Interchanging Relays--US Patent No. 4,883,245, 28 Nov 89: Interchanging Relays are trains run under a method of operation that schedules linehaul movements in order to 1) regularize the workdays of train crews, 2) eliminate away-from-home expenses, 3) eliminate idle time for locomotives, 4) create a trip plan for every car, and 5) greatly diminish recovery time from missed connections. Two of its aspects were utilized to great effect by E. Hunter Harrison at IC, CN, CP, and CSX: scheduling trains so that linehaul crews swap trains in the middle of their workdays in order to end up at their home terminals and so that locomotive utilization is continuous except during fueling and maintenance.
Linear Yards--Patent Pending: Linear Yards are classification yards that are only the width of only two parallel tracks but that do the work of historical hump yards. They are meant to be used in conjunction with the Interchanging Relays of the previous patent in order to 1) reduce infrastructure and land required for carload traffic, 2) improve the reliability and frequency of carload service, 3) eliminate circuity, and 4) make rail service competitive for large-lot merchandise traffic.
Shuttle Trains--Patent Pending: Shuttle Trains are passenger trains that serve intermediate stations without stopping by dropping off and picking up passengers at intermediate stations using self-powered Shuttle Cars. The intermediate stations that they serve require a width of only two additional tracks in addition to the width of main line tracks. Shuttle Trains are meant to be used in conjunction with the Interchanging Relays of the above patent in order to 1) create passenger schedules that attract short-to-medium-distance travelers using standard rail infrastructure, 2) coordinate the safe utilization of rail right-of-way by freight and passenger trains simultaneously, 3) increase the cash streams justifying basic track infrastructure, and 4) preempt the need for high-speed rail in most of the U.S.
HAPP Apparatus--Patent Pending: A Hinged and Pronged Plate ("HAPP") Apparatus is a device to allow the loading of municipal solid waste ("MSW"), or any other bulk material, into covered hopper cars using a relatively small amount of land. The covered hopper cars can actually be standard open-top hopper cars modified with lids. The instant application for the HAPP would be in high-rent urban areas in order to remove MSW by rail instead of by truck to areas with less expensive real estate for recycling, incineration, organic processing, landfilling, or other remediation.
BOXCARS Board Game--US Patent No. 3,799,551, 26 Mar 74: BOXCARS was a board game conceived by Tom's uncle, Robert S. Erickson, in 1957, and brought to life by Tom in 1970. Players travel on historic rail lines and build rail empires. After the game concept was patented and an initial version was produced by Tom, the game was licensed to the Avalon Hill Game Company in 1977. Avalon Hill re-named the game Rail Baron, which attained a loyal and enthusiastic following. After the demise of Avalon Hill, in 2014 Tom licensed the game to Rio Grande Games, which produces both the original U.S. version and a new British version on the flip side of the game board.