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Hopefully this is the right forum for me to ask some  prototypical operations questions that I've had for some time. I'm a relative newcomer to O scale.

One burning question I've had is what happens to motive power that end up on another railroad's turf. Does it get returned, or leased out? I wonder about this whenever I see a picture of multi-road motive power lashups.

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@ArthurL posted:

Hopefully this is the right forum for me to ask some  prototypical operations questions that I've had for some time. I'm a relative newcomer to O scale.

One burning question I've had is what happens to motive power that end up on another railroad's turf. Does it get returned,

It depends whether the unit (I am assuming you are referring to diesels and NOT steam locomotives) is involved in "power pooling" or not. If not, it would most likely be returned.

or leased out?

No. A railroad would have no legal right to "lease out" another railroad's motive power.

I wonder about this whenever I see a picture of multi-road motive power lashups.

CORRECTION!!!!!!   They are motive power " MU consists".  The term "lashup" is a toy train term.

@Hot Water posted:

Thanks, I am learning as I go along.

I'm talking about both steam and diesel- I have been watching youtube videos of operations from the 40's to early 50's, the era I am going to model. Trying to study tendencies.

I was imaging that if a motive power got way out there, it may not get returned right away, so I was thinking could the original road owner of that motive power just lease it out for a bit, or just wait for it to get returned?

Or are there just switchyards where one railroad ends and another picks up?

@ArthurL posted:

Thanks, I am learning as I go along.

I'm talking about both steam and diesel- I have been watching youtube videos of operations from the 40's to early 50's, the era I am going to model. Trying to study tendencies.

I was imaging that if a motive power got way out there, it may not get returned right away,

Steam locomotives would be serviced and turned/returned right away.

so I was thinking could the original road owner of that motive power just lease it out for a bit,

No. I generally did NOT work like that, back in the 1940s/1950s.

or just wait for it to get returned?

Pretty much yes.

Or are there just switchyards where one railroad ends and another picks up?

Yes, that is the reality of how railroads did things, back in the 1940s & 1950s. In other words, each railroad pretty much kept their own locomotives on their own railroad.

Actually, other than passenger power, when did the first freight run throughs start?  One early one I read about was between the Burlington and UP?

There may have been an agreement between the UP and CNW.  The service route from California to Chicago and points East was UP-Fremont-CNW.  That was a run through, non-stop interchange. SP-SSW could have had such an agreement.  John in Lansing, ILL

The Burlington - NYC run through agreement between Chicago and the Twin Cities that started about 1960 is still in effect. It carried through the Conrail / BN era into NS / BNSF today. CB&Q used an in-cab signal system, so one of their engines always had to lead the NYC engines.

Back to the OP's question...there were instances where a railroad would lease engines from another railroad in the steam or transition era, but it was generally long term, not like for a few hours or days here or there. For example, for several years in the 1950's the Rock Island leased engines from the New York Central in the fall / early winter to help with the grain rush in the Midwest. The situation we see today, with many run-through agreements and power-sharing agreements that make it common to see engines wandering far away from their home tracks really didn't exist until the 1960's. More likely, when a train hit the yard at the end of it's line, the engine would be cut off and serviced, and any cars moving on to a different railroad would be moved to the other road as part of a transfer between the two railroad's yards.

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