John G. Kneiling

Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

John G. Kneiling

Postby 2nd trick op » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:24 pm

John Kneiling was an industrial engineer who came to the attention of both the industry and rail hobbyists around 1965 when the late Trains editor David P. Morgan published a series of articles advocating radical changes in industry operating practices, centered around what he defined as the "integral" or "true" train, dedicated to a single traffic move and shunning pickup and delivery, separable cars, and a lot of the things that most made the industry a fascinating subject for railfans.

Kneiling's proposals immediately drew a lot of criticism, particularly from the operating brotherhoods, and an outspoken and unreconstructed social conservatism didn't make him any friends. But Morgan set him up with a monthly column entitled "The Professional Iconoclast", and he continued to predict and promote many of the reforms (some clearly outawed by the regulatory climate of the time) which were eventually to come about in a slightly-moderated form, and play a central role in the industry's resurgence post-1985. His book, Integral Train Systems, can be found in many university engineering libraries.

Kneiling's last Trains byline appears in a retrospective for that publication's 50th anniversary issue in 1990, and a fast search via Google turned up no obituary, so though he would likely be well past the age of 80, I can't confirm whether he's still with us or not.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)
User avatar
2nd trick op
 
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 7:40 pm
Location: Nescopeck, PA ..... NS Sunbury Line MP 715

Kneiling

Postby ljeppson » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:26 am

I teach economics, adjunct, at a community college. I have found Kneiling's old articles to be interesting points of departure for some in-class discussions. Does anyone know of a compilation of his Trains articles?
User avatar
ljeppson
 
Posts: 421
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 10:09 am
Location: North Salt Lake

Postby BaltOhio » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:44 am

According to David Morgan's memory (my own is hazier), I was the guy who put Morgan onto John Kneiling. At the time (late'50s or early '60s -- as I said, hazy memory), Kneiling was saying some things that needed to be said, but in my opinion he later turned into a Frankenstein monster. I fear that the exposure and Morgan's support put him on an ego trip that seemed to worsen all the time, with the final result that aqll the complaints forced Morgan to diplomatically ease him out.

Kneiling was most on the mark when he talked about the quality of rail service as it was at that time, and the lack of both proper measurements of service quality and the willpower to take risks (i.e., increase operating costs) to try innovative operating techniques.

But on the down side, he seemed to be an engineering theoretician who had little understanding of practical operating (and cost) environments, and less sympathy for the often-competent people who were struggling to accomplish something in these environments. He also didn't seem to want to bother with questions of marketing and pricing.

Most of all, of course, Kneiling was obsessively wedded to his integral train concept -- and his patents for it. His particular vision, however, was completely impractical and uneconomic from an operating viewpoint, but he would never listen to sincere critiques or compromise, with the result that he ended up embittered and hostile to all railroad managers. Too bad, because he did have some good things to offer, but in offering them he chose to confront and attack rather than persuade and adapt. As a result, he lost his audience.
BaltOhio
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 10:05 am
Location: Baltimore, MD

Postby dhaugh » Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:25 pm

So does nobody know if Mr. Kneiling is still alive, well, and doing any sort of consulting? I guess I'd assume he'd be pretty advanced in age by now - his pictures in the early '70's showed him to be at least middle age then.

I find his articles interesting nowadays; a lot of what he advocated has come to pass. I suggested to Mark Hemphill, TRAINS magazines editor up til a couple years ago that Kneiling return for one more article, but even TRAINS didn't know how to locate him anymore.
dhaugh
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 2:12 pm

Postby ajt » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:22 pm

"I suggested to Mark Hemphill, TRAINS magazines editor up til a couple years ago that Kneiling return for one more article, but even TRAINS didn't know how to locate him anymore."

A diplomatic way for the Waukesha guys to say 'we really don't want to publish him'...
ajt
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:11 pm

Postby dhaugh » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:59 am

A diplomatic way for the Waukesha guys to say 'we really don't want to publish him'...

Perhaps... but John seemed to indicate in his last article (IIRC) that he was fed up with the industry and it's inability for change, and perhaps didn't want to be found. Then again, for all anyone seems to know, he has passed away.
dhaugh
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 2:12 pm

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby Teather » Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:22 pm

