Due to routing arrangements and track usage agreements, gondola cars and other rolling stock are often used to transport goods on more than one railroad before reaching the end customer. Under the laws governing railway transport, individual railroads paid a fee, called demurrage, for the excess time other railroads held these cars (whether laden or not) prior to return to their owning road. The demurrage fees were thought to promote the rapid return of rolling stock, since delays equated to extra money spent.
Because of the desire to reduce costs by minimizing demurrage, non-owning railroads may have declined the practice of allowing cars to continue on past their initial destination to points further from the car's "home". This had the effect of decreasing efficiency on these lines, and Railgon (and Railbox) used this argument to promote use of their rolling stock.
Railroad deregulation as part of the Staggers Act reduced the need for this service, and the use of this cooperative arrangement consequently declined. As a result, today the Railgon pool is significantly smaller than at its peak.
Railgon (and the similar Railbox Company) are currently subsidiaries of TTX Company, formerly the Trailer Train Company, which is owned by multiple railroads and leases cars to them. There are currently 1188 cars in the Railgon fleet, compared with over 13,000 boxcars in the Railbox fleet.
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