]; and 43% of the Reich's Nov. 1942 manpower. Only a minority of RVK+FEK manpower was German, namely 104,899 out of 615,455; for the Gedob the relationship was c. 7,000 Germans and 128,379 'natives'; according to Potgiesser, recruitment for the Reichsbahn was easy in the east - not as dangerous as working directly for the army, and railroad workers were entitled to 'Schwerarbeiter' heavy worker rations.
The 1,398,613 figure is a measure of area
relative to area operated by the RB as of July 1 1939
. The operated lines measured 78,675 km Reich, 34,979 FEK+RVK, and 7,111 Gedob, all figures including narrow-gauged lines. Daily train-kilometers amounted to 3,003,806 Reich, 398,408 FEK+RVK, and 238,060 Gedob. In other words, FEK+RVK operated c.44% of Reich lines, which is substantial, and c.13% of Reich train-kilometers (which is less substantial)
All my figures from Hans Potgiesser: Die Deutsche Reichsbahn im Ostfeldzug
I think this is not "just a small part of the big picture" but something very considerable. Arguably, the number of daily car placed is low but, at the same time, it is clearly disproportionate with all the other means affected to the East. Of course, operating conditions and facilities were definitely not like inside the Reich and East productivity many times bellow: 42.4 men/placed-car (East) vs 9 (Reich).
Yes. Clearly no question that the east was less productive in railroad terms than was hoped for. Particularly 1942 was a bad year for the railroads in the east - something to keep in mind when examining the above Jan 1 1943 figures.
Jon G. wrote:Locomotive output was even higher in 1944. Anyway, my point was that the RB's successes (in terms of ton-miles, car placings and so on) don't follow the same pattern as Germany's conquests. In fact, 1942 seems to have been the Reichsbahn's worst year until quite late in the war, when Allied bombings caused renewed disruption.
Well, I'll go further than you: RB's successes (in terms of ton-miles, car placings and so on) were achieved prewar if the relative deduction is made of all networks annexed with traffic and rolling stock. After war breakout, situation degradated in opposite way of military successes: situation was the worse at peak territorial extension (1942) and recovery was due to Wehrmacht losing ground in the East (1943). Next came the bombers and it was over.
Beside, you should verify your data, but deliveries of locomotives and cars peaked in 1943 (by 1944, priority was set about making tanks...
Right. What I meant to write was that output of locomotives peaked in (yes) 1944, measured as 530,000 tons empty weight of locomotives delivered, as per Gottwaldt figures given by me upthread. But in terms of cars placed - and that is not the whole story, I know - the Reichsbahn peaked in 1943.
Not easy to explain, isn't it?
We have to assume that the number of car placings (coal or freight) is an indicator of the maximum efficiency achieved as the economy was clearly rationed. This rationing was due to bottlenecks meaning transport system congestion. As many cars as possible were placed daily and priorities were given to move x while y had to wait until space was made available.
Yes. Priority lists for freight traffic were regularly issued, and just as regularly changed. Frequently, coal was on top; sometimes (usually autumn), perishable foods would take top position for a while.
This was certainly not due to track capacity. Rail capacity -in absolute number- was not the problem inside the Greater Reich area. Traffic could be redirected almost at will considering network density.
True, at least until mid-to-late 1944, when rail disruption became a problem due to Allied bombings, particularly for trains crossing the Rhine.
This may be due to rolling stock problems, like an inadequate number of freight cars, but as the rotation rate increased, this will point to other causes:
1. inadequate number of locomotives;
2. maintenance overburning: less stock -lokos & cars- serviceable (considering the number of foreign stock impressed into DRG service).
3. service manpower (specialists) inadequate;
4. Transbording facilities and manpower inadequate.
My bet would be 3 & 4 as being the main bottlenecks, followed by 1 & 2 as a side effects. If one look at the average distance covered by trains, the result would be that cars were rolling very few km/day during their rotation time. Consequently, they had to spend most of this time waiting for being loaded/unloaded.
Well, all factors applied, though some more than others. The winter crisis in the East, for example, was overwhelmingly due to 1) and 2), above.
Jon G. wrote:
some expedients could get more bang for the same buck, so to speak, not just car overloading, but also paying premiums to coal consumers for returning cars early, loading and unloading cars on Sundays, more efficient car running schedules and so on.
They are only expedients to face a limited-time crisis but do not work in the long run. People needs day off -particularly when we are talking about several years effort as the situation was already tense from years before war. Paying premiums was not the solution as finding manpower could not be resolved with money. Overloading was only patching and a subsequent trade off for maintenance issues.
Yes, obviously expedients such as overloading, un- and loading of cars on Sundays, paying shippers for returning cars early (and also fining them for returning cars late) don't in and of themselves solve the underlying problems of increased demand from all corners. They (the expedients, that is) do however give us an idea about how bad things were - for example, car overloading was stopped for a brief while in mid-1940, but conversely also doubled to two tons in 1942, which was also the year when the Italians were asked to provide their own rolling stock for the coal deliveries.
Jon G. wrote:
For all we know, the overall increase in coal car placings in 1940 as opposed to the drop in coal car placings in the Ruhr in the same year could denote a conscious effort to shift some of the burden of supplying Germany's industries east.
It might also reflect the fact that manpower was more available in Poland and much less in the Ruhr. Then, the stock of cars will end being better used here than there.
That sounds like a reasonable explanation - what is also interesting is where all that Polish coal was used.