Grain Elevators.—Grain elevators are maintained at shipping points, primary markets and at lake and ocean ports. Few local shipping point elevators are owned or operated by railroads. How ever, in a primary market such as Chicago or St. Louis, the rail roads maintain large elevators for the storage, cleaning and drying of grain. (See GRANARIES AND GRAIN ELEVATORS.) Waterfront Terminals.—A number of important terminal areas, notably New York, Baltimore, Norfolk and San Francisco, are so divided by waterways that a considerable part of the delivery even of local freight is most economically accomplished by marine equipment.
Belt Lines.—Belt lines connecting the terminal yards of two or more railroads and local industries in the terminal area are fre quently found in the important terminal districts of the United States. Belt lines are utilized for two purposes; first, to ac complish interchange between the railroads themselves on through traffic ; and second, to make delivery to industrial sidings, team tracks and piers not reached by the rails of the delivering carrier itself.
In the Chicago district the Belt railway is the inner belt line used primarily for reaching industries. This line is 25 m. long and is owned jointly by a number of the important railways serving Chicago.
The Indiana Harbor Belt railway, 120 m. long, and owned by the New York Central lines, is an outer belt line extending from Indiana Harbor, Ind., to Franklin Park, Ill. This line forms a connection with virtually all the lines serving Chicago, and con stitutes the principal interchange route between the eastern and western lines.
In some cities public belt line railways have been built and operated municipally or leased to railroad operators. The best known example of this type in the United States is the New Orleans Public Belt railroad, owned and operated by the City of New Orleans. Outer belt lines have been instrumental in diverting large amounts of through or overhead traffic away from congested terminal centres. The inner type of belt line is an important factor in linking up industrial districts into a common unit for freight operation.
Off-track Stations and the Use of Motor Truck Equip ment.—Interchange of package freight requiring rapid service has in several instances been accomplished more satisfactorily by motor equipment than by rail switching.
The use of motor equipment as an auxiliary to the railroads in terminal operation has been further extended to the pickup and delivery of local package freight.
The direct delivery of freight by truck to the consignee's door was practised during the early part of the loth century, especially in Washington and Baltimore, but was abandoned in 1911 after litigation before the Interstate Commerce commission concern ing the permissible extent of this service without extra charge.
After 193o the practice was revived throughout the U.S. and ex tended to include "pick-up" service from the consignor. Car loading companies also introduced the practice of picking up less than-carload freight, consolidating it into "merchandise" or "pack age" cars with a number of individual containers, and separating it for delivery at the various terminating points.
Freight Terminals and City Planning.—The integration of terminal facilities into a comprehensive plan, particularly in the metropolitan districts surrounding such large centres of population as New York, Chicago and St. Louis, commands the greatest ability not only of railroad engineers but of city planning experts as well. A few of the common problems faced by both parties are electrified operation, separation of grade crossings, capitaliza tion of air rights and joint use of trackage and terminals. The railroads entering the heart of large communities are beginning to electrify both freight and passenger operations, either voluntarily or under mandate of law.
The increasing activity of public authorities in requiring separa tion of grade crossings to eliminate the chances of accident in highway traffic is exemplified by recent amendment to the New York State Constitution. Under this amendment, voted in Nov. 1925, a State bond issue of $300,000,00o was authorized to finance grade crossing elimination. The capitalization of air rights by con struction of massive buildings over passenger tracks and terminals in large cities has become a well-established practice. As grade separation and electrification extend to freight trackage and the cost of land occupied by freight terminals rises, vertical develop ment of multiple-storey stations and lease of upper floors to manu facturing and warehousing tenants follow.
The establishment of adequate railway terminals is no longer regarded purely as a railroad function. Public authorities have found it necessary to persuade or force carriers into joint use of terminal facilities, and to provide public belt lines to insure industrial and pier siding connection with all trunk lines serving a terminal area. Public interest in efficient use of terminal facili ties may compel proprietary monopolies to give way to a greater degree of common or joint operation.