Whoa people:
I worked with John G. Kneiling as a young engineer, before moving on to high level management. I did numerous studies with him, along with implementation of unconventional but profitable changes in the railroad, steel, coal and ore industries.
John was absolutely brilliant but somewhat different from the engineers of those days. Today he would be run of the mill in Silicon Valley.
I sat in meetings with the Presidents of several railroads where if a President disagreed with John, John would say "I'll be around to see your successor soon". That was his standard comment if proposals were not accepted.
At one point, in the mid 70's when I was recruited for the CEO position of a mid sized, mid west, manufacturer. The company had been hide bound and was still doing business as if it were the 30's. I hired John as a consultant to shake things up. He did a fabulous job for me but as I grew the company, I lost contact with John in the late 70's.
Whatever some may say about John Kneiling, he was an iconoclast and a brilliant engineer whose primary motive was to get the railroad industry running like a business. ie: getting rid of the 5 man crew practice and the 100 mile a day practice. It's taken about 30 years but it's closer now, thanks to the efforts of mavericks like John Kneiling.
Teather
 

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:56 am

I think JGK has an article in Trains' 50th Anniversary Issue (1990)... and that was the last we heard from him. HE mroe or less echoed he was fed up with the industry's inability to change, though he was pleased at what progress was made over the last 25 years...
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At
User avatar
Otto Vondrak
 
Posts: 20141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:26 am

What more can I say than what has already been said?

After DPM's powerful op-ed pieces, JGK's "Inconclast' was always "next stop" when perusing a newly arrived TRAINS.
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 12827
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby zolagorgon » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:33 am

My dad, John G. Kneiling died in 2000. Indications were he didn't approve of the way the hospital was run. We always thought he worked for the Martian CIA.
zolagorgon
 

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby HarryE » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:36 pm

zolagorgon wrote:My dad, John G. Kneiling died in 2000. Indications were he didn't approve of the way the hospital was run. We always thought he worked for the Martian CIA.


I thought that your dad was out to destroy our beloved railroads when I first started to read his columns. As I recall, he was obsessed with average train speed. Gradually, I came to appreciate his keen insight into the problems that beset the industry. Do you have a link to his obituary? Can you post it?
User avatar
HarryE
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby dgj987 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:34 am

I was a big fan of John G Kneiling's, and still have a copy of "Integral Train Systems" that I refer to from time to time.

The modern train operations that embody some of his general concepts are found in the big iron ore mining operations in Western Australia.

BHP-Billiton Iron Ore operates trains of up to 330 wagons (each wagon is 150 tonnes gross weight, 125 tonnes payload, 37.5t axle load).

On June 21, 2001 BHP Iron Ore operated the world's largest-ever train between Mt Newman and Port Hedland in Western Australia, a distance of 275km (170 miles).

The train consisted of 682 loaded iron ore wagons and 8 GE AC6000 locomotives, giving a gross weight of 99,732 tonnes (220 million lb) and a payload of 82,262 tonnes of iron ore. The train was 7.353 km (4.568 miles) long.

The purpose of the run was to test GE's Locotrol system, with locomotives distributed along the length of the train. The Locotrol setup was 2 locos - 166 wagons - 2 locos - 168 wagons - 2 locos - 168 wagons - 1 loco - 180 wagons - 1 loco. The train was controlled by one driver.

You can see video clips of the entire train passing by on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LsuNWjRaAo, and an overview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzB6QHnz7Ug

There's a useful analyst presentation on BHP-Billiton Iron Ore rail operations at
http://www.bhpbilliton.com/bbContentRep ... ations.pdf.

While BHP-Billiton and Rio Tinto use conventional locomotives and wagons for their iron ore train operations, the scale of their operations and the systems approach strongly reflect Kneiling's concepts.
dgj987
 

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby delvyrails » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:10 pm

Not many people know of John's earlier railfan side. In the New York area, so many railfan trips were run that they conflicted. In order to schedule them so they did not compete, John set up the Joint Railfan Trip Committee to coordinate the dates. Eventually, I understand, JRTC couldn't resist the temptation to run trips of its own.

I have a printed copy of a track map of the Lehigh Valley Transit Company drafted by John and dated 1944.
John Pawson
delvyrails
 
Posts: 564
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:47 pm

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby kaitoku » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:32 pm

JR Freight in Japan runs a train, the M250 series, that incorporates many attributes of Kneiling's integral train:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M250_series

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YajpvCJXok0
kaitoku
 
Posts: 514
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 9:26 pm
Location: Sapporo, Japan

Re: John G. Kneiling

Postby 2nd trick op » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:15 am

I Googled Mr. Kneiling's name this morning, after an absence of at least two years, and found that the refrences to him, not only in the railfan community, but among industrial engineers, have increased substantially, and with considerably more respect. Guess it's true that genius is seldom recognized in its own time.

Still looking for his burial site so that it can be posted at findagrave. com.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)
User avatar
2nd trick op
 
Posts: 1573
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 7:40 pm
Location: Nescopeck, PA ..... NS Sunbury Line MP 715

Next

Return to Books, Magazines, Music, TV, and Movies, and other Media

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests